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Welcome to the ddf research page. Here we post current research agendas and any issues related to the ongoing work of our faculty and students.

Our current general agenda is to provide a theoretical basis and skill development in creative computational modeling, digital design strategies and emergent technologies all based on "digital craft" through studio and course offering. Emphasis is on the generative development of form in concert with material concerns, computing in terms of formfindung (formfinding) and extending to the performance and behavior of resulting structures and geometries. A separate course on materials research and innovative methods of assembly works in concert to link the parametric design strategies to advanced material systems.

Contents

Research Topics Faculty

Robotics in Architecture

The Robotics Matter Design Group (RMD) spearheaded by Professor Pongratz involved since end of 2013 a large interdisciplinary group of faculty and students across Texas Tech for various architectural projects and their related materials processes based on robotic automation including customizing software interfaces and developing various end effectors.
Texas Tech Robotics Team

2016 Team: Lead: Prof. Christian Pongratz (COA)
Associate Prof. Sangwook Bae (CE) sangwook.bae@ttu.edu
Chongzheng Na, Ph.D. Associate Professor, (CEC)
Dr. Jeff Hanson Ph.D (ME) j.hanson@ttu.edu
Associate Prof. Dr. Brian Nutter, PE (EE) brian.nutter@ttu.edu, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Co-Director, Computer Vision and Image Analysis Lab
Prof.Parameswaran, Siva (ME), Director of CFD Laboratory siva.parameswaran@ttu.edu
Dr. Snoeyink Ph.D (ME) craig.snoeyink@ttu.edu
Associate Prof. Von Venhuisen (Art) von.venhuizen@ttu.edu

User Interface & Controller Programming team:
1. Kirwa Boit (EE)
2. Swaroop Kagli, (CS)

Robot Endeffector student teams Engineering and Architecture (COA):
Project Team Architecture:
Thomas, Wesley wesley.thomas@ttu.edu
Shakil Shimul sashimul@yahoo.com
Ali, Ahmed ahmed.ali@ttu.edu
Thomas, Ryan L, ryan.l.thomas@ttu.edu

3d Printing endeffector plastic:
Solichin Muhammad (ME): muhammad.solichin@ttu.edu
Will Becker (ME) will.becker@ttu.edu
Ryan Dunn (ME) Ryan.dunn@ttu.edu
Jason Irwin (ME) Jason.irwin@ttu.edu

3d Printing endeffector (with previous study):
Cox, Jennifer F, (ME) jennifer.f.cox@ttu.edu
Ricard Cortez, (ME)
Simon Nguyen, (ME)
James Lassmann, (ME)
Colby Rozean, (ME)
Henry Amoateng (ME)

3d Printing endeffector concrete and equipment:
Anthony Portillo anthony.portillo@ttu.edu
Alberto Loazano, alberto.loazano@ttu.edu
Christian Dixon, christian.dixon@ttu.edu
Samuel McBride, samuel.mcbride@ttu.edu
Ant Porti, antporti@ttu.edu
Luke Self, luke.self@ttu.edu
Reference to past years team:
1. Aguilar, Jazmin : jazmin.aguila. ME
2. Estlack, Zachary: zachary.estlack@ttu.edu, ME



Spring/ Fall 2015
Lead: Prof. Christian Pongratz (COA)
Collaborating Faculty: Prof. Richard Gale (EE)
Prof. Jeff Hanson (ME)
Prof. Sangwook Bae (CE)

User Interface & Controller Programming team: 1. Kenyan Burnham, EE (Kirwa Boit, EE)
2. Swaroop Kagli, CS
3. Mahesh Gurram, CS
4. Sven Nevlida, COA (SP-SU I)
5. Kevin Boutte, CE (SP)


Robot Endeffector student teams Engineering and Architecture (COA):

3d Printing endeffector concrete and equipment:
3. Paola Muniz, COA (SP-SU I)
4. Aguilar, Jazmin : jazmin.aguila. ME
5. Ton-That, Kevin: kevin.ton-that@ttu.edu, ME
6. Estlack, Zachary: zachary.estlack@ttu.edu, ME
7. Gerhart, K: k.gerhart@ttu.edu, ME
8. Johnson, Daniel B: daniel.b.johnson@ttu.edu, ME
9. Montero, Nick : nick.montero@ttu.edu, ME

