STRUCTURAL CONCRETE FORMWORK
, a Los Angeles based architecture firm, has built reinforced concrete thin-shell structures through
inflatable form-work since the 1960s. Moving beyond the concrete shell domes produced in the 1960s and
1970s, the Binishell's System A design is a move toward more ambitious, organic forms.
The complexity of the System A required a custom digital strategy to link design to construction. Form-finding methods were coupled with simulation studies to see in real-time the impact of design decisions. ECR Labs, partnered with MachineHistories, devised novel digital strategies for helping streamline the design process on the System A, creating a toolset which bridged the gap between the architectural, structural, and economic demands.
Form analysis and structural simulation play a key roll in driving the final form of this class of structure.
Once pressure is added to the interior of the membrane and concrete is applied, the overall dimensions
will change dramatically.
Team members created an interactive system linking the process of form-finding to the real world conditions of the final construction so you can quickly see outcomes of design decisions. The result was a work-flow that allowed for the manipulation of the initial membrane design, application of real-world forces, and rapidly visualized result of the final concrete shell. Scripted simulation extensions were used in the design phase and a final simulation study was completed using ABAQUS.
Due to constraints in the sheet width of the membrane material a strategy had to be developed to section the final model into smaller pieces for RF welding. A script was written to subdivide the whole structure into pieces and then unrolled in 2D for cutting. All the 2D unrolled sections had indicators for part numbers, cut lines, and markings for joining sections. The result was a clear and accurate package to send to the membrane fabricators which outlined the construction methodology.