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The Keller Gallery MIT Department of Architecture


Exhibition Design Lead Felecia Davis Delia Dumitrescu Exhibition Team Felecia Davis Delia Dumitrescu Exhibition Documentation Felecia Davis Delia Dumitrescu Special Thanks Nader Tehrani Felecia Davis Delia Dumitrescu Sarah Hirschman MIT Architecture Judith Daniels James Harrington

The Keller Gallery Room 7-408 MIT Architecture 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, Ma 02139-2307 Series Editor Irene Hwang Assistant Editors Elizabeth Yarina Nathan Friedman Mariel VillerÊ Publisher SA+P Press Design TwoPoints.Net Printer Agpograf Contact SA+P Press Room 7-337, MIT 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, Ma 02139-2307 ISBN 978-0-9836654-3-4 Š2013 SA+P Press, All Rights Reserved



Two Phases of Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07 Transforming Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Patterning By Heat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Pixelated Reveal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Stainless Steel Tube + Tube In Tube . . . . . . . . . 29 Radiant Daisy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Digital Translations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Patterning by Heat: Responsive Textile Structures was presented in the Keller Gallery from November 5-14, 2012.






New buildings will be printed or spun with super light, extremely strong fibers of conductive materials that both channel and connect information to communicate and interact with people. These structures can be designed on demand to withstand specific loading conditions, climatic conditions and refuse criteria. If architects and textile designers can develop methods and tools to work with these kinds of active fibers within the scale of building then they can begin to consider how to make buildings of soft, lightweight and flexible materials that behave according to particular criteria. The research presented in this book represents two phases of collaborative research by Felecia Davis and Delia Dumitrescu into designing industrially weft knitted fabrics for use in lightweight architecture. The research here must be seen as ‘snapshot’ frozen in time, which has changed its resonance and meaning after the exhibition. It nonetheless offers potential for development for future architectural applications and deployment as space making material. The first phase of research was conducted during a workshop titled Digital Translations: Form Active Structures which was held at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras, Sweden in March 2012. Here the research concerned methods of translation from weft knitted textiles to 3-D printed textiles. Principle questions included: “What are the steps to translate a traditional knitted fabric to a 3-D printed fabric?” “What kinds of computations both digital and other are made to achieve this translation from one material to another?” “How does this translation change or transform the structure and behavior of the new material?” Semper raised many of these issues about translation from textile to building and from one material to another material in his prospectus “Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts or Practical Aesthetics.”1 For Semper innovation in craft was driven by

Opposite: Photograph of Tube in Tube, one of the four knitted tension structures shown during the Patterning by Heat: Responsive Structures Exhibition at the Keller Gallery. The banding shows a soft stainless steel coated yarn knit into the structure. In contrast to the Stainless Steel Tube tension tube, this tube was quite soft. Previous Spreads: Left: Three-dimensional printed model of early textile structure. The black material is 100% opaque rubber and the white material is translucent plastic Right: Exhibition photos

1. Semper, G. 1989. Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts or Practical Aesthetics: A Handbook for Technicians, Artists and Patrons of Art (1860), in The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings, trans. H.F. Mallgrave, and W. Herrmann, New York: Cambridge University Press.


Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the following people below for all their help and support without which this work would not have been possible. Tommy Martinsson, Christian Rodby, Lars Brandin, Mika Satomi, at the Swedish School of Textiles, Professor Terry Knight of the MIT Design and Computation Group, Assistant Professor Leah Buechley Director of the MIT High Low Tech Lab at the Media Lab, David Mellis at High Low Tech Group MIT Media Lab and Robert White, MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Thanks to the generous support of The Henry Horowitz Class of 1951 Award for Research, The Rosalia Ennis Award for Research for African American Women, The Smart Textiles Organization at The Swedish School of Textiles BorĂĽs and the MIT Arts Council. Above: Computerized double needle bed flat knitting machine that makes tubes by knitting the two sides together simultaneously. This machine is used for knitting socks, gloves and pants and sweaters. It is controlled by a two levels of computer programming. The first is to input the knit pattern and the second is to control the actions of the machine Below: Circular knitting machine 36-inch or 92-cm diameter ring. Fabricates knitted tubes of constant diameter.


