Scutoid Brick

The Designing of Epithelial cell inspired-brick in Masonry shell System

Keywords: Epithelial cell, Scutoid, Bio-inspired Design, Generative Design, Masonry shell

This project focuses on the design of individual bricks in a masonry shell system that are inspired and informed by the reorganization of epithelial cells within tissues. Starting from a newly discovered shape called "Scutoid", we first investigated how epithelial cells within living animals are packed three-dimensionally within tissues. We focused on the living mechanisms within these cells that facilitate tissue curvature in the creatures' organs, skin, and blood vessels. By utilizing this generative geometric approach, we created a series of parametric generators and modeling kits to represent this mechanism and process. We then explored the potential for adopting this mechanism into larger-scale settings. Meanwhile, we discovered that the deformation of individual epithelial cells during the bending process generates an intriguing triangular connection along the bending direction. We managed to translate this unique feature to the architectural scale as a joint system for connecting bricks in a masonry shell structure. Based on the above findings, we designed and fabricated a set of models for the masonry shell structure that are generated from scutoid bricks and this unique joint. The geometrical characteristics of scutoid bricks allows the packing of four bricks with just two joints. The work that we have generated thus far contributes to solving issues of shell design and fabrication from the perspective of individual units. The result of the shell structure model demonstrates that applying the epithelial cell inspired-block masonry system is a feasible approach for the construction of shell structures.

The paper has been published at the 38th annual conference Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe 2020)

Teng, Teng. Jia, Mian and Sabin, Jenny. (2020), “Scutoid Brick - The Designing of Epithelial cell inspired-brick in Masonry shell System” in Anthropologic: Architecture and Fabrication in the cognitive age - Proceedings of the 38th eCAADe Conference - Volume 1, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 16-18 September 2020, pp. 563-572

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photo credit to Gómez-Gálvez, Pedro, et al (2018 )