top of page

Affine Shells

Project C2W4 is a parametric exploration Investigating a new bending active wooden tectonic system. This comes as a result of a new overall paradigm shift in architectural building technologies as a result of digital fabrication and planning tools. Project C2W4 uses self-similar units or “strips” of wood to create interlocking modules. These modules are then woven together creating pre-stressed clusters. By having each unit contain prestressed elements that are interdependent upon one another the overall system Is a truly woven system that transfers forces dynamically. Through parametric planning, it is then possible to adapt the global form of the new tectonic through localized minute changes. This new tectonic system allows for greater spans and the ability to form doubly curved surfaces using a thin lightweight material.


Using this new tectonic system a lightweight, active bending structure was designed for the burning man festival.

Unit: The base unit is a regular arc with 8 points. The position of the points and the distances between them depending on how the units and then the modules interconnect.

Module: The first step is to connect two units to each other in opposite directions. The module is not prestressed yet, since the distances between the two points are the same on both units.

Pattern: The module is then prestressed with another module, interlocking it at the same time. The module is then arrayed further weaving into the overall system where each unit is fully interconnected to the units around it.

From 2D to 3D: The final step in the exploration of our pattern was to replicate the behavior of the wood from the physical world to the digital realm. The first step to take was to force the digital pattern into a 3D interweaving version of itself. In our physical tests, it was concluded that by using self-similar strips the twisting of the wood elements forced local regions of the pattern to mimic a sine curve in the unit aggregation. Once we were able to create this through manipulation of the original point grid system and additional Z coordinates for further steps we could focus on local manipulations of the system. This introduction of local manipulation allows us to alter the stresses and behaviors in the pattern, thus affecting the form in localized regions due to the relationship from 2D to 3D weaving.

Shading device: A shading concept was developed for the new tectonic system. Using only the interstitial spaces of the structure as our design site the concept of weaving from the structural system was brought forwarded and reimagined differently as woven fabric for a shading device concept.

Winter 2016
Die Neue Techtonic des Digitalen Holtzbau
Professor: Mischa Proll
Partner: Filipa Novakovic
Program: Research Pavilion

Top View
Side View Pre Topaz
Heaton_Portfolio38 (2)
bottom of page