UT Student Installation Takes SXSW

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Undergraduates at UT designed Caret 6 as a backdrop for TEX-FAB's annual competition exhibition. (Casey Dunn)

Undergraduates at UT designed Caret 6 as a backdrop for TEX-FAB’s annual competition exhibition. (Casey Dunn)

A room-filling parametric design makes its way from the classroom to Austin’s famous music festival.

When Kory Bieg and his students at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture began working on Caret 6, they had no idea that it would wind up at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music and arts festival. But the rippling, room-filling installation soon took on a life of its own. Within months, Bieg’s undergraduates—who had little previous exposure to digital design—had designed and fabricated Caret 6, and assembled and disassembled it twice, first at the TEX-FAB SKIN: Digital Assemblies Symposium in February, and then at Austin’s most famous annual gathering in March. Read More

Boston Valley Brings a 100-Year-Old Dome into the Digital Age

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BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

BOSTON VALLEY FABRICATED 18,841 INDIVIDUAL TERRA COTTA COMPONENTS FOR THE RESTORATION PROJECT (BOSTON VALLEY TERRA COTTA)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building’s century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.

Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools.

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Reinventing the Facade: SKIN Competition Names Four First Stage Finalists

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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Robotic Assisted Sheet Metal Fabrication, Finalist. (Courtesy Tex-Fab)

Robotic Assisted Sheet Metal Fabrication, Finalist. (Courtesy Tex-Fab)

Tex-Fab has concluded the initial stage of its international competition called SKIN. The two-stage competition invited architects, designers, and researchers to rethink the traditional building envelope by exploring the performative qualities of a facade. Participants selected any context, real or virtual, at any scale and on any building type. Phase one jurors narrowed down 68 entries from across the world to four finalists and four honorable mentions.

Continue reading after the jump.

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

MIT Media Lab Enlists 6,500 Silkworms to 3D Print a Dome Pavilion

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Silkworms gather atop the pavilion (Steven Keating/Courtesy Mediated Matter)

Silkworms gather atop the pavilion (Steven Keating/Courtesy Mediated Matter)

A new pavilion created by the Mediated Matter research group at MIT’s Media Lab explores the intersection between material technology, computation, and biological and digital fabrication on an architectural scale. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to create a 3D cocoon out of a single, 1 km thread, a team of researchers led by architect Neri Oxman created a fibrous, CNC-fabricated scaffold made from 26 polygonal panels and laid out in silk thread. They then let loose 6,500 silkworms onto the frame to fill in the gaps and reinforce the structure.

Watch the worms at work in a video after the jump.

Ellipses Collide in Mathematically-Inspired Installation at the University of Oregon

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Friday, January 25, 2013
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Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

SubDivided provides a unifying element in Fenton Hall’s three-story atrium, tying each level together visually.

In December 2012, the University of Oregon completed a renovation of Fenton Hall (1904), which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years. In addition to sprucing up the interior and upgrading the mechanical systems, the institution hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. Out of roughly 200 initial applicants three were shortlisted, and of those the university selected a design by Atlanta-based architect Vokan Alkanoglu. Composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, the 14-foot-high by 10-foot-long by 4 ½-foot-wide sculptural form is derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses—a nod to the discipline that calls Fenton Hall home.

“We wanted to create something that would be visible on all three floors of the atrium to connect the levels and create flow in the space,” said Alkanoglu. “We also wanted to have an interior to the piece, so that you could see inside and outside, to give it a real sense of three dimensionality.”

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Utile Makes a Splash With Digitally Fabricated Pavilion in Boston

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Friday, January 18, 2013
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Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion roof channels rainwater for irrigation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Jump on a ferry in Downtown Boston and in twenty minutes, you’ll arrive at the Boston Harbor Islands, an archipelago of 34 islands dotting Boston Harbor managed by the National Park Service. To entice city-dwellers to make the trip, Boston-based Utile Architecture + Planning has designed a composite steel and concrete pavilion with a digitally fabricated roof for the National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to provide travel information and history about the Islands and a shady respite atop the highway-capping Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Two thin overlapping concrete canopy slabs supported by delicate steel beams provide a sculptural shelter. Utile digitally designed the $4.2 million Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion using Rhino to respond to the surrounding cityscape and serve as a playful rainwater-harvesting system to irrigate the Greenway’s landscape.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tex-Fab Competition Proposals Harness “Research Through Fabrication”

National
Thursday, July 12, 2012
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"Latent Methods" explores the possibilities of shingles. (Courtesy of Tex-Fab)

"Latent Methods" explores the possibilities of shingles. (Courtesy of Tex-Fab)

While a winner has not yet been selected, Tex-Fab’s new APPLIED: Research Through Fabrication competition has already produced interesting results as four semi-finalists emerge. The competition solicited proposals that best displayed “research through computational fabrication.” The four proposals selected in the first round of adjudication address acoustics, structure, construction, material, and surface effects, each using on digital modeling and fabrication techniques. The proposals, described in more detail below, will be shown at ACADIA 2012 this October at the Synthetic Digital Ecologies conference, hosted at the California College of the Arts.

See the proposals after the jump.

Play It Forward: A Temporary Interactive Installation

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Friday, January 13, 2012
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Part of this year’s Digital Capital Week, the project turns games into donations for a charitable cause.

When Washington, D.C.-area designers Hiroshi Jacobs, Jonathan Grinham, and Kash Bennett were asked to create an installation for Digital Capital Week’s 24-Hour City Project, which seeks to improve urban environments with creative technology, they knew it had to be more than just something to look at. The team created Play It Forward, an interactive, motion-sensing display that donates a small amount of money to charity each time someone plays with it. Unveiled at the technology festival’s closing party at Arena Stage and now part of an exhibit at D.C.’s Project 4 Gallery, the installation demonstrates how advanced parametric design and digital fabrication methods can work together to encourage interaction and promote social change in the process.

Continue reading after the jump.

Haresh Lalvani’s Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300

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Friday, December 16, 2011
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One of 1,000 patterns created as part of the Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300 (Moss)

The designer’s most recent collaboration with Milgo/Bufkin explores mass customization

Architect-morphologist Haresh Lalvani is continuing his longtime relationship with Brooklyn-based fabricator Milgo/Bufkin with the Morphing Fruit Platter 1D Series 300, which was unveiled at this year’s Design Miami as part of the Moss exhibit, Mass Customization of Emergent Designs. The 100 platters presented at Moss represent the designer’s latest thoughts about the intersection of mathematics and manufacturing based on a process he calls Lautomation.

Continue reading after the jump.

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