careful translation, with matter providing a form of resistance forcing re-invention and offering a re-reading of the crafted object. The workshop presented an opportunity to understand the agencies of different tools and disciplinary methods. A second phase of research was conducted at MIT and the Swedish School of Textiles and over the fall of 2012. Both phases of research were exhibited at the MIT Keller Gallery in November 2012 as Patterning with Heat: Responsive Tension Structures in conjunction with the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) annual conference held in Boston. The research of the second phase focused on transformation of the textile geometric structure itself to achieve specific behaviors in the fabric. This phase refined and advanced what was learned in the workshop by looking specifically at the relationship between the geometry of material structure and the composition of the yarn to make dynamic transformative textile behaviors. In this phase of research we transformed the weft knit fabric geometry by programming the textile with electronic information to bring forth specific behaviors in the textile.

Above: Diagram showing connected disciplines for that make up field of computational textiles.

The concept of material was expanded to include the electronics, and programming in addition to the material’s inherent properties and structures. We call this a computational textile or material that can respond to programming commands from micro-controllers and sensors. This phase of research brought together three disciplines to make a rapidly growing field of computational textiles. The real work of the Patterning with Heat: Responsive Tension Structures exhibition was not only to test the weft knitted structures as temporal patterns, but also to understand the material at a larger scale than the 150 mm x 150 mm samples that we had typically experimented with.


Above: Yarn feed configured for circular knitting machine Right: Example of circular knitting




Opposite: Photograph of the Radiant Daisy tube, one of the four knitted tension structures shown during the Patterning by Heat: Responsive Structures exhibition at the Keller Gallery. 1. Kennedy, S. 2011. Responsive Materials, in Material Design: Informing Architecture by Materiality, Switzerland: Birkhauser. Pgs. 118-131.

The core questions guiding our design works were, “How can we design lightweight textiles for use in architecture that can change properties in response to their environment?” For example, how might we make textiles that open up if the temperature surrounding the textile becomes hot, or if one wants more transparency in that textile to see the view? Similarly, we asked, “How can we make a textile that closes the view, cuts down light coming through its surface and thickens itself to slow down energy transfer through its surface?” We have been asking ‘what’ these materials can be ‘when.’1 The design research presented here is the second phase of work experimenting with different chemical compositions of yarns and different geometric material structures. As ongoing research, there are many unanswered questions, as well as new questions that have been foregrounded as we progress. This phase of research has mainly focused on the material structure of the knits, with a secondary focus on understanding what the material can do as space-dividing tension structure. Critical to asking ‘when’ is a textile, and setting up the field of possibilities for that responsive textile. Three core design areas setting up the field of potential for how the textile functions are the material/ chemical structures of the yarns, the electronic design controlling current through the yarns, and timing control programming.



Above: ‘Opening’ textile from an early test of the Pixelated Reveal fabric. Below: ‘Closing’ textile from an early test of the Radiant Daisy fabric.



