JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2022.2160641 BUILDING STRUCTURES AND MATERIALS a b a c Yiyang Huang , Xue Zhang , Muwang Wei and Tianrui Yang a b School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Wuyi University, Nanping, China; School of Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China; Architecture and planning department, Guangzhou Metro Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd, Guangzhou, China ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 13 July 2022 The global demand for temporary structures is increasing in the wake of epidemics and wars. Accepted 16 December 2022 The need to build such structures in a prompt, effortless, and inexpensive manner has become a major focus of research. This paper addresses these issues through the use of weaving, an KEYWORDS economical and historical construction technique, to achieve the time-cost and economic Woven; discrete; unit benefits of temporary construction required in the current environment. Innovative research composition; temporary on unitary and discrete structures was undertaken with the help of computer languages to buildings; digitization explore the creation of such discrete structures using two methods: part-to-whole and whole- to-part. Typical design solutions were then selected for physical construction verification and structural optimisation to ensure feasibility and safety. This research attempts to define a complete workflow for this approach, package the relevant knowledge and processes into a digital method, and present them in a practical woven construction in order to fulfil the current demand for the timely and economic construction of temporary buildings. 1. Introduction completed the construction of the Wuhan Leishenshan Unpredictable situations require an adequate and and Huoshenshan hospitals in about 10 days; these build- immediate response in the wake of natural disasters, ings used pre-constructed modular composite building humanitarian and health emergencies, and armed con- products to a large extent, thus reducing the workload of flicts that can occur anywhere in the world (Brown and field operations and saving a lot of time (Chen, Yuan, and Perkins 1992; Fried 2018). At the end of 2021, there were Ji 2021). However, whether it is for resettlement accom- an estimated 89.3 million people worldwide who were modation for refugees, hospitals for patients, or post- forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, vio- disaster reconstruction projects, the modular products lence, human rights violations, and events seriously dis- available mostly focus on the project’s specific require- rupting the public order (UNHCR 2022). Furthermore, ments. There exist few products focusing on recyclability, ravaged by COVID-19, patients have no place to resettle versatility, speed of construction, and affordability. globally. Thus, the need for an efficient shelter in a short Traditional materials such as brick have a disadvantage period of time has become a problem that needs to be as they cannot be easily recycled. This is one of the solved. For example, in the context of temporary build- reasons that temporary construction was created: to over- ings (Firrone 2007), emergency housing units are consid- come the time-restrictive construction system of bricks ered suitable solutions to meet the population’s housing and achieve the effect of rapid construction within needs (Paparella and Caini 2022). In addition, China a certain period of time. Products with the same CONTACT Muwang Wei email@example.com School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Wuyi University, Nanping 354300, China © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 2 Y. HUANG ET AL. dimensions as bricks can be combined in a manner similar In fact, the knot is a combination of a rope and a knot; if to bricks to create unexpected spaces. Woven early handi- we consider the geometric perspective when exploring craft products can achieve a similar effect, as canes and the weaving form, the knot can be summarised as a line branches can be woven to create a variety of artifacts that and point through the interspersed point and line to build can be dismantled and reused. These products have the a two-dimensional or three-dimensional mesh form. advantage of high efficiency, which meets the require- Moreover, the line and point contain mechanical and ments of the current environment. morphological characteristics: the line has a certain volu- As the origin of architecture, weaving, through its metric dimension and mechanical load-bearing capacity development, appears in the skin of buildings (Martínez with a certain compression resistance, while the point has Calzón and Castañón Jiménez 2010), the demarcation of a certain rigidity, which ensures that the overall form does space (Reisner 2019), and the structure of buildings. not deform when the line is subjected to a reasonable Weaving encompasses not only the architecture but force. Therefore, from the geometric perspective to the also the materials, textures, and colours of a building. actual construction of the weave, the knot will have The technique of weaving in architecture has made new a specific meaning, whereas the rope represents the advances in a variety of architectural contexts (Yan 2020; woven form of the linear components themselves. Thus, Liu, Hua, and Li 2022; Chen, Wang, and Chen 2021). The the focus of the discussion is the unit morphological disadvantage of traditional woven architecture is that it pattern. The knot represents the pattern that connects takes more time to build, which conflicts with the princi- the components of every part. ple of