Fu Bridge

Spanning with Folds

Group Work (academic), 2019

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - ETH Zurich - Tongji University
location: Shanghai. China

Bringing together new materials and ‘good structural form’, “Fu Bridge” is a corrugated, cast concrete bridge assembled with the help of 3d-printed, reusable plastic formwork. In response to the workshop’s objective - that is, the robotic 3d printing of flat sheets to form an efficient, compression-only, doubly-curved structure - a “folded” bridge is designed and fabricated by corrugating locally planarized, 3d-print ready sheets that describes the original form-found geometry. the creases help the plastic gain stiffness and structural depth, bearing the load of the first layer of concrete. The initial studies and concept for the pavilion included a series of bounded forms that support one another, creating a set of co-dependent structures. These studies all deployed Rhinovault and Compas Pattern as refined design tools that can closely approximate a plan as an input. Thus, a site-specific proposal at Arch-Union Architects’ office space was transformed into a bridge over a small pond within the studio. After refining the technique of constructing structural patterns in plan to reach a greater structural stability, the vault could closely approximate the required width of each spanning member while also keeping the support locations based on the available space next to the pond’s ledge.

Perspective view of the assembled final prototype

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Site plan (by team members)

(Top) Conceptual form-finding (by team members)

(Bottom) Process analysis (teamwork product)

 Form-finding diagrams

Optimization (by team members)

Assembly part

Section detail (by team members)

Metal anchor points (teamwork product)

Design iteration 2-Support combs for Prototype 2 (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

In-situ assembly of final prototype (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

In-situ assembly of final prototype (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Prototype 1: Mock-up (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Prototype 1: Mock-up (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Prototype 1: Mock-up (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Prototype 1: Mock-up (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

Assembly of prototype 2 (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan

 Load testing of final prototype (teamwork product)

Design iteration 2-Failure parts (teamwork product)

In-situ assembly of final prototype (teamwork product)

Photo credits: Zain Karsan