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Parametric Modeling of Bamboo Pole Joints

  • Olivia Espinosa Trujillo
  • Tsung-Hsien Wang
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 527)

Abstract

This paper describes the development of a parametric modeling system that enables the design of customized bamboo pole joints, where the geometry of each bamboo piece becomes the main design constraint. Rules of design are identified in traditional bamboo-jointing practice through the analysis of a bamboo catalogue. This knowledge informs the constructive principles of the system. Output data of the system successfully formulates the design of a customized bamboo jointing system. The effort of this paper suggests that further development of an application or software to facilitate the design of parametric bamboo joints is a feasible project that could help bamboo to have a solid presence in modern building industry. Lastly, the paper hints that transference of parametric technology is a promising domain that could potentially be applied to streamline the use of other natural materials.

Keywords

Bamboo Pole joints Design rules Parametric modeling 

1 Introduction

Bamboo is a natural resource with renewable properties that is expected to play a bigger role in the building industry. With a lightweight profile and fast growing rate, bamboo rises as a fair candidate to replace timber in the future [6, 10]. Despite the vast list of benefits that bamboo has to offer, its domestication by the building industry is still at an early stage. Dealing with geometrical complexity and irregularities of bamboo poles remains a problem yet to be solved, especially when it comes to designing efficient jointing elements.

Joints play a key role in the construction of any structural system, providing continuity among different parts of a structure. Janssen [5] argues that mastering jointing techniques is an essential step needed to guarantee the use of any material at a large-scale scenario and optimize its structural performance. Bamboo, therefore, needs to efficiently master the art of jointing before it can have a solid presence in modern building industry.

In traditional bamboo-jointing practice, joints have a modular design approach, this means that the joint is not properly acknowledging the individual geometry of each element and, frequently, bamboo pieces end up being adapted to the jointing system itself. In most cases, the result of this situation is the construction of a faulty structural system, where the strength of the canes is usually lost. This paper proposes a different jointing design approach, in which, the jointing system adapts to the physical characteristics of the bamboo elements to be jointed. In this manner, each joint will be customized to respond exclusively to a particular configuration.

Parametric modeling is a design approach that has made mass customization a feasible reality at present. In a parametric model, a set of unchangeable parameters is formulated to respond to different scenarios, thus, design outcomes are constantly altered. This design approach has gained strength and popularity over the last years due to proliferation of parametric software [2]. Materials like concrete, steel and timber have successfully incorporated this promising technology to improve its performance. It is argued here that bamboo could also benefit from this technology to overcome its limitations. The main objective of this paper is, therefore, to explore how parametric modeling could be used to facilitate the design of customized bamboo joints.

2 Research Background

2.1 Material and Geometric Considerations for the Design of Bamboo Joints

Bamboo is a giant grass that can be described as a hollow tube-like structure divided by a series of nodes. The microstructure of bamboo reveals a system of parallel cellulose fibers acting as reinforcement bars along the axial direction of the cane [5]. The distribution of cellulose fibers increases towards the outer layer of the cane. This arrangement explains why bamboo behaves as a strong material with high tensile properties when loads are applied in the direction of its fibers. However, when loads are applied on the opposite direction, bamboo becomes a brittle material due to the lack of sufficient radial fibers and the hollowness of the cane. Scholars therefore, describe bamboo as a longitudinal reinforced material with little transversal capacity [1, 3, 5]. Given the arrangement of the fibers, common failures in bamboo specimens are crushing and splitting. Efficient joints should aim to work in favor of mechanical properties of bamboo by transmitting forces along the longitudinal direction of the cane to facilitate continuous flow of efforts, or else, reinforcing the cane, when forces are applied on the transversal direction [1].

Bamboo is a natural material that shows a wide diversity and, although the geometric structure of most bamboo species is similar (Fig. 1), dimensions are not. Every bamboo is different. The culm of some species reaches up to 30 meters height and a diameter that ranges from 10 to 30 cm [9]. Additionally, most specimens are tapered, curved, hollow and nearly round. Wall thickness usually varies along the culm and the location of nodes is rather random. The fact that every bamboo is different means that structural behavior varies from one specimen to another and, acknowledgement of these variations could help to optimize the performance of the jointing system. Shape and size adaptability, consequently, are one of the key issues to consider when designing joints.
Fig. 1.

