Gabriel Huerta

Gabriel Huerta

Los Angeles, CA, US


Responsive Skin

The project looks at the digital fabrication process of incremental sheet forming and its potential architectural application in the development of responsive building skins. The process, developed by the Aalto University Department of Material Technology, utilizes an industrial robot to form a sheet of metal against a computer guided piston-field as a means to create a low-cost reusable mould. The prototype shingle unit is designed within the constraints of the fabrication process and the maximization of the material properties of the recycled paper composite, UPM Profi, that it is to be injected molded from. Pleating on the shingle panel provides performative ornament that allows for both material stiffness and environmental performance. The ornamental patterning of the pleats, inspired by ancient armor, is contoured to control the flow of water from panel to panel. The variable thickness of the pleating further allows for a reduction in the overall panel thickness and weight by concentrating material in critical zones.  Versatility is embedded into the form of the unit through the shaped grooves that allow for the seamless interconnection between shingles in the panelization of a rainscreen. Through the development of a series of scripts, the panelization of the unit was biased to be responsive to the environment and the minimization of unique pieces. Porosity and surface coverage of the building skin was optimized with data inputs from solar analysis and surface curvature.


In collaboration with Brian James Cadiz and Joseph Mathias

Featured on  UCLA A.UD

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Status: School Project
Location: Helsinki, FI