Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MIT Tool May Reveal Architectural Past; Could Unlock Secrets Of Ancient Cathedrals, More

Date:
March 10, 2006
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
A computer design tool originally created for animation may soon unlock the secrets of the structure of ancient cathedrals, according to MIT Assistant Professor John Ochsendorf of architecture.

A computer design tool originally created for animation may soon unlock the secrets of the structure of ancient cathedrals, according to MIT Assistant Professor John Ochsendorf of architecture.

A structural engineer specializing in architectural and construction history, Ochsendorf recently presented to colleagues a virtual design method that has been extended in novel ways by a team of architects, computer scientists and engineers at MIT.

"This is the kind of work -- crossing the boundaries of engineering, history and architecture -- that could only happen at MIT," Ochsendorf said.

The method, known as particle-spring systems, is a three-dimensional design tool that was originally developed by computer scientists for creating graphics such as character animation and cloth simulation. For example, particle-spring systems produced the clothes "worn" by virtual characters such as Yoda in "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."

The interdisciplinary MIT team proposes to employ particle-spring systems dynamically: They are using the software, which models the gravitational load on a given shape's exterior, to find a structure's most efficient form and to allow the architect or engineer to interact with the form-finding program while it is still running.

Ochsendorf, assistant professor in the Building Technology Program, described the software to colleagues at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Feb. 16-20 . Ochsendorf's talk was titled "Arches: Gateways From Science to Culture."

The team's software is the "next generation of design tools. My dream is to use it to understand Gothic cathedrals," he said.

Historically, finding and creating new structural forms was accomplished by painstaking physical means. Antoni Gaudi, Spanish architect and designer of the chapel of Barcelona's Colonia Guell, devoted 10 years to a "hanging chain" model made of weights on strings that would serve as an upside down version of the efficient arched forms he sought.

Gaudi's work followed the 17th century discovery by English scientist Robert Hooke that, "As hangs the flexible chain, so but inverted will stand the rigid arch."

MIT's virtual method, Ochsendorf said, is as straightforward as Gaudi's physical method for exploring and testing new forms, but it uses time, materials and money more efficiently.

"Using the particle-spring approach, a three-dimensional structure such as a cathedral can be created in only a few minutes. Most importantly, the user can change form and forces in real time while the solution is still emerging," Ochsendorf and Axel Kilian (Ph.D. 2006) wrote in a recent paper, "Particle-Spring Systems for Structural Form-Finding."

Ochsendorf said he envisions MIT's particle-spring systems method being used to analyze and illuminate historic masonry methods (these secrets were closely guarded by guilds) and to support sustainable modern building practices by discovering more efficient -- and less-resource-consuming -- structures.

MIT's own Kresge Auditorium, designed by Eero Saarinen and built in 1955, offers an example. The hanging chain software program could have reduced the amount of concrete used in its roof.

"The Kresge roof is one-eighth of a sphere. The shell is made of 6 inches of concrete, and it could have been made using only 3 inches of concrete," Ochsendorf said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "MIT Tool May Reveal Architectural Past; Could Unlock Secrets Of Ancient Cathedrals, More." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060308202112.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2006, March 10). MIT Tool May Reveal Architectural Past; Could Unlock Secrets Of Ancient Cathedrals, More. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060308202112.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "MIT Tool May Reveal Architectural Past; Could Unlock Secrets Of Ancient Cathedrals, More." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060308202112.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins