Parabiotic Elasticity: Submission for Acadia 2011 by T. Jordan+B. Ballok

PARABIOTIC ELASTICITY: The anatomical and physiological collision of two or more organisms in which the total kinetic energy of the particles remains unchanged. Elastic properties, relative tensile strength and translucent qualities fuel the use of castable urethane elastomers. Once tension and mechanics are introduced to the cast urethane component, a response follows in which a variety of deflections and expansions occur simultaneously. Advanced prototyping and research has led to the acute control of deformations using differing combinations of hardnesses at key moments in the urethane component. This allows connections and structure to resist deforming while other key parts stretch, expand, release and bend in x, y and z directions. A polymethyl methacrylate (acrylic) structural grid absorbs stress and translates as a fully interactive freestanding object allowing the multiple urethane components an improvised reaction in concert transposed across a dynamic subsurface.

A computer generated cnc milled high density foam mold serves as the casting medium for the flat-cast liquid urethane component. A tooling path is embedded in the mold to allow a subtle surface texture to capture and reflect light qualities. Each unit is then assembled through a series of folds, bends and creases to create a fully realized three dimensional form ready-made for active engagement in an array using two stage poured cast urethane connectors embedded with flat cut aluminum reinforcing plates. The urethane component and the connector are attached with a pin connection allowing float under varying stresses.

The freestanding grid structure consists of a series of flat-cut struts designed with a snap fit assembly using translucent acrylic sheets, fire polished at all edges. The substructure was composed to predict and harness reactionary kinetic forces projected by the urethane elastomer system. At several key moments the urethane component system engages the structure using three dimensional standoffs fabricated as cut and bent aluminum pieces.

Lighting of the individual urethane component is achieved with battery operated LEDs mounted with hidden fasteners and concealed within chest cavity of component. Light is washed out of cavity and thrust through each of four curved tentacles. Batch LED strips concealed at lower and upper struts of structural grid admit light through acrylic and transform polished edges into a radiant and defined array of linework which, due to the translucency, appears to float behind the urethane system.

Each system and relative connections in the parabiotic elasticity installation is derived from computational anatomies designed to explore the interrelationships between cast urethane elastomers, polymethyl methacrylate and 6061 aluminum. The urethane component system was designed using a series of digital data inputs which congeal into a fabricated output, transforming latent (flat) analog material into a highly active and exposed raw stream of energy.

P2_Brian Ballok_Trevor Jordan: Elastomeric Response

p1_Brian Ballok_Reiser + Umemoto

Reiser + Umemoto’s 0-14 Tower set against the Business Bay in Dubai creates a lace-like facade open to light, air, and views. 21 stories of custom-designed office floors are carried without the barriers of conventional columns and walls. The openings on the shell are modulated depending on structural requirements, views, sun exposure, and luminosity. A space nearly one meter deep between the shell and the main enclosure creates a chimney effect, as hot air has room to rise and effectively cools the surface of the glass windows behind the perforated shell.

The main shell is organized as a diagrid, the efficiency of which is wed to a system of continuous variation of openings, always maintaining a minimum structural member, adding material locally where necessary and taking away where possible.  This efficiency and modulation enables the shell to create a wide range of atmospheric and visual effects in the structure without changing the basic structural form, allowing for systematic analysis and construction.  As a result, the pattern design is a combination of a capillary branching field, gradients of vertical articulation, opacity, environmental effects, a structural field, and a turbulence field.

Below is a video post from a graduate studio at sci-arc. This Maya induced web of streamlined forms transitions from thin to thick, from node to nebulous, but seemingly never strays from the beautiful myriad of grace and lineage. The 0-14 tower above is fabricated using a densely layered woven mesh of steel. If the facade is about a combined efficiency in modulation, then it seems a derived version of both R+U and the forms featured in the video could be presented as a viable structural option.

david wolfe xlab