Our competition entry for the ACADIA 2011 Design + Fabrication Competition: sponsored by FLATCUT_ was chosen as a winner! There were three entry categories including partition, lighting, and furniture. Our entry, HYPERLAXITY: parabolic ligaments, was completed as a collaboration with Elizabeth Boone (of SOM New York), one of the original members of PROJECTiONE, and looks at the retention of compression and tension members into a rigid system, creating a highly dynamic wall surface. Winning designs in each category will be fabricated by FLATCUT_ and exhibited in the Integration Through Computation exhibit in Calgary, Canada as part of the 2011 ACADIA conference. They will be part of a traveling exhibit after the conclusion of the conference and will be shipped to the winning designers at its completion.

Below are images and the text from our competition entry.

The system’s component organization was derived from the geometrical dissection of a hexagonal network into a composite hexagon and triangle pattern. Two surfaces generate the formal strategy, an extraction of the resulting intermediate space. A parametrically driven definition was created to produce the aggregation and can be adapted to any two surface-based data sets. Once populated, the
interim space hosts the primary geometry while the extent of the original surface information functions as its armature. Depth, cluster, density, and aperture size all vary to adjust transparency and respond to structural requirements.

Intentionally, a dependent structural relationship exists between the two chosen materials: aluminum and silicone. The system is secured in compression by the tensioned silicone ligaments which connect all of the rigid aluminum members. Each part is necessary in order to maintain a cohesive assembly. The two materials work in contrast both structurally and qualitatively. The high gloss light-deflecting properties of the aluminum compliment the smooth light-capturing characteristics of the silicone. Soft, malleable, and pliable, the silicone offers a relief to the rigid metal components. The thin aluminum network suspends the white translucent silicone which expresses volume, depth, and density.

Rather than resolve connections with hardware, the solution is driven by each materials’ intrinsic qualities. Integrated connections are achieved through a number of custom elements. Locating tabs in the aluminum compression members are secured through holes in each pair of triangular aluminum plates. Connections between one plate and another are achieved using v-shaped clips which also employ a locating tab detail to create a pinned relationship. Slits in the silicone sheet allow the material to stretch over and wrap the locating tabs of the aluminum profiles. Held in place by this hexagonal silicone network, an aluminum ring its center span keeps the sheets in tension.

All of the fabrication files are produced by unrolling surfaces to generate profile information for 3-axis cutting. Powder coated aluminum serves as the structural framework, and can easily be finely detailed to capture precise tolerances for machining on a CNC router. A sheet silicone provides a flexible and resilient counterpart which could be water-jet cut, or cut with a blade attachment on a CNC router.