factory futures

The project is a product of the workshop “Factory Futures” held in Ivrea, Italy (a partnership among Andriano Olivetti Foundation, AA, and Gehry Technologies Europe) in 2012. We worked in a group of 2 people intending to build a large scale architectural prototype responding to the site’s emerging conditions of production. We were introduced to parametric modeling (Digital Project) and machine control and simulation (RoboStudio) for robotic fabrication. A given amount of twelve cubic meters of polystyrene was to be cut through a local factory (large scale hot wire cutters) and assembled at the former Olivetti Factory on a strict timeline. Manufacturing possibilities, assembly logic, and production timelines have been the key ingredients of our architectural speculations.
We focused on compression resistance and geometrical potentials and patterns by exploring the specific material properties of polystyrene. Inspired by Persian brick domes constructed based on compression strength- and weaving systems, we investigated arrays of a single component extending in 3 dimensions and its spatial qualities. Based on the exploration of one component’s production and assembly logic, this methodology brought us closer to a prototype conceived as an open –yet hyper specific- integrated system. The self-supporting jointless structure produced effects of patterning, light, and sound insulation. No material was wasted out of 156 components produced. Through drawings and collages, we imagined it as a micro-environment able to colonize the factory’s typical open plan and where both work and life activities could happen under its self-contained and individual space. Further exploration of the same component-based system focused on designing non-standardized elements through specific scripting and fabrication techniques.

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