PLAY with PLYWOOD: Surface Active Structures | Texas A&M University


In fall 2015, for exploring the notion of three-dimensional structures, students in freshman design studios in the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University were asked to design Surface Active Arches by using plywood. One of the most significant discoveries made by students working on these Surface Active Arch Design projects was that changing the materials they used also changed their final forms; their forms were not driven simply by geometry, but also by material properties. Despite the widespread development and adoption of three-dimensional (3D) modeling software that allows designing complicated shapes virtually, the physical construction of such complicated shapes is still an important problem. One of the significant challenges is that freshman students do not have software expertise and fabrication knowledge and skills. The developable surfaces, which can be made out of thin sheets of flat materials by rolling these sheets without stretching, are useful for the physical construction of complicated shapes. Flat sheets are also excellent materials for teaching the design of complicated architectural shapes since they can simply be cut using laser cutters, which are one of the most available digital fabrication tools in the school of architecture. Moreover, using widely available flat sheets such as plywood panels can significantly reduce manufacturing costs.

Project Credits:
School: Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University
Instructors: Alireza BorhaniNegar Kalantar

Students: Abu Ashour – Akins – Berger – Bush – Campos – Cynthia- Casto- Cook- Duran- Espinosa- Farmer – Flores – Garant – Garcia- Garcia – Grasley – Hergert – Holmes – Hornung – Houser – Johnson – Kim – Lamastra – Lambeth – Madrigale – Martinez – Marshall – McArdle – McCabe – Moreno – Ortiz Beltran – Pennacchi – Perez – Preiss – Raymond – Reyes – Richardson – Rosas – Ruby – Salazar – Zavala – Smith – Standefer – Taylor – Terry – Vu – Werner – Wilson – Zapata – Zavala – Zipps
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