A rather beautiful light-capture object has been inserted into an atrium space on the San Francisco campus of the California College of the Arts. The object can be viewed from underneath at the first floor and above from the 2nd floor of the School of Architecture.

The Aortic Arc is a sensual experience work that allows one a glimpse into spaces that might be shaped by computational design whereby geometry and panels work together structurally in the spirit of Frei Otto’s pioneering work in form finding techniques and material systems. The canopy structure as shown in the images takes advantage of its definition and condition through the system of compressive rings and tension cables within a tapestry of lightweight plastic and riveted pin connections to comprise a minimum surface structure.

Mark L. Donohue, Principle of Visible Research Office, states that Buro Happold Consulting Engineers was instrumental in developing the project and helping to give the work its definitive shape and performative structural expression. Buro Happold’s design intention is a process that is in essence an innovation on Frei Otto’s work to bring this kind of investigation into the age of digital fabrication.

The form finding, finite element analysis, and structural design work is by Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC.

Visible Research Office
Principal: Mark L. Donohue
Project Architect: Americo A Diaz-O
Project Designer: Charles Lee
Project Designer: Chris Chalmers
Component Design & Scripting: Jason Chang
Renderings: Charles Lee

Buro Happold
Principal: Greg Otto
Associate Principal: Gary Lau
Project Engineer, Non-linear Analysis: Tom Reiner
Project Engineer, Non-linear Analysis: Ian Carter
Project Cordinator: Ron Elad
Complex Geometry Modeling: Yukie Hirashima
Technical Designer: Krista Flascha

Software Bentley Microstation Generative Components (Bios – Chris Chalmers & Charles Lee)
Fabrication: CNC Milling @ TechShop in Menlo Park, CA.
Materials: HDPE sheets, pop riveter, aircraft cable, rivets, stainless steel rings

For more information see the following links:
CCA m.lab
Buro Happold
Visible Research Office
photography by Tyrone Marshall