temporary architecture. However, in the context of Weaving has developed over time, with Gottfried digital architecture, the convenience and precision of Semper being the first person to introduce the concept digital tools provide a means of design and a way of of weaving in architecture (Semper 1989). Frank Lloyd thinking for weaving technology that is distinguishable Wright created the theory of weaving on structure from traditional techniques. Not only has it broadened (Wright, Kaufmann, and Raeburn 1967), Kenneth the designer’s perspectives, it has also greatly improved Frampton extended weaving to tectonic culture the architect’s manipulation of design, provided new (Frampton 1985), and in contemporary times, Jacques ways of dealing with woven forms, and most significantly, Herzog and Pierre de Meuron (Floornature Herzog & de decreased the weaving time. “Digital design offers not Meuron [EB/OL], Peter Zumthor (Zumthor 2014), and Jean just a style but a new approach to design” (Biao 2012). Nouvel (Lee 2018) have referenced the diversity of weav- This new approach allows unitary weaving projects to be ing. Kengo Kuma (Kuma 2015) combines discrete ele- designed and built rapidly to fulfil ongoing requirements. ments using mortise and tenon connectors and builds This paper will consider architectural weaving as an a structural whole in which each element relies on the entry point and digital software as a tool to explore others, so that concrete architectural examples of unitary a diverse and variable temporary building design strat- weaving emerge accordingly (Figure 1). egy for refugee shelters, temporary hospitals, and tem- With the continuous development of architectural porary special accommodation in response to the weaving, there are currently many architectural works current demand for temporary buildings. Specifically, related to weaving. However, most of them are in the this research attempts to answer the following three form of architectural skins (Simmonds, Self, and Bosia questions: 2006), where the intricacy and variety of the patterns are mainly reflected through intertwining linear patterns. In (1) What are woven buildings and unitary woven this study, research on architectural weaving is conducted buildings and what are their characteristics? mainly from the perspective of combining graphics and Furthermore, how can they be adapted to tem- structure; therefore, this study focuses on the role of porary buildings? structure in weaving, as it can present the most realistic (2) How should weaving be designed against the form of the architectural aesthetic. backdrop of war and epidemics to create a weaving form that fits the current era? 2.2. Temporary buildings (3) How should the rope and knot combination patterns of different weaving units be applied? The term “temporary” is used in opposition to “perma- Further, how is the digital model feasible in the nent”. Temporary buildings focus on flexibility and the actual production process? ease of transport and assembly (Cordescu and Kronenburg 2002). For example, nomadic tents and large 18th-century circus tents embody the concept 2. Literature review of simple and systematic temporary constructions. After the emergence of modernism, temporary archi- 2.1. Architecture of woven structure tecture with a variety of functional requirements gave “The knot is the oldest and most optimal construction of rise to a wide range of experimental sites at the time. the structural meaning of the universe” (Frampton 1985). Furthermore, the concept of standardisation and JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 Figure 1. The timeline of weaving theory research and practice. modularity created multi-dimensional spatial forms. analysed the characteristics and trends of the mainstream Later, represented by the “plug-in city” based on research on the rapid construction of temporary buildings movable “cabin houses” proposed by Peter Cook in in the construction industry. Accordingly, we believe that 1964, the Archigram group criticised and responded there is a demand for temporary buildings in the current to what they considered dull and conservative modern environment in order to fulfil the demand of rapid con- architecture at the time (Kronenburg 2007). Mathias struction, sustainability, convenience, economy, and low- Schwartz-Clauss and Alexander von Vegesack’s sum- tech constructability. These requirements have therefore mary of temporary architecture has driven the devel- become the focus of temporary building design, which is opment of technology once again (Schwartz-Claus. used as the design concept throughout this study. 2002), in addition to Jennifer Siegal’s significant con- tribution to the development of the city (Gherardini 2.3. Unit weave design and Leali 2017). Moreover, Japanese metabolism archi- tect Kurokawa Kisho (Lin 2011) believed that buildings The unit design has been in existence for a long time in should be replaced like cells. Shigeru Ban’s work (Barrie the development of architecture; the stacking of bricks 2014) on architecture explores the creation of new and shaping of Chinese brackets are all closely related structural forms from ecological materials, and Kengo to the unit design. This discrete design pattern has Kuma (Kuma 2015), inspired by the 2011 earthquake different meanings for different designers. For exam- on the Pacific coast of Tōhoku, believes that small-scale ple, Kengo Kuma referred to it as a “particularised temporary architecture can bring people closer to design” (Carpo 2019), while Patrik Schumacher nature. believed that design is a branch of parametric design Meanwhile, the temporary construction industry (Schumacher 