Hot wire Cutting and equipment:
1. Merlyn Samuel, COA
2. Mcwilliams, Chris: chris.mcwilliams@ttu.edu, ME
3. Hall, Ryan A: ryan.a.hall@ttu.edu, ME
4. Jima, Robert robert.jima@ttu.edu, ME
5. Johnson, Cody: cody.johnson@ttu.edu, ME
6. Jackson, Cedric: cedric.jackson@ttu.edu, ME

Metal Mesh bending:
1. Sven Nevlida, COA



2013-2014
Coordinator & Lead Faculty: Prof. Christian Pongratz (COA)

Students:
Alonzo Gonzales, IE, Prof. Jennifer Farris
Kenyan Burnham, EE, Prof. Richard Gale
Corbin Black, CS, Prof. Mohan Sridharan
Daniel Menghisteab, IE, Prof. Pat Patterson,
Amber Dockery, ME, Prof. Alan Barhorst
Susan Germany, CE, Prof. Sangwook Bae
Zacary Phillips, CS, Prof. Mohan Sridharan
Skyler Dodge, IE, Prof. Jennifer Farris
Rodney Hutto, School of Law, Prof. Richard Rosen (ref: Prof. Vickie Sutton, Prof. Jorge Ramirez)
Prof. Brandon Sweeney, Chemical Engineering


(COA) College of Architecture, Prof. Christian Pongratz,
blake.arnold@ttu.edu; rodrigo.avila@ttu.edu; matt.kendall@ttu.edu; john.laurence@ttu.edu; jesse.v.nedunuri@ttu.edu; jennifer.lopez@ttu.edu; eloisa.mcgill@ttu.edu; martin.medina@ttu.edu; paola.mendoza@ttu.edu; tyler.porter@ttu.edu; valeria.sierra@ttu.edu; matthew.c.smith@ttu.edu; giovanni.velazquez@ttu.edu Fereshtehnezhad, Milad, Kyle Meeks



Christian Pongratz:

TTUSGIR Seed grant for Interdisciplinary Research 2016

The following RMD Group applied with a proposal titled "Robotic 3D printing of Large Scale Components", to the 2016 SGIR grant call. Group members: Bae Sang-Wook, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (CEC); Hanson Jeff, Ph.D., Instructor (ME); Chongzheng Na, Ph.D. Associate Professor, (CEC); Nutter Dr. Brian, PE, Associate Professor (EE); P.I. Pongratz Christian, M.Arch, Professor of Architecture (COA); Snoeyink Craig, PhD.
 Assistant Professor
(ME); Venhuizen Von, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Art, (School of Art); $149,990 for 2016-2017, pending;



Christian Pongratz:

TTUTRAA Texas Tech Transdisciplinary Academy 2016

The following team members have been selected with a proposal as "Robotics Matter Design" Group to the Texas Tech Transdisciplinary Academy. Group members: Bae Sang-Wook, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (CEC); Hanson Jeff, Ph.D., Instructor (ME); Chongzheng Na, Ph.D. Associate Professor, (CEC); Nutter Dr. Brian, PE, Associate Professor (EE); P.I. Pongratz Christian, M.Arch, Professor of Architecture (COA); Snoeyink Craig, PhD.
 Assistant Professor
(ME); Venhuizen Von, M.F.A., Associate Professor of Art, (School of Art); $4,000, 2016, pending;



Christian Pongratz:

Texas Liberator Project

Design of Digital book and interactive teaching app with historical background, Interdisciplinary Collaboration between Honors College, History Department, Visual and Performing Arts, Media and Communications, Southwest Collection and Architecture, (P.I., Lead P.I. Aliza Wong), $170,046, 2016-2017



Transforming Student Learning and Innovation through Design Research with Digital Craft

Christian Pongratz, CH Foundation proposal 2014-2016

Grant for shop renovation/ extension, part of the new Interdisciplinary Design Center:
Funding to improve the existing model shop and add fabrication research lab facilities through renovation and additional new construction. The College’s original design approach is based on a modern vision of the craft culture, which considers the act of “making” as an interdisciplinary and integrated activity in order to be translated into new strategies for innovation from architectural design to building components.

