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Luca, group #2




Contents 1.0 Ideation 1.1 Object 1.2 Object + System Analysis 1.3 Volume 1.4 Sketch design proposals 2.0 Design 2.1 Design development intro 2.2 Digitization + Design proposal v.1 2.3 Precedent research 2.4 Design proposal v.2 2.5 Prototype v.1+ Testing Effects 3.0 Fabrication 3.1 Fabrication intro 3.2 Design development & Fabrication of prototype v.2 3.3 Final Digital model 3.4 Final Prototype development + optimisation 3.5 Fabrication sequence 3.6 Assembly Drawing 3.7 Completed 2nd Skin 4.0 Reflection 5.0 Appendix 5.1 Credit 5.2 Bibliography




0.0 INTRODUCTION Throughout the semester we were introduced to a number of key material systems including panel & fold, section & profile and skin & bone. After exploring all three, we were asked to choose one to form the basis of our semester’s work. I chose to study panel & fold with an analysis of a hand help fan. I looked into how the fan worked and this formed the basis of my sketch designs. Moving into M2 and M3, we were sorted into groups based on our chosen material system, and asked to design a second skin for a concept of our choice. Our concept is based around cultural space with the main idea being that each culture has different values and traditions that shape an individual and their personal space. Our second skin has been designed using moveable, individual modules that can be adaptive to both the environment and to the individual.


1.0 IDEATION M1 was all about exploring different material systems through observation and analysis of existing objects. The material system in which I chose to study was panel and fold, with the existing object being a hand held fan. Before starting on my fan analysis, I wanted to know why measured drawing are so important when it comes to design. I found out that they make us observe every detail while explaining the full meaning of the designer’s thoughts (Heath, Heath & Jensen, 2000). While plans, sections and elevations teach drawing techniques and control, they are also a good way to communicate design ideas. I created my measured drawings by hand using a ruler, protractor and fine liner, while also using these instruments to gather the required measurements. I then manipulated my object by reconfiguring it in order to gain a deeper understanding of my chosen material system of panel and fold. I was interested to see what shapes could be formed by pushing and pulling in different directions. Taking these findings forward, I sketched out three potential second skin ideas in which I drew inspiration from the book ‘Personal space: the behavioural basis of design’ by Sommer. With personal space referring to “an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a persons body into which intruders may not come,” I tried to create designs that responded to this notion of boundaries (Sommer, 1969). The most important thing in which I took from this reading was that personal space is not always spherical in shape and does not always span equally in all directions. This is reflected in my personal space diagram, displayed on page 18.


1.1 Object The measured elevation drawing of the fan has been captured as if the fan was closed on its side then opened up to its full capacity of 154° leaving an angle of 26°. The blade has a length of 215mm and the fan has a span of 430mm. The first measured section displays the end blade and the second displays the regular blade. Both have a bottom half length of 95mm and a top half length of 120 mm. The unfolded skin plan has been measured by detaching the blades, placing the fabric down and looking at the skin from above. All measurements were taken by hand using a ruler and protractor and all diagrams were done using adobe illustrator. The 3D rhino model looks at the fan as a whole before capturing close ups in order to highlight the main features as well as look at how it works (function).

Elevation (Unfolded fan)

Rhino model - perspective


Sections (end blade & regular blade)

Plan (unfolded skin)


1.2 Object + System Analysis Each individual blade is attached at the tapered end by a rivet that pierces all, allowing the fan to open and close in a pivotal motion. One creased piece of fabric also known as the skin is attached to the blades. While these blades act as a support, preventing the fan from losing it’s shape, the end blades keep of the inner elements of the fan protected. In order for the fan to unfold, force must be applied in opposite directions at each end blade. This allows the blades to be pulled apart and the fabric skin to unravel. I have drawn a three step diagram to display this process.

Fabric (skin) The material that is attached to the blades and has creases that fold when blades are pushed together.

Blades Creates a backbone to support the attached fabric and prevents the structure from losing its shape.

Rivet Circular piece of metal piercing all the blades, holding them together and allowing the fan to open and close.

End Blade Keeps all elements of the fan including the fabric, and inner blade protected.


1.3 Volume In this exercise, I separated the skin from the blades in order to create something new while still using the original materials. I liked the circular shape that could be created by bunching up one end and stretching out the other. I took this idea through into some of my sketch design proposals.


1.4 Sketch Design Proposals

SKETCH DESIGN #1 This structure sits on the shoulders of my model and consists of one flat donut shaped plane that has even vertical folds around the whole structure forcing it to go from one small point (around the neck) to a large circular area facing downwards. I was inspired by the collar of the frilled neck lizard and by the shape and function of the reconfigured fan. I chose to position it here as people are often highly concerned and protective when it comes to the area around their face and chest.


