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ben brady

MATERIALS CLASS

I am a teaching assistant this semester for Mark Mulligan and Daniel Etzler’s Materials and Construction course.  It is really fun and experimental and I am having a really great time helping the students.  They are all first year architecture students so some of them have a background in building or architecture or construction, but others have virtually no experience making things.  As I love to make things myself, I can’t think of anything better than to teach others how to also!

These are a few images from their second project.  The students were asked quite broadly to explore equilibrium.  They were shown in class some Calatrava models, some tensigrity structures, and some Calder sculptures.  The idea is an introduction to statics through material exploration.  I encouraged my students to look at the work of Junya Ishigami.  Many of them became obsessed with flatness and with structural intrigue.  The idea of looking at something and not really understanding initially why it works is very compelling to me.  I think they were very successful.  I was also very happy to see that the students held back and showed a great deal of restraint in their designs.  Some time the most simple thing is the best thing.  One group balanced two seemingly equal blocks over a fulcrum loaded asymmetrically.  The idea was that they could pre-bend the steel between the two so that when it was in equilibrium they would achieve a total flatness.  Another group took a seemingly very heavy laminated triangle and moved the centroid so that it would hang in space totally flat but not from where you would expect.  As you move closer you can’t even figure out how the thing is standing up.  And the last group created a narrative for their project where they introduced food loaded on a tray, supported by a wine bottle (also asymmetrically loaded) and all balanced by one of the students standing on a rolling pin himself.  All of the work was reall

extreme asymmetrical flatness after loading

 

 

stealth triangle

 

 

the balancing act!

pre-bent before loading

elevation

from below

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