ARC 547: Conditional Form - Isomorphic Systems

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia
ARC 547 
Spring 2017

DESCRIPTION:

This technical seminar introduces students to computational design tools that facilitate movement between physics-based simulation and material prototyping.  Students will become familiar with the possibilities of these tools via exercises in parametric modeling, used here as a method to predetermine geometric and numeric relationships between constraints and forces as a way to discover formal variety. Skill-building exercises and in-class workshops will occur prior to research projects. Students will be asked to engage in physical prototyping and testing through both manual and digital fabrication; an essential process in understanding material properties that will ultimately inform on-screen design and production. 

Of particular interest is Robert Le Ricolais’ concept of isomorphic systems, suggesting that surface structures have a skeletal equivalent (and vice-versa) which exactly correspond in form and relations. To study this concept, we’ll begin by simulating the bending of wooden sheets to harness the material’s potential energy when under stress, as a strategy to produce stable and geometrically complex surface assemblies. To follow, we’ll invert the forms discovered from bending sheets into linear materials only to combine the two systems in an attempt to discover a hybrid bending-active surface structure. It is expected that individual skill-building early in the term will contribute to a series of prototypes completed as a team effort.