The grant will help to provide a first class facility, an Interdisciplinary Fabrication Research Laboratory, which will immediately affect active collaborations with other research groups at Texas Tech University but also attract new areas of investigations from other disciplines. Areas of emerging architectural expertise are ranging from advanced design scenarios through interactive media, computation of optimized geometries, explorations of sustainable and smart materials to the industrial fabrication of building components and their assembly.

Preproposal 2012, Final Proposal 2013, Granted Amount 2014: $106,465



Maria Perbellini & Christian Pongratz:

Robotics Mechatronics Lab

Proposal for a new Robotics Mechatronics Lab to be located in the Interdisciplinary Design Center (CoA). Associate Dean Maria Perbellini and Christian Pongratz, initiated a vision for a new transformative collaboration between the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, with the goal to put Tech at the forefront of research related to the wider field of robotics, design and construction. In the DDF program at the College of Architecture, the current and long term architectural research into Design and Robotics has been defined as a creative use of industrial robots in adapting them for various architectural projects and their related materials processes including customizing software interfaces and developing various end effectors. Proposed to Dean Al Sacco and Dean Vernooy, the plan for a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, resulted that a robotic arm was donated as a gift in kind contribution totaling $277,340 in 2013.



Maria Perbellini & Christian Pongratz:

Strategic Plan and Vision 2012

Strategic Plan and Vision, enhanced proposal for an Interdisciplinary Design Center (CoA) presented by the dean and development officer to the TTU Provost, TTU University Administration and a private donor. The vision plan proposes new interdisciplinary collaborations with enhanced College facilities, a new building extension, a shop re-organization and new equipment; Authors: Associate Dean Prof. Maria-Rita Perbellini and Prof. Christian Pongratz; 2013 total gift $750,000; (included: the administration is giving $200,000) The donor’s gift has been matched by the Texas Research Incentive Program with $225,000.



Christian Pongratz:

Green Curtains in Stone

TTU FY12 Internal Competitive Funding Opportunity to Advance Scholarship in the Creative Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, “ Green Curtains in Stone”, Office of Research, Texas Tech University, 2011, level 3 proposal, granted amount:$ 19,103;



Maria Perbellini & Christian Pongratz:

Strategic Plan and Vision 2010

Strategic Plan and Vision for the future of the College of Architecture, outlining an Interdisciplinary Design Center and the impact of the Digital Design and Fabrication Program to the entire curriculum; proposal presented by the dean and the development officer to the Provost, University Administration and several private donors. The proposal authored by Associate Dean Prof. Maria Perbellini and Prof. Christian Pongratz, entails a budget in the amount of $3,000,000.
Based on this proposal, in 2011, a private donor gave to the College $50,000 for equipment needs in the Digital Design and Fabrication program. Based on this proposal, in 2010, a private donor gave to the College $35,000 for equipment needs in the Digital Design and Fabrication program.



Christian Pongratz:

3d printing Parametric studio and installation

Dimension 3D Printers, Stratasys Inc. academic support grant, 3d printing Parametric studio and installation, proposal 2010, granted amount $ 5,000 equipment and $3,000 supplies



Maria Perbellini & Christian Pongratz:

The Architectural Geometry of Surfaces

NSF proposal 05_2010

In this proposal, Texas Tech University (TTU) initiates the design and implementation of a new joint course that will provide the mathematical underpinnings of the geometric aspects of the architectural design process, with particular emphasis on the theory of curves and surfaces and their associated computational generation. Faculty from the departments of Mathematics & Statistics and the College of Architecture will jointly design and deliver the course.
Research team: P.I. Prof. Pongratz Christian R, M.Arch, College of Architecture; Co-P.I.s : Prof.Dr. Jerry Dwyer, Mathematics & Statistics; Prof.Dr. Jeffrey Lee, Mathematics & Statistics; Prof. Maria Perbellini, M.Arch, Chair of Instruction, College of Architecture; Prof.Dr. Magdalena Toda, Mathematics & Statistics, Director of Undergraduate Studies;

