ARC 619: Conditional Form – Functional Gradients

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia
ARC 619 
Spring 2019


Functionally Graded Materials (FGM) are composites with gradually varying material content. They consist of a gradual change of material characteristics (physical properties and/or chemical composition) from one area to another. Although the term has only existed since the mid-1980’s, the concept has been utilized in engineering for much longer. For example, the process of surface hardening of steel by carburization has been used for many hundreds of years. Presently, the concept of graded materiality represents a design/engineering approach to specifying new materials for specific structural, environmental, and aesthetic applications.

Naturally occurring FGMs, ranging from bones and teeth in our bodies to seashells and plants such as bamboo, show how biological cells have adapted to external stimuli; their self-adaptation may have produced a naturally gradient structure during the evolutionary process for enhancing the stiffness-to-weight ratio. As with prior iterations of this course, students will take inspiration from various natural precedents to study the relationship between materiality, form, and the environment. To follow, students will creatively represent these relationships via physics-based simulation and voxel modeling. These tools will be used to build experimental prototypes with calibrated material ratios that respond to a range of environmental conditions. Material characteristics may be blended based on a variety of architectural criteria such as; strength:weight, dark:light, gather:flow, solid:porous, reflection:diffusion, textured:smooth, stiff:soft, among others.

ARC 605 – Figure to Fiber

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia | Type: Studio
While stereotomic projection is associated with shaping mass, surface disclinations may be associated with shaping thinness, turning our attention away from the monolithic and toward the monocoque.

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ARC 619 – Tempered Environments

Instructor: Albert Chao | Type: Seminar
In dialogue with Hans Haacke’s 1965 Condensation Cube, this seminar investigates how to draw, model, and build physical and digital prototypes to explore tempered environments.

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