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Proposal for a non-dimensional parametric interface design in architecture : a biomimetic approach

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2009
Arslan Selçuk, Semra
Biomimesis, the imitation of animate and inanimate forms in nature to inspire new designs, is term introduced in the 20th century. The concept that there exist models and solutions in nature that may improve and optimize the way mankind lives has been the subject of much discussion. Although biomimesis as a well-defined discipline is a relatively recent concept, modeling nature is as old as mankind itself and can be seen in many different forms in all aspects of life. In the field of architecture there have been several designs created by imitating/modeling or aspiring to forms in nature. Most of the “end products” of these processes can be considered as milestones in the history of architecture, with their innovative form, structure, and construction techniques, and have resulted in developments in many fields through the pioneering of new and successful designs. The implementations of the concept of Biomimesis in the field of architecture are mostly observed in the design of forms. In the proposed study, besides those forms, structural behavior and the optimized response to internal and external loads of these forms, together with their geometrical configurations, have been studied to provide a methodology to understand relationships in nature for optimized structures and in the further steps a system design has been aimed. Within the frame work of methodology, in the first part of the study, form/structure groups in animate and inanimate nature are classified and their representative characteristics are discussed. The next part focuses on the “shell”, as a case to exemplify the proposed methodology. For this reason, the “seashell” form is chosen to explore the forms/structures in architecture. For this purpose, initially the definitions of a shell and its implementations in architecture have been examined and the “real problem” has been described: what are the codes in architecture to understand the language of shells in nature and how this knowledge can be translated to man made design. The modeling approaches of the researchers working on the seashells have been examined and parameters developed to generate a mathematical model closer to a real shell. A program has been written to generate the computational model of selected seashell Turitella Terebra as a case. Through a series of abstractions/assumptions first mathematical then computational model of the actual seashell have been obtained to explore the behavioral properties of shells. In the experimental part of the study, 86 shells have been exposed to compression tests, similar boundary conditions and loads have been applied to the computational model in two different FEA software, to compare simulation results with the experimental ones in order to check the precision and efficacy of the computational model. The results have been analyzed and a number of non-dimensional parameters are obtained. It is believed that potential relations in the realm of architecture regarding such non dimensional parameters would be a new era to talk new design methods and to construct optimized structures. Through this perception/thinking/designing/manufacturing method a platform would be formed to discuss the concept of Biomimesis in architecture subjectively.