Students design wooden structure as simultaneously flexible, rigid

Alireza Borhani

Slender, six-foot tall wooden towers that display contradictory properties — rigidity and flexibility — were created by four first-year environmental design students at Texas A&M for display at an architectural education conference.

Led by Alireza Borhani, architecture lecturer, and Negar Kalantar, assistant professor of architecture, students created the piece, “Flexible YET Rigid,” which was displayed at The National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, held Feb. 26-28 at the University of Houston.

Viewers at the confab interacted with the piece by stepping on its curved base, causing the installation’s eight wooden towers to sway as if being blown by a gentle wind.

The installation was sculpted by at the college’s woodshop and Automated Fabrication & Design Lab using a range of woodcutting techniques on flat pieces of wood, said Borhani. “The piece transforms lumber into flexible, yet rigid elements, challenging what is conventionally expected from a piece of wood.”

Rebecca Bond, Raymond Gonzales, Ashley Just and Stephen Parker created the piece, part of “Engaging Media,” an exhibit at the conference that included a diverse range of work by beginning design students, including videos, installations and design-research posters.

The conference was the 31st annual national scholarly gathering dedicated to the study and practice of beginning design education, providing an opportunity for design educators to present papers and projects and hold discussions related to introductory design issues.

posted March 24, 2015