Steven Holl Architects – Porosity Project

Steven Holl Architects wanted to do experiments in porosity and decided to take on the Porosity project. Random porosity involves a non-linear repetition of individual components in varying scales, while recursive porosity employs mathematical strategies to generate infinitely complex patterns.

Name: Porosity

Program: experiments in porosity

Size: 50 m2

Material: Developed in collaboration with Albefex Srl. of Treviso, Italy, the composite “Albeflex BL Special” is designed to be lightweight, self-supporting and capable of taking advantage of CNC driven digital fabrication techniques. Formed of cross-laminated plies of wood veneer and a central core of a proprietary new fabric and paper composite with a total thickness of 1.8 mm in four laminae, Albeflex has significantly less mass than similar materials based on sheet metal core materials. In addition, second stage fabrication associated with metal cores such as on a press brake, is eliminated as the hinge formed by the laser or water-jet scoring of the wood plies is flexible enough to allow for flat shipping and bending in the field.

Assembly: Three dimensional forms are digitally resolved into flat panels which are then automatically nested for maximally efficient use of the basic sheet size of 3050mm x 1050 mm. Individual panels, which are numbered and sequenced during the CNC fabrication process, thus eliminating the need for traditional shop or assembly drawing, are fabricated with 75mm scored border flaps. Folding and through-bolting of these flanges forms an autonomous diaphragm structure which provides rigidity through the interconnection of all elements.

Random and Recursive Porosity: Five experimental porous patterns are laser cut form the material, each exploring a particular aspect of the non-repetitive made possible by digital fabrication. Random porosity involves a non-linear repetition of individual components in varying scales, while recursive porosity employs mathematical strategies to generate infinitely complex patterns. In one experiment, Pascal’s Theorem is used as a generator for a porous cloud of hexagon-derived openings. The random and non-repetitive character of the experiment gives rise to a limitless range of rich and unexpected spatial phenomena.

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