Transcendental Staircase



dis/integration[loops], inspired by the composer William Basinski’s seminal works of the same name, explores the limitations of digital processes in our world – and the chaos that can unfold from overreliance on them.

A towering array is assembled from recursive fragments of an inherently destructive process. It explores the tension that exists between the digital and physical realms; challenging an immortal, digital world, the glorious ruin of the analogue realm confronts the perceived perfection of the artificial.

Existing in a state of intended incompleteness, dis/integration[loops] eschews vanity in favour of exhibiting procedural rawness; the power of ruinous accident reveals itself through the tarnishing of idyllic digitalism.

Pressure-laminated plywood modules, form-found through iterative casting experiments, connect to form a pervious, fragmented structure; it’s transcience and impermanence exaggerated as night follows day.

dig vs an 1

In the same way that Basinski’s fragile recordings were destroyed upon being processed by the human ear, dis/integration[loops] exists in a contented, lush and shimmering state prior to being activated by human presence.

Proximity-controlled LED lighting impregnates the structure. When combined with sounds inspired by those Basinski’s (de)generative process created, this affords a level of animated deconstruction upon activation; visually and sonically, the imperfect presence of humanity causes dis/integration[loops] to be engulfed in chaotic ripples of distortion.

It’s most perfect (yet still decidedly imperfect) state is one in which it lies dormant and peaceful, undiscovered by the presence of people. It experientially disintegrates upon activation.

The fragmented structure exaggerates ever-changing natural light conditions and provides shelter, as well as an intimate, tactile space withi it’s permeable walls.

‘And then as the last crackle faded and the music was no more, I took in my surroundings and looked around at the faces and I was right there with everybody and we were alive.’

dis/integration[loops] is a reminder than everything we encounter eventually falls apart and returns to dust. It challenges the perfect, edited, occularcentrism that blights our social lives, explores the sound of decay, and the beauty that can exist in destruction. It is a meditation on death and loss, and exploration on a theme that some things are better left untouched.

The experience of life – a gradual disintegration – is simultaneously enriched and eroded by the imperfect nature of our encounters; pristine digitalism deserves a tarnished, ruinous quality symbolic of our experiences.

‘and I was right there with everybody and we were alive.’

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.


Gender Difference

As part of international woman’s day I’m exploring differences between males and females in relation to the built environment in order to inform my final project. It only takes two minutes to complete and will directly influence the design progression.

Some examples of questions found in the survey can be found below:


material preferencetimber shapes proximity

Many Thanks

Image : Jan Gehl, How to Study Public Life,

Vulcan’s Flame

A geometric wall of fire burning on the sands of the Black Rock Desert. This immobile blaze stands as an edifice to Burning Man’s original figurehead. A burning yet fireless wall of plywood and acetate that can be encountered, entered and sheltered in.

20150125 Day Render w rays20150127 Night Render

This sculpture stands as an abstract image of flames sent by Vulcan the Roman God of fire, an emblem of the festival’s name. Created from a series of plywood shapes and acrylic, Vulcan’s Flame is a blazing wall of light and colour. The structure is created to both imitate and juxtapose chemical fire, sharing real fires beauty but opposing its destructive tendencies. The sculpture is designed as a wall of shelter, behind which burners can be shielded from the desert’s unforgiving sun.

Born from Ancient Egyptian ‘Cairo tiling’, the sculpture is created from morphing polyhedra. The lowest section of the fire is created from cubes which gradually deform into rhombic dodecahedrons – a cubist interpretation of a flames movement. Internally every shape is painted to mimic fire’s bright hues and coloured acetate panels within the wall will project red and yellow tones onto the surrounding desert floor. At night internal spotlights will illuminate the entire structure, creating a glowing inferno of colour. These lights will flicker to create the illusion of movement.

Visually the main structure consists of three main forms;

  • The outer zone: the sparse cubic section of the sculpture, representing the hottest part of a flame, the region of complete combustion
  • The middle zone: this is the central area in which the cubic deformation begins to occur.
  • The inner zone: this is the coolest space, the most densely packed red area of the sculpture. Burners can crawl into this space – sheltered by four layers of dodecahedrons.

Rendered Plan

Physical Description:

Vulcan’s Flame is a long, low plywood structure, the installation is the geometric interpretation of a flame, a curving sculpture of deforming polyhedral that slowly transform from a cube to a rhombic dodecahedron. The sculpture is created from 55 plywood polyhedra constructed from hand cut plywood boards and secured with cable ties. Internally each shape is painted using natural, organic paints, as the shapes change their internal colour alters from yellow to red. Coloured acetate panels in the uppermost faces of each shape will mirror the shapes internal hue, these panels will allow sunlight through during the day casting beautiful coloured shadows on the desert floor. At night the sculpture will be lit internally with fluctuating spot lights, this will create the illusion of flickering movement. The acetate panels will be secured with nails.

