Aperture Flux

Chris Alfstad, Daniel Cahak, Taylor Cell, Morgan Champine, Milad Fereshtedhnezhad, Amy Jarvis, Samane Khoini, Diego Wu Law, Ricardo León, Laura Loyola, Brad Minton, John Morrison, Natali Romoser, Jonathan Thomas, Navid Vijeh Tehrani, Yinglin Wu

Spring Semester 2012

This project is the result of a 5 week full scale exploration of a modular cast brick wall system. The design and fabrication solution addresses the following: 1) a heterogeneous modular wall system, 2) application of a digital tool set, 3) detail of the system to facilitate a full scale construction, 4) project coordination between various teams, 5) precise choreography of components, and 6) consideration of iterative transformation across the field.

We began our research by looking to the Jeffersonian serpentine walls at the University of Virginia. The walls are one brick wide yet extremely resistant against lateral loads due to the degree of curvature within the footprint of the wall. The walls are comprised of standard bricks and the curving characteristic is purely due to the rotation of each brick. The outcome of the wall is somewhat dictated by the shape and size of the bricks as well as the techniques used to construct the wall.  From this example we moved to the work of Andy Goldsworthy. If the Jeffersonian serpentine walls are restricted due to their repetitive use of a replicated brick, what is the benefit if each brick could be unique in size and shape? Goldsworthy’s version of a serpentine wall employs found stones and choreographs each idiosyncrasy to arrive at a spontaneous outcome.  The Jeffersonian principle of using curvature for stability is still in play, but the addition of uncommon bricks creates a non imitable outcome every time.

Our aim is to discover what could happen if we take the initial idea of Andy Goldsworthy’s serpentine wall and replace the primitive form of acquiring bricks with modern digital technologies and tools. What could happen if we create our own non-repetitive bricks with a predetermined design outcome in mind?

The wall is the result of applying a geometric, aperture, and dimensional gradient across the field. The wall tapers vertically from the largest and most sturdy  to very thin and lightweight bricks. Each brick is unique in its x,y,and z axis, as well as in aperture size and shape. Looking back to the Jeffersonian walls, Aperture Flux is curving in plan  for structural integrity; it also curves, much like the human spine, in elevation. While the wall maintains the idea of being one brick thick, it pulls away from the precedents in having two completely different faces. The front (or back) shows the protruding aperture frames while the back (or front) takes on the task of nesting the bricks together giving a subtractive quality.