ADVANCED TECTONICS: A . K . A The ‘Beam Class’

Using scripted geometry as a starting point we initially wanted to create a beam in tension and use a chemical fixant so that when inverted, the beam could act against compression. Failed prototypes using resin led to a process of aggregation, where the testing of models led to an additive process. Much like a spider spins its web, we added members where weaknesses could be physically felt in the model. Both physical and three-dimensional proto-types were evolved in tandem to produce a lattice like beam, which under a point load would overcome shear, compressive and tensile forces. Using photographs as an analytical device, we could monitor the changes and the pattern in which the members would act. We devised a series of members throughout each preliminary model – primary and secondary (thick and thin steel members), in some cases tertiary (steel plate) cataloguing the use of each in terms of economy, scale and structural performance. This created a highly ordered arrangement albeit with the same random aesthetic as the initial scripted studies.

Throughout the design process we were conscious that the beam should although be highly functional – have an undercurrent of form as a driver. We became interested in the way highly articulated spans, angled members for example, and clusters of smaller ones could give the beam a sense of movement and contradictingthe notion that a beam should be something structurally massive and largely unseen.

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