Bamboo Structure: Interior wall (a), exterior wall (b), node (c), internode (d), wall thickness (e) and branch (f)

Finally, it is important to consider that bamboo, as a natural resource, is vulnerable to insects and fungi and has high levels of humidity. The use of dry canes with protection against the attack of living organisms is fundamental to preserve the structural behavior of bamboo [4]. Joints should consider protection of the cane against the attack of living organisms, especially at open ends. Also, dry bamboos should be used in order to prevent loose joints. In summary, effective jointing design should focus on maximizing the use of bamboo canes by taking full advantage of its good properties, while avoiding or minimizing the impact of the bad ones.

2.2 Traditional Bamboo Jointing Practice

The complexity embedded in the design of bamboo pole joints has not prevented the use of bamboo on a local-scale. Bamboo jointing techniques have been instinctively developed through trial and error from generation to generation. Due to the lack of sufficient information on the topic, it appears to some as if bamboo-jointing practice is an arbitrary process that cannot be efficiently rationalized [5]. Although there are several examples of traditional joints, a survey of the literature review and different bamboo projects, identifies six types of joints commonly used in construction Fig. 2:
Fig. 2.

Types of bamboo joints commonly used in construction

Traditional bamboo jointing development has invested most of its efforts on finding modular solutions that best adapt to the geometric complexity of bamboo; this has not always being the best approach. At present, the environmental benefits of using bamboo as a building material have inspired designers, architects and constructors to understand more about traditional jointing practice and streamline this knowledge into the development of more effective jointing techniques [7].

2.3 Parametric Modeling Considerations

Parametric modeling is a design approach in which the designer has to trace the logic behind a problem and understand clearly how all the elements embedded in a process affect each other [11]. The designer has to identify input variables, constants and expected outputs in a problem. The success of a parametric model lies in the establishment of constants or rules of design [12]. Different variables are applied to a sequential set of rules; hence, results change accordingly. The rules remain as constants in the whole process and, due to a previous analysis of the problem, these rules become applicable to different scenarios. The result of this iterative process is the design of customized objects.

3 Steps Towards the Development of a Parametric System

The main aim of this research is to build a system that enables the parametric modeling of customized bamboo joints, where the geometry of each bamboo piece becomes the main design constraint. A parametric model, as stated before, requires input data, constraint data or rules of design and output data. For the purpose of this research, the geometry of each bamboo piece became input data. Rules of design were found in the implicit knowledge of traditional bamboo-jointing practice. Finally, the system formulates customized joints as output data. The first part of the methodology focused on finding implicit rules of design through the analysis of a bamboo joint catalogue, whereas; the second part focused on the development of a preliminary parametric system.

3.1 Searching for Implicit Rules of Design

In order to map out rules of design to inform the parametric system, a catalogue of ninety joints was compiled. As mentioned earlier, there are six common types of bamboo joints used in construction. These types of joints determined the scope of the catalogue. Hence, fifteen joint examples were collected per each type of joint commonly used in construction. The analysis of each type of joint allowed the identification of the following data:
  • Purpose of the Joint

  • Uses in construction

  • Design Configurations

  • Main Rules of Design

3.2 Development of the Parametric System

The development of a parametric modeling system that integrates all the information gathered in the catalogue is a process that needs to be gradually done. Ideally, the system should facilitate the design of the six types of joints previously mentioned. At this early stage of the research, however, only one type of joint was chosen to explore the incorporation of bamboo geometry data and implicit rules of design in a parametric system. The joint was selected according to its present relevance in the field of construction.

The preliminary parametric system was developed with the use of Grasshopper, a parametric and algorithmic plugin for Rhinoceros 3D Software. The steps undertaken for the construction of the parametric modeling system are summarized in the following diagram Fig. 3:
Fig. 3.

Steps to develop a parametric modeling system

4 Implicit Rules of Design

From the analysis of the catalogue is possible to conclude that there are general design rules that applied to all types on joints, and, there are also particular design rules per type of joint. General design rules seek to protect and maximize the performance of bamboo canes, whilst particular rules seek to solve the main purpose of each type of joint.

4.1 Splice Joint

The main purpose of the splice joint (Fig. 4) is to increase the length of a bamboo piece by attaching an additional piece to it. This type of joint is frequently used to connect plumbing pipes. On a smaller scale, it is also used to repair or elongate structural elements with low bearing capacity. It is not advisable to use it in large structures, since the joint itself can create a weak point in a load transference system.
Fig. 4.

Common design configurations of splice joints

The main rules of design for this type of joint are:
  • This system only solves the attachment of two bamboo members.

  • Bamboo canes are aligned one after another to create a longitudinal element.

