Alvar Aalto's famous "bent knee" -- a method of making apparently solid wood bend unusually tight corners by cutting slots in it to accept interwoven veneer sheets -- is reverse engineered in an effort to mine the 50-year-old method for contemporary, digital form-family members
The team came to see the interwoven sheets as an opportunity to transform
stick to sheet
, to produce
surface from solid
. A notching system is employed to ensure that the veneer sheets can be aligned properly, resulting in a system of self-jigging. The fan-like shapes that become possible are explored digitally using grasshopper as a tool to determine a family of forms related through their bent-knee cousin.
The final design of a bus-shelter sized pavilion, which could be shipped as a one-dimensional stick-like form and raised on site, reflects the bent-knee's original beauty and logic. Prototypes of typical details are fabricated at 1:1.
Academic work with Nadya Volicer & Juliet Hsu, Spring 2011.