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Fluid Tower

Part 2 Project 2010
Dongwei Jonathan Lin
National University of Singapore | Singapore
Digital Tectonic explorations of 3-Dimensional Modular units

The thesis explores how digital technology is used in the making of architecture. It is explored in modeling, simulation and fabrication process of 3 dimensional objects that possess complexity as a surface and as a space enclosing entity. 

Merits of such surfaces include its structural strength and unique spatial connectivity compared to the tradition column slab structure.

The process of design is as important as the final design itself. The thesis questions the linear process of designing and fabricating a building, where a form is broken down to its various parts or where various components are assembled to create the final form. With the aid of digital tools the final thesis design is created by a process that breaks down this linear process into one that allows both form and component to dynamically change due to realistic factors of space, structure and manufacturing. This creates a highly flexible part to whole relationship when it comes to the conceptualizing and realization of architecture. ‘

This process is seen as a MATRIX or a series of iterative processes where both FORM and BUILDING COMPONENTS are end and start conditions.

Modularity is used to simplify the fabrication process of a complex curved surface. Modularity may suggest a repetition of one singular element, however Mass Customization allows for a variety of elements to be produced, a process that is facilitated by Computer numerically controlled (CNC) mills which can rapidly produce complex molds for various elements.

Finite Elemental Analysis is used to simulate structural test on the 3d models. The models were subject to Live and Dead load to analyze its structural behavior. Results such as stress and strain distribution and displacement make inform modifications to form. 

Flat horizontal surfaces of the massing support programs while vertical surfaces define space. Voids that run vertically and horizontally suggest circulation and courtyard environments. Vertical transport strategies such as staircase and lift cores are integrated into the surface structure rather than as add-on features. They also provide lateral stability to the tall tower.

Dongwei Jonathan Lin

Highly self-motivated graduate, Jonathan Lin, gains fluent digital modelling, structural simulation and digital fabrication skill sets, successfully sublimes those advanced technologies as his visionary thesis project.

His ingenuity lies not on typical form-findings, but on strategic configuration of digitally fabricated complex 3D mould and its mass-customized components in order to accommodate interweaved mixed-use program. He employs Finite Element analysis method to optimize the material efficiency of the 3D curved concrete components, while maximum repetition of the 3D components within the single project justify the initial cost of the complex mould. Rigorous and simultaneous investigations in both digital and physical environment are demanded to complete the thesis project.

The project also demonstrates innovative design to fabrication flows, namely design-simulation-fabrication, which may set new standard for contemporary architectural practice beyond one single project.


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