  • An additional attachment mechanism is needed to fix bamboo members.

  • Reinforcement of the attachment area is needed.

4.2 Through Joint

The main purpose of the through joint (Fig. 5) is to resolve the intersection of two bamboo members with different diameters. The piece with smaller diameter is fully or partially embedded in the piece with bigger diameter. Through joints are predominantly used for the construction of railings and fences. They are also used, with less frequency, as grid-wall reinforcement systems and structural frames with low bearing capacity.
Fig. 5.

Common design configurations of through joints

The main rules of design for this type of joint are:
  • Bamboo pieces with smaller diameter are partially or completely embedded in the pieces with bigger diameter.

  • An additional mechanism is used to secure the attachment of the canes at the cross point.

  • Reinforcement of the cross point area is needed.

4.3 Angular Joint

The purpose of this joint (Fig. 6) is to fix, at a cross point, a number of pieces that meet at angles other than 90º. Angular joints are important elements in a structural system. These joints are largely used for the assembly of roof trusses and bracing elements. They are used to give rigidity to frames and to efficiently transfer loads to supporting elements.
Fig. 6.

Common design configurations of angular joints

The main rules of design for this type of joint are:
  • When a single bamboo piece is used as bracing element, it needs to be reinforced with a perpendicular element.

  • When two or more pieces are jointed, an external element is used to secure the attachment of the canes.

  • Reinforcement is needed at the cross point area when two or more elements are jointed.

  • Supported ends of the canes are cut to form a saddle.

4.4 Orthogonal Joint

The purpose of the orthogonal joint (Fig. 7) is to fix, at a cross point, two elements that meet at 90º angles. This type of joint is usually used for the construction of window frames, doorframes and as a connector of horizontal and vertical elements. It is also used for the construction of grid structures, railings and furniture.
Fig. 7.

Common design configurations of orthogonal joints

The main design rules for this type of joint are:
  • The system only solves the intersection of two bamboo elements.

  • An external fixing element is used to secure the attachment of the canes at its cross point.

  • Reinforcement is needed at the cross point area.

4.5 Bundle Joint

A bundle joint (Fig. 8) is used when more than two bamboo pieces are joined to behave as a single structural bearing element. The main purpose of the joint is to maintain all the pieces together and aligned. Bundle joints are used for the construction of structural elements submitted to heavy loads such as columns. Most bundle systems provide seating for horizontal elements.
Fig. 8.

Common design configurations of bundle joints

The main design rules for this type of joint are:
  • The joint solves the rigidity and alignment of more than two elements.

  • Additional elements are used to provide rigidity and alignment of the canes.

  • Several reinforcement elements are needed along the element to guarantee attachment of the canes.

4.6 Multiangular Joint

The purpose of the multiangular joint (Fig. 9) is to hold together a number of bamboo pieces that rotate around a central point in multiple angles. Given its flexible configuration, this joint can be used in a variety of projects. It is frequently used in the construction of curvilinear structures, supporting elements, space frames, geodesic domes and planar grids.
Fig. 9.

Common design configurations of multiangular joints

The main design rules of this type of joint are:
  • A central joint holds all pieces together.

  • Bamboo pieces rotate around the centroid of the joint.

  • Reduction of bamboo ends is advisable for a better load transference.

  • An external anchor system is used to fix bamboo pieces inside the central joint.

  • Reinforcement of every bamboo member is needed at its ends.

4.7 General Rules of Design

  • Nodes are more resistant to splitting than internodes. Joints therefore, are formed at or near nodes

  • Holes reduce the strength of the cane. If making a hole in the cane is unavoidable, then it should be placed near a node.

  • If a hole is made near a node, it is important to reinforce the cane near the node.

  • A joint should reinforce the cane against splitting and crushing.

  • The joint should solve the problem of size adaptability.

  • The jointing system should transfer forces in the axial direction of the fibers.

  • Collection of forces in a joint should be from the inside, the outside or from the cross section of the cane.

5 Development of a Parametric System for Multiangular Joints

The multiangular joint was chosen for the development of a preliminary parametric model due to its promising application in a wide range of projects. The flexibility of this joint is of particular interest for the building industry, since it enables the use of bamboo in curvilinear and rectilinear structures.

