Serial Departure

Commissioned by Materials and Applications
Los Angeles, CA 2004/2005


Architecture is based, historically, on a logic of stacking and assembling, but how does bending, as an operation, change our understanding of shingling and framing? Serial Departure represents a starting point, with respect to research, towards a responsive and possibly reactive architecture. The project began with an interest in a technique of steam-bending wood. This interest led to the methodical research of historical precedents including glass slumping, ship-building, and Thonet/Eames furniture.

By projecting digital information onto an adjustable fabrication bed, a system emerges in which curves developed in the software could be precisely replicated with a piece of wood. A variable jig composed of a pegboard and adjustable cams allows for the production of an almost unlimited number of unique curvatures, moving beyond the limitations of one mold equals one form. More interesting is that this same process allows for material feedback into the digital model. If at any point, the curvature exceeds the bending capacity of the wood, the computer model is adjusted to match the maximum profile the wood is able to bear. In this way, a feedback loop is created as information flows from the digital, to the analog, and back into the digital.

Formed Acrylic, Stainless Steel, Low Energy LED backlighting
(45' L x 11' H x 6' W)

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