Purpose: This study proposes a DfMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) based on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and uses Iranian-Islamic Muqarnas as the main case study due to their geometric modularity. In Islamic architecture, different geographic regions are known to have used various design and construction methods of “Muqarnas”, a type of decorated dome. Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents a study on parametric analysis of the Iranian-Islamic Muqarnas and analyses its components, geometric relations and construction methods that should be considered when constructing one. This study aims to use the Muqarnas analysis as a driver to generate a DfMA basis on the UAVs and parametric fabrication. In Islamic architecture, different geographic regions use various design and construction methods of Muqarnas. There are four main parameters of the Muqarnas that define their classification; first, their three-dimensional shape, that provides volume. Second, the size of their modules is variable. Third, their own specific generative process-algorithm, and finally, the two-dimensional pattern plan that is used as a basis in the design. Thus, the authors present a global analytical study that drives a generative system to construct Muqarnas, through a careful balance of the four parameters. Findings: This study thus presents a global analytical study that drives a generative system to construct Muqarnas, through a careful balance of four specifications. The paper reports the result of using a parametric tool, Grasshopper and parametric plugins, for creating a generative system of several types of Muqarnas. This synthetic translation aims at expanding our understanding of parametric analysis and synthesis of traditional architecture, advancing our understanding towards using parametric synthesis, with the scope to fabricate and assemble modules towards UAV-based fabrication of Muqarnas. To do so, the authors are taking advantage of their inherent repetition and recursion. Originality/value: In the first step, this paper reviews studies on traditional Muqarnas (both Iranian and non-Iranian) and relevant parametric approaches. In the second step, the study aims to create a general generative system for Muqarnas. The creation of a generative system for Muqarnas is driven towards the creation of three-dimensional fabrication of their components so that these are assembled automatically using a swarm of UAVs. This particular drive imposes specific constraints in the parametric system, as the assembly of the final components, the authors posit, can only take place in a pick and place fashion.
ZAMANI, E. and DOUNAS, T. 2021. A generative design case study for UAV-based assembly and fabrication: parametric analysis and synthesis of Iranian-Islamic Muqarnas. Open house international [online], 46(3): architecture in the age of disruptive technologies, pages 476-493. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1108/OHI-03-2021-0060