Working Prototypes


The following project was developed during the Smart Geometry Workshop, organized by Bentley Systems at Iaac [Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya – Barcelona]. The event was aimed at investigate a series of topics, related to advanced architecture, through the development of “working” prototypes. In this kind of approach the word “working” refers to the necessity, at the end of the design and production process, to verify the performances offered by the projects through an analytical process, keeping distance from a mere aesthetical use of complex shapes.

All the participants were grouped into clusters, each of them focused on a specific topic. The cluster’s name that I’m going to present is “High tech design – Low tech construction” and was dedicated to the translation of a complex design into a really simple construction process, which can be pursued without any CNC [computer numerically controlled] facility.

The group was formed by the following members:

Cluster leaders

Juan E Subercaseaux [KPF]

David Kosdruy [KPF]

Gustav Fagerstorm [KPF]


Benjamin G Callam [Unimaginative Design Ltd.]

Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo [Ayesa – MITAD Seville U]

Josh Lobel [Point B]

Matteo Lo Prete [Politecnico di Milano]

Michael Georgiou

Pablo Casarin Resende [UFRGS]

Stefan Hoijmans [Ghent University]

Yasushi Ikeda [Keio University – Ikds inc]

YooJu No [Grimshaw Architects NY]

Brandom Kruysman [Point B]

John Shields [Point B]

Stefano Andreani [University of Perugia]

Before the workshop the group produced an initial brief, starting at a design idea offered by the cluster leaders. During the early two days all the members developed their own idea, investigating different aspects related to the main cluster’s topic. At the end of this process the design ideas were discussed and evaluated, trying to find the most interesting aspects to merge into a feasible solution for the end of the event.

The group oriented its attention to a complex shape having interesting volumetric qualities, taking distance from the concept of wall and surface, which was the early driver for the design idea. Another aspect took into consideration was the characteristics of the components and their connection system, always related to the concept of a low tech construction process [base design concept by Yasushi Ikeda].

The final output, based on this synthesis, is a small pavilion built at the real scale. This small architecture owns volumetric qualities and is composed through the assembling of a huge number of standard components, cut from plywood sheets. All the cuts were performed by a laser cutter and a CNC milling machine, but the process is supposed to be replicated just with manual work, keeping the approach close to the cluster topic. All the pieces composing this cloud were marked through a complex system of numerical tags, which constituted the set of information related to the digital model, useful for the correct assembling of the cloud structure.

At the end of the production process all the panels were assembled manually, following the information pattern given by the numerical tags. All the joints were reinforced with plastic cable ties, stiffening the whole structure. The model were completed by a couple of surfaces [design concept by Stefan Hoijmans], made with other simple components.    The realization of a so-complex shape through a series of really simple components demonstrated the relationship between high tech design and low tech construction, which was the main goal of our cluster. The stiffness of the structure also ensured the good quality of the realization.

I’d like to thank all the participants for this great experience. I also thank the group leaders, three strong and really experienced professionals in my opinion.

Please note that all the materials and images related to this project are protected by the international laws on copyright, being intellectual property of the cluster’s members and, where specified, of some single authors. You’re not allowed to copy, modify and/or reproduce each of these materials. Each abuse of this series of rights will be reported and punished.

[nggallery id=11]

Comments are closed.