The Paper Structure





The Paper Structure::||

Exhibition Project RPI School of Architecture Greene Gallery
Group Project Designers: Desireé Edge, Lindsey Dubas, Lisa Laue, Alex Dorn, Alyssa Johnson, + Rebecca Exley
Year: Fall 2008
Professor(s): Jefferson Ellinger + Michael Oatman

The Idea:
This project used previous material knowledge on our latest dumpster diving expedition. The materials collected included, pre-slotted paper brochures, two liter soda bottles, multi-colored plastic cups, Dasani and Poland Springs water bottles, soda cans, white garbage bags, straws, and newspaper. After experimentation and critique, the materials were narrowed down to multi-color plastic cups, paper, and white garbage bags. Through even further experimentation it was realized that although the cups created amazing geometry and were positively affected by light. They were also too weak. It was also realized that though the module for the plastic bags was genius, the space created by the larger piece was not as interesting as the space created by the module. However, it was discovered that using a system of rotating slots in the paper module enabled us to create a variety of geometries that would be best for the next stage of the project; hence we chose paper.

When paper was chosen for the final project, the only experimentation thus far was a vertical wall which had been created using eleven different types of slotted templates. The next step in experimentation was to create a horizontal wall with the same eleven template variations. After the creation of these two walls the template had to be reassessed because we came to the conclusion that the shift between all eleven templates was too gradual and the math was not precise. It was decided that we use a five template system that distributed the cuts in a semi-circular pattern that was calculated to be evenly spaced. Using the five templates, further experiments were conducted, creating another horizontal that went from templates one to five. It was noted, however, that template five created too much of a torque and ripped. The rip allowed us to determine that template five should be thrown out. It was decided that we still use templates one through four.

Using templates one through four more experiments were conducted. A wall of two templates, three templates, and four templates were produced as well as a wall of one through four distributed horizontally. These walls were expanded to be used in our final project. Six one through four walls were created and linked for usage as a large sheet in this project. Also, a wall of twos was built but it was found to be much too long and narrow for use in the final project. When the final design was completed it was realized that there was neither a purpose nor a location for the two wall. Thus the wall was broken into pieces, twisted and reattached to other parts of it to create an internal curve in a wall.

Working Methods:
In order to create uniformity with the paper cards, it was first decided that all cards cut from the poster board should be three inches by seven inches. This size was previously determined because, though it was clear that this technique of cutting and slotting could be used with any shape of paper, in order to achieve the desired effect, the length needed to be greater than the width. Also, the size three by seven conveniently fit to the poster board used, leaving only an inch of excess.

Six hundred sheets of poster board were ordered and each member cut an equal share of the board. After all of this was cut, an assembly line was used that consisted of counting, tracing templates of each type, cutting the slots and tabs, and construction. Once it was determined how many feet of each of the walls were necessary for the design, the correct number of modules was completed. The next step was to divide into pairs for construction. In coordination with construction work was done on the scale model as well as the boards. Once construction was complete, the scale model was edited, the material itself was edited, and drawings were done.

Project Goals/ Design Intent:
Our design intent was to blur the boundary between interior and exterior space. In order to do this the sheets of paper were manipulated to create curves. The ends of the paper sheets were attached parallel to ends of the frame, twisting outside and back inside the frame. Such twisting not only blurred the distinction from the exterior to interior, but also resulted in hyperbolic curves. Hyperbolic curves are sheets oriented in such a way that no matter where the material is cut, parabolas are created. In the project, these places where the hyperbolic curves met created resulting pockets of space.

Critical Assessment:
One weakness of the project is the material itself. Since paper was used, the tabs can only be removed and reattached a few times before they become too flimsy and rip. Another weakness is that the directional location of the tabs only allows the sheets to be rotated in the clockwise direction. The weight of the project is a weakness because the material is delicate and the more weight, the more stress placed on delicate components.

One strength of the project was that the surfaces and resulting spaces created were architecturally advanced, resulting from systematic manipulations of the material. Another strength of our project is that a subtle systematic change was used to create variation which allows for a complexity that exceeds the simplicity of the lone module. Further strengths of the project are found in the visual effects created by the project. The way the material is put together makes the material appear different depending on the different locations of the viewers. Overall, the strengths of the project outweigh the weakness, making it the best possible project.




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