Patterning by Heat: Responsive Textile Structures presented four tubular computational textile tension structures. Each structure demonstrated one of two material responses which were activated by an electrical current. This current irreversibly changed the material’s pattern and surface appearance. The first typology of material developed was pixelated, designed with yarn that melts at high temperature; accordingly, the fabric opens or breaks when it receives current. The opening allows designers flexibility to experiment with see through effects on the fabric, or to ‘write’ upon the fabric making apertures, collecting foreground and background through the qualities of the material. The second material has been designed with yarn that shrinks or closes into solid lines in the fabric when it receives current. The shrinking reveals a more opaque patterning in the textile, closing parts of that textile off and transforming the material and the quality of space framed by that material. Both breaking and shrinking yarns were knitted into four different architectural tension structures for the exhibition. These tubes were The Pixelated Reveal Tube, The Radiant Daisy Tube, The Stainless Steel Tube and Tube in Tube. Two of the tension tubes in the exhibition, The Pixelated Reveal and the Radiant Daisy structures were designed and wired to register people’s presence in space using proximity sensors. A signal sent by the sensor to the fabric then triggered an opening or closing response these two tubes. The remaining two tubes were left unwired and were to show the different types of material that could be made responsive employing the opening or closing yarn technique. All four tension tubes explored the relationship between texture and overall form by implementing two different pattern transformations on the tubes. The material for the tension tubes in the exhibit were designed on two different industrial knitting machines at the Swedish School for Textiles, University of Borås in Borås, Sweden. We had the skilled help of two technicians to test our yarn selections and knit structures on these machines. The first machine we used was a circular knitting machine that could produce tubular shapes that had the same diameter along The second machine we used was a double needle 15

Above: Detail of the Pixelated Reveal textile showing the 4 stitches of the combined melting yarn or GRILLON VLTÂŽ and conductive yarn. Center & Below: Details of early test of Pixelated Reveal fabric opened up with holes where the melting yarn has dissolved. The programming for Pixelated Reveal was designed to receive a signal from the proximity sensor and then send current to open up one 100 cm area of pixels. Each time a person was sensed near the tube the next line of 100 cm pixels would open until the entire pattern was revealed.


bed flat-knitting machine that could make tubes by knitting the two sides together. Because this machine was developed for knitting socks, gloves and pants, it was able to vary the diameter of the tube along its length. This machine was also capable of making closed-knit shapes, and of knitting with metallic yarns. During the fabric manufacture we tested two yarns in combination with conductive yarns to develop materials that either “opened up” the fabric or “closed it,” making it opaque. These yarns were Grillon VLT® which when heated to 60˚C breaks, and Pemotex®, which shrunk 40% when heated to 90˚C. Patterns were made in materials that included these two yarns by sending current in conductive yarns to specific areas along the knitted structure that activated these two yarns. These two yarns had been previously experimented with by Delia Dumitrescu and Anna Persson. Their work showed several complex knitted patterns that changed the surface of the structure when heated.2 The focus in the research work exhibited here was to develop simpler knit structures so that many designers could develop their own patterns using a base material rather than providing a preset pattern in the material. A second difference between the two experiments is that the work done for the exhibition was developed to be used in a much larger scale as space dividers and space shapers.

Above: Electronic diagram for Pixelated Reveal fabric showing the relationship of positive and negative currents microcontroller and sensors. Sensing Presence: The sensors that were used for this exhibition to sense presence were infrared proximity sensors, which sensed up to 150cm or 5ft. However when calibrated we discovered the range to be closer to 30cm or 1 ft. To activate the Pixelated Reveal or Radiant Daisy textile we waved our hands once over the sensor eye about 1 ft. above. This reaction was designed to use with all four of the textile tubes. The purpose was to see how the four different materials responded to the same input. 2. Dumitrescu, D., Persson, A. 2011. Exploring Heat As Interactive Expressions For Knitted Structures, in Nordic Design Research Conference Proceedings, Helsinki. pg. 1-8.




The Pixelated Reveal tension structure was made on the circular knitting machine with the opening yarn. The material was designed with small stripes of melting yarn to create what we called ‘pixels’ which opened when heated by current. The fabric was designed so that many different designers could make their own patterns with these pixels. In addition, the material was designed so that if all the pixels were open there was still knitted material between the pixels to hold the structure in tension.

Above: Pixelated Reveal fabric test before opening. Below: Pixelated Reveal fabric after current has opened the stitch courses.

