Diploma Studio 10 at Westminster University School of Architecture
Author: Arthur Mamou-Mani
Arthur Mamou-Mani AA dipl, ARB/RIBA FRSA – is a French architect, director of Mamou-Mani Architects, specialised in a new kind of digitally designed and fabricated architecture. He is a lecturer at the University of Westminster and owns a digital fabrication laboratory called the Fab.Pub which allows people to experiment with large 3D Printers and Laser Cutters.
Arthur has been selected as one of the RIBAj's 2017 cohort of Rising Stars. He has won the Gold Prize at the American Architecture Prize for the Wooden Wave project installed at BuroHappold Engineering and since 2016, he is a fellow of the The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Prior to founding Mamou-Mani in 2011, he worked with Atelier Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid Architects and Proctor and Matthews Architects.
“Now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive & sustainable cities.” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
We are very excited to be back for a new year. This year our brief is focused on Arcology, a term coined by Paolo Soleri which is the combination of Architecture and Ecology. Below is a few links describing the year ahead:
Sustainability first! DS10 looks for novel solutions to sustainability issues in all its forms. We are interested in realistic and efficient buildings that contribute to a more sustainable society. We value digital exploration on the threshold between structure and biophilic ornament, coupled with thorough material testing DS10 believe that architecture should be joyful and that architects should think like makers and act like entrepreneurs. We like physical experiments tested with digital tools, for analysis, formal generation and fabrication.
Since the last post on the 23rd October our students have been exploring how to materialise their research into fractals (which they generated with Mandelbulb3D). The conflict between endless geometry and finite material world creates a creative tension that pushes innovation in digital design and fabrication. From parametric equations to parametric design, students have explored fractals as self-generating computer images and attempted to control them, first through changing their variables and then by extracting the most appealing fragments and recreating them using Grasshopper3D . From pure voxel-based images to NURBS or meshes and to 3D printing, laser-cutting, thermo-forming, casting..etc… students are confronted to the limitation of the computer’s memory and processing power as well as materials and numerical control (NC) programming language such as Gcode.
Navigating through fractals, exploring their recursive unpredictability to create more finite prototypes is like walking through the forest and noticing a beautiful flower to design your next building – it helps to let go of a fully top-down approach to architecture, it encourages a collaborations with your computer and a deep understanding of machines and materials. It anticipates a world in which the computers will have an intelligence of their own, where the architect will guide it onto a learning path instead of giving him instructions. Using infinite fractals to inspire designs helps instill infinity within the finite world – bringing a spiritual dimension to our everyday life.
Below is a selection of our students Brief01 journey so far:
We are back after a year exploring Symbols & Systems, and an inspiring unit trip to South India, visiting the Hempi Valley and Auroville. This year our focus is on Fractals, not just as forms but as tools to understand how geometry can become infinite and how it can be built within the constraints of the physical reality. Fractals gives the opportunity to expand confined spaces, to let the mind fill the gap that reality had to stop. Therefore it also provides a great tool for the second brief, which is the Tiny Home movement, society’s need to create more compact, efficient homes to face the environmental and economical crisis. As per our previous briefs, we would like our students to build their projects, whether it is a giant fractal at a festival or an actual home within a space that would otherwise be left empty, we want students to raise funds and make, using digital fabrication tools combined with off-the-shelf material. Our goal is to continue training the entrepreneur-makers of tomorrow. Below is a breakdown of our briefs as they are being drafted:
Hello WeWantToLearn community. We’re going to Burning Man in less than a month!
Our project this year will be a physical manifestation of our collective dreams and is called Tangential Dreams. It is a seven meters high temporary timber tower displaying inspiring messages from around the world, written on a multitude of swirling “tangents”.
We need your help to realise our project! There is only three days left to collect the missing £5,000 on our crowdfunding campaign to finance the many expenses associated with the creation of such an ambitious project.
