Make Architecture



4 The Rocking Chair

For this week I decided to make a rocking chair.

I used this ‘Edo’ chair as the template.

I recreated the chair as best I could in rhino, trying to use contiguous pieces where possible but also trying to maintain the streamlined appearance of the original.

The cut files (1″ border offset at sheet edge):

I used a press-fit offset of .02″ – effectively resulting in a .46″ wide female end trying to slide over a .48″ wide male end. This was relatively easy during the first few simple connections, but as more pieces were fit together, the friction became increasingly difficult to overcome. For the bottom brace (underneath the seat), I resorted to sanding/band sawing the gaps wider.

To make another iteration of this, I would make all the offsets .015″ or less.  I had to wail on this thing for about 2-3 hours with a rubber mallet to get the pieces into place.

*TIP: the N51 woodshop has a much heavier rubber mallet than the RPL. It’s a veritable sledgehammer compared to the puny instrument the RPL has.

What with all the hammering, the chair was worse for the wear after assembly was finished, but it does work. I’m confident Larry Sass could sit in it.

Just maxing and relaxing in studio.


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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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