Posts tagged with "Wood":

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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Tree Canopy

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Colombiere1

A tree grows in the Colombiere Center Chapel

It all started with a beech tree that has lived for the past hundred years on the Colombiere Jesuit Brother’s bucolic 14-acre site in Baltimore, MD.  The tree stands in plain view of the brothers’ new chapel, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ). Alfred Dragani, an associate with the firm and the lead on the project, said that “as our Jesuit clients expressed a greater desire for privacy, we began to study ways of designing a shroud behind the south and north facing glass walls of the chapel that would operate like light-modulating screens. Our hope was that we could simulate the effect of an actual tree canopy, resulting in a dappled and serene light.” Dragani and his team used digital modeling (Rhino and Grasshopper) to simulate daylight conditions in the chapel throughout the year and create an interior installation in the chapel made from perforated wood panels in an organic arrangement of overlapping planes within a repetitive steel framework. White Ash and ¾” thick Baltic birch plywood core panels of varying sizes and configurations were used for the “leaves.” Perforation with a ⅜” diameter spaced 1” on center were made using a CNC machine in order to give the wood panels a “diaphanous quality.” There are 95 panels in all, 48 on the south face and 47 on the north. They average 60 pounds apiece, though some are as heavy as 150 pounds. BCJ handed off their Rhino model to Amuneal, a metals manufacturer, who used it to develop a steel plate canopy armature that consisted of built-up sections of laser cut ¾” x 4” carbon steel plate bolted together to hold the 6,000+ pounds of wood. To install the wood and steel structure in the three-story high chapel ceiling (29’ 5” high), all the components were shipped and erected onsite. To make sure the installation would go smoothly, Dragani said that before “the final erection of the canopies, a full-scale mockup was built off site, reviewed by the project team and used to refine erection techniques and detailing.” The crucial part of this design is the delicate layering effect achieved with six tons of wood and steel. Dragani explained how assembling “the perforated panels at various angles generates a luminous field that approaches what one might experience when viewing light as it is passes through a natural tree canopy. Moments of direct light that permeate through larger apertures between panels are constantly changing and serve to animate the perforated wood shroud and the chapel floor and walls over the course of a day. The grain/direction of the perforations is always perpendicular to each panel’s longest edge, which helps to recall the metaphor of natural foliage.” Even though sound-proofing wasn’t one of their goals BCJ expected the perforated wood panels to have an acoustic impact on the space. A computer model showed that they didn’t improve the acoustic performance whatsoever. Still, the architectural canopy is not only structurally impressive, it also evokes the serene outdoor environment in an interior space. The brothers agree. While the non-traditional form of the chapel and even the tree canopy itself seems to have taken the Jesuit brothers by surprise, they appreciate how the presence of the canopy lends the chapel sanctuary a sense of sublime light and a state of repose appropriate to a place of worship. Colombiere2 Colombiere3 Colombiere4 Colombiere5
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Aggregated Porosity Canopy: Digital Architecture Laboratory

Students and architects create a curving plywood canopy during this summer's Digital Architecture Laboratory workshop

This summer, Hunan University’s School of Architecture sponsored the Digital Architecture Laboratory (DAL), a workshop created to bring architects and students together to explore digital fabrication techniques. Hosted in Changsha, China, the workshop was led by Biao Hu, a professor with the university, and Yu Du, an architect with Zaha Hadid Architects. Suryansh Chandra, also with Zaha Hadid Architects, and Shuojiong Zhang, of UNstudio, were invited to participate as tutors for the workshop, which with a theme of “aggregated porosity” would explore variations in material density and the juxtaposition of solid forms with skeletal ones. Additionally, the project had to be a structure that provided shade and fit within an approximately 10-by-10-by-20-foot area.
  • Fabricator Digital Architecture Laboratory
  • Designer Digital Architecture Laboratory
  • Location Changsha, China
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Plywood, steel, tensile cable mesh, fasteners
  • Process Laser cutting, hand assembly
Using the concept of a waiting area outside an existing building, the team began the design process with a right-angled shell that resembled a typical bus shelter. The orthogonal grid was then stretched into an S shape, so that the lower curve formed a bench and the upper curve created a canopy. The form was rationalized into a grid of hexagonal components, each with a unique shape. By constraining three sides of each hexagon and allowing the other three sides to be changeable in length, the team was able to create a fluid, organic form, with curves and perforations, using a single shape. The canopy is supported by six L-shaped steel sections anchored to a wall. To these are attached set of six curving, laser-cut plywood ribs, which are cross-braced by additional ribs running parallel to the ground. Tensile steel mesh is fastened to this underlying grid, providing netting to which the hexagonal plywood panels could be attached. Made with off-the-shelf hardware pieces assembled into a customized circular joint, the fasteners allow each hexagon to be tuned by hand, ensuring panels are precisely positioned on the x, y, and, z axes.