The assembly of the colony and the logic’s of its construction are integral to its continual growth and structural stability. It is intended the inhabited spaces that make up residences and work spaces of the colony will be formed by the residents themselves acting as a workforce. This will ensure that the colony will create all the space and places it requires without the need for any top down interference.
With this in mind the constructional logic of the colony needs to suit its emergent growth logic’s. From defining a set of structural and construction parameters, it was clear that simplicity and build-ability would be key.
The humble brick became the starting point for a series of experimentation’s. The brick is an incredibly simple object and can be stacked to create some very complex geometries and structures. The problem is that these structures require much design, skill and craftsmanship to achieve. Clearly these features of the bricks construction logic’s that are at odds with what I am trying to achieve in an emergent city.
To make the simple brick succeed, the it is necessary to evolve its form to embed within it a high level of complexity.
By creating a complex brick with geometry that can structurally resolve itself, a simple construction method can be achieved that the inhabitants can easily work with. From this one complex block can architectural elements like walls arches and columns be easily constructed.
Looking at natural precedents, bubble and foam structures exemplify how efficient structures are created simply by triangulating the elements that make up its mass.
In 1887, Lord Kelvin asked how space could be partitioned into cells of equal volume with the least area of surface between them. He proposed a foam, based on the bi truncated cubic honeycomb, now known as the Kelvin structure. This is the uniform honeycomb formed by the truncated octahedron, a 14-sided space-filling polyhedron with 6 square faces and 8 hexagonal faces.
The structure tessellates 3 dimensional space perfectly by conforming to Plateau’s laws governing structures of foams. The Kelvin structure was widely believed to be the most efficient foam and no counter-example was known for more than 100 years, until it was disproved by the discovery of the Weaire–Phelan structure in 2002.
Other 3D Tessillations –
Along similar lines to the Kelvin structure, the bi symmetric Hendecahedron has eleven faces and eleven vertices’s. Combining four hendecahedron together creates a translation unit that forms a cairo tessellation in plan and infinitely fill space in 3 dimensions.
The Mathematical Gazette 80, November 1996, p.p. 466-475.
Just as each individual brick has a specific arrangement with its neighbours, so too does each individual space. Therefore the structure of the colony in self similar, in that the same patterns repeat at different scales, each individual part of the colony is representative of the whole.
As the colony grows over itself, dead spaces might arise that have no access to natural light and ventilation.
This therefore creates a maximum height to the colony at around 4 stories, at which light and ventilation levels are be acceptable. At this height it would not be possible to house the maximum population of 5700 within the grounds of Battersea. In order to attain the required population levels it is necessary to build much higher using the existing steel structure of Battersea as a secondary framework. The blocks will connect to the structure using steel brackets bolted back to the frame itself.
Flat usable spaces as well as stairs are created by using half block modules. Inhabited wall like structures will emerge from the ground, covered by an intricate network of interconnected terraces and districts. The spaces between become the arteries and streets of the colony where material and information can flow to each part. The steel shell of Battersea acting like an artificial coral reef, creates the framework for a coral city to emerge.