SYMMETRY SENTIENCE :: ZnO: The Athens AA Visiting School 2016 Review

by Alexandros Kallegias, Director of the Athens AA Visiting School
30 May 2017 Athens, Greece [caption id="attachment_6876" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_01 FIBROUS expo (photo by Christos Thrasivoulou)[/caption] FIBROUS, the family of architectural prototypes, has been the end-result of the design explorations on materiality and perception during the Athens AA Visiting School 2016 ZnO Cycle. The research agenda will carry on its architectural experiments in 2017 through a series of computational models. In 2016 the Athens Visiting School continued to examine the philosophy of phenomenology as a starting point in the architectural design. Structures of consciousness experienced from the first-person point of view were coupled with the study of shapes in action. The experience around an architectural object acted as the central point of ambience for the user’s space. Assessing the way in which natural formations are created and exist as active players in shaping their environment was achieved via digital simulation. Forms and structures in motion were created with an aim to alter the spatial experience. A series of morphologies have been designed, informed by biomimetic form-finding methods through a bottom-up approach via various coding techniques. The family of five 1:1 scale structures, FIBROUS, has been put together, enabling the spatial experience of built space and of building materials in their sensory aspects as a result of a series of initial testing models. [caption id="attachment_6877" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_02 Mechatronics Setup (photo by Alice Mangoyan)[/caption] These proposals are applied through the combination of different software including Processing and Rhino Grasshopper, while Arduin was used as part of the interactive/kinetic component. The architectural program worked in collaboration with AKTO Art & Design College making use of the school’s studio and fabrication spaces and with the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The participants came together as teams and addressed the brief with their own unique design concepts, as described here: [caption id="attachment_6878" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_03 AA Athens Tutorials (photo by Alice Mangoyan)[/caption] 3F+2M (Ioanna Tatli, Sofia Maria Maraki, Eugene Stais, Emil Pop)   Breathing Folds is an interactive installation that reminds humans of the connection between them and their environment. Its form stems from the fact that an originally flat surface is bent or curved as a result of a permanent deformation but, depending on the material, this deformation may be changeable. A series of fabric surfaces are twisted and hung next to each other around a central core, making visible the notion of the layering. [caption id="attachment_6879" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_04 Team 3F+2M[/caption]
In each surface a pattern is applied which indicates the parts that would roll up and cause a motion to the entire system. Simultaneously, this upward movement generates a pattern which forms the views of the model. When a human approaches the previous flat surface it starts to move and then return back to its initial position, repeatedly, just like the breath. Thus it operates like a living creature which conceives the activity around it reminding people that there is a contact and a close, reciprocal relationship between them and their surroundings.   Crystal Formation (Aikaterini Myserli, Konstantinos Chountas, Nikolina Georgieva, Elias Daoutakos, Georgios Nikolaos Kampanis)   StormBorn is a proposal that was derived at by looking at how nature creates the various forms of living creatures. After investigating the patterns on a leaf and the scales of a fish, a technique of folding operations was made through simulation and physical modelling. In order to provide shade, StormBorn follows the movement of a scorpion’s tail. The structure begins to rotate its top part from a vertical position to a horizontal one as soon as a person comes by. In this way, the upper part turns into a cantilevering piece while the lower part has an extended area for people to sit down and rest. [caption id="attachment_6880" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_05 Team Crystal Formation[/caption] P.S.S.I.T (Stelios Andreou, Sofia Georgia Tzereme, Ilia Vera Politopoulou, Athanasios Vagias, Panagiotis Ka-kampouras)   The proposal comprises a digital interpretation of the form of the cocoon. Based on this primary nature’s formation, an extra software defined system of creases is introduced in order to render this natural structure compatible to our design idea, as well as to transform it into a physical scale model. On one hand the system of creases support the structure, while on the other hand it offers a sculptural effect. In addition to this, the installation has a behavioural performance, achieved with the implementation of an Arduino board. The detection of movement is the trigger for interaction with the installation. As a result, a surface of the cocoon opens, letting people in, then restricts the exit for a few seconds, and then finally opens again. [caption id="attachment_6881" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_06 Team P.S.S.I.T[/caption] The Avengers (Efstathios Damtsas, Alexandra Marantidou, Elena Ioannidou, Alexandros Paradissis) [caption id="attachment_6882" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_07 Team The Avengers[/caption] The Obnoxious Tower is an attempt to imitate a living organism that reacts to external stimuli of its environment. Inspired by natural patterns, corals, sensitive plants, and precedent works of fibre art, we came up with a dynamic shape depicting, in an abstract way, a living organism. Starting with a solid base, the fibre structure evolves into a ‘trunk’ that thins gradually towards its ‘waist’ that allows it to rotate. Its curious nature makes our tower twist and rotate towards the source of movement around it, thus engaging in a dance with the people approaching it. Apart from its internal mechanical structure, the tower is mainly supported by its own shape, making use of the structural properties of its material, 3mm white felt.
