Tuesday, August 8, 2017

An efficient edifice with a parametric facade

Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Courtesy rat[LAB]-Research in Architecture & Technology
Read Time: 3 mins
"Parametric Facade Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

Design and engineering merge, as science meets art in an algorithmic facade for an industrial building in Gurgaon…

While façade engineering is viewed as just another element in the architectural design of buildings, designing elevational highlights is increasingly popular for projects to attract eyeballs and establish a neighbourhood signature.

"industrial building Parametric Facade detail Rat Lab indiaartndesign"
"industrial building Parametric Facade under construction Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

A case-in-point, is this façade
for an industrial unit specializing in manufacturing machinery rubber parts, located proximal to an existing landmark in Gurgaon. With the dual aim to establish an identity by alienating the conventional hum-drum of an industrial unit; and to affect an environmentally-responsible building, rat[LAB]-Research in Architecture & Technology joins hands with the architects of the building, Design Plus, to accomplish a solution that is tightly bound by cost and time constraints.  

"Parametric Facade dimensions Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

Using computational design and data-driven techniques to ensure that all parameters are programmatically considered, precision-driven methodology is put into place to create a highlight element in Shera-wood panels, in the 1500 sq. ft. frontal for striking visibility.

"Parametric Facade members Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

The design revolves
around a simple component-based system with differentiated members and variable geometry driven by data extracted from various aspects of the project, viz., environmental conditions, structural feasibility, materiality and cost, multiple iterations of an aesthetically pleasing design without any loss of precision, quicker timeline and bespoke, fabricated elements, etc.

"embedded data Parametric Facade Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

A triangulated panel system with about 350 flat, triangular parts was designed as a singular parametric system based on a surface division method for the east and south facing facades. Angular variation of panels, opening as vertical fins, were based on regional climatic data, considering solar insulation of the façade; simultaneously responding to programmatic configuration of the building.

"industrial building Parametric Facade under process Rat Lab indiaartndesign"
"Parametric Facade panels Rat Lab indiaartndesign"
"Parametric Facade radiation analysis Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

So, on the one hand, soon after basic design strategies were developed as sketches and ideas, a shift was made into a computational framework, which evolved through the following stages of the project; and preliminary environmental analyses focused on solar radiation studies and an integrated algorithmic approach in quick time; on the other hand, given the slow-moving fabrication and construction industry in the country, usage of computation as a tool became more complex and was challenged with a non-linear to-and-fro process between manpower and machine.
"industrial building Parametric Facade Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

Further, it was observed that cost was primarily being affected by the number of angular joints or structural nodes, and the weight of steel going into making the structural frames for panels. This could be controlled and brought down to an optimized design that negotiated between the design aesthetic, environmental response and cost by reducing the number of triangular facets to 111 with a limited angular differentiation.
"Parametric Facade fin size Rat Lab indiaartndesign"

Factoring in the several parameters, the approx. three-month exercise currently awaits completion; reinstating that the process of parametric design is steadily veering towards being the preferred construction mode.

Fact File:
Design Lead – façade: rat[LAB]-Research
Design Lead – architecture: Design Plus
Design Team: Sushant Verma, Abhishek Bij
Area:  1500 sq. ft. frontal
Location: Gurgaon

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