Tessy Nov03


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Tessy (short for tessellation) is a precursor to the Wedge Shed project that was the end product of Professor Corser’s Collab Fab studio in the spring of 2011. This project is an exploratory model testing the vocabulary and limits tessellated skins have to offer. Ultimately Tessy would have to be laser or plasma cut from steel sheets with intermediary structure integrated between modules in order to gain structural robustness. This study model displays complexity from one module that differs only in the way it’s folded up. Basically the perimeter line of each module is exactly the same allowing one to nest modules densely minimizing the waste produced on each sheet. There exist five modules that can assume a 30, 15, 0, -15, and -30 degree fold depending on its scored condition.

Typically intricate assemblies require that teams score numbers on each module to ensure the project is put together in the correct sequence. Regardless, one still must go back and forth between the computer and physical models to know the placement and orientation of each module. In Tessy’s case once the modules are folded up its evident which of the five each one is. In a manner of speaking, Tessy is a bit more playful in that there can be a preconceived mass in mind or a form can emerge from a heuristic assembly process.

The design walks a fine line between material efficiency and aesthetic complexity and ultimately achieves both by sacrificing double curvature. Tessy’s dramatic textured appearance is a derivative of its tectonic process where connections and folded conditions necessary to stiffen the module create a moiré pattern of folds, hardware, apertures, and shadow. On one side the structure appears fairly simplistic but as it reverts the under structure is exposed and the assembly process becomes evident.

Each module starts as a flat laser cut sheet. The outermost flap is folded downward slightly. The entire arm is then folded upward near the desired degree. That arm is then slid through its slot in the face and the holes on the arm and face are aligned. Hex bolts and nuts then secure each arm in place and finally the face flaps are folded outward.

Tessy was constructed in rows of three then stacked on top of the previous row. The first and second waves were constructed out of positive degree folded units while the last wave consists of negatively folded modules.

Written by Hunter Ruthrauff, MS in Digital Computing Candidate

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