Unhappy Family

Wood framed walls are designed and constructed through the layering of individual elements. Material layering implies a collection of discreet planes of varying properties, and it specifies a sequence in the process of construction. Each element of the wall serves an independent function according it its own material properties, and it is through the whole that the wall is able to mediate between different internal and external conditions.

The process of layering a wall is often referred to through the term lamination. As opposed to layering which does not specify a technique of assembly, lamination refers specifically to the binding of the faces of two or more planar surfaces. It is a physical, tectonic arrangement. The many layers of a typical wood framed wall fit well into this definition. This project adopts this laminated, typical wall as an ideal model of construction. As demonstrated in the construction of the typical wall, many flat things will layer neatly despite differences in their material composition. However, when one or more of these pieces are bent or dislodged, each layer responds to the disruption independently from the others according to its own physical properties. Each wall instance of this project uses these disruptions to complicate processes of lamination.

With the wood frame of the wall situated as an ideal formal, structural arrangement, specified inputs and conditions force a miss-fit or missed-lamination of subsequent parts. In specific instances, the wood frame is altered to accommodate increased loads (stud depth), additional features (windows and doors), as well as curves and corners. Insulation is also adjusted and increased to compensate in instances of possible heat loss. Rigid materials such as drywall, insulation, and siding then respond to these conditions. They maintain their unmodified physical properties, producing ridges and spaces within the wall. Thin sheet materials, such as house wrapping or wallpaper, wrap and bind the rigid materials together defining pockets of space within the areas of failed lamination. In essence, the wall is modified through its internal layers and each material responds to these modifications allowing certain disruptions to emerge formally. These variations sacrifice perfect lamination by failing to reconcile the layering of a typical wall with disruptions that ultimately render the wall atypical.

As a part of what is considered the “front-loaded” aspect of BIM modeling, Revit and similar software feature integrated texture mapping included with the pre-assigned physical properties of a material. In instances of complex material layering within a wall, this mapping is lost on internal layers and is substituted with a grey block.

This project rejects the singularity of Revit’s grey block through its independent treatment of materials as well as through an additional layer of laminated representation in model. Each material layer, in both rendering and in model, effectively maps a material representation onto a polygon (or piece of foam core) that is simply assigned certain material characteristics. No more grey blocks of an ambiguous material composition, what you see is what you get.

Winter 2018

Instructor: Gabriel Fries-Briggs