Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Los Angeles, CA


SCI-Arc ESTm Students Advance into Second Round of International Digital Fabrication Competition

By sciarcnews
Jul 30, '14 1:48 PM EST

A group of graduate students in the Emerging Systems Technologies & Media post-graduate program at SCI-Arc teamed up this summer to participate in the Plasticity design competition hosted by Tex-Fab. Their design prototype, PUFF’D, developed under the coordination of SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, is among four finalist projects selected to advance into the second round of the competition.

PUFF'D advances a novel construction technique for full scale architecture.

Inspired by Japanese joinery, puffy jackets and jet fighter airplanes, PUFF’D explores plasticity of composite construction and the role of the seam and joint in architecture. Instead of following parametric paneling and module-based logics, PUFF’D employs large monolithic building components or “mega panels,” suggesting new ways of full scale assembly on site.

Designed by Brennen Huller (ESTm ‘14), Nels Long (ESTm ‘14) and Nikita Troufanov (ESTm ‘14), the project follows up on the students’ previous explorations with mega-panels, joinery and robotic assembly. The students came up with their original prototype in a seminar led by Wiscombe during spring 2014, which employed the language of stitching and wood joinery to study how composite mega-panels may come together as assembly.

Instead of milling a foam block and laying up fiberglass, students proposed sewing two sheets of uncured ‘pre-preg’ fiberglass and injecting spray foam inside.

For the Plasticity competition proposal, the young designers and their instructor scaled up and developed an inflatable composite sandwich technique to minimize waste and explore new formal and structural possibilities.

A total of 70 entries were reviewed in the first round of Tex Fab’s 2014 competition. Each finalist team is scheduled to receive a stipend to develop their prototypes for an exhibition at the ACADIA: Design Agency conference forthcoming in October in Los Angeles, where the winning team will be announced following the conclusion of the second round of the juried competition.

Read more about the ESTm program at SCI-Arc here.