Plastic Parametrics PLASTICITY progresses through an alternating approach that utilizes the rigorous investigation of specific geometric properties to drive material parameters and of greater significance allowing the acquiring of such micro-scale intelligence the capacity to make overall general redirections—holding enormous tectonic project impact. It is in this flux between nearsighted-farsighted vantage point that PLASTICITY truly embraces indeterminacy and allows fluctuation—the extent to which becomes evident in the following understanding of the intersecting levels parametric practices in the project. At the root of this shifting capacity lies the mediation between a seemingly low-tech material and advanced computer numerically controlled technology utilized in the automobile and aeronautics industry. The innovation of the collaboration lies simply in this fact (the connecting of polar ends of a technological spectrum), enabling the transformation of a low tech material with an origin in domestic waste treated with high-technology to reach level innovative building components. From recycling to up-cycling—attempting to increase value in subsequent lifecycles. The process is therefore clearly no longer limited to the scale of a single component, but rather it expands the scope of operation—a component driven design multi-life material system.

img: Plasti+city 3-legged variation possible from 1 standard double curvature component

  • (VIDEO ABOVE: 2D COMPONENTS; software TopSolid)

  • Parametric Modeling Associative design (specifically the parametric software Top Solid) was employed in altering the standard manufactured components in an attempt to expose strengths/weaknesses and local/global effects of the generated reductive component iterations. Differentiating component systems explored a range of alterations—namely (1) removal of corners that proved problematic in trial assemblies of standardized components (2) removal of areas beyond optimal structural zones of double curvature to relieve weight (3) machining of material joints.  Associative design also allowed for the control between the component scale of the project, defining single component parameters, and the global scale, where the characteristics of the single take part in shaping the overall assembly.  The associative intelligence was first merged onto a single component in an attempt to define a general system for relating to other components.  By defining this specific relative behavior on a single component, no initial form had to be imposed in order to continue the project. Growing successively to the macro scale, associative design further exercises control between the parametrically differentiated components and their populations creating global morphologies.
  • (VIDEO ABOVE: 3D COMPONENT SYSTEM; software TopSolid)
  • Parametric Process With a conscious effort to keep the project workspace as ‘parametric’ as possible, the association between local/global geometries, congruence between digital modeling/physical prototyping, project team communication allowed all levels of tests to immediately inform one another. The parametric project model was more than management of design-to-output, rather a ‘communicative agent’ in a series of interrelated processes and constraints. A parametric approach is afterall… ‘determined indeterminancy’. Programmatic and functional aspects should be understood as a further set of parameters that interact with the adaptable form.