Rotating chains of connected rhombs are sewn together in a spiral way that makes them bend inwards, the seams between them create creases which absorb the deformation forces and make the structure self-supporting. The shape of the tower stems from a meticulous study of pattern combinations and is the result of stress testing simulations using Rhino, Grasshopper, and Processing. [caption id="attachment_6883" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_08 Team VoidSetup()[/caption] Void Setup() (Georgios Kontominas, Tipp Bongers, Nikoleta Mougkasi, Christos Koufidis, Myrsini Karabali)   The aim of the project was to create interactive manifold surfaces in a simple, rough, and spontaneous way, just by twisting and pinching the soft felt. Taking advantage of the material’s enormous flexibility and adaptability, we intended to create a continuous and inflated surface that would produce an unfolded 3D pattern. Following a bottoms-up process, we conceived an initial double curvature surface by simple manipulations, which started with two basic rectangular pieces of felt. Consequently, we had to elaborate in two directions, experimenting with the structure and the geometry of the component itself and the way the form would result, given the inherent relations of the initial component and the local and global rules of their connections. Therefore, the deformed tower arises out of scaling down the component in the vertical direction and of pinching each row diagonally, as a twist is imported that way in the mechanism. Given felt’s flexible and durable structure, a stable transparent fold is created. The geometrical rules of the initial piece define the attributes of the whole structure, which can also act as a ‘distance-meter’ that fades in and out, capturing through sensors signs of motion nearby. [caption id="attachment_6884" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_09 AA Athens Studio (photo by Alice Mangoyan)[/caption] Technical Details 10 days :: Duration of programme 5 days :: Design development, fabrication, assembly 29 students :: 14 cities 40 hours :: Fabrication, assembly time 5 :: Mechatronics sets (Arduino) 25 m² :: High-strength felt fabric   CREDITS Programme Director: Alexandros Kallegias Akto Coordinator: Evangelos Kanellopoulos Tutors: Alexandros Kallegias, Eirini Vouliouri, Elina Pattichi, Alejandro Garcia Gadea, Qiao Zhang, Arsenios Zachariadis, Ioanna Siviti Students: Georgios Nikolaos Kampanis, Efstathios Damtsas, Stelios Andreou, Alexandra Marantidou, Ioanna Tatli, Georgios Kontominas, Aikaterini Myserli, Konstantinos Chountas, Sofia Maria Maraki, Tipp Bongers, Sofia Georgia Tzereme, Christos Koufidis, Evangelia Lavranou, Elena Ioannidou, Ilia Vera Politopoulou, Nikolina Georgieva, Athanasios Vagias, Nikoleta Mougkasi, Panagiotis Kakampouras, Alexandros Paradissis, Myrsini Karabali, Elias Daoutakos, Anastasia Gkavezou, Eugene Stais, Emil Pop [caption id="attachment_6885" align="alignnone" width="360"]AAAthens2016_10 AA Athens Interim Presentations (photo by Alice Mangoyan)[/caption] For more information: Athens AA Visiting School Brief AA Athens Visiting School microsite Apply to AAVS Athens AAVS Athens on AA Conversations