The Cartesian Collection: A 17th Century Design Reboot

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Friday, June 28, 2013
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The Cartesian Collection by Alexander Purcell Rodrigues was fabricated from 1/2-inch thick aluminum by the Neal Feay Company. (courtesy Alexander Purcell Rodrigues)

The Cartesian Collection by Alexander Purcell Rodrigues was fabricated from 1/2-inch thick aluminum by the Neal Feay Company. (courtesy Alexander Purcell Rodrigues)

An ambitious designer used Rhino to design and fabricate 20 variations on a chair in four months.

For a designer aiming to streamline the gap between design and manufacturing, parametric modeling tools are a natural solution. LA-based Alexander Purcell Rodrigues found a place to work in just such a way at the Neal Feay Company (NF), a 60-year old fabrication studio in Santa Barbara, California, that is known for its exceptional metalworking. Together, the designer and the fabrication studio created the Cartesian Collection of chairs, aptly named for the analytic geometry that helped facilitate close to 20 design variations on the same aluminum frame in just under four months. “Not only were we pushing the boundaries of aluminum fabrication, the aim was to simultaneously create a lean manufacturing process,” said Rodrigues.

Using Rhino with a Grasshopper plugin, Rodrigues developed a design for a chair that weaves together the simplicity of Western design with the complex ornamentation of traditional Eastern aesthetics. While the lines of the chair are clean and smooth, intricate embellishments on the back traverse multiple planes and angles, all on a shrunken scale. The time savings involved in designing with Rhino allowed the creation of another 19 variations on the theme. Read More

A Plus Design for Elevator B Hive

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Friday, June 7, 2013
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Elevator B by students of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Buffalo, located in Buffalo's First Ward (Hive City Design Team)

Elevator B by students of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Buffalo, located in Buffalo’s First Ward (Hive City Design Team)

The 22-foot Elevator B honeybee habitat was the winning proposal in a design competition sponsored by Rigidized Metals and the University
at Buffalo.

The disquieting phenomenon of colony collapse disorder is seeing global bee populations vanish before our eyes, threatening the pollination of much of the world’s food crops. So when Buffalo, New York, metal fabricator Rigidized Metals discovered a colony of bees in an abandoned grain silo that its owner purchased, the company sponsored the Hive City competition. Students at the University at Buffalo (UB) were invited to design a viable bee habitat that would spark interest in the Silo City area and demonstrate the strengths of various building materials suppliers in Buffalo’s First Ward. As the first, permanent new construction on the Silo City site, Rigidized Metals wanted something that would be visible from nearby Ohio Street, stand out in the industrial landscape, and be reverent to neighboring silos.

The winning design, known as Elevator B, is a 22-foot tower of 18-gauge sheet metal panels, with strategic perforations for natural ventilation, light, and heat management. An operable bee “cab” in the interior supports the actual hive on a pulley system, allowing beekeepers to access the colony and return it to a level that keeps the population safe from predators. Read More

Memory Cloud Taps Tradition At Texas A&M

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Friday, May 24, 2013
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Memory Cloud Texas A&M tradition with an active constellation of animated LEDs.

Memory Cloud embodies Texas A&M tradition with an active matrix of animated LEDs. (Courtesy Metalab)

Re:site and Metalab’s site-specific installation for Texas A&M’s 12th Man Memorial Student Center uses 4,000 networked LEDs to create an animated display that speaks to tradition as well as to the future.

The Corps of Cadets. Kyle Field. The 12th Man. Reveille. Texas A&M has more than a few strong traditions, most of which are centered around and given expression by the university’s football games and its alumni’s illustrious history of military service. At the same time, the school is well known for its robust and forward thinking science and engineering departments. Both of these characteristics factored into the conception for a permanent sculpture to inhabit A&M’s new Memorial Student Center (MSC). Created by art collaborative RE:site and design and fabrication studio Metalab (both located in Houston) the sculpture, titled Memory Cloud, is a chandelier of 4,000 white LEDs that are animated by two distinct feeds: one derived from archival footage of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the other from live infrared cameras that monitor people passing through the center’s atrium.

“To interpret tradition visually we thought of moving patterns of people,” said Norman Lee of RE:site. “A&M has a strong marching band. If you remove the specifics of what the band is wearing and focus on the movements, they’re the same from 1900 to now. Once you reduce the figures from archival footage to silhouette patterns, you can’t identify the different points in time. Time and space collapse and bring together the school’s tradition in visual terms.”

