Designed Particles Aggregations 01

Designing aggregate particles and developing an aggregation process based on their behavioural tendencies to discover inherent potentials for spatial arrangements was the endeavour of this study. 10,000 3-axial elements were produced and colour-marked in order to make visible aggregation pattern resulting from different aggregation strategies. Initial aggregation experiments were only constrained by a horizontal surface. Variables included the number of elements per experiment, element geometry, pouring speed, pouring height, the roughness of and thus the degree of friction provided by the horizontal surface. Experiments focused on establishing maximum pile height and footprint for each element geometry before critical mass was reached and the pile collapsed. Of importance was also the density of elements in each pile. For each experiment the resulting variation in density and porosity of the aggregate was mapped. Subsequently the constraining surface arrangements were changed. The next set of experiments introduced non-permanent constraints that could be easily removed after the aggregation process. These consisted of pneumatic formwork set within a series of permanent constraints. The elements were poured with the form-work inflated. Once the aggregate had settled, the formwork was deflated and the aggregate underwent a secondary cycle of liquefaction, while resettling into the next stable state, resulting in cavernous spaces where the formwork was located. Regulating geometries and size ranges of elements and their pouring sequence helped enhancing the self-stabilisation through interlocking of elements, with different degrees of porosity of the granular thresholds contributing to a fine modulation of airflow, luminous and thermal environment within the cavernous spaces.

AA Diploma Unit 4 (Michael Hensel, Achim Menges)
Eiichi Matsuda, Architectural Association, London, 2003-04