Mediated Matter's Silk Pavilion

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The Silk Pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological fabrication on product and architectural scales.The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC (Computer-Numerically Controlled) machine. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to generate a 3D cocoon out of a single multi-property silk thread (1km in length), the overall geometry of the pavilion was created using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density. Overall density variation was informed by the silkworm itself deployed as a biological printer in the creation of a secondary structure. A swarm of 6,500 silkworms was positioned at the bottom rim of the scaffold spinning flat non-woven silk patches as they locally reinforced the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers. Following their pupation stage the silkworms were removed. Resulting moths can produce 1.5 million eggs with the potential of constructing up to 250 additional pavilions. Affected by spatial and environmental conditions including geometrical density as well as variation in natural light and heat, the silkworms were found to migrate to darker and denser areas. Desired light effects informed variations in material organization across the surface area of the structure. A season-specific sun path diagram mapping solar trajectories in space dictated the location, size and density of apertures within the structure in order to lock-in rays of natural light entering the pavilion from South and East elevations.  The central oculus is located against the East elevation and may be used as a sun-clock. Parallel basic research explored the use of silkworms as entities that can “compute” material organization based on external performance criteria. Specifically, we explored the formation of non-woven fiber structures generated by the silkworms as a computational schema for determining shape and material optimization of fiber-based surface structures.
Research and Design by the Mediated Matter Research Group at the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto (TUFTS University) and Dr. James Weaver (WYSS Institute, Harvard University).

Keynote @ C2-MTL, Montreal

From the website: Set in the creative hotbed of Montréal, C2-MTL is a new kind of annual global conference: one that explores the relationship between commerce and creativity, and its potential to redefine business. This immersive three-day event is designed to inspire right and left brain thinking through a smorgasbord of non-traditional experiences, including multimedia conferences by world-class speakers, engaging exhibitions, collaborative workshops, a creativity Boot Camp and evening festivities. It all happens in an unconventional innovation village, designed specifically to enhance the C2-MTL experience. Curated by international creative agency Sid Lee, in collaboration with founding partner Cirque du Soleil and content partner Fast Company, C2-MTL brings together the brightest and most influential minds from a network of countries and industries. From black-clad creatives to tie-wearing executives, participants unite in an innovative, immersive, and wildly creative environment designed to spark collaboration and inspire solutions to business challenges.

The Columnists @ WSJ

WSJ. asks six luminaries to weigh in on a single topic. This month: Design. Read more

Material Ecology @ Print Shift Magazine

From the website: Dezeen launches Print Shift, a print-on-demand magazine about 3D printing produced in collaboration with cutting-edge publisher Blurb (+ slideshow). The 60-page, advert-free magazine explores the fast changing world of additive manufacturing and examines how it is transforming architecture, design, fashion and other disciplines. It is one of the first ever magazines to be printed on demand and can only be bought online via the Blurb bookstoreWritten by the Dezeen editorial team, Print Shift is the result of extensive research into a technology that is developing at exhilarating speed. We have spoken to architects, designers, scientists and researchers around the world, travelled across Europe and visited some of the leading studios and factories at the cutting edge of a technological revolution. Order here.

Keynote @ HOPES

School of Architecture and Allied Arts
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Eugene, Oregon 

Since its creation in 1995, the EDC’s HOPES (Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability) conference has remained the only ecological design conference developed and managed by students. Held every year in April, HOPES works to promote the deeper understanding and broader application of sustainable design principles.Over the past ten years, the conference has brought such luminaries asShigeru Ban, Sim Van der Ryn, Samuel Mockbee, James Hubbel, Angela Danadijieva, Michael Pyatok, Steve Badanes, Richard Register, David Orr, John Schaeffer and Clare Cooper Marcus to the University of Oregon campus.

Keynote @ ArchiSpec Summit

ArchiSpec Summit
An Exclusive Event for Architects and Heads of Specification
March 17-19, 2013
Savanna, Georgia

ICON: Engineering the Future

Featuring "Imaginary Beings: Mythologies of the Not Yet"

The collection was sponsored by Objet and created in close collaboration with W. Craig Carter (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT) and Joe Hicklin (The Mathworks). Other contributors include Dr. James Weaver (Wyss Institute, Harvard University), Turlif Vilbrandt (Symvol, Uformia), Kevin Cohan (The Mathworks), Sarah Zaranek (The Mathworks), Seth DeLand (The Mathworks), Dr. Benjamin Hutton (Wyss Institute, Harvard University), Prof. Christine Ortiz (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT) , Mary C. Boyce (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT), Neil Katz (SOM, NY), and Mikey Siegel. More materials to appear on the website following the official public opening.

The affordable and ubiquitous 3D printer can realise digital ideas and make sculptural copies. However, the objects that have been produced on them so far have been of relatively poor quality. In this issue, rather than discussing the limitations of existing technology, we wanted to look into the future at the possibilities rapid prototyping might offer. Liam Young offers a tour of such a future, imagining a sci-fi city that might 3D print itself so that it is ever expanding. We talk to Neri Oxman (our cover star), who is producing “biologically inspired” designs in her lab at MIT. And we meet DUS architects, the Amsterdam firm racing to complete the first 3D-printed house. Up front, an Antarctic research station that can ski, MVRDV’s glass farm, animatronic objects by Dover and Cederbaum, an addition to Aalto’s Seinäjoki library, Edouard François’s housing scheme, Matali Crasset’s concrete furniture and highlights from Stockholm Furniture Fair and Maison & Objet. In Review: Light Show at the Hayward Gallery, Alice Rawsthorn’s Hello World, a Brazilian modernist at The Photographers’ Gallery and a report from Detroit in decline.

CAD: Call for Papers on Material Ecology

The New Eco-Activism

Oxman to speak at the Todd Lecture Series in Norwich University 
Title: The New Eco-Activism
Wednesday, March 6, Dole Auditorium

New Exhibit: Natures Toolbox

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