#93 | arc16 – Architectural tool: light optimization

Hi guys!

So yeah, I am really busy lately, rushing to make a good tool for the light visualization on the architectural structure. Godammit, it is really hard to make something that can actually work like you want. Like you know, for my project, I worked 8 months ago on a therapeutical architecture (|arc06) that can prevent mental illness for the astronauts on Mars. I studied a lot about Mars simulations on Earth and based on the data from these missions, I was being able to work on an analysis criteria table that can list the defective design component. There is a lot of them, but it is not possible for one man|one student, to take care of all the possible criteria and give a possible solution.
I choose to work on the light criteria, an important one that can be improved by architecture (|arc11)  Light affects the chronobiology (|chr01) of each individual and when the circadian clock is dephased, it is important to give a connection to the solar luminosity and our personal rhythm. That way, our body will be less tired, less stress and less “lost”. It is an interesting criterion to work on when you try to improve an ICE (Isolated and Confined Environnement).

It is not the entire result of all my researches. In fact, today, I’ll propose to you a tool that can optimize a 3D-structure printable on Mars and inspired by phyllotaxis (|gdn01) and on the principles of an armillary sphere.

Let me explain myself: there are actually 47 possible localizations to build a habitat on Mars (Nasa.gov). So, it is really complicated to make a plan or a slice, or a real building based on this approximation. My concept is to build an adaptable structure depending on where you are. In the posts about the armillary sphere and the telescope ( |ast02 and |ast01), I have explained you about the variation of the sun trajectory depending on your position on Earth and on Mars. In fact, if the latitude defines the angle variation of the light, you can make a parametric model to adapt depending on the sun in the sky. Then, it is also possible to build a structure depending on what time you want to maximize your luminosity. The interesting part is the 3D printing “moment” because Regolith and ice are in-situ materials that can be used to build larger size of habitat compared to only a rocket compartment (remember the moon mission Apollo 11 rocket Saturn V? Well, the diameter was 10 meters in diameter, it is in fact really small for a six members crew). So, the idea is: depending on your latitude and the sun angle, the structure can adapt its position to maximize the sun luminosity inside the structure. Phyllotaxis will obviously help to make the structure with fewer printing materials and a “nature” perception of the environment (|arc14).


fig.01 – The solar ray angle is represented by the yellow point (with a green “x”) on the perspective view. More the solar angle is good for the structure, more the phyllotaxis column will be wider. The luminosity is represented by the circle on the ground: larges circles mean a focus of luminosity apport in that place, smaller circles mean less interesting places to use the solar luminosity.
fig.02 – In this picture, the focus of the luminosity we wanted is outside the “columns”. We don’t want the habitat in these trees to get a lot of light. In response, the trees are less wide. You can also move the trees on the grid depending on the shadow casting perception and on what customization the members want. 

There are still a lot of things that can be improved: for example, the solar cursor is just the focus of the light we want, but it doesn’t take the declination, right ascension, and latitude yet. I think it could be possible to put those parameters and replace the solar cursor.
The second thing you can’t see on this model is the structural dome that will cover the three trees. In fact, this dome will also be parametric and depending on the angle of the sun, you can possibly choose the variation of the architecture.

But all these parametric model has one purpose: to be able to make a lot of variation of models depending on what the crew members want. If these crew members want to modulate the interior, it would be interesting for them to be able to do it. That way, they can possibly possess their space and make their own “personal bubble” (|arc02).
The real struggle for this project is to make a good ambiance, an environment with good vibes for each individual, depending on their choices and to show the real idea of “variation” of this concept of canopy over the time… And there are still a lot of works for that purpose.

fig.03 – The rough “3D concept” of what it could look like… but… With no human scale….. Yeah, It sucks. I need to improve the visual communication of the view. HOWEVER, you can see the light and shadows display on the ground with that kind of “Ice”/”translucent” structure.

What did I learn?

  • Render on grasshopper and rhinoceros
  • Connecting two different scripts for one purpose
  • Multi-dimensional cursor and movement of the object on a grid
  • Converting coordinates to vector, etc
  • Texture changing on the model
  • Bake a model and change the layers
  • Etc


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