2009). However, it can be concluded that has increasingly focused on sustainability, and Ryan this form of design is characterised by a single-to- E. Smith (Smith 2010) argues that off-site construction whole and less-to-more approach, and Mario Carpo followed by on-site integration offers a higher level of summarises this discrete design pattern as a design convenience and recyclability. Further, owing to the style (Carpo 2017). In contrast to the continuity of the slow pace of global urbanisation since the COVID-19 parametric design agenda, the notion of “discrete” pandemic, temporary buildings (Ryan and Smith 2017) breaks away from a tradition of mass-customisation have become increasingly popular and of concern; the of a singular building, thereby attempting to recon- prefabricated strategy thus allows the fulfilment of struct the commons through distributed knowledge a wide range of building requirements during isolation and design production (Sanchez 2019). periods (Hatcher 2021). Reconsidering part-to-whole relationships indicates Altogether, temporary architecture is gradually gain- a renewed interest in mereology (Köhler 2017). Two ing attention as the best way to respond to the unex- types of weaving patterns can be distinguished from the pected special needs of the architectural space. We weaving perspective: unitary and continuous. The 4 Y. HUANG ET AL. Figure 2. The transformation from continuous to discrete by Greg Lynn’s NURBS curve shows the transition of continuous weaving to unit weaving. Table 1. Comparing the properties of the unit and intertwine for instance, in the unit weave projects of Kengo Kuma, to weave forms. achieve a more reasonable structural form, some projects Attribute Unit weave form Intertwine weave form are not modified according to the mechanical environ- Component Linear (short) Linear (long) ment in which the unitary elements reside. At the same Node Rigid connection Hinged connection/Rigid time, some woven products are not designed completely connection Combination Overlay Interspersed according to the “knot and rope” theory of weaving, and type there exists great potential for research on the form of Force structure Stress Stress/Tension Materials Rigid material/Flexible Rigid material/Flexible connection between the units. The current construction material material of such discrete assemblies mostly considers factory pre- Pattern Regular Regular/Random Assembly Easy to disassemble Difficult to disassemble fabrication to on-site assembly as the overall workflow; thus, “design for manufacture and assembly” has become a basic principle of prefabricated construction design (Chen, Wang, and Chen 2021; Selvaraj, Radhakrishnan, manner of distinguishing between these two forms can and Adithan 2009). However, additional connections be found in the description of the spline diagram in Greg exist, and these auxiliary joints do not alleviate the diffi - Lynn’s Animate Form (Lynn and Kelly 1999), as well as in culty in the assembly process. Therefore, understanding Daniel Koehler’s (Köhler 2016) and Mario Carpo’s how to deal with the relationship between the unit parts (Schumacher 2009) theories, which show that the digital and connectors – that is, the relationship between “rope” “curve” of discrete blocks and discrete combinations of and “knot” – remains a crucial part of the research on unit generic units result in an automated building that is both weaving. efficient and mass-produced, which describes the transi- tion from continuous to discrete (G. Retsin 2019) 3. Unit weave structure design method and (Figure 2). The characteristics of the two weaves are also application developed with reference to the above theories (Table 1). At present, despite the impact of new technologies, Ulrich Bogenstätter noted out that the design stage gen- such as collaborative construction using 3D printing, erally determines up to 80% of the building operational robotics, and artificial intelligence, research on different costs (Kovacic and Zoller 2015; Bogenstätter 2000). directions of weaving has emerged. However, on investi- Therefore, a good design system (or process) is vital to gating the current works on woven architecture, we find prefabricated buildings. For unit weave, the unit part is that a more systematic theoretical system has not yet the basis of the design; thus, the selection of the unit form emerged for unit weave forms. Woven structures tend is crucial and will have an impact on the overall process of to be complex and do not fit the characteristics of tem- the design. Additionally, for architecture design, two porary architecture because, for example, repeated instal- design ideas are common (Moussavi 2009), namely “bot- lation and disassembly are difficult. Moreover, there is tom-up” and “top-down” (Leach and Yuan 2017; scarce research on the optimisation of unit components; Schumacher 2011), the former represents a traditional JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 Figure 3. Whole-to-part and part-to-whole design diagrams. design approach, using the overall project concept as Therefore, a set of systematic processes is needed a design strategy, while the latter represents generative to accomplish the above design principles and design, often associated with computer-aided design, avoid the issues related to the isolated design solu- transforming architecture as an “outcome” into architec- tions. For example, a particular solution is only ture as a “process”, and changing the design process of applicable to a single site that is inconsistent with seeking a definitive solution into a design process of the original design intent of unitary weaving. This seeking an open