1st proposal, Requested amount: $199,820.00


Christian Pongratz :

Adaptive Material Systems for Scalable Building Envelope Components

NSF SEED proposal 11_2009

In this research, the rules, selection and performance criteria for smart materials will be developed for an adaptive scalable building envelope component strategy. This will be based on emerging trends in mechanics and science of materials, material response sensing systems and the architectural parametric design process. Traditionally, the design and construction of building envelopes involve the use of multiple layers of different materials to achieve a wide array of functionalities including strength, light filtering, thermal insulation, sound insulation, weather resistance and architectural appearance. This research is intending to overcome what can be called "weak links" in the building envelope causing durability problems. The goal of this research is to develop intelligent and versatile material systems, which adapt to structural loads and provide opportunities to develop self-sensing capabilities in the material to achieve energy efficiencies and environmental comfort. This can be achieved by integrating the design process constraints with opportunities from emerging material and construction systems. This strategy enables each phase of the material system development to account for critical downstream design constraints, construction scenarios and efficiencies needed for a possible self-sustaining system state. The research goal will be achieved through an interdisciplinary effort involving the following disciplines: (1) material science for design and characterization of specific materials, (2) materials and structural engineering to evaluate structural performance, (3) architecture to develop guidelines for the adaptive design process involving building form, appearance, utility and material- and construction specifics, (4) sensing and information technology to integrate and control the smart building envelope. The uniquely interdisciplinary nature of the research plan also provides an opportunity to develop an educational framework for Integrated Sustainable Building Design.

The intellectual focus of this research proposal is to develop an adaptive material system for the building envelope to optimize material use and to integrate additional functions such as self-sustaining energy production, climate control inside the building and lighting control. The inspiration for this research approach is the way natural organisms evolve their structure and shape in response to environmental changes. This research is an interdisciplinary collaboration to tap into synergies within the research team to integrate material properties, architectural design, structural behavior, building requirements and new modes of production.
Research team: P.I. Prof. Pongratz Christian R, M.Arch, College of Architecture; Co-P.I.s : Prof.Dr. Rivero, Iris; Industrial Engineering; Prof. Bae, Sangwook; Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering; Prof. Parameswaran, Siva; Ph.D., DIC, Mechanical Engineering, Director CFD Lab; Prof. Hope-Weeks Louisa, Ph.D., Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry; senior personnel: Prof. Senadheera, Sanjaya; Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering; Prof. Rice, Jennifer; Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering;

1st proposal, Requested amount: $ 452,485

emergent design potential diagram Image:emergent design process diagram.jpg


September 16th, 2009 @ Noon lectures : Pongratz & Perbellini


Christian Pongratz :

Design Research as Surface Parametricism

Professor Pongratz will discuss the prevailing design tendency of surface “treatments” as forming a research trajectory through his theoretical and professional projects. Issues related are the evolution from explicit modeling to parametric design strategies and their gradual adaptation to generative non-linear and non-hierarchical design concepts and practices guided by morphogenesis and emergence. The concept of integrative parametric “systems thinking” is emphasized as it gears to learn from the complex, but synergetic structures of biological organisms and their components. The intense formal differentiation as a new paradigm within the discipline, coming out of a proliferation of dynamic associative design environments and the convergence of distributed design sensibilities opens up a whole new domain of design research. Retooling the methods of the discipline means research for innovation.


Maria Perbellini :

Research within Practice, Teaching, and Writing

Professor Perbellini will discuss her research into design strategies related to professional work from building components to an urban scale master-plan proposal. Her interest in the research and development of customized fabrication methods, materials and product design will be illustrated via the recent publication of the book “Cyberstone”. Examples of articulated complexity in design research are the involvement of practice agendas through student projects and the newly launched materials lab/course of the DDF program.


Pongratz-Perbellini Research

Pongratz + Perbellini Research

Research Topics: Students

DDF Student Research