Please click on the image below or use the following shortlink to share/help – everything helps: http://kck.st/28KlbPk 🙂
The project is a climbable sinuous tower made from off-the-shelf timber and digitally designed via algorithmic rules. One thousand “tangent” and light wooden pieces, stenciled with inspiring sentences, are strongly held in position by a helicoid sub-structure rotating along a central spine which also forms a safe staircase to climb on. Each one of the poetic branches faces a different angle, based on the tangent vectors of a sweeping sine curve. In line with this year’s theme, the piece is reminiscent of Leonardo’s Vitruvian man’s movement, helicoid inventions such as the “aerial screw” helicopter and Chambord castle helicoid staircase as well as his deep, systematic, understanding of the rules behind form to create art. From a wave to a flame all the way to a giant desert cactus, the complex simplicity of the art piece will trigger many interpretations, many dreams.
The art piece attempts to maximize an inexpensive material by using the output of an algorithm – (the value of the piece being the mathematics behind it, as well as the experience, not the materials being used). The computer outputs information to locate the column, sub-structure and tangents. We believe digital tools in design are giving rise to a new Renaissance, in which highly sophisticated designs, mimicking natural processes by integrating structural and environmental feedback, can be achieved at a very low cost. We worked very closely with our structural engineer format, sharing our algorithms, to give structural integrity to the piece and resist the strong climbing and wind loads. There are now three “legs” to our proposal, each rotated from each other at 60 degrees angles around a central solid spine, to ensure the stability of the piece, similarly to a tripod. The tangents are not just a decoration, they act as a spiky balustrade to prevent people from falling.
We have a fantastic team for the project: Philip Olivier, Eira Mooney, Maialen Calleja, Aaron Porterfield, Sebastian Morales, Antony Dobrzensky, Laura Nica, Karina Pitis, Hamish Macpherson, Jon Goodbun, Yannick Yamanga, Matthew Springer ,Josh NG ,Lola Chaine, Dror BenHay, Peter Wang, Charlotte Chambers, Michael DiCarlo, Sandy Kwan.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn.” Xun Kuang (312-230 BC)
WeWantToLearn.net at Burning Man 2015 – A video by Freddie Barrie
“We believe that Architecture should be fun and in giving our students the opportunity to build projects in the real world. We want them to dare to be naïve, curious, and enthusiastic, to think like makers and to act like entrepreneurs, creating an architecture of joy. Burning Man is the playground for our dreams.” Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani, DS10 Studio Leaders, University of Westminster
Team: Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani (tutors), Tobias Power (Designer of The Infinity Tree), Jon Leung (Designer of Bismuth Bivouac), Lorna Jackson (Designer of reflection), Maialen Calleja, Andrei Jipa, Josh Potter, Aaron Porterfield, Aigli Tsirogianni, Alex Fotherby, Andrew K Green, Ben Brakspear, Ben lloyd Goldstein, Charlotte Chambers, Deepak Krasner, Eira Mooney, Eliana Stenning, Elizabeth Ripps, Felix Thiodet, Garis Iu, Jack Hardy, Jasmine Low, Jon Goodbun, Lianne Clark, Maria Sobrino, Martin Brien, Matthew Lee, Michelle Tanya Barratt, Neale Shutler, Phil Olivier, Ricky Chandi, Sarah Stell, Toby Plunkett, Tom Jelley, Elan laplain, Innes Shelley, Jake Spruyt, James Abbott, Jasper Sauve, Joe Leach, Julian Sauve, Klina Jordan, Joshua de Matteo, Maria Vergopoulou, Kris Leung, Ben Metcalfe-Penny, Willem Ossorio, Sebastian Sauve, Tim Hornsby, Tim Martin
Engineers: Format Engineering (The Infinity Tree and Bismuth Bivouac) Price & Myers (Reflection)
Special Thanks: BettieJune Scarborough, Ben Stoelting, Brody Scotland, DaveX, Harry Charrington, Thomas Ermacora, Betty Lam and to all our Kickstarter Backers.
Hello Everyone – Back in our studio studying mathematical, biological and made-made systems using parametric tools and digital fabrication for our BRIEF01: EXPLORE. Here are couple highlights from yesterday’s tutorial showing the initial study models and drawings needed to explain the rules of the system and their creative possibilities.
A quick update from Burning Man’s dusty “Playa” on which three Diploma Studio 10 students have built their academic projects together with a team of 60 volunteers from the University of Westminster and beyond. You can follow our Instagram account for more pictures of the journey and we will post more details and pictures on our return. Thank you so much for your support and hope that the projects will inspire you!