This geometric structure is made up of conductive yarn and melting yarn using a tubular Jersey structure. The pattern is formed of four courses of texturized polyester yarn, monofilament, one course of melting yarn or GRILLON VLT® and one of conductive yarn. The two courses made by the conductive yarn and melting yarn are knitted every four stitches which floats on the textile reverse side. Thus, when the melting yarn is heated it disappears from the area where it is stitched in the textile structure. Our tension structure was wired to open a small 100 cm area of pixels at a time in a spiraling fashion up the tube. Each 100 cm line of pixels was given current through a microcontroller via a positive or negative cable at either end. The conductive yarn was continuous and circular in the tube and had to be cut at each end of the reactive area to ensure that the current only went to that area. The material was connected to a proximity sensor in the exhibition, but we discovered it was very difficult to control the response with many people in the room in an exhibition situation. We decided to activate the structure under more controlled conditions when the exhibit was closed.




Above: Five-toe sock knitted on the double-needle bed flat knitting machine. Below: Control panel of knitting program that determines shape and pattern (or geometric structure) of the knit. This image shows the first level of programing.









III. The Stainless Steel Tube cylinder was knitted on the circular knitting machine where we tested several different gauges of stainless steel wire and variations of one type of knit structure in combination with other yarns to arrive at this composite.

Opposite : Detail of inner face of Stainless Steel Tube textile

This tube is quite transparent made of a combination of stainless steel yarn, cotton and Grilon VLT®. When heated, the tube opens up along horizontal lines in the tube, which means that horizontally continuous portions of the tube can drop off. If one wants to maintain a tension structure, then patterning must be considered to leave enough fabric to support the tube when all responsive areas have been completely activated. Because of the high percentage of stainless steel yarn and stiff polyester monofilament, the tube is stable and very useful in architectural applications. The structure is formed by six courses using a Jersey pattern: four courses are knitted in polyester monofilament yarn, the fifth course is knitted with melting yarn or GRILLON VLT® and the sixth course is formed by the stainless steel. IV. The Tube in Tube tension structure was knitted as one long single tube, like a sock that could fold in on itself. We used the flat double needle bed knitting machine. The top part of the tube was knitted as a tube with the same diameter along its length and the lower portion that would fold inside was shaped. This structure is formed by with two translucent layers, one that has a linear pattern on the exterior surface and a second tube that is shaped on the interior. Both surfaces are knitted using Pemotex® ; however it is only in the outer surface where fine lines of conductive yarns are introduced in the structure.


Above: The three drawings above show a knitted Single Jersey structure. The top left shows a knit representational drawing, the top right shows the binding drawing. The lower centered drawing shows an axonometric of a 3-D model. This stitch structure was used in the Stainless Steel Tube and as an initial study for the structure for the Radiant Daisy. Opposite, above: Tube in Tube tension structure showing fabric in un-activated state. Opposite, center: 3-D print of early test knit pattern using different materials, e.g., 100% opaque black rubber and white translucent plastic. The 3-D model is a translation of a binding pattern combining stainless steel yarn and the shrinking yarn PemotexÂŽ. Opposite, below: The threedrawings show two different knitted structures. The two far left drawings top and bottom show an Interlock structure. This structures was used in the Tube in Tube tension structure. The right drawing shows a Single Jersey structure.


This structure is knitted using tubular knitting and the interlock technique. Each course is knitted in every second needle, alternating needles every second line. The conductive yarn is knitted in every second needle as well. The pattern is formed by five courses (four of PemotexÂŽ and one of conductive yarn). The structure is loose, but exhibits high strength when stretched due to the interlock binding. The 3-D printed model shown is another version of this tube that used a simpler plain stitch, but has the same course count While this tension tube was inactive and unwired during the exhibition, the design intention for the tube was such that the lines in the outer surface closed when presence was sensed. The pattern on the exterior tube became visible one line at a time, and slowly made a pattern through which one could see the inner tube. We presented both the Stainless Steel Tube and the Tube in Tube before the material transformation. There is much more to be done regarding the resistances and current required for different patterns and tensions.


