Pre-Cast Porosity

Austin Ede, Khang Nguyen

Spring Semester 2013

This research project explores the use of digital fabrication technology and parametric modeling to investigate the production of concrete brise soleil panels. Specifically the research examines how the digital toolset can be used to produce repetitive panels with non-standard patterning as pre-cast concrete panels. The pre-cast industry relies upon efficiency found typically in repetition and simplified geometric shapes to produce achievable molds. This in turn has a predictable outcome on the readily found geometries typically found in precast components. However, when linked with a more sophisticated methodology and mold making materials it is our working hypothesis that non-standard patterning could override the primary paneling and produce a highly ‘organic’ panel –that is still capable of meeting all other programmatic requirements.

The panels leverage a series of parameters to establish performance criteria and to determine optimized geometries. These parameters range from sun angle based on cardinal direction, view corridors at the site, and the ability to extract the panel from the mold based on the module geometry. In regard to the last issue it is necessary to provide a 5° angle on the module prior to distributing it to a modified grid in order to have a ‘releasable’ angle for the mold to come out of. Given that this process was fabricated and investigated at full scale, issues of detailing, mold production, structural connection, transport, and installation are all critical phases of contingency in the research.