500 Word Design Statement:
This project strives to create a performative shading system that responds to varying needs of insolation. The system works through a thread woven through out a metal frame. As the module moves across the surface, the panel stretches in the Z-axis. This deformation causes the length of the arms to change while the number of weave holes is held constant per panel. By increasing the density of the string (as the same number of threads are now covering a smaller area), more or less light is allowed to pass through, depending on the depth of the unit. This variation in porosity could be the result of programmatic concerns, a desire for views in/out, or for solar optimization; due to the geometry of the system, the panels can be arranged however they are needed (not necessarily in the high-to-low gradient depicted in this iteration).
The design was developed in Rhino by creating a flat template of half of a unit, representative of the tallest iteration. Through trial and error it was determined that simply by stretching the flat geometry in the vertical axis, and subsequently redefining the spacing of the weave holes, the panels could be made to align in plan with those of a different height (see final images). To calculate the angle of the bend between subpanels, a distance of 8” was set from edge to edge and the panels were rotated such that they hit the 8” mark (4” from centerline) forming five isosceles triangles with diminishing internal angles. These drawings were then used as templates during the hand fabrication of the steel junctions.
From a construction point of view, the goal was to simplify the system into a few easily produced and assembled components. The more complex geometry of the aluminum panels were milled by CNC while the simpler steel joints were fabricated by hand. In addition, this division of materials allowed for higher strength aluminum, which couldn’t be bent without snapping, to be used for the panels while the steel was used exclusively for the joint, allowing for a light and strong structure. For the thread, there are almost a limitless number of possibilities to explore, each of which acts uniquely. The stiffness determines how the thread weaves back and forth, while an increased elasticity allows for a tighter weave. In addition, variations in width, color, and reflectivity, each provide a potential tertiary variable to fine tune the system.
This project helped to explore how a simple manipulation, scaling the z-axis, was able to create a complex form capable of responding to internal pressures for insolation, via the secondary variable of weave density. With the use of computer-aided machinery it was possible to create the necessarily precise components with relative ease, for it would have been near impossible to produce the aluminum panels through manual techniques alone. This project also explored the potential to create structure and form from simply milled 2D materials through folding planes and bent/pivoting joints (which also started as flat components).