SKETCH DESIGN #2 This structure consists triangular panels atta slightly differing angle panels wrap around creating an abstract initially inspired by the of a superhero and t it is used to deter oth position it on the arm we have a lot of con part of out body. We to think twice about quickly.

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SKETCH DESIGN #3 This structure consists of one large, flat cone folded horizontally in order to create the 5 sections of the structure. It is weighted at the bottom and when the model walks, the structure bounces up and down like a spring. Due to the weight of this design being so low, it is non-invasive and easy to wear. This design is more of a subtle way of keeping other out of our immediate, intimate space.


2.0 DESIGN Jade Layton 833912 Winnie Chiu 698653 Harry Blasco-Burke 832709 Yuxuan Xiu 728866 M2 focused on designing and developing the idea of personal space and effects produced by the second skin. In a group of four, my group came together and each explained our sketch designs. We found commonalities between our designs and decided to combine elements from each. After coming up with four designs, we further developed the two in which we felt had the most potential and responded best to the brief using hand sketches and Rhino. Rhino allowed us to create developable surfaces, consistent of smooth surfaces, able to be flattened onto a plane without distortion. Due to these surfaces using “a family of straight lines,� the construction process is simplified. Being so simple, this idea of being able to build complex surfaces from paper, has been used extensively in many actual architecture projects (Pottmann, Asperl, Hofer, Kilian, 2007). We found that although we faced challenges like sourcing specific angles for our module to build on Rhino, overall, by creating just one perfect module, we were able to copy/panel this wherever we wanted. We knew that this would also be a huge help when it came to the construction process, as we would be able to send the flattened file to be laser cut, ensuring an accurate and less time consuming result.


2.1 Design Development Intro From my phase 1 proposal, I suggested to my group to take forward my second sketch design idea. I noticed a number of similar designs done by my other group members which highlighted a consistent theme. Moving into M2, we noticed we had all presented drawings on sections of the arm or upper body. We had all drawn our designs in the same general area, highlighting where we perceived the best place for personal space to be in accordance to the body. With this clear pattern emerging, we incorporated elements from each of our M1 sketch designs. Another element constant throughout all the designs was the use of triangles and geometric shapes. We took this idea and worked with it, exploring the different ways in which we could use a repetitive triangular form to create a large structure with the possibility of movement.


2.2 Digitisation + Design Proposal v.1 The idea behind this design is to have a structure that opens and closes. By creating a structure that is dynamic to the individual and to the environment, the design will be personal for each user and their needs. When flat, it covers the whole body whilst still letting people close. Even when someone has a very small personal space it still allows for a layer of protection. When the individual is uncomfortable the structure is able to open and deter people away with its sharp points.





Resonant Chamber - RVTR, 2011

2.3 Precedent Research With the resonant Chamber being a design that responds to the environment and the users, it is dynamic. It is an interior envelope system that uses rigid origami. This is something we wanted to take forward into our design. We also looked at light, materiality. After coming across a number of examples that used perforations to play with light, we tested, but found that it was too distracting and took away from our design. Through gathering a number of precedent examples we liked the look of the polypropylene and card so tested these materials before ruling out the polypropylene due to its rigidity.



Images sourced from



2.3 Precedent Research (Concept)


Countries such as Spain have a culture whereby being in close proximity to friends and family when communicating is expected. In contrast, Australia is a country where people are highly reserved in terms of their proximity to each other (whether well known to them or a stranger) when communicating. In the case of a Spanish person wearing this second skin, they will have the ability to show their typical level of affection (hugging) when greeting those they know. It will also protect them in one of the few scenarios whereby they feel a need for protection eg. on the train. On the other hand, an Australian will still be able to greet someone in a typical manner in which they feel comfortable with (hand shake) but the structure will have the ability to protect their personal space by opening up when the string is pulled. This tightens the structure and the modules are tightened.



2.4 Design Proposal v.2 The idea of having different layers creates an element of change and movement, it allows the structure to respond to the person depending on how they are feeling and how they would like to be perceived when put in different situations. When the user is comfortable, the second and third layer are able to relax and move towards the back of the person, exposing the sparse base layer. In contrast, when uncomfortable they are then able to bring these layers to the front, protecting their body.







2.5 Prototype v.1 + Testing Effects TESTING JOINTS CORNER

The first joint type we experimented with was the corner joint. Although this joint type allowed for the most movement and expendability, the minimal point to join 4 modules was a risk. We found that this small connection point meant that the whole structure was flimsy and if one thread pulled through/ broke then the whole structure would fall apart. EDGE

The second joint type we experimented with was the edge joint. Although this provided a strong and sturdy connection, it didn’t allow for enough movement which was a prominent aspect of our design concept. MIDPOINT

The third joint we experimented with connected two corner points to the center of each module. We found that this created the best overall form and also allowed for adequate movement so the structure could bend, fold , expand and contract. However, for this to work at a larger scale, each component had to be connected precisely at the same point which was time consuming to do by hand.



