Rhombic Dodecahedron Assembly Diagram


The modules can be aggregated into undulating structural fields, creating a membrane with a highly articulated type of porosity.  A level of physical transparency is achieved that begins to suggest something much more than just a barrier or divide.  These membranes can perhaps become much more dynamic thresholds.

Zones not of separation, but of transference and transition.  The numerous pockets, surfaces, and mobius wrapped spaces can be embedded or populated by any manner of systems whether biological, technological, infrastructural, or a combination of all.

Changes in scale and material can move the geometry across full range of possible use, whether as canopy, enclosure, armature, or furniture.

The malleability of the system can also serve as a wrapping for certain kinds of space, or existing structures as an augmentation.  In any scenario whether aesthetic or more functional, an encounter with the elegance and surprising structural efficiency of the simple minimal surface geometry is sure to be at least a novel experience, and perhaps even a progressive one.

Simple Parametrics

These are the three Module-A cut profiles used, arranged side by side and superimposed.  The bottom member (fixed spoke) remains constant throughout all three and allows the quad modules to align in their double layered configurations.  The center strip (rim) and the upper member (variable spoke) change in length, shortening proportionately (magenta) to create the compressed inner quad module, or lengthening proportionately (blue) to create the wrapping exterior quad module.

Elevation view of double layered quads .  On the right with extended on top, and compressed on bottom, and on the left with alternating extended and compressed to provid directional changes and proper fixed spoke lateral alignment.  Either configuration’s flipped version can join with itself to create straight or flat aggregations.

Perspective view.

These are just two simple parametric manipulations that allow for types various types of curving and bending actions along parallel (fixed spoke) axis .  More sophisticated manipulations coupled with necessary module augmentations would naturally yield more sophisticated configurations.

Cut profiles of two double layered modules that would produce a 22.5 degree tilt (approx).

Module-A Assemblies

As the double layered modules are aggregated they begin to exhibit truss and space frame structural properties.  In order to break from the two dimensional plane the parameters of the module profiles were manipulated in order to enable the module aggregations to eventually produce contoured structural membranes.

Decreasing the length of the interior “spoke” along double connection axis of the inner layer module, and increasing the length of the same spoke on the outer layer module creates a double layered module that when aggregated produces curvature.

Here we can see the compression and closing of the interior layer modules and the expansion and wrapping of the exterior layer modules.  We can also see the lightweight structural properties of the assembly held to the wall with a single pin.

Two joined rows of curvature demonstrate the ability to become a contoured structural membrane.

The inverted configuration maintains it’s form.

Here more modules are added and the direction of the curvature is reversed.  As the length of the cantilever is increased some deformation occurs, but the structure for the most part stays true to form, still anchored by only two pins.  There is no glue or hardware connecting the double layered modules.   The object in the lower corner of the image is the back of a chair to give a sense of scale.


Module A

Module A

This is the laser cut profile and assembled module.  The small notches allow for aggregation.

digital model of module A quad compound module

module A quad, minimal surface module

module A quads slotted together

The notches in the modules allowed them to be aggregated face to face but not laterally.  Another iteration needed to be developed in order to enable better connectivity in all directions.

module A2

In module A2 a slotted “fin” was added to the exterior corners of the module to allow for lateral connectivity and layering.

module A2 quad being assembled

module A2 quad being assembled

mass modules drying in jig

dry modules ready for assembly into quads

mass quad modules

double layer quad aggregation


ready to go.

Assembly Diagram

Material experiments led to an understanding of the inherent structural qualities of plaster when embedded into a thread fabric. The thinness of the material can be exploited for its strength in compression, as the overall structure would remain light. This idea is derived from an appreciation and understanding of the thin-shell concrete structures of Felix Candela.

The assembly diagram illustrates a strategy of implementation of plaster fabric as a lightweight partition.  A wrapping form allows for the creation of a hollow “brick” that contains an inherent directionality both within its inner void and its catenary curvature. Inner connection tabs carry the compressive forces through point loads, and allow the structure to remain materially consistent. Preliminary concepts for an overall form attempt to achieve an undulating form while playing with the thickness of units.

A lighting strategy utilizing the intrinsic porosity of the material allows the structure to gain a second function as a lighting element. Backlighting experiments show the material in a more interesting way and change its identity.

Branching Analysis

To narrow down the different variables to types of branching I started with the very basics.
First looking at the effects of spacing and placement of the branching, then interactions of another simple thread path.

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The pdf for those curious