Above: Detail of the Radiant Daisy textile showing snap power connections and cables. Center: The Radiant Daisyshowing stitched daisy pattern. Below: Electronic diagram for the Radiant Daisy textile showing the relationship of positive and negative current flow, micro-controller, and sensors.



IV. The Radiant Daisy tension structure was knit on the circular knitting machine with Pemotex®, a shrinking yarn that generated patterns by making certain fabric areas opaque. This material starts out as a transparent volume that closes the cells defined along horizontal bands in the structure when activated by heat. The structure is formed by five courses of Pemotex® yarn using a tuck pattern and a stainless steel yarn knitted as single jersey every sixth course. The Pemotex® shrinks 40% at the maximum 90˚C application. The pattern we selected to show was a large daisy on the tension tube. We cut the conductive stainless steel yarn, which was continuous in the knit cylinder to make the daisy pattern. Current was run to activate these cut areas using positive and negative cables attached to a micro-controller. The micro-controller received signals from a proximity sensor. When a person was near the tube, the sensor sent a signal to the material via the micro-controller and heated up one petal of the daisy. This specific textile structure had much higher resistance compared to the Pixelated Reveal material. The pattern was constructed with a parallel circuit, because was a higher resistance material. The ends of the shape defining the daisy line defining the daisy petal had to be sewn to its neighbor by hand with conductive thread, taking much more preparation time than the Pixelated Reveal. After tension was applied to the material, the resistance went up and we were not able to activate the tube hanging in the exhibition space. However, smaller samples laid upon a table were able to respond. It is possible that this particular knit and structure had a maximum tension limit to perform. The programming for the Radiant Daisy was written so that the micro-controller received a signal from the proximity sensor and then sent current to make one petal of the daisy opaque. Each time a person was sensed near the tube the next petal would become opaque until the entire daisy pattern was revealed through opacity.


Above: Details of the Tube in Tube textile



Exploring Digital Tools to Design a Physical Dynamic Textile at the Swedish School of Textiles Knitting Lab. 1.Alquist, S., Meges, A. 2011. Articulated Behavior. Ambience Proceedings, the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Boras, Boras Sweden, 2011, pgs. 13-19. 2. Albers, A. 1993. On Weaving. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.



Described as non-hierarchical systems, textile geometries embed various aesthetic dimensions in their structures that the bare eye cannot see; without dynamic scaling the aesthetics of these structural elements remain partially hidden in the textile surface for designers. Textile designers have the knowledge of these fine dimensions, i.e., interrelating structural and textural thinking in their design.1 However, the physical scale of the binding limits the textile designer’s view when it comes to the explorations of the three dimensionality of material construction; the limitation of the physical scale of the textile binding causes the shift in focus in the design process from deeper exploration of the fine aesthetics of structure towards the interest in developing the surface expression. Although the textile structure plays a major role when defining surface expression, somehow the construction remains always in the background when discussing textile aesthetics in relation to the architectural space. This is compared to the large emphasis on the textural dimension, which influences directly the expression of space by patterns and colors. Compared to a graphical pattern, where sketching can be done by drawing, sketching for a technique such as knitting is usually done in computerized hand knitting machines. During the sketching process, the structure is designed using basic bindings as codes for the construction, e.g., stitch, no stitch, tuck. Thus, to be able to design a knitted construction requires knowledge about the different typologies of bindings but also knowledge of direct work with the physical material since yarns have different characters, e.g, elastic, stiff, fine, coarse. The direct interaction with the material gives an understanding of the surface behavior – based on yarn character and construction.2 To achieve the desired characteristics of the surface, a textile designer decides in advance the type of binding and yarns to be used in the experiments. Working directly in the physical space makes the dimensions of the yarn and the characteristics of the machine used quintessential when deciding the scale of the textile structure. Consequently, during the sketching process one can vary yarn quality and play with different combinations of bindings; those variables are major when deciding the surface expression since the scale of the construction can not be modified due to the set characteristics of the knitting machine used. Restricted by production technology, the fine physical scale 37

