The concept of "The Rise" is the idea of a growing architecture. Like a bush the installation has its own internal growth patterns that guide the material in a highly distributed aggregation of small members that keep branching off and multiplying. The installation looks at distributed systems as an alternative to traditional structural systems.
Where contemporary design approaches in architecture have difficulties to conceptualise complex systems we grow a multitude of intersecting members that all together create a structural network system. In this vision architecture is not a static formalist proposition but instead continuously adapting to the dynamics of its surroundings while growing into form.
This model directly emulates those natural plant growth processes where properties called tropisms – such as those reacting to light (phototropism), gravity (geotropism) or touch (thigmotropism) – trigger auxin – a hormone that directs new cellular growth and coordinates the emergence of the plant’s shape. In “The Rise” virtual auxins are activated in response to the exhibition space through programmed algorithmic tropisms.
The installation grows in response to its environment, extending and directing with the variations of light in the space, the gravity and its contact to the surroundings. Like plants the system is self-aware. It understands its behaviour under self-weight and reacts through thickening or weakening or shoots that create extra support.
The installation learns from nature and mimics its ways of creating structural performance but also expands this into new hybrid growths that lie outside the natural environment, as the braches ability to re-join and create circular relationships with high structural strength.
Technique and Technology
The installation utilizes the pliability of rattan core - a traditional material used for furniture and baskets. Where the materials of Architecture are often understood as stiff in “The Rise” the bending capacity of the materials is leveraged as a design opportunity and a means to reach the performance of natural growth.
The growth takes first place in the digital design space, where a growth algorithm with integrated simulation, calibrated to the behaviour of the material, growth towards the direction of sunlight. With constant feedback from environment and its inner tension and compression forces the computational model iterates through several states guided by the designer, and acquires a final state that is directing the production. This includes the CNC milling of bespoke set of branching nodes and bundling clamps from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and the creation of cutting and labelling information for the fibre material.
The installation is commissioned by the Foundation EDF and is especially fabricated for the exhibition "Alive - Designing with Living Systems" that took place from April - September, 2013, in Paris, curated by Carole Collet.