Authors : Daniela Atencio, Rishabh Khurana and Ana Zapata

University : Southern California Institute of Architecture

Status : BArch, 2015

Advisor : Peter Testa

Title : Multi-Textural Extrusions7

Computers can work in harmony to solve intensive problems systematically.  They may facilitate, using parametrized 3D software, the simulation, and even the control of materials in the physical world.  In a world already filled with technological advances, and where our ubiquitous gadgets know so much about ourselves, [ technology ] may maximize our quality of life, minimize resource consumption, and customize architecture to reflect our habits and desires.  Today, technological innovations pave the way to a new generation of interactive architecture, creating spaces that will touch us where it matters the most — deep within our minds.

This design research project starts by manipulating, translating, and transcoding image-based pixels into representations of different resolutions as generators of information and image in the definition of form – an ‘ontology of the image’ freed from [ geometrization ]. The project was initiated with reference to the spatial matrix of Mies van der Rohe’s Toronto Dominion Centre (1963-1969). Described by Philip Johnson as “the largest Mies in the world” the original project for two office towers and a single story-banking hall has subsequently been expanded into a number of buildings playing against each-other, working within the bounding box of one of four towers and within the original precinct defined by Mies.

This project is mainly based on the concept of [ image driven information ] that can be converted into a tool path and how that information can generate a workflow that leads to the development of a new form of [ fabrication language].  The goal was to achieve a different kind of morphology that comes from different parameters like an image and different tool-path combinations.  With the help of these constraints, we developed a certain kind of [ duality ] and mixed resolution in the whole form. A photograph of the building displaying some amazing reflections and qualities embedded within the site was selected.  In addition, in the project was introduced the incorporation of the concept of multi-textured layers,  this  is where all  the information for paths, speed, and materials, are layered or encoded. Following this idea  and  after many alterations,  was developed a tool  path where the  extrusion follows its self-structured mandrel, and the envelope while it also plays with the site’s reflection.

Similarly in the project was included different options, using distinctive conditions of images and generated tool paths, exploring through simulations of robots various options and possibilities for extruding vertical, diagonal and interlocking geometries. As a result of this research project, extrusions were generated with very particular and unusual qualities.  One of the major findings that stand out is  the  diversity  of resolutions in the same shape, where a variety of highly detailed textures and [ densities ] are  explicit  and  which  are  no longer  Cartesian.  These physical extrusions were subsequently brought back to digital through a 3d scan technique, obtaining a series of unconventional and complex geometries.  During this process was explored certain parameters such as speed of the robot, speed of the extrusion, extrusion height, temperature as well as material behaviors. Two features of this innovative dual technique were tested: with the change in the speed of the robot (progressively reducing it), we found interesting corner conditions, textures, densities and different resolutions.

An innovative premise of this research is to generate an extrusion that is self-structure through the choreography of robotized tool paths that make possible to manufacture the mandrel of the building as well as its surface and all its variations with empiric results and ambiguous geometries. This technique makes the process attractive for technical uses as they take three-dimensional forms easily, and thus distribute loads or stresses efficiently throughout the structure. This  research  project  developed  a  [ hybrid  expression ] of different techniques often used in architecture which redefines the definition of what we know as 3d printing, evolving it into a six axis extruding method.


This project was influenced by: Phantom Geometry by Liz and Kyle von Hasseln

Readings: Digital Fabrications by Lisa Iwamoto,  Extreme Textiles by Matilda McQuaid, Hybrid Reality by Ayesha Khanna and The Eyes of The Skin by Pallasmaa Juhani

Additional Credits: Devyn Weiser and Jake Newsum


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Daniela Atencio + Rishabh Khurana + Ana Zapata_ The development of a tool path where the extrusion follows its self-structured mandrel as well as the diversity of resolutions in the same shape. Also, the variety of highly detailed textures and densities are explicit and which are no longer Cartesian extrusions.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
DA + RK + AZ_ Technology, photography, fabrication and media.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
DA + RK + AZ_ How an idea can be translated in infinite ways and the complexity and importance of the design process in the research of new form finding.

S//A : Describe your dream project
DA + RK + AZ_ Our dream project would be large-scale models where we will be able to use new fabrication techniques, technologies and composite materials to experiment with architectural design and new forms.