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DesignX Workshop: MODE LAB INTRO TO PARAMETRIC DESIGN WITH GRASSHOPPER

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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designx_rhino_02

Interested in learning how to build parametric design models using Grasshopper for Rhino3D? DesignX, in conjunction with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, is offering a workshop on Monday, May 20, 2013 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM that focuses on fundamental concepts and mechanisms with an emphasis on professional practice. Instructors Ronnie Parsons and Gil Akos will help participants understand pertinent applications of parametric design and will demonstrate how to use Grasshopper in creative practices. Interiors, architects, and anyone seeking to find out what parametric design is and when it is useful can register and attend. The workshop fulfills two AIA CEUs.

A Game of Cat’s Cradle with yo_cy

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Friday, April 19, 2013
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Cast Thicket is the winning submission of the APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition.

Cast Thicket is the winning submission of the APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition. (Kevin McClellan)

Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy applied research from working with concrete to dispel the singular material tendency of digital fabrication.

Out of 68 submissions from 17 countries across four continents, the winning proposal of Tex-Fab’s APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition at the University of Texas at Arlington came from Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy, a collaborative design studio that utilizes digital techniques for maximum design effect. Their winning idea is called Cast Thicket, a study in tensile concrete that takes off in variations like a game of Cat’s Cradle.

“The initial idea was to apply our research toward the competition,” said Tracy. The designers used their experience with an Indonesian material called bilik—a soft, woven bamboo mat typically used as a vertical divider—that helped form a fabric, cast concrete wall for a residential project in Southeast Asia. “We wanted to make something from a construction material that is normally very heavy looking [and] invert the stereotype of the carved aesthetics of concrete to create something that is lacy, thin, and delicate.” Read More

Learn Parametric Design From the Pros at Facades+PERFORMANCE On April 11+12

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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We know you’ve seen those sleek parametric designs that are all the rage in cutting-edge architecture, but have you ever wanted to make your own? Venturing into the software zoo of Grasshopper and Rhino can be daunting on your own, and understanding algorithms and computational geometry can sound like Greek to the uninitiated. Luckily, parametric expert Ronnie Parsons of Mode Collective has joined the upcoming facades+PERFORMANCE Conference taking place in New York City next week, April 11 and 12, and will help guide beginners into the exciting world of Parametric Design.

With a focus on fundamental concepts and workflows for creating performance-based design models with the parametric design tool  Grasshopper for Rhino3D. Parsons’ Technical Workshop, Introduction to Parametric Design, will guide participants through a series of exercises designed to emphasize the relevant applications of parametric design for professional practice.

Register today for the Introduction to Parametric Design workshop and the facades+PERFORMANCE before space fills up. There are 8 LU AIA CE credits up for grabs, so head on over to the facades+PERFORMANCE homepage for more information.

Profile> Architect Chris Lasch Presents Tooling Scripted Facades on July 27

West
Monday, June 25, 2012
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Chris Lasch (left) and Benjamin Arranda (right) of the New York-based firm Arranda Lasch. On July 27 Chris Lasch will lead a workshop on "Scripted Facades."

Chris Lasch (left) and Benjamin Arranda (right) of the New York-based firm Aranda/Lasch. On July 27 Chris Lasch will lead the workshop Scripted Facades.

“We’ve always been interested in the tools used in architecture and have always tried to be critical of these tools,” stated the partners of Aranda/Lasch after being named finalists in MoMA PS 1’s Young Architect Program (YAP) in 2005. “At a certain point we began making our own computational tools and realized that we could make structures that organize space and put forth a way to practice architecture.” Fast forward seven years, and Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch continue to pioneer new forms through innovative scripting.

On July 27, Chris Lasch will lead Scripted Facades, a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

More about Lasch and his Scripted Facades workshop after the jump.

Epiphyte Lab′s Hsu House Mass Wall

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Friday, March 25, 2011
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The poured-in-place concrete wall (Susan and Jerry Kaye)

A south-facing heat sink mass wall stores heat and diffuses light, creating an all-seasons solarium for an energy efficient home in Upstate New York.

Dana Cupkova and Kevin Pratt, founders of Ithaca-based design and research practice Epiphyte Lab, met the client for which they built Hsu House in one of Cupkova’s classes at Cornell where she teaches design and fabrication strategies for ecologically adaptive construction systems. The client, a medical doctor, was in the class with the goal of designing his own energy efficient home in Danby, New York, but after an initial consultation, asked Cupkova and Pratt to design it instead.

Continue reading after the jump.

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