The project was developed at ETH Zuirch Chair for Computational Design with the aim to explore the relationship between design, various methods of generative computer modelling, the importance of materiality (in this case, Ytong-aerated concrete) in the digital age and the physical representation of information using CAD/CAM devices (in this case, Kuka robot).
The brief requirement for thinking beyond parameterization and exploring the computer as a tool for generating an aesthetically appealing structure, which couldn’t be done manually. The design concept was based on a Reaction-Diffusion algorithm, programmed in Processing, in order to create a three-dimensional self-standing structure.

Defining the form
Brickolage’s geometry was not defined with a top down approach, but rather explored through the use of programming and algorithms. The final surface was found by making a careful selection among several geometries produced with a reaction-diffusion algorithm, created with the use of toxi-libraries in Proces ing. Numerous designs were explored by using different selection methods and variations of the reaction-diffusion geometry. A reaction-diffusion geometry is difficult to control, so selection parameters were focused on the degree of porosity of this surface, which could be translated into functional concerns as dimension and proportion.
Subsequently, several potential designs were produced, each one with different levels of complexity and density. Out of this set, a final design was selected based on structural, functional and aesthetic criteria. Moreover, Grasshopper definitions were used for mesh post processing, cleaning and smoothing the g ometry and defining the thickness of the membrane. Thickness was reduced from 250mm in bottom to 60mm in the upper parts in order to achieve better structural stability.

Methodology and steps
Toward to a structurally coherent masonry system can ease the logistics and construction of double curved and minimal surfaces. The following are the process of designing the tiling pattern and fabrication.

Project Team:
Katia Ageeva, Diana Alvarez, Orestis Argyropoulos, Stella Azariadi, Tianyi Chen, Yun-Ying Chiu, Ivana Damjanovic, García Pepo Martínez, Melina Mezari, Bojana Miskeljin, Evangelos Pantazis, Stanislava Predojevic, Stylianos Psaltis, Meda Radovanovic, Daniel Rohlek, Miro Roman, Castro Mauricio Rodríguez, Teemu Seppänen, Grete Soosalu

Mathias Bernhard, Manuel Kretzer, Tom Pawlofsky

Thanks to:
Xella Porenbeton Schweiz AG

Sika Schweiz AG, Zürich