TEXTILE LOGIC FOR A SOFT SPACE
Engaging performance through actuation In Thaw this attention to the pliable and the soft is further accentuated through actuation. In Thaw the actuation is understood as a continual internal re-calibration of the structural load bearing. The structure is therefore not responding to a change in the outside environment but rather seen as an animate pulsing continually changing the state of the material flex. The structure moves in much the same way as a long bow. A set of servo motors are mounted above structure pulling the tension cables that are threaded through the structure. As in the long bow the diagonal relationship between the tension cable and the structure allows a small amount of actuation: the tensioning of the cable by 5 cm, to have a large effect on the structure: the horizontal flexing of the slats by 25 cm.
Conclusions In Thaw our interest in actuation is seen as way of questioning what happens as structural systems come to engage material performance. Thaw negates the primacy of the static and the permanent instead suggesting an architecture of change. Thaw is understood as a research probe and as such many of its propositions remain speculative and suggestive. As a spatial investigation Thaw asks how it would be to live in a soft space: what would the boundaries be and how could we develop design strategies for designing across time. As a tectonic investigation Thaw prototypes pleating as a friction based structure. Through Thaw we have found that these textile based structures allow for lighter and less materially intense structures to be imagined. The unfolded patterns for the pleated skin
In Thaw the incorporation of a parametric modelling of the geometric deformation resulting from the material flex is used as a means of creating the geometry needed to specify the second skin. As such, the material modelling is used to address the structure’s further realisation of enclosure and material assembly. However, as a research probe Thaw is a prototype exploring how the incorporation of material performance can become part of a design system. In parallel projects we are now investigating how a structural analysis of material performance can be incorporated into the geometric design models creating feedback between structural analysis and design as well as between design and digital fabrication.
Credits Thaw is developed in 2010 by Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen and Karin Bech. It was exhibited as part of the digital.material exhibition at R.O.M Gallery for Art and Architecture, Oslo in May 2010. The exhibition was supported by the Nordic Culture Foundation and the R.O.M. Gallery. Thaw was further supported through the collaboration with Behnam Pourdeyhimi, NC State University College of Textiles. References  Poulsen, C. M., “Geodetic Construction: Vickers-Wallis System Explained : Advantages of Concentrating Material. Balancing Tension Against Compression” Flight. January 16, 1936. p. 67.  Graefe, R. “Vladimir G. Suchov 1853-1939. Die Kunst der sparsamen Konstruktion.”, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 1990. 84
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The book "Textile Logic for a soft space", by Mette Ramsgaard Thomse (CITA) and Karin Bech (CITA).