Bacteria often evoke a destructive image, with connotations of decay and illness. But like all living communities, as much as they consume, they also create (or, perhaps more accurately, excrete). And it's this creative power that London-based architectural researcher Bastian Beyer is harnessing in his “Column Project.” With designer Daniel Suarez, Beyer has created solid, structural forms from microbe-suffused textiles as a more sustainable, biodegradable alternative to carbon-intensive materials. The project's central innovation is a dual-use apparatus that combines a loom and a so-called bioreactor. Woven jute (tested in many patterns and weights) acts as a host for a whole environment of sprayed-on microorganisms—a microbiome—clinging to the textiles. The introduction of calcium chloride and urea spurs the sporosarcina pasteurii bacteria to action, catalyzing their production of a calcite structure that alters the underlying fibers and solidifies the knit matrix over about three days. “These microbiomes are in constant (biological) exchange with their environment which varies in their activity depending on external and internal conditions,” said Beyer, speaking of the ways the environment, bacteria, and material interact. While the textile structure doesn’t have the strength of materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass, it still stands solid and can be used for “spatial dividers, shading features, reinforcement, and potentially even structural roof or wall systems,” according to Beyer. Given its unique biologically-focused design, there’s also the hope that it might be a self-repairing technology. Somewhat cryptically, or poetically, depending on your disposition, Beyer said that “the project can be understood as an architectural mediator of a multi-actor fabrication process, allowing the interdependent inputs from the digital, the microbiological as well as the human body to merge into one co-creating entity.” It collapses distinctions of biology and technology, of craft and natural processes. The project, which won a 2018 Autodesk ACADIA Emerging Research Award, is part of the broader ArcInTex initiative, a European program that supports explorations across the intersections of “architecture, interaction design, and textiles.”
Posts tagged with "Fiberglass":
Brought to you with support fromIn 2011, Buenos Aires-based estudio Claudio Vekstein_Opera Publica (eCV) was approached by the government of Argentina's Sante Fe Province to design a space memorializing the centennial of the Alcorta Farmers Revolt. Founded in 1892, Alcorta is a small farming town laid out according to a dense and rigid grid surrounded by plotted agricultural land, an urban morphology typical of this southern corner of the province. From this historical context, eCV's Memorial Space and Monument of the Alcorta Farmers Revolt rises as an asymmetrical fissured edifice wrapped with semi-translucent, prefabricated epoxy resin-and-fiberglass panels.
fiberglass, and rough burlap cloth. For the relief of the bags, eCV designed a set of rectangular molds of a standard height and varying widths. These modules are plugged into 275 alternating facade elements measuring approximately 3.5 feet in height and 7 feet in width. The billowing mass of the reinforced resin panels is broken by a series of narrow apertures of four different dimensions. The structure of the monument is highly visible, consisting of exposed and inclined steel beams and trusses planted into a concrete foundation. Mounting the precast facade panels onto the structure was a fairly straightforward operation: the panels are attached to a bracket-connected metal framing system with self-tapping screws. In total, the installation of the panels took approximately three weeks. A significant portion of the northwestern facade folds over the 4,300 square-foot built area and interior segments of the panels are backed by rows of grooved fiberglass. The rear elevations, which host offices of the Agrarian Federation and communal spaces, are fronted by rectangular corrugated sheets of metal that are similarly fastened to a framing system. During the day, the semi-translucent screen filters a soft yellow light into the memorial's principal spaces. The rough burlap fabric, which provides the panels their outward dark hue, takes on the form of a glowing and sinuous skin. As the sun sets and interior spaces are illuminated by artificial lighting, the facade becomes a lamp beaming toward Alcorta. Beyond the facade, eCV’s interior is spartan and reflective of the populist ethos of the overall design typology–the flooring is bare concrete, with steel trusses and cross braces cascading below the slanted roofline. After six years of episodic construction, the complex opened to the public on the 106th anniversary of the uprising in June 2018.The complex, located on an approximately 81,000 square-foot plot, is a visual homage to the town and region’s proud pastoral heritage. For the main northwestern facade, eCV Principal Claudio Vekstein turned to the region’s traditional forms; during the harvest season, farmers would pile their corn bags into hillock-scale mounds as a testament of collective pride in their work. Approaching the memorial from the southern border of the town, Vekstein achieves a material and symbolic bridge to the past with a vast canvas of an “insistent, alternating and syncopated relief of bags” formed out of epoxy resin,
Four Boston design firms fill the Rose Kennedy Greenway with art at the intersection of architecture