In order to inform the development of a multiangular parametric system, the mechanical behavior of the multiangular jointing system as a whole was outlined (Fig. 10). First, the central joint receives the impact of a load and distributes it along its surface (a). Secondly, the anchor systems distribute the load towards the cross section of all bamboo members (b). Finally, after the surface created by the cross section of the bamboos receives the impact of the distributed load, the efforts are directed in the longitudinal direction of the canes, along the direction of its fibers (c). Since the connections between the central joint and the bamboo members is crucial to achieve a liner flow of forces, these usually happen near nodes and, reinforcement of the cross section is needed to prevent future failures.
Fig. 10.

Mechanical behavior of the multiangular jointing system

Exterior diameter, interior diameter and node distance are key elements to consider for the achievement of efficient load transference. The angle of each member is also important, since it indicates the direction of the load after it impacts the central joint. Finally, the total length of bamboo members represents the distance that the distributed load will travel until reaching another joint or structural element.

5.1 Data Flow Inside the Multiangular Parametric System

Geometry and configuration of every bamboo piece, deducted from the mechanical analysis of the jointing system, represents input data of the parametric system. Identified rules of design for multiangular joints serve as constructive principles of the system. Finally, output data formulates the design of a customized multiangular jointing system. Data flow inside the system is summarized in the next diagram Fig. 11:
Fig. 11.

Diagram of data flowing inside the parametric multiangular system

5.2 Sequential Development of the Parametric System

The parametric system is designed to evolve in a logical linear workflow. A set number of consecutive steps (Fig. 12) are systematically executed every time a new multiangular jointing system is designed.

The first step determines the starting point of the system (1). At this stage, the system establishes the location of a central point and an anchor point to fix the geometry of each bamboo piece. In the second step, information about the geometry of the first bamboo piece (2) is provided in order to build a 3-dimensional representation. Following this, a customized anchor system (3) is derived parametrically from the bamboo geometry. A customized reinforcement membrane (4) is then generated in consideration with the anchor system and bamboo piece. In the next step, the horizontal and vertical rotations (5) of the bamboo piece, the anchor system and the reinforcement membrane are calculated around the central point that was established in step one.

After positioning the first bamboo piece in the multiangular system, steps 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are executed for each piece in the jointing system (6). Once all pieces have been positioned, the final step is the design of a central joint (7). The centroid of the joint is equal to the central point defined in step one and, the groove depth of the anchor system determines the size of the joint.
Fig. 12.

Linear development of the parametric system

For the purpose of facilitating the rationalization of the multiangular parametric model, the system was divided in six parts as shown in the previous diagram: Reference System, Bamboo Geometry, Anchor System, Reinforcement Membrane, Rotation Engine and Central Joint.

5.3 Rationalizing the Parts

Reference System (Fig. 13)
  1. 1.

    Central point (CP) = 0,0

     
  2. 2.

    Distance from Central Point to Anchor Point (AnP) = Radius of the circle that circumscribes the polygonal figure formed by all bamboo pieces.

     
  3. 3.

    Anchor Point is placed along the circumference.

     
  4. 4.
    The designer can change the position of the Anchor Point (mAnP).
    Fig. 13.

    Rationalization of reference system

     

Bamboo Geometry (Fig. 14)

For this part, the designer needs to input the following data of each bamboo piece: exterior diameter, interior diameter, node distance and total length.
Fig. 14.

Rationalization of bamboo geometry

  1. 1.

    C1 = Representation of bamboo end, anchored at modified anchor point (mAnP).

     
  2. 2.

    C2 = Representation of the start of the cone reduction. The designer provides distance from anchor point, but it has to be smaller than the node distance.

     
  3. 3.

    C3 = Representation of the node. Distance from anchor point is equal to node Distance (Nd).

     
  4. 4.

    C4 = Representation of the opposite bamboo end. Distance from anchor point is equal to the total length (Tl) of the bamboo.

     
  5. 5.

    The first bamboo end (C1) can be reduced.

     
  6. 6.

    Final representation of the geometry, using the circle line profiles as generative forms.

     
Anchor System (Fig. 15)
Fig. 15.

Rationalization of anchor system

  1. 1.

    Central Point of the plate is fix at the modified anchor point (mAnP).

     
  2. 2.

    Plate radius is equal to the exterior diameter of the first bamboo end.

     
  3. 3.

    Bolt Radius is greater than 0 and less than half of the distance from anchor point to the inner diameter of the first bamboo end.

     
  4. 4.

    Bolt Support Radius is greater than bolt radius and less than the distance from anchor point to the inner diameter of the first bamboo end.

     
  5. 5.

    Plate thickness is greater than 0 and less than a quarter of the distance from central point (CP) to modified anchor point (mAnP).

     
  6. 6.

