They look like props from a high-concept science fiction movie, but the curving, swirling forms produced in a two-day workshop were designed and built by first-year Texas A&M environmental design students grappling with design and construction problems associated with complex forms.
Because such forms are becoming more popular with architects and clients, it’s important that first-year students encounter the issues they present, said Alireza Borhani, architecture lecturer and a leader of the March 9 and 11, 2016 workshop.
Students built the forms, displayed at Viz-a-GoGo23, with flat, bendable four-sided panels they fabricated from poster board with a laser cutter in the college’s Automated Fabrication and Design Lab and woodshop.
They designed the panels with TopMod and UNFOLDING, open-source modeling applications developed by Ergun Akleman, professor of visualization, who also helped lead the workshop.
Students learned how to minimize the amount of poster board, lower the cost of the project and reduce laser cutting time by using UNFOLDING to create the most efficient arrangements of panels on the poster board sheets.
They joined the panels with pocket folder fasteners using identification numbers on the panels’ vertices and faces created by the UNFOLDING software
The workshop, sponsored by the Department of Architecture, was also led by Negar Kalantar, assistant professor of architecture; Shenyao Ke and You Wu, graduate visualization students, and Bara Safarova, a graduate architecture student.