Column_8: Splitting and Profiling (part 8 out of 9 from New Orders)

Speculations on the line as vehicle to describe volumes of revolution are considered in the prototyping of column 8 and 9.
A 5-axis custom-made automated hot wire is utilized as the main research tool.
By inputting specific protocols for synchronized motions (4 translations and 1 rotation), new topologies emerge defined by movement and time. These are further employed to section EPS foam blocks into part-moulds for thin shell concrete casting.
Column 8 begins with the study of Pier Luigi Nervi’s columns of varying sections found in many of his built work. Due to its plastic properties, reinforced concrete permitted Nervi to transform a column’s profile from top to bottom in order to respond to different structural demands. Informed by ‘objective static and construction consideration’, the transition from changing sections is negotiated by straight lines connecting points on the contours of each section (Nervi 1965). The lines are then directly translated into planks for the making of the formwork. Column 8 appropriates this geometrical procedure in vertical deformation. First, various 2d sections are identified within the shaft of the column. Then, the hot wire cutter takes care of deriving the resulting ruled geometry linking the different sections. Taxonomies of EPS-plugs subsequently make up for the negative volumes in between which the concrete is then poured.

Design research: Olivier Ottevaere and Elsa Caetano
Machine concept and design: Victor Leung