Gwyllim Jahn + Cameron Newnham, Fologram
Soomeen Hahm + Igor Pantic, Bartlett UCL
Steampunk is a pavilion constructed from steam-bent hardwood timber using primitive hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides. Rendering digital models as holographic overlays directly within construction environments enables fabricators to use their expertise and inventiveness to produce highly intricate and complex objects. The timber elements in the structure are steam-bent over an adaptable, moldless formwork using a holographic model as a reference to the desired result. Fabricators can intuitively adapt bending techniques or formwork positions until physical parts match digital models within accepted tolerances. This approach removes the necessity of anticipating every aspect of material behaviour in digital models and in so doing leaves open a certain degree of indeterminacy as material affects are discovered, desired and amplified during construction. It is this liberation of digital expression from the constraints of digital fabrication, together with the opportunity for nuance and material affects derived from material craft, that drives the architectural effects of the pavilion.
The plan of the pavilion is a cross that divides the grassy mound of the Biennial site into four distinct spaces that frame views towards the old city of Tallinn and the Architecture Museum. The variable surface effects in the pavilion are a product of expediency, as bending three-dimensional curves from straight 100x10mm boards forces the timber profile to twist along its length. This attempt to produce an architecture from standardised lengths of material is more akin to weaving than assembling, and twisting timber sections contribute stiffness and compression strength to a composite timber and steel shell. Tracing the lines of the woven timber leads from conventional orthogonal surfaces to the complete break down of familiar topology, toying with the ambiguity of the form of the knot, inside and outside or surface and volume. By demonstrating that complex digital models can be fabricated by hand without traditional drawings or CNC machine code, the pavilion aims to democratize the production of more performative, expressive and bespoke architectural designs and serve as a deliberate polemic in the context of widespread robotic fabrication and automation.
Gwyllim Jahn_ is a co-founder of Fologram where he focuses on enabling clients and designers to deliver complex and cutting-edge projects. www.fologram.com
Cameron Newnham_ is a co-founder of Fologram where he leads the development of mixed-reality software solutions for AEC. www.fologram.com
Soomeen Hahm_ is the director of SoomeenHahm Design Ltd. Her practice focuses on computational design research in architecture across multiple scales and perspectives. www.soomeenhahm.com
Igor Pantic_ is a London based architect and designer and a Teaching Fellow at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture. His work focuses on computational design and fabrication. www.igorpantic.net
Image: Steampunk Pavilion – Photographer Peter Bennetts.