Thousand Line Construction

Thousand Line Construction :

Hamish Macpherson

A spatial exploration into the interplay of materials, construction techniques, and delicate and precise design.

Inspired by Hanakago; the craft of Japanese Bamboo basketry, to celebrate the western discovery of tea and its associated culture during the renaissance.

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Adaptable Hypars


An exploration of the simplest Hyperbolic Paraboloidic ‘saddle’ form has lead to the development of a modular system that combines the principles of the hypar (Hyperbolic Paraboloid) and elastic potential energy.

A hyperbolic paraboloid is an infinite doubly ruled surface in three dimensions with hyperbolic and parabolic cross-sections. It can be parametrized using the following equations:

Mathematical:   z = x2 – yor  x = y z

Parametric:   x(u,v)=u   y(u,v)=v   z(u,v)=uv

The physical manifestation of the above equations can be achieved by constructing a square and forcing the surface area to minimalise by introducing cross bracing that has shorter lengths than the  square edges.


A particular square hypar defined by b = n * √2 (b=boundary, n=initial geometry or ‘cross bracing’) thus constricting the four points to the corners of a cube leads to interesting tessellations in three dimensions.


Using a simple elastic lashing system to construct a hypar module binds all intersections together whilst allowing rotational movement. The rotational movement at any given intersection is proportionally distributed to all others. This combined with the elasticity of the joints means that the module has elastic potential energy (spring-like properties) therefore an array of many modules can adopt the same elastic properties.


The system can be scaled, shaped, locked and adapted to suit programmatic requirements.


The Wind Anemones

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Models of The Wind Anemones

The Wind Anemones are The Playa’s walking, floating sea creatures. While the seas animals survive and are transported by the waters currents – these wind animals live and move using the energy provided by air. They are living, interactive and mobile – huge, rolling, climbing frames.

The Anemones are lively creature, light and agile they moves ceaselessly, desperate to escape their tethers. The creatures are ethereal, elegant and imposing. During the day they want only to play with the other inhabitants of The Playa, encouraging them to climb and view them.

Although large, the anemones are lightweight and strong – their wide spanning arms signal to all who pass them while their rustling sails propel them ceaselessly. When night falls the Wind Anemones become more subdued – their gently glowing hands beckon to the burners and their arm-top lights echo the noises produced on The Playa. These animals are living beings, both climbing frames and beacons they long to inspire, interact with and inhabit The Playa.

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Daytime render of The Wind Anemones
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Nightime render of The Wind Anemones

Physical Description:

The Wind Anemone’s are the sea creatures of The Playa. Instead of moving and feeding with the seas currents and tides The Wind Anemones are a constructed representation of desert creatures. In the vast, arid, wilderness they are the only being that can survive, powered only by the winds energy.

Structurally the Anemones are super-lightweight bamboo sculptures allowing them to dance and move in the deserts unforgiving climate whilst being safe for people to climb and interact with. Each Anemone has 48 identical bamboo arms each capped with a painted polystyrene hand, glowing LED bulb and sail.

The fabric sails are both the energy harvesting component of the creatures and a reflection of the silk road that the festival represents. The many repeated elements of each Anemone means that they are cheap to build and easy to assemble. The tough, light limbs are resilient extremities; both mast and arm. While the sails create movement and foot holds for climbing.

Each Anemone is tether securely to a post again reflecting the living nature of the creatures and ensuring that they never role too far from their home. These tethers are strung with LED lights to reflect the lights of the Anemone’s and to signal the location of each tether to ensure safety at night.

The LEDs on the Anemone’s arms and tethers will be programmed to react to the sounds of The Playa, making the Anemone’s both react with and reflect the activity occurring around them.

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Construction of the Wind Anemone
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Construction Axo of The Wind Anemone

Lotus Hypars

Lotus Hypars – A study of hyperbolic bamboo structures

The Lotus Hypars symbolise the “Caravansary” trading centre. The structure is assembled as the centre for exchange after journeying across land and water to a resting point, Burning Man. Hammocks offer a space for the festivals unique style of trading to be discussed and carried out. The tangible nature of the Lotus also creates a playfulness in an otherwise formal system of resources exchange. The lightweight structure evolves from the horizontal lines of the desert and forms a hyperbolic shelter. The user can inhabit not only underneath the structure, but also the petal shaped hammocks. Here, individuals can exchange stories, supplies and treasures.


In Buddhism, the Lotus flower is symbolic of fortune. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment. The Lotus Hypar story has evolved from the same principles. In the harsh desert environment, man can create beauty. The folded geometries are playfully excited by human participation. A twist, a fold and a push.


The structure is assembled using bamboo sticks that are arranged in a reciprocal formation. These canes are then bound using high strength elastic bands. This allows for the flat cells to twist and take on new shapes. The Lotus Hypar is formed by a repetitive series of folds and the result forms petals. These are symbolic of the Lotus flower. The cells are covered with a white semi-elastic membrane that adds to the strength of the structure and the petal geometries become more visible. These are also the hammocks that can be inhabited by the Burning Man users.


In order to test the structural performance of the proposal, I constructed a series of 1:1 scale models. This was done using 6m and 3m bamboo canes (35mm diameter). By testing a small segment of the full proposal, it is easier to determine the success of the final proposal.

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