Towards a Lively Architecture Exploring Response in Bent Wood Assemblies
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The field of responsive architecture1 has explored many avenues of response including media screens, light sensitive facades and reactive wall systems, but has not extensively addressed tectonics2 as a vehicle for response. This thesis will address issues of response through the exploration of delicate, branching, aggregate structures that inherently embody notions of “Liveliness”. Using wood for its natural tensile properties, models will be developed that explore varying “precarious” branching typologies that are conducive to response. Liveliness will first be looked at through the application of forces to the system and understanding how the transfer of forces begins to animate the structures. These investigations will be used to inform digital simulations that investigate material tendencies and possible structural aggregations. These digital simulations will also be used as a tool to study the transference of forces and energies through both stable and unstable systems that begin to reveal liveliness in the reactions and tendencies of the system. Light, shadow, overlap of materials, and opacity will also be explored for its potential to register a visual liveliness and alter our perception of space. Using the gained knowledge from the model studies and simulations, a full scale immersive installation is intended to embody liveliness through branching tectonics with carefully designed part-to-whole relationships and the use of light and density to affect visual perception. The goal of the research is to question typical notions of response through the development of a new lively tectonic that changes the way we perceive space. By perceiving space as living, we begin to give it more value and develop a new sense of empathy in architecture.