LERA in collaboration with our LERA+ department, improved the structural performance of this sculpture by Portland-based artist Ed Carpenter, composed of an array of pipes of varying thickness and diameter, through the use of a custom-built algorithm that recreated a digital version of the piece and optimized its geometrical structure.
Controlled by numerous input parameters, such as the size and strength of individual elements, the algorithm is combined with a physics engine and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to rearrange the structure’s interior geometry. After tracing an outline of the sculpture’s boundaries—in order to retain its original shape—the algorithm performed a “packing” process, whereby it computed alternative schemes and tested them against wind deflection criteria. This yielded a list of nearly 100 possible alternatives that met the criteria, from which the best performing scheme was selected.
Taking into account the thickness of the pipes and the width of the structure, further optimization was then achieved through the application of a genetic algorithm.
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