48-215, Materials and Assembly I Spring 2013 I Professor Dale Clifford

The goal of this project was to explore formal variations of a 10-15 ft tall tower and the material qualities of plywood.

The team began by exploring the structure of bones and noticing stronger densities in areas that were under more pressure and less densities in areas of tension. Taking this idea, we wished to translate it architecturally and hence began examining the potential of a 3D Voronoi pattern. We sought to create a tower that reflected a sense of gravity, with larger cells grounding the structure in a gradient of decreasing size, as the tower grew taller.

Using Rhino and Grasshopper, we were able to model the structure of the tower and then began removing the interior pieces in order to make the structure lightweight. Then, using the CNC router, we milled each face of the 3D Voronoi patterns and then assembled them on site with zip ties to form each individual cell. Once the cells had been assembled they were joined together with a similar zip tie method to complete the installation that rose to a height of almost 14 feet. Our structure was then displayed in the hallway of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts. 

In collaboration with Tommy Sterling, Clara Lee, Shanna Chan, Chris Ball, Naomie Laguerre, Avanti Dabholkar