operation principle of Stewart City
Picture © Zixuan Luo
Photo © Zixuan Luo
composition diagram of Stewart city
Drawing © Zixuan Luo
events of stewart city
Visualization © Zixuan Luo
Four rings representing different landscape
Visualization © Zixuan Luo
composition diagram of Stewart tower
Visualization © Zixuan Luo
overview of Stewart tower
Visualization © Zixuan Luo

Stewart City

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Research on movable building design based on Stewart Platform

Stewart city incorporated architectural ideas to the mechanical prototype - Stewart platform. Inspired by its mechanical composition and motion, this project proposed two architypes by aggregating the mechanical unit horizontally and vertically - a spaceport and a tower.

The combination of mechanical mobility and architecture has always been a subject of constant exploration in the field of architecture, tracing back to the ten books of architecture written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. In the 1960s, Archigram lead by Peter Cook envisioned the feasibility of combining architecture and machine in a graphical way. With the advent of the information age, people's feelings and needs have been further expanded with the aid of technologies. The demand for architecture has gradually changed from single and fixed demand to diversified and dynamic. In this social and technical background, the discussion of dynamic architecture is particularly necessary and appropriate.

This project is experimenting on formal transformation of Stewart platform, which has wide application in mechanical manufacture. It has six degree of freedom, meaning it can displace and rotate within certain range. Through physical modeling and motion study based on Arduino, the technic of Stewart platform is understood for further transformation. To incorporate motion in architectural space is a complicated process, as the tilt caused by the mechanical movement challenges the horizontal requirements to maintain the normal use of the space. The space port and the tower responded this problem in two directions. The former creates a new gravity environment that uses the movement to establish its whole ecology. The latter separates from architectural elements the potential movable and tiltable components while maintaining the main part leveled for normal use. The tower is generated by vertical aggregation and deformation of the Stewart platform. The inner core can only perform vertical and rotational movement to keep the floor leveled and maintain available space for furniture and normal use. Outer annular slabs protrude outwardly and can move freely within a certain range. It can be used as a ramp, corridor, canopy or gathering when it reaches the ground level. The spaceport is composed of a hemispherical light source in the center surrounded by a set of ribbon rings. In a gravity-free environment, each ring uses the centrifugal force generated by self-revolving to simulate gravity. So here, the inner wall of the ring is considered as the new ground. The rings always have a certain angle of inclination regarding to the heat core, maintaining half of the ring in the dark when orbiting, creating the sense of day and night. When one ring casts shadow on the other, the heat core is temporarily invisible for people in the area under the shadow, called eclipse. The temperature of each ring is determined by its relative position with the light source. Therefore, each ring has its own feature regarding its location, to simulate the four main biological environments: ocean, polar, city, and forest.