Above: These diagrams show binding patterns for three different types of knit structures. A binding pattern shows a sectional cut through the needle bed of a knitting machine. The loops of yarn are shown going around the needles in the needle bed to make different knit structures. Opposite above: Group 1 knitted a tuck pattern sample on a personal knitting machine. This sample was their inspiration and starting point. Opposite below: Group 1 made a wire model showing the structure of the tuck stitch in their knitted sample before developing this stitch in Rhino. 3. Gale, C., Kaur, J. 2002. The Textile Book. Oxford: Berg. 4. Garcia, M. 2006. Architextiles. London: Wiley-Academy. 5. Palz, N. 2012. Emerging Architectural Potentials of Tunable Materiality Through Additive Fabrication Technologies. Copenhagen: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation. 6. Spuybroek, L. 2009. Textile Computing. In: The Architecture of Variation, Spuybroek, L. (ed.). London: Thames & Hudson.


of the textile structural geometry becomes an irrelevant dimension when translated to the architectural perspective. As knowledge in textile constructions became increasingly desirable for architecture, correspondingly, digital drawing environments of surface modeling in architecture e.g., Rhino, Grasshopper, Processing, have begun to influence textile design processes. Subsequently, the introduction of digital tools alongside three-dimensional printing opened a common space for the textile and architectural field to meet in the surface design processes.3 Indeed, when digital tools of form making are introduced in the textile design processes, this space of intersection opens a revised way of thinking about textile structural aesthetics, and consequently, asks for the development of appropriate methods to expand the structural scale of the textile to the dimensions of representation in architectural design.4,5,6 Starting from these considerations on textile structural scale, the experimental method proposed by our workshop Digital Translations: form active structures was introduced at the Swedish School of Textiles in BorĂĽs. The participants formed a group with mixed backgrounds, e.g., textile, product and architectural design; they had knowledge in knitting technology, and were used making knit samples or knitted sketches in the physical space. To the contrary, our method aimed to provoke the participants to explore the surface geometry using a digital drawing environment. The function of the digital method proposed by the workshop was to reveal to textile designers the hidden dimensions of the knitted structure by the use of dynamic scaling and three-dimensional drawing, and to open a new perspective to work in the design process focusing on the aesthetics of the structural geometry rather then the resulting texture.

The workshop introduced Rhino as digital method for geometric simulation; by that, our research aimed to look in what way the digital modeling would influence the textile construction process. Thus, our main intention was to see in which way the designers in their process will use the dynamic scaling of the knitted structure, and how this method would influence the end result. Thus, the first step in the workshop asked the participants to design a knitted geometry in a conventional physical process, i.e., using hand-knitting machines; this textile structure was later used as inspiration for the drawing to be formed as digital translation in Rhino. Accordingly, the second stage of workshop focused on translating the knitted structures as line drawings using a three-dimensional grid. Thirdly, the participants were asked to explore further the aesthetics of the textile geometry in the digital space, and to find appropriate methods to alter their initial model using different actions, e.g., modifying the dimension of the yarns, playing with the distances in the structure or repositioning the structural elements but keeping the flexibility of the textile structure. 39

Examples: Starting from a tuck structure, Group 1 enhanced the volume of the knitted binding and varied the dimension of the yarn filament in the repeat. These actions reformed the initial design in a new geometry. The photo above shows the 3D printed Tuck model from Group 1. The model is still sitting in the support material. The photograph below shows the reinterpreted tuck pattern emerging from the flat knitting machine. Opposite: A workshop participant modifies the surface character of the knit design by heating the fabric with a heat gun.


