UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Knowledge-based architectural decision making of kinetic structures Wierzbicki, Madalina Nicoleta


This thesis concerns kinetic engineering structures, which can be quickly resized and adjusted to conform to frequently changing needs, folded for transportation or storage and be easily deployed by means of unfolding. Unprecedented technological, economic and demographic growth is subjecting the traditional building codes and construction standards to test. The questions underlying this thesis are whether kinetic building structures could better address the demanding requirements of the modern world; importantly, could they provide better protection when exposed to extreme circumstances like natural or man-induced disasters; could they provide means of rapidly deployable, robust and adaptable sheltering for the population that has been affected by catastrophic events; and in the end, could they effectively contribute in saving more human lives? Advances in design tools and materials engineering open up possibilities for kinetic structures, which may offer unprecedented functional performance and adaptability to changing conditions. Such structures may respond better to the demands of increasingly dense urban development, better space management and reduced environmental impact. Foremost, they may be very well suited for rapid, on-demand deployment in emergency situations. The essential feature of such structures is a kinetic component that allows the spatial geometry to be adapted according to changing needs. Kinematic chain geometries borrowed from traditional mechanics and robotics can be developed into a variety of topologies suitable for architectural structures. Modular deformable grids can provide the functionality of expanding and collapsing as well as the ability to be infinitely arrayed. The thesis investigates these aspects. The demands of the design process that is needed to develop kinetic structures will expand the traditional architectural workflow to include the parametric modeling tools, motion analysis tools and fuzzy logic-based optimization algorithms that are common in mechanical engineering. The thesis explores these issues as well. In particular, the thesis focuses on conceptualizing kinetic structures that employ rigidly foldable shells and frames derived from kinematic chains. It studies the application of human knowledge through fuzzy logic for the process of designing and automatically manipulating the kinematic properties of a kinematic structure. It implements the fuzzy logic formalism to develop a design optimization tool that can form the foundation for design workflows that target kinetic structures. Folding structures that provide adjustable, on-demand configurations can be effectively conceptualized if appropriate interdisciplinary expertise including engineering, architecture, and knowledge-based decision making is brought together, as highlighted in the thesis.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International