system (Weiguo 2009). Nevertheless, as design strategy is undoubtedly accomplished with the object of this study is unit weaving, the word “unit” is the help of digital technology and both part-to- of paramount significance; therefore, the bottom-up and whole and whole-to-part designs are universally top-down are further interpreted as part-to-whole (bot- applicable with the help of digital tools, thereby tom-up) and whole-to-part (top-down) to better fit the allowing for optimal solutions for different spatial definition of this design approach. Part-to-whole can be needs. Based on the above conditions, Figure 4 understood as the conceptualisation of the design from shows the workflow of the design. a macroscopic viewpoint, as well as a refinement of the design from the whole to the part. Whole-to-part is the process of forming the whole from the individual units 3.2. Design approach under systematic organisation (Figure 3). However, in this 3.2.1. Part-to-whole discussion of generation, there is no absolute part-to- Part-to-whole is a common technique of discrete whole or whole-to-part approach, and the experiment is design, which can be seen in the construction of fences based on the main operation of the algorithm or plug-in and ancient Chinese wooden buildings, similar to the to classify the generation. The discrete structure with the bracket system in wooden buildings where the units overall form condition as the initial input condition is are gradually stacked using mortise and tenon joints to classified as whole-to-part generation, while the genera- form a poetic structural whole. tion process with the unit form and operation rules as the We used two basic types of linear unit pieces to main input condition is classified as part-to-whole complete the part-to-whole design. In the linear unit, generation. We designed the linear unit using mortise and tenon joints. First, the angle of the tenon opening on the unit piece determines the shape and orientation of the 3.1. Unit weaving design process structure as a whole. For example, setting the tenon opening at 90° results in an orthogonal combination of As mentioned above, the current unit weave linear units, which will also result in a regular matrix- designs need to primarily resolve the following like frame. However, rotating these tenons by a certain issues: recyclability, low construction cost, rapid angle will result in a structural system that appears as assembly and multi-environmental adaptation. 6 Y. HUANG ET AL. Figure 4. Workflow of unit weaving design. a chaotic frame. Thus, this is a design system similar to the way it is stressed. Therefore, we need to find a new a patchwork toy where a variety of results will be way to complete the weaving of the curved unit. formed by adjusting the most basic unit blocks at For the general curved unit, the irregular connec- different angles, and if regularised by simple logic, tion will display the chaos without the design sense, structural blocks that are structurally, spatially, and which not only deviates from the essence of the dis- functionally valuable will be formed. crete design (discrete buildings are continuously repe- Inspired by Kengo Kuma’s Yure Pavilion (Hatcher titive and consist of reconfigurable universal discrete 2021) prototype design, based on the principle of dis- components)(Köhler 2016) but is also time-consuming cretisation, a simple pavilion can be obtained fairly and labour-intensive in terms of the manufacturing quickly using the Grasshopper software by opening and construction process. Therefore, conceiving the a 60° cut in the vertical plane at the top and bottom basic unit module becomes the first step of design. of the same unit piece, connecting the unit pieces We can consider a unit cube as the prototype, extract together, and repeating this mortise and tenon con- the centre point of the edge line as the curve control nection over and over again to meet the aesthetic and point, obtain a total of 12 points, arrange and set three functional requirements (Figure 5). Moreover, linear or four of these points as a group, and filter for differ - unit has the following characteristics: 1) recyclable (all entiation and standardisation to get the following 12 components are combined with discrete components curves, from which three representative curves are without any external connectors which can be easily selected for further design (Figure 6). disassembled and reassembled into other shapes); 2) After completing the construction of the unitary form, easy to construct (because there are no extra connec- the connection between the units will be considered. The tors, the whole shape can be constructed in a short heterogeneous aggregated morphology is gradually cre- span of time as if it were a patchwork); 3) extremely ated under the controllability of the connection rules. In low cost (regardless of the material chosen for con- this way, the connections are finite and controllable, struction, as all the modular components are the same, thereby creating a complete set of connection rules they can be constructed in a factory). between several units. The connection behaviour of the In the curved module, the above-mentioned mor- units can be considered in two separate ways: 1) the tise and tenon connection is no longer sufficient for “end” connection, where the unit is connected by normal weaving owing to the shape of the curve and a rectangular face frame at the end, while ensuring the Figure 5. Woven pavilion of linear units. