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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.90 Santiago ago. 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-69962015000200010 

Demountable structures

Flake System
Massachusetts, USA, 2013

 

Javier Martín(1), Juan P. Ugarte(2), Johannes Staudt(3), Sofia Koutsenko(4)



Assembly and movement.
© Javier Martin


Prototype.
© Javier Martin

Architectural production can be understood as a process in three stages –design, fabrication and assembly– which have not been equally affected by digital culture. While the stages of design and fabrication have widely adopted the use of digital tools, and computer design software have enormously expanded their capacities and applications (as digital fabrication machines have become more accessible), the stage of assembly still lacks a technological platform similar to CAD/CAM that would allow to establish a continuous work flow with its previous phases. Even more so, digital tools have facilitated the proliferation of high complexity designs, aggravating this phenomenon.

The Flake System arises from the tension between the processes of design, fabrication and assembly. Aiming to optimize the processes of assembly and disassembly, a mono-material, noconnections constructive system was developed, oriented towards the construction of double curvature surfaces. The system dismisses connectors and adhesives, using superposition and geometric interlock between the different panels as the only means of fixation, thus creating the desired surface.

To test the Flake System, a prototype was built in 3 mm thick plywood, chosen for its flexibility, orthotropic behavior and easiness to work with by CNC machines. The geometry used was a column created from a double curvature surface in revolution, similar to a hyperboloid. The decision of such geometry was based on three of its properties: (1) it’s a self-standing structure, simplifying the assembly process; (2) it has radial symmetry, which later reduced the number of unique pieces in the system; and (3) it’s an anticlastic surface (double curvature in two opposing directions), adding complexity to the construction of the proposed task and presenting a good structural behavior. 


Cutting pattern. Published scale 1: 50


Scheme of parts and positions. N. s.


Left: Front view.
Right: Front view with assembly
Published scale 1: 50


Assembly sequence. Published scale 1: 50

Architects: Javier Martin, Juan Pablo Ugarte, Johannes Staudt, Sofia Koutsenko / Contributors: Leire Asensio / Location: 48 Quincy street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. / Commission: Project developed under the research seminar (Re)Fabricating Tectonic Prototypes, Harvard University Graduate School of Design / Tutor: Leire Asensio / Structural advice: Hanif Kara. AKTII / Construction: Javier Martín, Juan Pablo Ugarte, Johannes Staudt, Sofia Koutsenko / Date of project and construction: 2013 / Materials: Plywood structure, 5 mm thick / Floor area: Variable / Cost: -- 


1. Javier Martín | Architect, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, 2009; Master in Design Studies, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, USA, 2014. Doctor (c) in architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. ta at the Universidad de Chile.

2. Juan P. Ugarte | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2010. Master of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, USA, 2014. Doctor (c) Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Adjunct professor at the Boston Architectural College.

3. Johannes Staudt | Architect, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. Master in Design Studies, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, usa. He currently works at Thomas Phifer Architects.

4. Sofia Koutsenko | Architect, University of Oklahoma, usa. Master of Architecture (c) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, USA. She has taught at the Boston Architectural College, Woodbury University and The New School of Architecture and Design of San Diego.

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