Design Objects

Counterpoise

2011

Conference Table Zurich Switzerland

Counterpoise is the expression of a dynamic act of balancing. It is a floating piece of furniture radiating into the surrounding space, grounded in a reduced formal language of delicate equilibrium of forces. The project is using principles of structural design on the scale of furniture design.

 

Counterpoise is the expression of a dynamic act of balancing. It is a floating piece of furniture radiating into the surrounding space, grounded in a reduced formal language of delicate equilibrium of forces. The project is using principles of structural design on the scale of furniture design.

The sculpture is part of a research that explores the basic principles and qualities as well as potential applications of Interlocking Particle Structures (IPS) in the fields of architecture and design. The notion of IPS refers to aggregates respectively porous agglomerates of interlocking plate-shaped elements. They can also be described as particle systems with structural qualities, whereupon the term structural stands for both load-bearing and space-generating capacities. As such, IPS can be seen as an attempt to combine the generative behaviour of particle systems with the tectonic exploration of material systems.

The sculpture functions as a demonstrator and is composed of six square birch plywood panels with an edge length of 145 cm and a thickness of 27 mm. Its design is based on an orthogonal spatial array of originally 18 panels. Whereas all panels have the same dimensions, they form three different groups, each of which is either aligned with the xy, xz or the yz plane. The individual panels of these three groups intersect with each other. The intersection depth corresponds to approximately one fifth of the panels’ edge length. The initially orthogonal alignment is then transformed by applying three consecutive rotations of 15° about the x, y and z axis of the panels’ local coordinate systems. From this transformed configuration, a group of six panels was selected for the demonstrator.

The angled cuts and their fabrication play an important role for the assembly and stability of the demonstrator, especially with regard to the depth of interlocking of two panels. Milling procedures employ cylindrical cutting bits, which consequently results in chamfered corners. This is problematic, as the final interlocking position between two panels cannot be determined in a precise way. Ideally, two panels would be interlocked in a way, that they have one common planar contact surface.

The research on IPS shows that contemporary industrial wood products are opening up new possibilities in construction due to their dimensions and improved structural capacity. Despite its relatively moderate size, the demonstrator possesses a number of spatial and tectonic qualities that are commonly not associated with timber construction. The flexibility of the connections provides for a formal richness and variety that requires additional architectural and engineering research.

 

Design: Markus Hudert
Structure: Jürgen Scholte-Wassink, Frankfurt, Germany
Woodwork: NC Machining/Processing Workshop, Aalto University, Finland

 

Reciprocal Roof

2014

Outdoor Covering Reutlingen Germany

The roof structure covers an outdoor seating area. Based on the principle of reciprocity, the structure cantilevers out from the wall without additional support. Geometric interlocking provides stiffness and, at the same time, introduces ornamental quality to the seemingly floating beams.

Design: Toni Kotnik
Structure: Patrick Ole Ohlbrock, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Steelwork: Gebr. Gysi AG, Baar, Switzerland
Woodwork: Oliver Zgraggen, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

 

SUTD Open House

2015

Exhibition Platform Singapore

The design provides an exhibition platform for the annual SUTD Open House event. The neutrality of the white open space of the gallery and lobby is counteracted by the physical presence of the platform: an 18m long and up to 4 wide gridded structure out of 2×4 stud of pine.

 

The design provides an exhibition platform for the department of Architecture and Sustainable Design at the gallery of the main lobby of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). It was unveiled for the SUTD Open House in early March 2015. The neutrality of the white and open space of the gallery and lobby is counteracted by the physical presence of the exhibition platform that is generated by its size and materiality: an 18m long and up to 4 wide gridded platform out of 2x4 stud of pine. The gridded structure further enhances the presence of the platform through its rigidity and precision that differentiates the geometry of the exhibition from the fluidity and openness of the gallery space. The grid of the platform is slightly angled to allow for a more dynamic expression of the exhibition and an easier adaptation to the spatial conditions of the gallery. The contrast between the geometry of the exhibition platform and the gallery space is further smoothed out by dissolving of the rigid grid to the edge. This blurring of the boundary allows visitors to move in parts deep into the platform this way enabling a closer look at some of the exhibited pieces.

