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  • Fibrous Pneumaticity

    Erin CUEVAS,  Mike JOHNSON, & Jana MASSET, "Fibrous Pneumaticity."
    cambridge MASSACHUSETTS

    Harvard GSD
    critic: Achim MENGES.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Erin CUEVAS, Mike JOHNSON, & Jana MASSET: The use of carbon and glass fiber as construction materials presents opportunities for innovative architectural building practices, given the combination of their ultra-lightweight and high-strength characteristics.

    While these fibrous materials have been used frequently in molded composite applications, their potential to operate outside that realm has been largely unexplored. Inspired by so-called pneumatic structures found in nature, our project utilizes carbon and glass fiber to translate biological constructs into architectural space. The system consists of two parts: first, a sectional cell structure and, second, a pair of surfaces consisting of a fibrous layer and a membrane layer that enclose the cell structure. These integrated design components rely on the inherent qualities of fibrous materials, providing both performative and experiential functions while responding parametrically to desired structural, spatial, and luminous qualities. Our project ultimately exemplifies the seamless relationship between function and aesthetic, allowing quantitative material performance to be understood through diverse architectural experiences.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    EC, MJ, & JM: Bones; cells; bubbles; condoms; Frei Otto; Ernesto Neto.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    EC, MJ, & JM: Reading IL series publications, listening to disco and Motown music, and watching New Girl.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    EC, MJ, & JM: Olafur Eliasson, Numen/For Use, Tomás Saraceno, and Jenny Sabin.

    Additional credits and links:
    Thank you to Achim Menges, studio critics Moritz Dörstelmann and Marshall Prado for the robotics workshop and tutorials, and Alexander Jacobson for consultation and moral support.

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