Last Spring I had the opportunity to collaborate with a first year graduate design studio at IIT in the College of Architecture titled “Materiality Projects”. The final project challenges a small team of 4-6 students to design and build a full scale fabrication, in 4 weeks time, that is heavily rooted in dynamic structural concepts. The design studio is lead by Catherine Wetzel and Richard Nelson. Paul Endres is on board for structural consultation and I was involved in facilitating the digital fabrication.

The “torsion arch” was made by CNC cutting 1/8” flat sheets of corrugated plastic into triangles with a finger joint edge. The sheets are then folded and finger jointed together. It was imperative that the joints were concealed. Also, concealed in the finger joints are thin metal rods used for the required structural stiffness.

The group of five students who designed and built the arch was: Garret Chow, Alejandro Fernandez, Kathleen Sathern, Sara Feigl and John T.