The wooden grid consists of 200 studs of 1 m length. For the construction of the platform, the studs were pre-assembled into a modular system of four centrally connected studs. This windmill-like configuration ensures tight connection of each module with the neighboring one and leads to a stiff gridded surface that can cantilever over several meters without much deflection. Because of this, only a light supporting structure is needed that primarily has to take care of the vertical load. Three types of tripods out of oxidized reinforcement bars of 1 cm diameter have been designed that vary in spacing from 20 cm up to 140 cm. The steel bars are point-welded and tied together at one end with a tension cable this way ensuring the compensation of any horizontal forces within the tripod and thus avoiding any slipping of the support system. The relatively high self-weight of the platform of around 350 kg guarantees high pressure at the three supporting points of each of the tripods. A physical connection, therefore, is not necessary. The platform rest firmly on the supporting tripods. Only as precaution measure, small clips have been added which avoid any movement of the tripods and potential slipping out of position. All in all, the supporting structure consists of 16 tripods. This number exceeds by far the amount necessary to support the platform. The amount and location of the various tripods rather follows a design intention that plays with variation of density and directionality of the support system at different areas of the exhibition platform.

The exhibition platform is a simple but effective design that performs well. The final structure is the result of very constraint time frame of less than three weeks from the initiation of the design to the finished assembly. The gridded structure as well as the supporting system could easily be varied more extensively within a parametric design approach. But this would result in an increased planning time especially for fabrication and assembly, something that could be afforded within the given setup. Because of this, variation has been introduced into the design through the combination of the basic modules and the blurred edge condition as well as the through variation of the location and density of the tripod.

 

Design: Carlos Bañón & Toni Kotnik

 

Interlocking Particles

2017

Sculpture Aalto University Finland

Interlocking Particle explores the potential of plate assembly for wooden construction. It is an attempt to combine the generative behavior of particle systems with the tectonic exploration of material systems.The sculpture was exhibited as part of the Aalto Festival 2017.

 

The sculpture is part of a research that explores the basic principles and qualities as well as potential applications of Interlocking Particle Structures (IPS) in the fields of architecture and design. The notion of IPS refers to aggregates respectively porous agglomerates of interlocking plate-shaped elements. They can also be described as particle systems with structural qualities, whereupon the term structural stands for both load-bearing and space-generating capacities. As such, IPS can be seen as an attempt to combine the generative behaviour of particle systems with the tectonic exploration of material systems.

The sculpture functions as a demonstrator and is composed of six square birch plywood panels with an edge length of 145 cm and a thickness of 27 mm. Its design is based on an orthogonal spatial array of originally 18 panels. Whereas all panels have the same dimensions, they form three different groups, each of which is either aligned with the xy, xz or the yz plane. The individual panels of these three groups intersect with each other. The intersection depth corresponds to approximately one fifth of the panels’ edge length. The initially orthogonal alignment is then transformed by applying three consecutive rotations of 15° about the x, y and z axis of the panels’ local coordinate systems. From this transformed configuration, a group of six panels was selected for the demonstrator.

The angled cuts and their fabrication play an important role for the assembly and stability of the demonstrator, especially with regard to the depth of interlocking of two panels. Milling procedures employ cylindrical cutting bits, which consequently results in chamfered corners. This is problematic, as the final interlocking position between two panels cannot be determined in a precise way. Ideally, two panels would be interlocked in a way, that they have one common planar contact surface.

The research on IPS shows that contemporary industrial wood products are opening up new possibilities in construction due to their dimensions and improved structural capacity. Despite its relatively moderate size, the demonstrator possesses a number of spatial and tectonic qualities that are commonly not associated with timber construction. The flexibility of the connections provides for a formal richness and variety that requires additional architectural and engineering research.

 

Design: Markus Hudert
Structure: Jürgen Scholte-Wassink, Frankfurt, Germany
Woodwork: NC Machining/Processing Workshop, Aalto University, Finland