Each group started by accurately translating the structures were designed previously in the hand knitting machines using Rhino as drawing environment. Each group used a unit from the initial knitted structure. The unit was altered and repeated in such a way that the knitting technology could not allow during production. To be able to simulate the material, a system formed by a three-dimensional grid was used as base to draw shape elements and attach the lines of the structure. This step marked the translation between the textile physical space to the design of the complex geometry; new geometries resulted from the reinterpretation of the initial knitted structures. Subsequently, the method of translation of the knitted structures introduced by our workshop placed the material design process in the digital space rather then physical. Thus, the experiments were liberated from a set textile dimension, and accordingly, independent from variables e.g., yarn qualities or a specific knit binding coding. These conventional textile variables which typically decided the textile surface characteristics were reformed by all the participants during the digital explorations. Examining work on the initial workshop designs shows that each of the groups focused on exploring new variables in the digital space. This had major impact on the designs. Although the groups used the initial knitted structures as inspiration, the resulting digital geometries were very different in expression from the initial physical designs. Actions used by groups to transform their designs included altering the form of the loop and changing the section of the thread. Three-dimensional arrays and repetition offered new possibilities to explore structural expressions outside the constraints of the knitting technology in the digital space. 41


The authors would like to thank workshop participants Laerke Andersen, Marie Dreiman, Kaisa Karawatski, Astrid Mody, LinnĂŠa Nilsson, Mika Satomi, Maiko Tanaka, Josefina Tengvall and Mili John Tharakan.


The exhibition space itself offered an opportunity to conduct an experiment to test the materials at a larger scale under tension presenting a whole another series of design issues for considering use of responsive textiles in architectural applications. The four different designed materials presented in the exhibition develop four new and simpler knitted material geometries that can be used in responsive knitted structures. Two of the material designs demonstrate how these materials may be patterned and used to transform the material by breaking or making the material opaque thereby transforming space. The design for the tubular tension structures in the space showed framed the problem of addressing multiple scales when designing responsive textiles at the scale of the material and at the scale of a space.


The workshop framed the problem of connecting the structural geometry of a textile knit to its behavior—separate from material conditions.7 In addition, the workshop addressed the condundrum of relating geometry to material behavior. Workshop participants developed ways of translating the combination of structural geometry and desired behavior through experiments with 3-D printing methods and knitted textile samples. Workshop experiments explored varying material states that offered a diversity of methodologies to both textile and architectural designers. Lastly, the workshop asked the major question of how to closely connect textile design and tools with architectural design and tools.

7. Davis, F. 2012. Form Active Translations: Knitted Textiles To 3d Printed Textiles. In Form: Information. SIGRADI XVI Conference of Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics, Fortaleza, Brazil. Pg. 392-397.

The outcome of the workshop marked the intersection of textile and architectural design thinking, where both disciplines informed each other’s processes rather then restricted them. By introducing digital 3-Dimensional (3-D) modeling tools for geometric simulation, the level of abstraction within the conventional textile design process was changed. The complexity of the new geometry opened new aesthetic dimensions as consequence to the material reduction. In this new prototyping space, the visual information regarding the construction geometry dominated design decisions, while the surface physical behavior based on yarn variables (e.g., elasticity, stiffness, and tension) disappeared into the background of the digital methodology. The material reduction of the digital simulation allowed designers to focus on developing structural aesthetics and to explore the dimensions which are usually restricted by textile technology (but opened by digital fabrication). The textile designers argued that the predictability of the 3-D printed design result, when compared to the conventional process of textile fabrication, was likely the result of a highly approximated digital simulation. Consequently, textiles and their systemic logics represent 43


a major source of inspiration in architecture, especially when designing complex, non-hierarchical systems. In parallel, the digitalization of the sketching process in textile design can be a source of inspiration to rethink the space between the yarns and play with new dimensions in the textile design process.

