As woody as possible

timber life cycle.jpg      Timber is a rather attractive option when it comes to sustainable building. The fact that it is a renewable resource that takes away carbon dioxide in the process of it’s life-cycle makes it a very viable option for new communities to arise. But it does little good, if the to turn a tree into architecture, a bunch of pollutant and in some cases unattainable materials are required.  What i’m trying to achieve with this project is not complete independence from other materials but that the minimization of their use to the bear minimum when it comes to construction. The goal of the project so far was to find a way to join timber parts together that go beyond planar or perpendicular joints in order to construct architectures that are not predetermined in shape or form but only in construction technique.  A simple construction system that requires no factories, but only hand tools and utilizes trees as close to their natural form as possible.


sidejoint diagram.jpg

The System utilizes dry timber joints and dowels for the main skeleton of whatever is to be built, allowing for double curved, intuitive growth to take place when constructing a building, and making the building a dynamic entity instead of a static object that can grow or shrink towards any direction, filling the gaps and meeting the requirements of its inhabitant, whatever they may be.  A method that does not predetermine functional or spacial conditions but acts as a tool to create architecture prone to customization.wacky dome.jpg


The system utilizes linear timber elements in the form of sawn timber or potentially logs. Using  linear elements means  that the process from tree to construction material is minimized without necessarily compromising the form of the architecture.


Moon Rocks


moon cubes


Project Summary*

Moon rocks are about challenging the way we experience voids within confined geometries.Inspired by the nature of the sea sponge and its porosity, it is designed to stand as a contrasting installation that references natural geometries confined within a perfect cube, a shape achieved only by human intervention. Ideally the cube will be made out of the earth, naturally and locally sourced, binding naturally with the playa landscape. An internal geometry that looks like something that has been naturally formed by the passage of time, confined within the geometrical precision of the cube,  it is a manifesto of nature and manufacture, a very apparent, very human, extension of nature. A temple honoring the natural playa and celebrating our ability in erecting structures that cohere with nature. Also, they look like pieces of the moon!


Physical Description*

IMG_4838 (2)

In order to achieve the complex geometry of the moon rocks, we will need to create a mould and fill it with a viscous structural material. I’m currently experimenting with plaster because plaster is just great at picking up detail!
Balloons of varying sizes are inflated to a preferable shape, bound, put in a box, anchored in position to prevent any displacement of the balloons and poured over with plaster. The viscous material that is used to fill the voids inside the balloon box may vary from plaster to concrete,to…anything that behaves like a liquid enough to crawl in all the crevices and eventually dries to solid form. When building on the playa, what better than to use the earth that we will find beneath our feet to create the giant porous sand cube. If it’s one thing that’s easy to find in the desert, its soil.
The project is envisioned basically as a porous sand cube achieved by pouring wet sand (with a bit of natural adhesive) in a 16x16x16 foot cubic mould, potentially built out of prefabricated timber, brought to the desert in a container and fixed together easily on site.Sand will be collected using buckets and shovels, then, a single layer prefabricated inflatable PVC skin, that is basically a bunch of inflatable spheres of various sizes, stitched together, will be placed in the mould, inflated and poured over with the wet sand mix. After the sand crawls in all the corners of the mould, the sand should be compressed to maximum density so it withstands standing under its own weight and the harsh desert conditions throughout the festival. After all is done, the spheres can be deflated or popped like balloons and removed along with the box mould, leaving behind the porous sand cube, or moon rock! When the festival is over, we can knock down the moon rock and spread the sand, returning it to where we found it. Another idea is to pour a mix of wood chips and adhesive to fill the mould instead of sand. Then it can be Burned at the end of the Festival!




Interactivity and Mission*

Moon rocks purpose is to question the way we create spaces, proposing learning from irregular natural geometries. It’s designed to create a clear juxtaposition between its fluid internal structure and its linear cubic confinement and acts as a call to inspire integrating organic natural geometries within our strict linear manmade lives. But let my intent aside for a bit. Seeing an unusual giant sand cube, that looks like a piece of the moon, in the desert, just has so many interpretations, I’m sure the expression of the piece will be received in multiple forms.
Burners are invited to let go of their previous experience of structures by observing inside the cube and exploring its intricate internal form, discovering more and more interconnected naturally fluid spaces of varying sizes, the deeper within the cube their vision ventures. The piece offers shelter from the harsh weather conditions and a nice place to sit and rethink what kind of space we feel comfortable being in. Cubic or fluent? Simple or complex? Natural or artificial?
It’s an object that leaves the observer’s conclusion about the piece with the freedom to wander. But whatever the conclusion may be, I hope it will have to do with the beauty found in nature.

Philosophy the piece*

Creating a piece showing appreciation for the intricacy and beauty found in the natural world.
The philosophy behind the piece is one that suggests that we learn from naturally formed geometries when we create things. I aspire to make visitors rethink how we build, by creating an object that looks like something between a man-made object and a naturally formed shape. The Moon rocks are the embodiment of the threshold of the artificial and the natural. A structure that mimics nature but also imprisons it within a cube, expressing that we are still far from building like nature does and calls for humanity to realise the importance of building in coherence to our surroundings,  and work harder towards recreating nature.