In 2018 Almudena completed her Part 1 from the University of Plymouth Architecture School where she developed an interest in digital fabrication with the integration of craftsmanship and bespoke design. Later that year, she began working as a Part 1 for Penoyre & Prasad in London, an architecture studio focusing on public buildings keeping sustainability high on their agenda. Almudena was able to work on a variety of projects ranging from health care buildings to higher education buildings.
During her Part 1 experience, having been part of the winning design team for an eye hospital competition in London she began to develop an interest in competitions which has lead her to take part in some on her own time.
Currently, Almudena is in her first year of Architecture MArch, looking to experiment different digital tools and fabrication methods, whilst taking into consideration environmental and economical aspects.
The aim of this brief is to explore the physical and assembly potentials of a chosen material to ﬁnd novel applications, structures and geometry through physical and digital experimention. Furthermore, combine these experiments with the research into a chosen plant to understand the systems at place that organise and hold together plants and make them operate as living processes. This will lead on to how we can uses the created system to improve an existing site/business/operation that is not environmentally sustainable.
Learning from Nature: Getting to know the Bromeliad Pineapple Plant
I have chosen to research into Bromeliads, specifically the pineapple plant.I have been mainly focusing on the way the leaves bend and explore its double curvature. Tightly overlapping leaf structure helps capture water and nutrients in the absence of a well-developed root system. This allows Bromeliads to hold a lot of rainfall, because of the constant moisture a food chain is created with the growth of algae making them a small self- contained ecosystem.
Exploring Double Curvature
In order to understand the leaf bends further, I took one leaf every two ‘levels’ then cut it up every 5cm, dipped it in paint and printed it on a piece of paper in order to get the exact angles. This way I was able to get a series of bends every 5cm in one leave and understand how a leaf curves.
Experimenting Double Curvature with Plywood
When flattening the Bromeliad leaf it cracks in certain areas where it bends. Therefore, since I’m starting out with a flat piece of plywood and want to create the bends I decided to test doing the inverse of what happens with the leaves. Starting with a flat piece and cutting slits at different angles and lengths then pinching them together to create bends.
Testing Angles, Bends, Layering and Clustering
Having created different curves with the plywood sheets depending on the angles and starting shapes of the plywood sheet, I started to test how they can be joined together and layered to create different forms.