suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
michael MCCUNE +casidy KEIM: modulated lattice 5 explores the translation between digital modeling, cnc production and hand fabrication.
marie and dave RIGGS
oil field welding instructor:
located in the piney hills of northern louisiana, the modulated structure is influenced by the environmental response mechanisms and branching techniques of several site-specific organisms. it functions as an outdoor learning pavilion for children in the neighboring school and as a unique gathering spot for the general public. modulated lattice 5 is a physical exploration designed and constructed by michael mccune and cassidy keim as a thesis project at louisiana tech university. early in the development process we committed ourselves to three defining agendas. the first, our personal agenda of utilizing new digital craft and production techniques without losing the tactile expression of hand craft. the second, our client’s vision of a seamless connection between classroom and the landscape. the third, a hypothesis, that an outdoor classroom that is transparent in its expression of nature becomes not just a vessel to learn in, but something that in itself can be learned about. the hypothesis suggests that a design so intimately derived from nature could have the inherent ability to initiate a heightened awareness of nature. the classroom’s response to sunlight/heat, proximity to notable specimens, natural drainage patterns, and wind conditions allows a haptic connection between natural environmental forces and human experience. the project was generated using various softwares (mainly maya and rhino) and fabricated using various cnc fabrication tools (laser, water-jet, router). the structure is composed of triangular units with exterior members that bolt together. utilizing digital fabrication technology, over 1,400 unique members of plate steel were fabricated using cnc cutting technology. for ease of assembly the members received identification tags, etch lines denoting the junction with other members and slotted holes. during the construction phase, we came face-to-face with a difficulty many “builders” encounter on a daily basis but “designers” are rarely exposed to: materiality and its very real-world consequences, issues such as material thickness, deformation of steel through cutting and welding, expansion and contraction due to meteorological conditions and human fatigue. with the help of digital modeling software, fabrication technology, handcraft, and a lot of sweat equity, modulated lattice 5 was realized. under the guidance of an oil field welder, we welded all 1,400 individual parts together to form 77 triangular units. the units were then sandblasted in order to achieve a uniform rust and bolted together offsite. after traveling 30 miles to its destination, the classroom was carried through the woods via forklift and secured to its concrete foundation.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
mM +c K: the classroom was influenced by natural organisms and their morphological response mechanisms to their environment such as geotropism, phototropism, hydrotropism, and thigmotropism. through the use of maya’s fluid dynamics and inverse kinematics, similar environmental forces and response mechanisms were programmed into the classroom.
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
mM +c K: d’arcy thompson, michael hensel, andy goldsworthy, the office, mtv cribs, lil wayne, t- pain, ray lamontagne.
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
mM +c K: i.m.a.d.e, emergent, hart marlow, un studio, mike walpole