Through September 25th, emerging architects and designers are being celebrated in Boston's 4th Design Biennial. The program features installations, created by four, jury-chosen design firms, exhibited along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. “This fourth installment of the Biennial highlights emerging designers who reflect the diversity and vitality of Boston’s academic and professional architectural scenes,” explained Chris Grimley, one of the exhibition’s curators. “At a time when the mayor has brought forth much-needed questions about the quality of buildings being produced in the city, the Biennial demonstrates how Boston’s new design talent can be drawn on for its innovative thinking and ability to respond to the challenges we will face in the future.” Over the years, 23 winners have had the privilege of showcasing their work in the event, which represents Boston's finest up-and-coming designers and architects. Among the winners from this year's Biennial are GLD Architecture, MASS Design Group, Cristina Parreño Architecture, and Landing Studio. Each design firm created site specific installations that are sure to make a typical walk along the highway-topping park an atypical one. Made from eight Boston Harbor shipyard recycled oak pilings, Marginal by Landing Studio (pictured at top) calls on a nautical New England from its industrial shipping era. This 18-figured installation was sliced into more than a thousand 2-inch thick cross-section pieces. Each piece is divided into three types—Rounds, Chewies (ends slightly chipped and chomped away), and oblongs—then stacked to form this totem pole–styled installation. GLD created a softer, almost dreamlike piece. What appears to be a cross-pollination between a mushroom and a massive jellyfish, the Grove is a fused resin and fiberglass shell that is said to create a "strangely intimate new enclosure in an open public landscape," as stated on the Boston Biennial's website. Other installations include Cristina Parreño's Tectonics of Transparency: The Tower, a 17 foot installation composed of 350 compressed glass blocks resembling a mini skyscraper and MASS Design Group's Lo-Fab, which is made of more than a thousand wood and metal components that transform into a geodesic hemisphere serving as an impressive gathering space. Learn more about the Design Biennial Boston on its website.
Fly's Eye Dome reproduction applies contemporary tools and materials to 1970s concept.Thirty years after R. Buckminster Fuller's death, the visionary inventor and architect's Fly's Eye Dome has been reborn in Miami. Unveiled during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014, the replica dome, designed and fabricated by Goetz Composites in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), pays tribute to Fuller both aesthetically and technologically. Constructed using contemporary materials and digital design tools, the new 24-foot Fly's Eye Dome (which serves as the pedestrian entrance to a parking garage in the Miami Design District) is yet further evidence that the creator of the geodesic dome was ahead of his time. BFI commissioned Goetz based on the firm's prior work restoring the original Fly's Eye Dome. At the end of that process, they created a 3D scan of the prototype for BFI's records. The digital files were the jumping-off point for the reproduction, for which ConForm Lab's Seth Wiseman provided critical design assistance, as did Daniel Reiser of DR Design. Wiseman produced a parametric model of the dome's truncations in Grasshopper, then compared his model to the 3D scan of the original to make sure the geometries matched. A 2012 reproduction of the Fly's Eye Dome, the MGM Butterfly Pavilion in Macau, China, constituted a practice round of sorts. "For Macau, we had a tight timeline: from the algorithm to shipment [we had] six weeks," said Wiseman. "We were able to review and tweak the geometry for the Miami dome—to refine it and make it more consistent with the original prototype." Goetz, Reiser, and Wiseman introduced a few crucial changes into the Miami reproduction. "Bucky's original intent and concept was well-placed, but it suffered in execution," observed Wiseman. Fuller's prototype used a shingle system of overlapping truncations to shed water. As a result, the geometry was complicated. "The problem for us, from the manufacturing standpoint, is that it required four different molds," said Wiseman. "Though technology allows us to produce something of this complexity fairly easily, it's cost-prohibitive unless we're doing something on a production scale." The design team eliminated the shingle system, instead using a standard two-legged flange and coupler attachment to connect adjacent truncations on the dome's interior. The attachments are both mechanically fastened—for fidelity to Fuller's vision—and epoxy fitted—to meet engineering requirements. "If we were to do a third iteration, our hope is to develop joinery to eliminate the fasteners, for both assembly and aesthetic reasons," said Wiseman. In keeping with Fuller's commitment to all things cutting-edge, Goetz fabricated the reproduction using 21st-century materials and methods. They selected a PRO-SET epoxy originally developed for use on Coast Guard vessels to stand up to the South Florida weather, and replaced the glass domes with polycarbonate lenses sourced by Wasco and detailed with help from 3M. The composite forms were milled on a 5-axis CNC machine using EPS foam molds. (MouldCAM did some of the CNC cutting.) "The nice part with the Miami dome is that it's the next iteration," said Wiseman. "We've created a fire-retardant, code-compliant structure in the same vein [as the original]. I hate to say it, but I'm kind of excited to see a major storm hit Florida and see how it performs." For Goetz's Chase Hogoboom, the Fly's Eye Dome represents not just the history, but also the future of architecture. "Our background historically has been building state-of-the-art racing sailboats," he said. "We're seeing more and more demand for use of composites in architectural applications, mainly as a result of designers using programs that allow them to design very complicated shapes that need to be structural. And if you look at a Bucky dome, it's a complicated shape that needs to be structural."