Forcing Tectonics: Exploring the integration of generative design and digital fabrication in complex optimized structures

18 July 2023

A master's student in Engineering Science (Management) at the University of Queensland, Linzi Fan, is making significant contributions to the project Forcing Tectonics, which is exhibited in Testing Grounds Emporium, Melbourne Design Week. Led by Dr. Nic Bao, Dr. Dan Luo, and Dr. Xin Yan, the project explores the integration of generative design and digital fabrication to investigate new automated methods for making complex optimized structures.

Presented as a collaborative effort between RMIT University, the University of Queensland, and Tsinghua University, Forcing Tectonics focuses on leveraging digital and automated technologies to enhance the productivity of customized non-standard optimized components and performative material composites. The circular shell plates recently exhibited in Melbourne Design Week, with structurally optimized organic forms, exemplify the potential of digital fabrication. By combining structure topological optimization and robotic carbon fiber weaving, the fabrication process produces bespoke components that push the boundaries of architectural design, engineering and fabrication. The exhibited prototypes serve as a testament to the innovative possibilities offered by this new design and fabrication system. The integration of robotic weaving and 3D printing techniques opens up new aesthetic possibilities in architectural form, structure, ornamentation, and tectonics.

Mr. Fan's dedication to the project, under the guidance of Dr. Dan Luo, has been instrumental in realizing these achievements. His expertise in implementing topology optimization using carbon fibers and robotic winding has provided a low-cost solution for building design. The team's research breakthroughs in digital construction have garnered praise from the curator of the exhibition and signify their commitment to advancing change within the industry.

"I am honoured to be studying under my supervisor and working on this project, which is dedicated to advancing change in the construction industry and is very significant,"Mr Fan said.

The University of Queensland extends its congratulations to Mr. Fan and the entire team for their groundbreaking research and its potential to reshape the construction landscape. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and innovative design approaches, Forcing Tectonics sets the stage for a future of efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable construction practices.