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 Figure 6. Similar curve unit construction. Figure 7. Connection type (knot) of similar curve unit. point-to-point docking (this approach ensures the overall increases the expansion of the woven form, so that the uniformity of the unit body after several iterations of unit body has not only unidirectional linear development growth and is a means to ensure the controllability of but also multi-dimensional expansion, which increasing the form); 2) connection through the “middle” of the unit the possibility of each discrete unit becoming an archi- body. Compared with the end connection, this approach tectural weave (Figure 7). 8 Y. HUANG ET AL. Figure 8. Connection of the curve element after a dimensional change. Although such an approach can achieve Unitary masses have the ability to form aggrega- a discrete distribution of the weave as a whole tions on three axes under different stacking strategies, without breaking the connection logic, it gives thus creating volumes in space to aggregate into com- rise to an infinite number of permutation patterns plete woven forms. In addition, the need for a building because each unit can be connected to random system can be addressed by accumulating the unitary points of other units, and thus, additional rules parts, which can be converted into floor slabs, struc- and constraints need to be introduced. This phase tural columns or a complete building system that, of the iteration focuses more on the geometry of when aggregated with other parts with specific beha- the units and the combinatorial laws. To make the viours, can form complete building bodies (Figure 10). connection form more operational, further As mentioned above, part-to-whole is a bottom-up attempts to expand the unit body are made process, where in we set the base unit and add the based on the unit morphology of the previous corresponding “knots” to form the design rules to stage. B2’/D1’/D2’ is obtained by stretching the finalise the overall building design. This method is B2/D1/D2 base unit cell in the Z-axis direction. To based on the emergent theory and the theory of make the two types of unitary bodies morphologi- swarming, which makes it possible to obtain diverse cally distinct, B2/D1/D2 was used as the unitary results by adjusting the shape of the base unit and transformation structure of the woven whole and algorithm very conveniently. Then, the unit body, B2’/D1’/D2’ was used as the main structure, which which tends to be of the same shape, can be manu- means that we individualized a central spindle bar factured in practice with much less time and cost. in each unit and the point connections were made However, the disadvantage of this approach is that it only through these rods (Figure 8). With this con- is difficult to adjust one or more of the units to the straint, the possible connections are greatly nuances of the process. Further, as the combination of reduced, which making it easier for the designer shapes is mechanically generated by the process, the to control the aggregation process. end result may not be what the designer had in mind With this approach, a large number of aggregates in terms of the outcome. Conversely, this procedural are generated based on the number of connected approach is a good option for temporary buildings units. Each generated solution relies on the structural when there are significant financial and time ability, spatial quality and aesthetic qualities of the constraints. designer. On this basis, these units, whether discarded or retained, can be formed into aggregates with con- 3.2.2. Whole-to-part trollability. The larger, more complex forms created by The major difference between whole-to-part and part- the simple units are where the beauty of unitary weav- to-whole is that the latter is a discrete combination of ing lies, and the reuse and disassembly of units can be units, which aims to turn the continuous paradigm adapted to different environments and spatial needs at upside down by shifting formal complexity from the the same time (Figure 9). design of the whole to the assembly logic of the parts. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 Figure 9. Recycling of curve elements. Figure 10. Design effect of similar curve weaving. The whole-to-part is not completely separated from space. In this whole-to-part generation process, the inde- the continuum; to some extent, it is designed as pendent variable is set to the resolution when a uniform a continuous whole as the foundation of discrete units, overall form with a smaller resolution is able to restore the which can be summarised as voxelisation or grid design. detailed design, and a larger resolution is usually used for In this way, whole-to-part units are not identical in mor- those parts of the design object that have structural phology, there is a topological relationship between the implications while having a more abstract representation units, and the units need to be combined into (G Retsin 2019). a continuous structure by deformation. In this process, For example, in Grasshopper, we can use the nur- the border area that needs to be filled by the unit is first sery particle simulation to extrapolate the form and formulated, and from the overall morphology as the initial build a continuous surface (Figure 11). With this as the condition of the design, the entities that are originally in field, we can set the rules for any identical or different different spatial locations are abstracted into a grid in 3D units and put them in, so that a top-down design logic 10 Y. HUANG ET AL. Figure 11. Based on the surface through the nursery simulation of the curve element. Figure 12. The transformation process from whole-to-part. is created, and the process of arbitrarily adjusting the which has played a pivotal role in design practice in