The starting point for the chapel’s design concept was to take three symbolic crosses set in the landscape, draped with a tent-like membrane. As the design evolved, the crosses became a tensegrity structure of cables and masts, whilst the membrane developed into a wooden latticework attached to the structure. The Applied R+D group provided comprehensive parametric modelling and design-to-production support for the project. Changes to the structural model were reflected automatically in the cladding model and fabrication documentation. This efficient workflow supported strong collaboration between architects, engineers, fabricators and computational designers.
From its inception the design of the pavilion was intended to evoke the undulating surfaces of sand dunes in the Emirates. The Applied R+D group worked closely with the design team to deliver GRC wall panels that used a pseudo-random ripple pattern to balance randomness with the need for repetition. The precision of the digital models allowed the contractor to use them directly for computer-controlled fabrication.
London’s first ecological tall building and an instantly recognisable addition to the city’s skyline, this headquarters designed for Swiss Re is rooted in a radical approach − technically, architecturally, socially and spatially. The tower’s diagonally braced structure allows column-free floor space and a fully glazed facade, which opens up the building to light and views.
To deliver this radical design, members of the Applied R+D group created bespoke parametric design software that was well ahead of its time. All critical aspects of the building's form were numerically controlled by members of the design team and changes to key parameters would automatically regenerate the design model and documentation.
For each iteration of the Smithsonian design, powerful bespoke software generated dedicated models for structural and acoustic analysis, visualisation, and eventually fabrication information. Optioneering allowed for designers to make informed choices about the combination of physical characteristics of the design.
The new terminal for Queen Alia International Airport broke new ground for the practice in modular design and the use of concrete as the predominant material. The Applied R+D group helped to solve the complex geometric challenges in ensuring smooth curvature across the enormous roof shells. Custom drawing extraction software allowed for providing thousands of sections for the formwork direct to the fabricators.
At 743,000 square metres, Mexico City International Airport was slated to be one of the world’s largest airports revolutionising airport design. The entire terminal is enclosed within a continuous lightweight gridshell, embracing walls and roof in a single, flowing form, evocative of flight. The Applied R+D group was involved with the development of the roof for the competition-winning entry. The roof was form found using computational methods and then dynamically relaxed.
Completed as the gateway to the city for the twenty-ninth Olympiad in 2008, Beijing's international terminal is the world's largest and most advanced airport building − not only technologically, but also in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability. Three kilometres long, BCIA remains one of the largest computational generated roofs in the world. Custom software was written by the Applied R+D group to generate the geometry of the spaceframe roof and facades in an extremely compressed timeframe.
Conceived as a monument and memorial to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE, the Zayed National Museum will be the centrepiece of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and will showcase the history, culture and, more recently, the social and economic transformation of the Emirates. The evolution of the design for Sheikh Zayed Museum required a strong collaboration incorporating 3D modelling and computational design from the design team, Applied R+D, and the consulting engineers. Numerous 3D and data models allowed for updating the design and documentation of the sophisticated wing and pod components that will be central to the museum experience.
InnHub La Punt is a new centre for innovation in the heart of the Engadin valley that seeks to bring new visitors together with the local community to increase prosperity, create new jobs, and revitalise local crafts and produce. The roof has been carefully designed to combine renewable energy generation systems, arranged on angled surfaces to avoid snow accumulation, while allowing daylight to enter the deepest parts of the building. A parametric model of the roof was thus developed, in order to post-rationalise and standardise the dome’s geometry for fabrication purposes.
The South Beach development covers an entire city block between the Marina and Civic District in the heart of downtown Singapore. A wide landscaped pedestrian avenue – a green spine – weaves through the site and is protected by a large canopy, which shelters the light-filled public spaces beneath from the extremes of the tropical climate. The canopy consists of a range of component modules with different angles and overlaps to promote shading, ventilation and rain protection. Custom software written by the Applied R+D group linked design team changes of the undulating canopy surface to the desired mix of canopy components enabling hundreds of iterations and refinements to the design.
The entire shell for the new proposed O’Hare terminal in Chicago was envisioned as a column-free space, comprised of a spaceframe with 4 landing points on each side, creating the impression of the entire roof almost floating over the concours. The entire shell was dynamically relaxed and its panelisation and frame optimised both in terms of structural stability and environmental requirements.
The 40-metre, long-range cruising yachts for the YachtPlus offered a great testbed for members of the Applied R+D group to use cutting-edge technology of the time to develop the design along the team. Parametric tools allowed for the precision-control of the shape, ensuring G1 continuity with the hull, while CFD was employed to analyse the shape.
The base of the Molteni Arc is a hyperbolic surface, acting solely in compression, allowing it to be manufactured out of thin shell concrete. Creating the formwork for this concrete required exceptional control of digital modelling processes. The Applied R+D group contributed expertise in structural form-finding and parametric design to ensure a high level of quality throughout the design process.
The Applied R+D group contributed to the design and rationalisation of the MOL Tower's facade – slated to be the tallest building in Budapest. Close collaboration with both design and BIM teams since inception resulted in a design which is not only iconic but also highly optimised for digital fabrication. The complex and challenging form of the building is predominantly constructed from flat and easy to manufactured panels while keeping the curve only where they are truly needed.
Chesa Futura ('house of the future' in Romansch) fuses state-of-the-art computer design tools with centuries-old construction techniques to create an environmentally sensitive apartment building. Custom software generated a detailed parametric model, closely integrated with the fabrication process to deliver a pioneering timber building on a very constrained site.
Located in the lobby of the Comcast Technology Center, is The Universal Sphere™, a structure that houses a unique cinematic experience created by Steven Spielberg for all ages, exploring the power of ideas. The Applied R+D group helped design and generate the geometry of exterior panels of the sphere. The panels are designed with repetition in mind, reducing the number of moulds needed for production while having a continuous seamless flow of the geometry.