Column_5: Aggregating and Lensing (part 5 out of 9 from New Orders) and extension of The Ring
The central void, in this last iteration on courtyard application, is generated by an aggregation of varied concrete elements. The prototyping method involves repetitive casting, reusable formwork and assembly rules from specific geometries.
For this case study, the larger inner void is disseminated into an arrangement of local voids, all puncturing the thickness of the column, for light and air intrusion. A range of different combinations from a number of modules makes each void specific and unique from its neighbors. Taxonomy of localized nodes reorganizes outdoor living around smaller vertical courtyards of varied density, in an effort to increase community living within a larger housing complex. A series of vertical circulation around the building, feed each semi-public void directly. Each void then locally distributes their respective living clusters to stimulate social encounters between residents. The organizational system for the column takes advantage of specific geometries, known as quasi-periodic tiling. Its main property is to generate long range order symmetry, instead of close repetition of same element (copy/paste). Namely, from a minimum variety of tiles, a field of maximum diversity is generated based on a set of possible combinations of few elements. From adjacency analyses, assembly rules are determined by sorting which edge of a tile can combine with which edges of other tiles.
The proposed column employs 6 types of concrete elements that can group in various ways into a diverse field of 41 elements.
By capitalizing on such geometrical framework, the effort placed on the consequent fabrication process is substantially reduced. Indeed, only a limited number of formworks are required to make up for a diverse field. Mass-production and formwork reusability is the main focus for the prototyping endeavor. Six formworks are devised as 8-part moulds (1 top, 1 bottom and 4 sides) in the production of the 3-dimensional modules. The CNC parts of the EPS mould are made independent to ease the (re)assembly and dismantling of the formwork at every pouring cycle. Upon final assembly of the column prototype, it was surprisingly found that the concrete modules were supporting one another by gravity or simple friction between the tiles ‘edges without the need for extra bonding or mechanical connections. To amplify the reading of the various combinations of elements (ranging from 3 to 8 tiles) that depict each void uniquely, the tiles external surfaces are made concave. Rather than placing emphasis on the concrete elements themselves, this process of lensing strengthen the reading of the seams as the principal structural generator for the prototype.