We noticed that movement could be achieved when pushing and pulling the modules, but in order to reach the full extend of the opening and closing we need another component. By tieing thread to the points that meet at the center and pulling them simultaneously, we could fully enclose the module and create a sharp point. Although this singular module was successful, we were not sure how this would work as a whole panel of modules due to the thread having to be pulled vertically down.


We did some more experimenting with prototypes and came up with a method that allowed the modules to be pulled horizontally. This would mean the arm or body part that the structure sits on would not get in the way. This also enabled us to have one string per row, opposed to 4 strings per module, creating a neater and simpler movement system.


3.0 FABRICATION Jade Layton 833912 Winnie Chiu 698653 Harry Blasco-Burke 832709 Yuxuan Xiu 728866 With M3 being a continuation on from M2, we continued to develop our design by refining aspects using prototypes and carrying out multiple tests. For my group, this section of the project was all about finalising the joint type, material choice, module sizes, opening/ closing technique and to conclude, how we could attach our final design to the body. Digital fabrication was a major part of out design because it allowed for an accurate and fast result. Turning our design “from physical to digital” was a massive turning point in our design process because previously when we were ruling, cutting and folding by hand, small human errors would arise that would interfere with our overall design. Using the 2D module template that we created in M2 whilst learning how to make developable surfaces, we had a number of modules laser cut so that we could accurately experiment with the above issues. With CNC cutting or 2D fabrication being the most commonly used fabrication tools, I was interested to know how the laser cutter actually worked. I did some research and found that they use a “high-intensity focused beam of infrared light in combination with a jet of highly pressurised gas (carbon dioxide) to accurately melt or burn the material that is being cut” (Kolarevic, 2003). The accuracy of this high-intensity beam was reflected in the result as we were able to fold the dashed lines with ease to create perfectly formed modules. After completing the fabrication of our design, we again used digital fabrication to communicate the function of the structure. We created assembly drawings to explain how the different parts interact with one another and come together. Without these digital tools, this same task would have taken much longer to complete.


3.1 Fabrication Intro Our main focus in M2 was looking at the shape that would form the basis of our overall second skin. We also looked at different joint types and movement, weighing up advantages and disadvantages for each option we tested. The module that we selected was chosen due to its rigid triangular form, flexibility, structure, aesthetics qualities and its ability to be manipulated when placed under tension. We thought this shape would be interesting in creating a effect when worn. Moving forward into M3, we are experimenting with size, movement and how the structure will work as a cohesive whole.


3.2 Design Development & Fabrication of Prototype v.2








3.3 Final Digital Model










3.4 Final Prototype Development + Optimisation







Origami paper

Polypropylene 0.6


Top view

Bottom view (Sticky tape) (sticky tape)

Polypropylene 0.2


Black optix card - 200gsm

Modules progressively increasing in height


Large and small modules Original vs. Taller module template

Joining the modules at the midpoint allowed for movement in both directions, however if the point was not exactly centered, the design would not hold its form. Another issue with this joint type was the strength of the connection as although it allowed for movement in both directions, it was not strong enough to endure the strong pull needed to open and close the modules. In order to accommodate for this, we used the same pattern that the midpoint joint made, but joined it along the whole edge. This prevented movement in both directions, however created a strong movement in one direction.

We found that the origami paper was far too thin and ripped when placed under pressure. The 0.6 polypropylene was too thick and therefore did not allow for the module to close at all to the degree that we needed. Although we liked the idea of using polypropylene, we decided to use black optix card with a 200gms thickness because this material worked best with our module. It was thick enough not to tear/rip when in tension and under pressure and thin enough to close into the flat state that we had hoped for.

Initially we wanted to have alternating larger and smaller modules intertwined with each other and working together, but found that in order to make this work, the structure would have to be static. Although this was the case, we did not want to have all our modules the same size so we came up with a modified module that has the same base size and same overall shape, however is taller, creating variation. In order to blur the line between small and large, we made the modules on the upper section increasingly taller.




Bottom view, Open Closed





Top view, Open

Velcro attached

Velcro detached

Rubber band loose

Rubber band in tension



Finger attachments top and bottom view

In order to make the structure move as one, we experimented with 4 modules and came up with a system where two strings would cross over at the centre. When pulled, the structure would close. Using this technique, we amplified the amount of modules and strings to create a system that allowed the structure to move coherently. There are a number of strings on each end of the structure (one bunch at each end) that when pulled at the same time, cause the structure to close. This was a great discovery because only 2 elements were needed to be pulled.