    The start of the bolt is greater than plate thickness and less than the distance from central point (CP) to modified anchor point (mAnP).

     
  7. 7.

    The end of the bolt is less than the node distance (Nd).

     
  8. 8.

    Exterior bolt support thickness is less than the distance from the start of the bolt to the plate thickness.

     
  9. 9.

    Interior bolt support thickness is less than the end of the bolt distance

     
  10. 10.

    Designer provides the groove depth (GrD), but it has to be less than the distance from the exterior bolt support to the start of the bolt.

     
  11. 11.

    The thread profile of the thread system of the bolt is restraint by the groove depth. The number of profiles in the thread can be modified.

     
  12. 12.

    Final representation of the geometry, using the circle line profiles as generative forms.

     
Reinforcement Membrane (Fig. 16)
  1. 1.
    Reinforcement system will start at the central point of the anchor system plate (Plp).
    Fig. 16.

    Rationalization of reinforcement membrane

     
  2. 2.

    C1 = Bigger circle is equal to plate radius and smaller circle is equal to support radius.

     
  3. 3.

    C2 = Plate thickness distance

     
  4. 4.

    C3 = Start of the cone reduction

     
  5. 5.

    C4 = Modification of the membrane end. It has to be less than the node distance.

     
  6. 6.

    Designer can adjust the thickness of the reinforcement membrane.

     
  7. 7.

    Final representation of the reinforcement membrane.

     
Rotation Engine (Fig. 17)
  1. 1.
    Geometry is fixed to the anchor point (AnP).
    Fig. 17.

    Rationalization of the rotation engine

     
  2. 2.

    A line perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the geometry is drawn at the central point (CP)

     
  3. 3.

    The geometry and the line rotate around the central point.

     
  4. 4.

    Geometry rotates around the perpendicular line in a vertical direction.

     
Central Joint (Fig. 18)
  1. 1.
    Centroid of the Central Joint is equal to Central Point.
    Fig. 18.

    Rationalization of the central joint

     
  2. 2.

    Joint Radius is equal to the distance from Central Point (CP) to Groove Depth (GrD).

     

5.4 Grasshopper Definition

The rationalized parts of the parametric system were built in Grasshopper as customized components. An additional customized component was also designed to help the designer specify and organize the geometric input data of each bamboo piece as well as its angular configuration. The Grasshopper Definition was designed to develop multiangular joints for three to ten bamboo pieces.

5.5 Applicability of the Multiangular Parametric System

To exemplify how the customization of multiangular joints can improve structural performance by acknowledging geometric configurations, a multiangular joint was designed with the parametric system, taking as reference the structure of the German-Chinese House1 (Fig. 19). The applicability of the multiangular parametric system was tested through a series of structural simulations, performed with the plugin Karamba 3d [8], to articulate how a parametric customized joint can help to take full advantage of the properties of bamboo.
Fig. 19.

German-Chinese house, used as design reference

The corner joint of the Chinese-Chinese House was chosen to inform the design of a preliminary multiangular customized joint. The first structural simulation was set to evaluate the distribution of forces along the entire structure as a mesh. As an outcome, compression (darker color) and tensile forces (lighter color) were identified in the structure Fig. 20.
Fig. 20.

Structural analysis of the German-Chinese house

Once the distribution of forces was identified for the entire structure, a structural analysis was carried out on the edges of the mesh to identify the stresses of every bamboo member as structural beams. The analysis was then narrowed down to the corner joint. As can be seen in the image below (Fig. 21), the corner joint is formed by four bamboo members and a central joint (a), a load from the roof is applied on the central joint, whilst P1, P2, P3 and P4 are anchored to other structural elements on its opposite ends (b). The analysis of the structure shows that members P1 and P3 are submitted to compression, while P2 and P4 are submitted to tension (c).
Fig. 21.

Structural analysis of the corner joint of the German-Chinese house

After defining the stresses to which the corner joint would be submitted to, the next step was to input the geometric configurations of each bamboo member in the parametric system. The original Chinese-House was built with giant bamboo pieces with an average diameter of 230 mm. With the purpose of acknowledging individual geometric constraints, the pieces were considered to have diameters that ranged from 210 mm to 270 mm. The following table summarizes the information that was used as input data for the design of a customized parametric corner joint Table 1:
Table 1.

