Warped: Experiments in ply construction
Hume, Matthew Thomas
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Statement of issue/problem - Materials are processed in a manner to efficiently maximize their latent strengths. This fact has resulted in the production of innumerable building products that are presently used in construction. They are engineered to resist radical shifts in performance relative to changing conditions in the environment. This results in greater tolerance for such changes when they are assembled or fastened. With respect to design and construction; there has been little exploration into the consequence of removing tolerances and allowing subtle transformations within the material substrate to effect the structure as a whole. This could create new possibilities for a more responsive materiality in architecture. Statement of significance of issue - Greater responsiveness in architecture can result from understanding the constructed much like our own bodies, part hard and part soft. In this respect, structures can become much more sophisticated. They must simultaneously protect us from hazardous environmental conditions, maintain our comfort, and provide information. They must respond to our changing needs and the changing environmental conditions as extensions of our bodies. There is potential for the development of structures that attempt to do this by first exploring their material substrate and identifying its unique behaviors in response to specific external factors. This project addresses the growing concern for the environment by insisting that the materials we build with use more passive methods for tempering our architecture. Working with the material's sensitivities other forces may be incorporated into the design. Method of inquiry - I will experiment with one particular material, veneer wood, and its ability to swell or shrink in the presence or absence of moisture. I will develop a construction system for the veneer that will allow it to respond in specific ways to its changing relationship with moisture. Expected outcome - A better understanding of material transformation and the development of a methodology for incorporating it into design.