Through the modules

Through jump rings

After testing a number of materials that did allow the structure to open, we were thrilled when we came up with the idea of having one continuous thread that connected every edge module, as when pulled tight, the modules come together. The only problem was that when we let go, the structure would not close without us manually loosening the thread due to the friction and tight hole so in order to account for this, instead of threading through the module itself, we threaded it through jump rings (large hole + small string allowed for easy/smooth movement).

Initially having the structure move on the body we noticed that the friction of the paper on skin restricted the modules from fully opening and closing. To address this issue we decided to attach the modules to polypropylene to provide a smoother surface for them to move on. The arm piece is fixed to two separate sheets along its center axis. Another benefit to this design is it is able to be adjustable to any arm length.


3.5 Fabrication Sequence

1. Laser cut Rhino template

2. Fold all individual modules

7. Attached jump rings along the edge and threaded opening string system


3. Fixed lower arm modules together

6. Attached jump rings down centre and threaded though closing string system

4. Fixed upper arm modules together using increasingly taller modules

5. Hand stitched all edge modules together

3.6 Assembly Drawing

1. Individual modules

3. Jump rings attached along centre

2. Modules taped along edges

4. Strings attached on the edges that cross over at the center point and run down the central axis.


3.7 Completed Second Skin






Overall, I found this subject to be one of the most engaging and helpful in my degree so far. Although the heavy workload was stressful at times, I enjoyed the semester as I was able to overcome challenges and learn crucial skills that I believe will help me along my journey to becoming an architect. This subject taught me the importance of prototyping, how to effectively communicate and delegate work within a group, how to create and submit a laser cut file as well as improve my Rhino skills. One of the toughest challenges I faced in terms of design was finding a way to integrate small and large modules, while still allowing for movement. After conducting a number of tests at home, I realised that in order for it to work, the module base size had to remain the same, while the height increased. I voiced my findings to the group and together we were able to come up with a functioning modified module. Teamwork was key here, as without input from each group member a resolution might not have been made. Although teamwork was a success in this situation, at other times (in the beginning) because we were not used to working together, I found it difficult to work effectively as a group. I realised a lack of communication was the issue, so once we sorted that out, we were able to work really well together, each bringing a different strength to the table. After our final presentation, we received feedback from our tutor and two guest critics. The main suggestions made had to do with the opening system, as well as the photographs. We took this information on board and experimented with having one elasticated piece of material that was pulled in tension and attached to the structure (see images below). The aim of this was to create a system that meant after the closing string was pulled, instead of pulling the opening string, we could simply let go and the tension in the elastic would spring the structure back to its open form. This would also replace the polypropylene used to fix the structure to the body, resulting in a neater attachment method. Although this worked to an extent, we found that the results were not as dramatic as we had hoped (slight movement would not be caught on film) so therefore stuck with our original design for the catwalk. We also took new photographs with my hair up, using a white backdrop, lights and high quality camera. We were able to capture higher quality photographs, as well as detailed close ups that highlighted what our design was trying to achieve. As outlined in the final reading, craft is a skill with a “strong relationship to making and working with materials” (Beamer, Bernstein 2008) With architects these days having a “disconnect form this skill” due to being reliant on builders and fabricators, it is important to educate studying architects on the importance of the link between craft and digital technology, as according to Beamer and Bernstein (2008), this is how craft is being redefined. One of the key themes raised in this reading is the importance of risks. Keeping in mind that risks are the place “where innovation occurs,” I decided to use an additional sheet of polypropylene on the arm to reduce friction, allowing for a smoother transition from open to closed. Understanding that the critics might not like this idea, I still used it, taking the risk because I knew the positives of this addition outweighed the negatives.


Closing strong pulled

Let go (s


springing back #1)

(Springing back #2)


5.0 APPENDIX 5.1 Credits


5.2 Bibliography Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing /Branko Kolarevic. Spon Press, London, c2003 Building the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture/ Philip Bernstein, Peggy Deamer. Princeton Architectural Press. c2008. pp 38-42  Heath, A., Heath, D., & Jensen, A. (2000). 300 years of industrial design : function, form, technique, 1700-2000 / Adrian Heath, Ditte Heath, Aage Lund Jensen. New York : Watson-Guptill, 2000. Sommer, R. (1969). Personal space : the behavioral basis of design / Robert Sommer. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, c1969. Surfaces that can be built from paper / In H.Pottmann,A.Asperl,M.Hofer, A.Kilian (eds) Architectural Geometry, p534-561, Bentley Institute Press, 2007


DDF M4 - Jade Layton  
DDF M4 - Jade Layton