the form, size, and sparsity of the units is also past, provides more flexibility and freedom to translate a continuous-to-discrete and concrete-to-abstract inspiration directly into graphics. However, for unit weav- transformation process (Figure 12). ing, it is difficult to separate the whole-to-part or part-to- What is different in this stage from the above- whole design approaches, as either approach, even in its mentioned part-to-whole is the design step of the purest design, cannot avoid a mixture of the other approach. Therefore, the two strategies proposed in this “knot”. In whole-to-part, the “knot” is no longer the study are merely considerations for the initial stage of guider of the unit module, that is it does not have the design, and it is not possible to determine which is super- function of guiding the connection of the unit body. ior to the other. Among the above-mentioned design Instead, it plays more of an auxiliary role, which is the ideas, part-to-whole provides a more scientific and sys- function of “connection”. At the same time, for this tematic solution and a basis for inspiration, while whole- type of combination of units, the choice of “knots” to-part provides a clear design guideline and leads generally requires a classification of the materials the way. used. For example, traditional materials, such as bam- boo and wood, are often used to bind, while metal components, such as aluminium and steel, are welded. 3.3. Mechanical performance verification and If acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is used as the manufacture unit construction material, then connectors and snaps are the best choice. In the end, owing to time constraints and the ongoing From a design approach perspective, both approaches pandemic, only one of the weaving forms was selected can be effective. However, the whole-to-part approach, for the actual construction to verify the practicality of JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 Figure 13. 22 Modular elements transformed into a continuous curve by discretisation. this research. After the comparison, the more complex manufacturing time, material strength, manufacturing difficulty, and precision of these materials. Local man- and difficult to construct whole-to-part grid surface ufacturing levels and transportation costs were taken unit weave became the experimental target. into account to rate each performance (Figure 14). We grouped the original curves so that each group of Steel was finally selected as the material for creating curves formed a larger discrete module, thus combining the curve module. the 22 groups of module items to create a lightweight The corresponding “knot” method was then deter- framework (Figure 13). The arrangement retains bending mined. The connection method of reinforcing steel forces in the structure, thereby maximising its strength. was classified into tying lap, welding, and mechanical The modular elements were designed for their intercon- connection, and welding was selected as the most nectivity, allowing the shift from small-scale elements to suitable “knot” owing to its timeliness and larger ones and vice versa. convenience. To create this spatially curved unit, several materials Prior to the actual fabrication, we performed a finite were used, namely ABS, rebar, expanded polystyrene element analysis (FEA) on this project. Before the struc- (EPS), wood, and bamboo. First, natural raw materials tural optimisation, all the curves were made using such as bamboo were excluded because they could 8 mm steel, which led to a maximum displacement of not meet the precision requirements of standardisa- 86.5 cm and a highly unstable structure. For better tion. Moreover, wood was eliminated owing to its poor optimisation, three different diameters of steel pipes bending and shear resistance. Additionally, based on (6 mm/8 mm/10 mm) were selected for the replace- the scheduling and cost control of ABS, the use of ment according to the load strength at the location. injection moulding or 3D printing is not advisable as After the optimisation, the maximum displacement of it will result in a wastage of time and money. the structure was reduced to 5.3 cm, which greatly Furthermore, EPS is not suitable for shaping into linear improved the overall strength of the structure and forms owing to its own material properties. In sum- met the project construction requirements (Figure 15). mary, we compared the material cost, unit Figure 14. Assessment of material properties based on the project construction location. 12 Y. HUANG ET AL. Figure 15. Comparison of the structural displacement before and after replacing different sizes of the rebar tubes. Figure 16. The whole process from manufacturing to assembly. The finished products displayed outstanding struc- polycarbonate boards are also presented in a discrete tural performance. It is worth mentioning that during form, similar to the shingles used on roofs. After the the manufacturing process, we made use of augmen- overall frame was completed, the polycarbonate ted reality devices (Hololens) for the localisation of the boards were placed in the correct places to meet units. Although we lacked the help of large machines both the functional and aesthetic requirements in production and manufacturing, this low-tech (Figure 17). approach improved the accuracy of the construction This case strictly follows the actual construction and to a great extent. The final research team of six people usage requirements as well as implements the core con- completed the whole process from manufacturing to cept of unit woven construction. The low cost, ease of assembly in seven days (Figure 16). assembly, and