Journal Paper: Peer reviewed

Building indeterminacy modelling – the ‘ZCB Bamboo Pavilion’ as a case study on nonstandard construction from natural materials

by Crolla K.

ABSTRACT | If unprocessed natural materials are the most environmentally friendly construction materials available, how do we develop and communicate design model and construction information that allows dealing with their volatile indeterminacies?

This paper discusses the design and development of the ‘ZCB Bamboo Pavilion’, a 30-metres-spanning, light-weight, bending-active gridshell from hand-tied bamboo poles, as a case study for the computational design and building information modelling of nonstandard architecture where both applied materials and employed craftsmanship are highly unpredictable in terms of accuracy and precision.
Reflective practice and participatory action research are used to extract knowledge on and challenge the environment of practice, and improve design and construction strategies. The project is used to discuss how traditional construction can be augmented through the strategic injection of computation in the design and construction process, how computation allows for a different mode of collaboration with increased impact for the designer, and how bespoke building information models enable an expanded architectural design solution space.
The paper concludes by arguing for a mode of digital design practice that more proactively operates within a field of real-world indeterminacy. The risk and ambiguity of working with indeterminacies are to be strategically balanced out against idealised digital set-ups and onsite opportunities.

KEYWORDS | High-tech versus Low-tech; Protocol for Error; Bamboo Architecture; Bending-active Gridshell; Form-finding; ZCB Bamboo Pavilion; Participatory Action Research; Reflective Practice

CITATION |Crolla, Kristof. “Building indeterminacy modelling – the ‘ZCB Bamboo Pavilion’ as a case study on nonstandard construction from natural materials,” Visualization in Engineering, 5:15 (December 2017)