Museum of Science, Boston

The physical features of natural tissues express the distribution and magnitude of the forces that have brought them about. These forces embody the complex relations between physical matter in its given environment and denote its multi-dimensional force field. The work explores the notion of material organization as it is informed by structural load and environmental conditions. Natural micro-structural 2-D tissues are visualized, analyzed and reconstructed into 3-D macro-scale prototypes by computing hypothetical physical responses. An object-oriented finite element application is used to determine material behavior according to assigned properties and performance such as stress, strain, heat flow, stored energy and deformation due to applied loads and temperature differences. The interaction between the directional morphology of the specimen and the tensor direction produce physical effects that emphasize the tissue's spatial texture in different ways. The resulting model is six dimensional and includes 2-D information (X, Y), out of plane deformation (Y), elastic stress (S), strain (S) and temperature flux (T). The tissue is then reconstructed using a CNC mill and metal/steel and wood composites. Anisotropic in nature, grain directionality and layering are informed by the analysis resulting in laminated structural composites which respond to given ranges of energy and loading conditions. Beyond promoting a new sensibility to material formation, tissue engineering in construction scales may facilitate theemergence of new a new materialism in architecture and design.