Opposite: Tube In Tube, detail photograph

Finally, the circularity of the process in material design from physical to digital and back can push the boundaries of the textile design outside the restricted space where the yarn and the construction technique will no longer limit scale of the textile surface. By working with two distinct methodologies, the experiments we conducted gave us an understanding of the differences and potentialities of the two methods developed based on two distinct textile behaviors, the static and dynamic. Accordingly, the result aims to present and compare both design processes when composite methods between physical textile structures and digital tools interlace.



Felecia Davis is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Design and Computation Group at MIT. While at MIT she has been working on a dissertation which develops computational textiles or textiles that respond to commands through computer programming, electronics and sensors for use in architecture. These responsive textiles used in lightweight shelters will transform how we communicate, socialize and use space. She has received her Master of Architecture from Princeton University, and completed her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Tufts University. She has taught architectural design for over ten years at Cornell University, and taught design studios at Princeton University and the Cooper Union in New York. Felecia has lectured, taught workshops and exhibited her work in textiles, computation and architecture internationally. Her work in computation and architectural design has been widely published most recently in the Tangible Embodied Embedded Interface Conference in Barcelona. She has received several finalist awards for her architectural designs in open and invited design competitions.



Delia Dumitrescu lectures for the BA in textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles. She is currently completing her PhD through the Swedish School of Textiles, BorĂĽs. She studied for her first degree in architectural design at University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu, Bucharest, completed her MA in Textile Design at the Swedish School of Textiles, BorĂĽs and her licentiate degree at the Department of Applied IT, at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research develops new design methodology on Smart Textiles as materials for architecture by experimental research. Her work focuses on developing design methods for interactive textile surfaces using knitted constructions. Her research projects include: Knitted Light, Touching Loops, Designing with Heat Tactile Glow, Textile Forms in Movement, Repetition. Her projects have been exhibited in different places around Europe, e.g., Stockholm Furniture Fair, Salone Satellite, Milan, Responsive by Material Sense, Berlin, Hanover and Avantex, Frankfurt.



Above: Opening Day, Incremental Change exhibition at the Keller Gallery 3

In a little over two years, room 7-408 has transformed from what was once a plotter room into the Keller gallery at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s school of architecture & planning. Through a generous gift by Shawn Keller, principal of C.W. Keller & Associates, the Keller Gallery opened with its first exhibition in the fall of 2011. With nineteen exhibitions and counting, the Keller has already accomplished much in the way of creating a shared space for the several different communities that pass by and through its door. Part of a larger series of initiatives set forward by Nader Tehrani, who is the current head of the department of architecture, the gallery brings the spirit of debate, ambition, and design into the heart of the school—through and for the faculty and student community. Sarah Hirschman, who helped to launch the curatorial direction of the gallery as its first director, puts it best when she writes that the Keller “uses physicality to get everyone in the room.” As her successor, I cannot think of a better way to sum things up. The central motivation for such a small gallery—and one less plotting room—is the regenerative challenge to put forth an answer to the question: How to display architecture? Seemingly simple, this act—one that shifts scales, translates intentions, and relocates our gaze—grows increasingly less straightforward. The simplicity of this question is further amplified by the diminutive dimensions of the gallery. Its size affords only so much and thus forces our exhibitors to be focused, edited, and abbreviated, using limited means to make the strongest conceptual statement. An exhibition at the Keller is conceived as a One-Idea space, a One-Building space, or a miniature exhibit, among a range of other tropes. As the discipline itself takes on greater, less or simply different responsibilities, the Keller attempts to both reason and argue with the assumptions that have taken hold while we went about our business. A combination of project images, opening photos, and texts, Patterning By Heat is one of six compact publications that touch upon the immediacy of the exhibition itself, as well as a consideration of the context and conversations that surround it. These collected books do not pretend to recreate the exhibition experience, but rather aspire to expand what we see and what we discuss, as we continue to make architecture in varying formats, and across academic and professional work.


Patterning by Heat: Responsive Textile Structures  

Keller Gallery Exhibition November 2012 Felicia Davis Delia Dumitrescu

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