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A N D R E S H A R R I S » 0.0 Viscous Morphologies

0.0 Viscous Morphologies





A  i  m:

The aim of the research is the development of structure based on self-forming and self-optimising morphologies derived from the manipulation of viscous materials using both physical experimentation and parametric computation to simulate in a digital environment the physical processes that fluids and other viscous materials that have the ability to harden, undergo under certain pressures. The central Aim is to develop a research based on self-forming and self-optimising viscous morphologies integrating design and performance-





H  y  p  o  t  h  e  s  i  s  :  

The research is developed on the assumption that if an integrated design method delivers both physical and digital outputs from the study of viscous material’s behaviour, then high adaptability to complex issues that deal with performance, structure, material use, manufacturing efficiency and complex geometry could be achieved.

The scope of our research is twofold: in one hand we intend to develop a material system and an architecture project based on the exploration and manipulation of viscous materials that have the ability to achieve a solid state (especially resins); and on the other hand the elaboration of a design strategy where extrinsic inputs at a morphogenetical stage would allow a highly adaptive, yet static, system that can be subsequently used as a design tool on different design processes at different scales.

Underlying assumptions:

1) The whole design process and performance capacities of a material system should be result from interrogating the material and not by imposing a determined behaviour.

2) Self-Organisation in viscous materials occur at a molecular level and the overall morphology and structure emerge from a synergetic relation between Micro and Macro levels.




Background: A Contribution to Frei Otto’s Work


The main inspiration that informs this project is the research done by Frei Otto in regards to Viscous Materials. The central aim of this research is the study of the emergent behaviour of these “self-forming processes’’ as he defines the pattern formation resulting from the material inherent properties and it’s internal self-organisation produced as a reaction to environmental pressures.

Frei Otto did not continue a research on branching or ‘spine’ formations, as he defines them, and there is few information regarding to this phenomenon, which led us to the assumption that at the time that Frei Otto developed his first research on branching or “spine” formations produced by an uni-axial manipulation of viscous materials (mainly caramel and soap), materials that have a short hardening time such as artificial resins or other polymer derivatives that have a viscous behaviour (liquid state) before hardening, were not massively developed for general purposes and were starting to be produced, hence the costs in price of these materials were very high. So he based his research using available materials such as soap, caramel or oil which are not perdurable in time as a hard or solid material. As a consequence, Frei Otto’s research on branching patterns – or ‘spine’ patterns-  derived from viscous materials was never taken to architecture or a higher scale and resulted in a speculative and theoretical research that sometimes just relied on descriptive analysis. A major cause for the lack of information in regards to viscous spine formations might also be deduced under the fact that Otto’s interest in architecture dealt mainly with shells and tensile structures while the ‘spine’ formations might have been discarded due to lack of morphological relation to these type of structures, hence our intention to explore these morphologies in order to contribute to Frei Otto’s investigation on shells. freies.jpg

S  C  O  P  E :


-It is the specific hypothesis of this work that an anisotropic material system can be generated through the manipulation of an isotropic material, where the material itself is the component and the material system at the same time-.