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Tri Aperture

tectonics of a freeform surface through aggregation

University of Michigan


Description: The aim of this project was to develop a tectonic unit, either in the form of architectural panel, frame, or a hybrid of two, which has the capacity to negotiate complex curvature through aggregation. The panels should explore specific material properties and fabrication processes, as well as algorithmic techniques of dynamic patterning and aggregation. Based on the interest of exploring the properties of aluminum sheets through subtractive methods of fabrication, this project had two main challenges: the first challenge was to design panels and joints that can be fabricated with 3 axis machinery, and assembled with simple hardware. The second challenge was to design a joint component that accommodates different axis of movement, thus complex curvature. Regarding the challenge with the fabrication process and assembly, I explored waterjet cutting and then industrial laser cutting for the aluminum thin sheets, and then using rivets for connecting the panels with the joints. Regarding the challenge with the design, my first prototype was designed with triangular panels connected through a hexagon joint. The first prototype of the joint was not capable of supporting a complex curvature though.

Credits: Niloufar Emami

First prototype

Second prototype 

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