Input data for the design of a multiangular jointing system

 

Piece 1

Piece 2

Piece 3

Piece 4

Exterior diameter (in mm)

230

210

240

270

Interior diameter (in mm)

195

180

200

230

Node distance (in mm)

550

500

500

600

Total length (in mm)

2500

2500

2500

7000

Horizontal angle (0°–360°)

45°

90°

45°

Vertical angle (0°–360°)

60°

Once the system receives the input information, a customized joint is constructed with the option to further adjust the components of the multiangular joint. The resulting output is set as a mesh. In order to avoid random alteration of components, the resulting mesh was analyzed as a structural element, using as input data the structural information of the corner joint. In this manner, every time a variable was changed, the multiangular joint was structurally re-analyzed with the appropriate changes. This process allows the designer to optimized the multiangular jointing system according to the geometry of each bamboo and the structural demands of each member. The following image (Fig. 22) illustrates how the alteration of the joint size and reduction of bamboo ends contribute to achieve a better load performance. The smaller the surface of the joint, the quicker the efforts are transmitted to bamboo members. Distance between the joint and bamboo pieces is also important to control the velocity of load transmission. Finally, the area of the cross section of bamboo can also be reduced to create a quicker load transmission to the longitudinal section of the cane.
Fig. 22.

Sample of the structural analysis of the parametric corner joint

After exploring different configurations for the multiangular parametric corner joint and analyzing its structural performance, a structurally optimized corner joint was proposed (Fig. 23). Reduction of bamboo ends is desirable, especially for members P1 and P2, which are submitted to tension (a). Although the configuration of each anchor system is particular for each bamboo piece, the recommended diameter of the anchor bolt should range between 12 mm to 18 mm, depending on the diameter of the bamboo end (b). Ideal size of the central joint should be smaller than the average diameter of bamboo pieces attached to it (c). Reinforcement membranes for P1 and P3 should be longer to provide reinforcement for bamboo fibers acting under tension; while reinforcement for P2 and P3 should be thicker, in order to reinforce the cane against common failures of elements submitted to compression (d).
Fig. 23.

Customized corner joint

The design of the customized corner joint suggests that acknowledgement of the geometric and mechanical properties of bamboo, as well as information about the expected structural behavior of the jointing system could help to enhance the structural performance of bamboo as a building material and also rationalize its design process. Under this approach, using bamboo as a building material becomes a hybrid process, where tradition is transferred to a digital realm to facilitate its construction methods. Outputs of the parametric system are thrown as digital meshes that can later become inputs for Computer Aided Manufacturing tools; hence the production of the customized jointing system can also be achieved through digital means in a short period of time.

This design approach enables the designer to have more freedom when using bamboo in a project. For instance, a particular design could require bamboo supports to be thicker than bamboo beams and, bracing elements could have their ends reduced to ensure optimal load transference. With a parametric system, attaining such detailed structural demands is possible; the designer just needs to input this data and the system will automatically perform the operations needed to generate a joint that adapts exclusively to that configuration.

6 Further Work and Relevance

The development of a parametric modeling system that compiles traditional knowledge of the other five joints commonly used in construction is still at an early stage. Rules of design have been outlined for all types of bamboo joints and, the development of the multiangular jointing system serves as reference to guide the development of the other jointing systems. Further analysis of each type of joint can help to improve the performance of the system. Additionally, characteristics like curvature of the culm, taper shape, nearly round ends and wall thickness variations can be added to the parametric system as design inputs. Although there is a considerable amount of work ahead, the effort of this research seems to suggest that the development of an application or software to facilitate the design of customized pole joints is a feasible project for the near future.

Materials are usually adapted to the needs of a project, adapting a material with random size, like bamboo, is a task hard to achieve with traditional means. Parametric modeling embraces the irregularities of bamboo, begging the system to adapt to these irregularities and not the other way around. Under this approach, bamboo’s geometry has a saying in the design and, as a result, a better structural performance. Optimization of bamboo’s shape, through the design of customized joints, can help to bridge the gap that separates bamboo from being used as a large-scale building material in permanent structures. Moreover, the rationalization of low-tech materials, like bamboo, urges the building industry to acknowledge that construction with low environmental impact is a reality that can be achieved.

In conclusion, parametric modeling is an exciting domain that can help to embrace the use of low-tech materials in the building industry and, most importantly is good to remind the reader that the scope of this research can be streamlined to other natural materials with implicit knowledge waiting to be discovered by the parametric designer.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    The German-Chinese House was a bamboo pavilion designed for the Shanghai Expo 2010. Markus Heinsdorff and MUDI architects developed the project. Information about the project can be found at: www.heinsdorff.de/en/work/installations/expo-shangai.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldEngland, UK

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