Creating Organic Three-Dimensional Structures for Pedestrian Traffic with Reconfigurable Modular ‘Truss-Z’ System

Creating Organic Three-Dimensional Structures for Pedestrian Traffic with Reconfigurable Modular ‘Truss-Z’ System

Machi Zawidzki 

Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Japan

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This paper introduces the concept of an innovative truss system (truss-Z) that allows the creation of complex and re-confi gurable structural networks with certain organic aesthetics. The system is composed of two modular units used for constructing the main structure of the truss and a single module for the supporting structure. An example is given of the use of the system to provide pedestrian walkways, which allows the connection of any given  number of points in space (terminals). It also permits the creation of loops and multiple branches of the structure. The geometry of the truss-Z is based on a universal module which, subject to geometrical transformations, allows the construction of structural links along virtually any 3D paths. Scale models of the modules are created from resin cast using two types of mold and timber using an aluminum template. Various algorithms for local and global discrete optimization of the modular structure are proposed. A number of cases of creating a truss network in a constrained environment are discussed. The elements of the environment model real obstacles such as roads, buildings, and watercourses that may constrain both the run of the truss and the placement of the supports. An example of a truss-Z network connecting six terminals in an environment with three obstacles is shown. The issues of fabrication of the modules of the truss, full-size manufacturing, and joinery are also discussed.


3D, emergence, modular, organic, overpass, reusable mold, template, truss system


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