Make Architecture



02: Lasercutter (WaxWars)

I started this project with the ideas to exploit the hollow structure of the corrugated cardboard.  After exploring some bending and folding, I decided to use them straight as they are.  The outer layers are too thin to bear any load, and it made more sense to preserve the structure of the cardboard.  After finding the right orientation for a 90 degree press fit, I moved on to the pattern I wanted to make.

For this, I started to test some basic gradient patterns in Coreldraw.  The aim was to explore the cardboard behavior by eating up the material with the laser.  I had the chance to get the pattern on one side of the cardboard only. however the aim is to juxtapose patterns on the three layers on the cardboard, so it can create customized light on the desired spots.

Due to limited time on the laser, I moved on to another idea that incorporates other materials.  I decided to create fields of pins.  This was relatively easy because of the hollowness of the cardboard.  After lasercutting the beds for the pins, I inserted the pins on the sheets with different orientations.  In this experiment, the main parameters are the height of the pins, their orientation, and the grid measurements.  In another version, I incorporated a net structure by winding athread, too.  These beds are later dipped into a pot of wax I melted, and left to dry upside down.  The emerging patterns are exciting.

My project does not necessarily exploit the lasercutter as a means to construction.  In my project, lasercutters major advantage was to give me precise setting for my pin beds.  In my research, I am looking for utilizing machines as the lasercutter along with the considerations of material behavior and types of manipulations.  In this sense, I am searching for unorthodox uses for the lasercutter and incorporations of multiple materials within the artifact.


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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