Gathering Components

The Gathering Components project aimed at exploring the performative capacity of topological exactitude found in systems consisting of elements that “find” their position and alignments as an alternative to the geometric precision of highly defined component assemblies. The project started with the investigation of the behaviour of a basic element: glass fibre band. By pulling a thread stitched through the band in defined distances a specific loop pattern emerges due to the gathering action. In numerous physical tests the related parameters of band width, length and cut pattern, stitch distance as well as tensile force induced in the gathering process were explored in relation to the resultant component’s behaviour of adapting to formwork curvature and, once hardened by resin, structural capacity. As the taxonomy of the observed component behaviour was established this could be related to the principal stress analyses of specific formwork geometry within a computational set up. The relation between local curvature and structural requirements determined through the formwork geometry then defines the specific distribution of parametrically varied components. The component layout is then transferred from the computational realm to the actual formwork via a specially developed projection technique. As the components are laid out in the “soft” state the alignment of adjacent components providing for subsequent connections happens by itself. Although the initial distribution focuses only on component size, depth, orientation and spacing in correspondence with structural criteria, the application of resin and related adhesive forces combined with the self forming capacity of the strips produces a highly defined material system.

Department of Form Generation and Materialisation (Prof. Achim Menges)
Elena Burggraf, HFG Offenbach University of Art and Design, Germany, 2006-07