Matt Hume

Warped is a set of walls, columns and arches composed from mechanically joined wood plys that respond to changes in atmospheric moisture by twisting and bending between open and closed conditions. This is done by re-developing plywood manufacturing methodologies which in the past relied on cross graining techniques to create rigidity and stability within the material. Warped discovers new uses for the ply process by introducing space and shape between the subsequent layers of veneer. It uses the directionality of the wood grain and its reshaping during shrinking and swelling to re-negotiate the means by which different layers can be controlled. By using mechanical fasteners rather than uniform gluing, surfaces can be endowed with moments of intensified strength and stability to areas with no connections that allow the material to reshape itself in direct response to environmental moisture.

The project consists of three structures: the Filleted Surface, the Un-Filleted Surface and the Rib. The two surfaces are 9 ft tall by 6ft wide; the Rib is about 8ft long. The surfaces are built from a single building unit which is designed to twist gently with the presence or absence of moisture, and can connect to other cells on all four sides through the use of two types of joints traditionally used in wood construction: the tongue and groove and shiplap. The Filleted Surface connects 160 of these units using 1,250 rivets by first assembling them in vertical rows then fastens these rows together at the bottom and top of the surface only. This allows each vertical row of units to twist independently of the row next to it allowing the surface to open and close like the gills of a fish between dry and wet conditions. The Un-Filleted Surface is constructed of 160 units using 1,750 rivets in the same way as the Filleted Surface except each vertical row is connected together. This forces the entire surface to warp into a convex shape when dry and return to a flat surface when wet. The Rib is constructed out of a unit of a slightly different design. This behaves similar to the surfaces’ units except that it is three sided rather than two. This gives it the ability to become more structural. The shape of the unit is also different allowing them to combine in the form of an arch rather than a straight line. The entire Rib twists to varying degrees between dry and wet conditions.