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digital materiality customization mass architecture

Seeyond System – Scalable Fabrication

Seeyondâ„¢ is a culmination of digital accessible software and fabrication driven process for creating scalable interior surfaces that originate from parametric and generative digital roots.

These are essential ruled surface cells that can be stacked and in an emergent manner so that each module is a self supporting system. I think this is the first steps towards a realization of digitally borne forms from digital design processes into the real world. As for further steps, I would like to see more structural expression of the modules. It is a different aesthetic as it stands now as the surface is what is featured rather than the modules themselves.

The modules can be used to created non-loadbearing walls, wall-mounted structures, ceiling clouds, column wraps and enclosures.

You use their design tool which can be accessed on an iPad which provides a proprietary parametric path to selecting a feature type, size, shape, the tessellation of the form and other effects. The tessellation of the form allows for differentiated patterns that relate to the actual structural assembly of the design. The iPad app is not released at this time. A review of that technology for adaptation in a design process will be available once released.

The design tool provides structural analysis, material, hardware, and manufacturing requirements and adjusts these parametrically to fit the design.

From there it is to the fabrication path where material is cut, folded into modules requiring no tools or hardware to put it all together.

Material options are corrugated paper board, chipboard, aluminum, light gauge steel and resin sheet goods.

The initial material option is cellular resin which is made form recyclable plastic in either high-density polyethylene or polypropylene.

Since the modules are self-supporting there is less embodied energy in assembly.

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Video courtesy of YouTubeикониПравославни икониикони на светцииконописikoniсвети георги

California College of the Arts – Aortic Arc 2009


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


Digital Materiality In Architecture

Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler present their work in a continuing development of mass customization utilizing digital processes in physical constructs assisted by construction mechanization. Both are partners in the Zurich architecture and urbanism practice Gramazio & Kohler.

Digital Materiality in Architecture
Nov 20 2008
Book launch at Storefront Gallery
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012
Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler (eds.)
Baden: Lars Müller Publishers, English text, 112 pages, 140 color illustrations

Gramazio and Kohler hold the Chair for Architecture and Digital Fabrication DFAB at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Their research focuses on the exploration of highly informed architectural elements and processes and produces design strategies for full-scale automated fabrication by the department’s robotic construction facility. (core.form.ula)

A video below showcases their Gantenbein winery façade which speaks to the process that they engage upon.