flexible and robust product characteristics In the final result, we added two colours of poly- of such construction determine its potential in the field of carbonate board to the maintenance structure of the temporary construction where rapid construction is skeleton, which is also an excellent solution to the required. The final presentation shows that the woven long-standing problem of sealing and waterproofing pavilion fully inherits the knotted concept of woven archi- the temporary structure of the unitary weave. The tecture and combines both the part-to-whole and whole- JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 13 Figure 17. Photo of the woven pavilion display. to-part concepts, reflecting the result of the combination In terms of results, the unit weave system has of the two design approaches. In the final experimental intense discrete characteristics. It is obvious that the phase, the project as a whole was further optimised stacking of a series of units achieves efficiency that is according to the actual situation, resulting in the con- difficult to accomplish by traditional construction struction of a unit woven pavilion that achieves means. This confirms the view of digital architect a balance between aesthetics and stability. Greg Lynn (Lynn 1993), that imaginative and complex forms can be created through constant repetition of discrete units. Thus, the unit weave system, like other discrete architecture, can be manufactured in large 4. Discussion volumes through modular manufacturing. Simulta- This study discussed the use of the unit weave form in neously, the enhancement of either the part-to- temporary architectural pavilions to assess the rela- whole or whole-to-part approach allows for the adap- tionship between discrete geometric elements and tation of multiple solutions through a very low cost temporary construction. While continuous and mono- and rapid construction strategy. This has wide social lithic structures have been the mainstay of architec- value as it can be applied to temporary housing for tural research in the past, unitary and discrete low-income and homeless people, short-term exhibi- architectural forms have become increasingly popular tion halls and mobile stores, and landscape artifacts. as humans need change. Thus, in the traditional design Most of the materials can be recycled after use, which process, the node is often overlooked; for example, it is greatly enhances the environmental and economic difficult to find a clear node for concrete pouring or value. However, the shortcomings of the unit weave brick masonry. However, for the unitary weave dis- include the lack of airtightness and containment cussed in this study, the node is essential, as it symbo- owing to its own structural characteristics, which lises the integrity of the architecture as well as its logic; makes it unsuitable for a fully enclosed isolation ward or infectious temporary hospital in the event each node foresees the direction and position of the of a pandemic; if it is necessary to include this type next unit. Simultaneously, expressed in the morphol- of function, adding an outer skin over the unit com- ogy of weaving, the node is transformed into a knot. ponents is one possible way to address this. Therefore, we summarised the characteristics of this In summary, this study discussed the generative structure from the starting point of “rope” and “knot”, design of different forms of units including the combi- and it is obvious that choosing the right “knot” and nation of bottom-up and top-down design logic. Such “rope” is important in temporary construction so that it design involves various combinations of linear ele- can cope with different situations and lead to diverse ments and the generation of complex structures. The results. For example, Jose Sanchez used the principles design approach is similar to the construction of of a voxel space frame constructed from standardised a honeycomb, gradually extending from a single hon- timber elements with steel nodes planning of the site eycomb form to the overall form. This provides the (Sanchez 2019), and Gilles Retsin’s Diamonds House design logic of weaving forms under the aggregation (Retsin 2020) embodies such characteristics. of multiple units of architectural design, and explores 14 Y. HUANG ET AL. the demand for temporary architecture in contempor- Disclosure statement ary society with a modular way of thinking. No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). 5. Conclusions The unit weave system is a design strategy for tempor- Funding ary buildings to respond to the need for rapid con- This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation struction in a short period of time. The first priority is to of Fujian Province [2022J01131946]; Key project of Fujian overcome the complexity of the work, with short time- Science and Technology Plan [2020Y01010113]; Guangdong scales and high design accuracy. Second, the units are Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation [2020A1515110304]; Guangzhou Science and Technology rapidly manufactured during the design process using Plan ;Education and Research Project of Grasshopper for comparison and rapid modification of Young and Middle-aged Teachers of Fujian Province multiple solutions, as well as during the construction (Science and Technology) [JAT220380]; process, which benefits from augmented reality assis- tance and a robotic arm machining assistance system for construction organisation. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering
– Taylor & Francis
Published: Sep 3, 2023
Keywords: Woven; discrete; unit composition; temporary buildings; digitization