Taking Stock: Strategically Manipulating Plywood

GSD 6427: Advanced Fabrication: Informing Form
Instructors: John Nastasi + Rachel Vromon
Collaborators: Timothy Pingree, Nicolas Rivard, Alex Shelly
Spring 2012

This semester we explored the relationship between material properties and the processes of making that surround them as a way into the realm of digital fabrication. The use of off the shelf materials was taken as a point of departure towards transforming a standard (stock) material into something more. Implicit in our approach was a belief that beginning our investigation with material properties and behavior would lead us to a more robust structure in the end. So often, the physicality inherent in construction is lost in the digital design process, and we wanted to avoid that. Through an interest in the flexibility of wood we began to establish a language of stategically weakening whereby strips of plywood were first incised and folded onto themselves to create a stiffening effect. Next they were tensioned with woven stainless steel cable to provide strength in the opposing direction, eventually forming an arched structure. We plan to continue this line of research over the next year to develop it more fully.