Computational excercise based on biomimmetic priciples of coral growth
Stuttgart UniversityITECH MSc2014 - 2015
Institute for Computational Design. Prof. Achim Menges.
students : Shota Tsikolia, Leyla Yunis, Maria Yablonina
Individual role in the project : development of the spring based optimisation

Corals are marine invertebrates in the class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria that have a variety of species with several characteristics in common. Firstly, they tend to accumulate nutrients the more the currents underwater move. Second, they are fragile species that die when in contact with other animals in the ocean. Moreover, they are poisonous when other species come in contact. Third, their intricate geometries and coloring vary wildly but also tend to grow very slowly.

While the idea to mathematicaly justify the morphology of Anthozoa was proposed already by D’Arcy Thompson at the beginning of 20th century, the use of corals as a role model in the field of architecture or construction hasn’t appeared until almost hundred years later. The example of this approach is a biomineralization research of Brent Constanz, where corals serve as a role model in the design of carbon neutral cement. The resemblance does not limit itself to the visuality, but roots into the similar chemical structure of the role model and the design.


The three parts of an assignement incleded definition of the branching system, its optimalization and its visualization. These parts defined the methods, which where used: for the definition of the branching system we used Lindemeyer system. Although originally proposed to simulate the distribution of branches in the plants, L-System seemed to be a reasonable starting point in approaching the coral geometry. For the optimilization and colision detection of hte branching system we used a spring particle system, which was applied on the previously genreated geometry.


For the visualization purposes and ofr the generation of the mesh, which was later 3d printed, we applied marching tetrahedra algorythm, a variation on the marching cubes algorythm, which allowed as to create a surface from the value grid. Although the methods were developed separately, later they were implemented on top of each other, in a way that each of the methods influenced and could be deduced from the final geometry.