Construction Sequence

The structure sits on a base of 23 plywood shapes, secured to the ground with rebar stakes. The sculpture is very stable as the base is the widest section, the rest of the sculpture tapers away towards the top. Each new shape rest on the 4 corners of the shapes below, bolted through the vertices and then secured with rope. The final and highest rhombic dodecahedron is stabilised with a steel column. The highest point on the entire structure is just over 11 feet above ground level and consists of 4 stacked shapes. A full sized version of one of the shapes has already been constructed and load tested confirming that it can support human weight, all of the cable ties securing the structure will be meticulously rubbed down to ensure they are not sharp.

The sculpture curves in a gentle arc – creating a central area of shelter from the wind and sun. At ground level Burners can crawl inside the structure and rest in it’s shady, tinted interior.

20150129 Single Component

Inspired by previous research of pyritohedrons, these structures are an addition to a series of other models based on polyhedral deformation. Previous models have experimented with density, altering colour and infill panels.

Previous Models

3d print a building

1. Types of 3D printers (SLA, FDM, SLS and Z-printers)

StereoLithogrAphy (SLA)


The first 3d Printer, built in 1983 by Chuck Hull was using SLA technology to print with a photoplymer.


Layer by layer, a liquid polymer is exposed to light from a low-power laser and hardens locally. It produces very accurate prints, theoretically capable of tolerances within 100 nm (0.0001 mm), smaller than visible light wavelength, because of the capacity of lasers to focus beams of only a few photons in diameter.

Traditionally a very expensive technology using expensive polymers, recently it became affordable through the Formlab Form 1:


Fused deposition modeling (FDM)

A very popular technology developed in the 80s by Scott Crump and widely available today after the expiration of patents when the large Rep-Rap open-source community started to develop affordable machines using this technology.


The material is supplied as a roll of filament (generally ABS or PLA), a hot nozzle melts it, extrudes it and deposes it in layers to build up a 3d model.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) and other variations (DMLS, SHS, SLM, EBM)


Developed in the mid 80s by Carl Deckard in Austin, Texas. Similar to SLA, SLS machines use a more powerful laser to fuse together powdered particles of a variety of materials (plastic, metal, glass, porcelain etc). The advantage of this technology over SLA and FDM is that prints do not require support structures, because of the ability of the powder to support cantilevering layers above.

Plaster-bed printing (PP)

Z-printers were developed in 1995 at MIT use layers of plasters and an ink-jet print-head that uses a binding resin to harden the plaster powder. Because of the possibility of using different colours of resin, the Z-corps are capable of building full-colour models. They are also capable of printing cantilevering structures without support. Plaster 3d prints have a very good resolution but are soft and fragile and need to be glued.

2. Replicating Rapid-prototyper (Rep-Rap)

A Rep-rap is a machine that can be built using only standard off-the-shelf parts (nuts, bolts, stepper motors etc) and parts that it can 3d-print itself (generally joints and connection pieces).


Adrian Bowyer developed the first prototype in 2004 at the University of Bath. Since then, the project grew exponentially, currently having hundreds of family members, versions, updates and spin-offs. The original Darwin used FDM technology and a cartesian movement system, the nozzle moving in the two horizontal axes XY while the print bed moves vertically in Z direction.

To day most rep-raps are FDM machines based on cartesian coordinate systems, the two most advanced branches in the family being the Prusa Mendel (XZ Head; Y Bed), the PrintrBot/Up! (X Head YZ Bed); the MakerBot (Z Head; YZ Bed) and the Ultimaker (XY Head; Z Bed).

Other technologies have been adapted to be used in Rep-Raps, such as the CandyFab, a selective sintering machine that uses a heat source and sugar as raw material:

A reprap SLA machine is also available as a kit for about 600$ from Veloso, only one available as far as I am aware.

Newest trends are in developing rep-rap printers that are non-cartesian and based on different coordinate systems. Check out these cool machines:

A SCARA coordinate system machine:

A POLAR coordinate system machine:

A DELTA coordinate system machine:

Amazing projects are always kickstarted, check this one out for a printer under $100:

3.Be the first to 3d print a house!

Currently in the world there are three working large scale 3d printers aimed at manufacturing buildings:

1. The Italian based D-Shape by Enrico Dini:


And a prototype for Foster’s Moon Base also done with the D-Shape:


2. Kamermaker by DUS:


3. And the Contour Crafting by Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of Southern California:


Also worth checking the Echoviren by Smith Allen in California:


Softkill’s Protohouse:


Sources:; http://on3dprinting.com;

Augmented Reality Trials

So I have been trying out a variety of software’s via my smartphone to enable the projection of architecture related 3d models onto surfaces which the user can orient and move around. The three strongest were;

AndAR   Augment   Aurasma

AndAr had the most consistant viewport, but could view only very low poly models

Augment could view more complex models, but was prone to crashing and cut parts of the model out

Aurasma I found to be the most successful. I joined as a developer, and after working through a lot of new software’s was able to create material maps, lighting and orientation (in Maya) to a level of control that the other apps do not have.

So if you want a go, download Aurasma on your smart device, search for University of Westminster’s channel, point the viewfinder at the playing card picture in the gallery and you can have a look at my model yourself!

I own the University of Westminster’s developer account it seems, so if anyone is interested in having a go then feel free to ask.