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Computation and construction of vault geometry prototypes

conference contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sambit Datta, Michael SharmanMichael Sharman, Stuart Hanafin, T W Chang
Physical models and scaled prototypes of architecture play an important role in design. They enable architects and designers to investigate the formal, functional, and material attributes of the design. Understanding digital processes of realizing scaled prototypes is a significant problem confronting design practice. This paper reports on three approaches to the translation of Gaussian surface models into scaled physical prototype models. Based on the geometry of Eladio Dieste’s Gaussian Vaults, the paper reports on the aspects encountered in the process of digital to physical construction using scaled prototypes. The primary focus of the paper is on computing the design geometry, investigating methods for preparing the geometry for fabrication and physical construction. Three different approaches in the translation from digital to physical models are investigated: rapid prototyping, two-dimensional surface models in paper and structural component models using CNC fabrication. The three approaches identify a body of knowledge in the design and prototyping of Gaussian vaults. Finally the paper discusses the digital to fabrication translation processes with regards to the characteristics, benefits and limitations of the three approaches of prototyping the ruled surface geometry of Gaussian Vaults. The results of each of three fabrication processes allowed for a better understanding of the digital to physical translation process. The use of rapid prototyping permits the production of form models that provide a representation of the physical characteristics such as size, shape and proportion of the Gaussian Vault.



International Symposium on Automation, Robotics and Construction (2011 : Seoul, Korea)


113 - 117




Seoul, Korea

Place of publication

[Seoul, Korea]

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Title of proceedings

ISARC 2011 : International Symposium on Automation, Robotics and Construction

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