Negociated Formations Workshop

Last weekend, during the intensive workshop “Negociated Formations” directed by Dave Pigram and Iain Maxwell, by supermanoeuvre, the students built an 1:1 cement structure developed using the most advanced parametric tools. Firstly the students generated a virtual model in order to optimize the structural behavious. Then they ended the process printing some of the pieces and joining them. Placed on the roof of the IAAC building, the structure provides shadow to the activities that occasionally could take place in this outdoor space.

Gaudis – Puffy – Jacket is a thin-shell precast pavilion completed in collaboration with the faculty and students of the Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia in Barcelona. The pavilion is a playful tribute to the seminal research on form-finding conducted by Antonio Gaudi. The 3-day intensive design and making workshop explored the spatial, structural, material and ornamental opportunities that exist at the overlap of algorithmic modes of drawing; specifically recursive routines of growth, tiling and subdivision couple to analogue- and digitally-enacted methods of computation.

The project explores the historical trajectory of form-finding within architecture which affords a deeper understanding of architectural form and the processes that underlie it. Similar to many traditional design techniques (cutting, carving, folding, weaving), form-finding techniques harness the positive limitations of a given media – material and force – to resolve formal characteristics in consistent ways. Unlike traditional methods however, form-finding processes embed a considerable level of material and structural intelligence within active design (read: modelling) processes. Thus establishing not only highly productive pathways between design and space-making but equally to the affiliated aspects of material performance, optimisation and build-ability.

The final outcome of the workshop saw the realisation of a highly performative and ornamental thin-shell concrete structure. The funicular (operating entirely in compression) shell consisted of 83 entirely unique fabric-formed concrete tiles ranging in thickness from 8 to 16 mm. The pavilion’s overall form was initially computed through a digital hanging chain (dynamic-relaxation) form-finding process. A second algorithm was developed to automate the workflow of the timber casting rigs necessary to produce each of the unique triangular tile elements: number and annotate tile adjacencies; add a margin to clamp the lycra fabric used as formwork; and to nest the resultant pieces onto cutting sheets.

The individual tile elements were assembled in-situ on bespoke cardboard scaffolding and joined together using a fibre-reinforced mortar jointing method developed by the students. Students explored a range of cement and plaster mixes for the fabric-formed tiles before settling on an optimum matrix with regard to material cost, availability and production time. The mix was placed within the casting rigs with the timber margin ensuring a consistent thickness. The mix was allowed to go “green” prior to the rig being de-centered which in-turn allows the tile to slump. Deformation is controlled through either fabric type and/or layering as well as timing. This incredibly simple method ensured an even tile thickness was attained. The tiles are wire-cut in place whilst still soft ensuring clean and square edges are achieved to aid in the ultimate assembly.

Iain Maxwell
Dave Pigram

Areti Markopoulou
Alexandre Dubor

Alexander Dolan, Mauricio Valenzuela Lanzas, Gabriela González Faria, Yousef Al Nafisi,  Taruni Aggarwal, Zeynep Birgönül, Rangholia Chiragkumar, Himatlal Ahmed,  Selim Roopa Sharma, Lana Awad,  Drew Carson, Joseph Galea, Stuart Maggs, Boleslaw Musierowicz, Jin Shihui, Niccolo Marini, Aldo Sollazzo, Rodrigo Gabriel, Aguirre Pereira, Ranjini Manimudi, Anca Simona, Horvath Swethambari, Sridharan Raja Vignesh, Ali Yerdel, Maria Kuptsova, Harsh Shailesh, Boghani Francisco, Castillo Navarro, Marisa Charusilawong, Miguel Landinez, Peter Malaga, Jose Manuel, Reyes Grimpel.




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