Aggregation Studies

Studio project at The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), instructor John Enright, 2014

with Diastika Lokesworo

This investigation undertook the issue of producing a variably fielded aggregation through the use of a module. After developing a singular module, various tests evaluated the ability of that module to produce less homogenized space than the default accumulation of a unvaried field. This necessitated stretching, swelling and compression as techniques for the warping of the module in order to entice momentary and localized responses to demands of geometry.

Using a series of defining parameters which applied universally to every module within the aggregation, individual moments of geometry variability could be calibrated to spatial requirements.

Axonometric drawings showing the various stages of transformation from the basic module with completely homogeneous space to something more distinct and heterogeneous

These manipulations allowed for a variable set of modules to be produced, eventually demanding shifts of geometry both on the part of the grid containing the module and the parameters creating each module itself.

Seen in an unrolled representation, this aggregation reveals itself as a varied set of spaces produced both to enforce a continuity (and thus a 'doubleness' of sorts on each side of the surface) and allow for adjustments within the field to annotate formally specific moments of warping, as was demanded by the insertion of a small and a large space into the field.

3D-printed study model of a field of aggregated modules

Typically, such organizations of space suffer from a distinct homogeneity. It therefore became paramount when calibrating the geometry of the module that it have the innate capacity to not only to stretch in an act of basic transformation, but to fundamentally alter its underlying measurements to retain its qualities when transposed into a variety of formations.

The geometry itself is formed through a series of tangential connections between surfaces. By tightly monitoring the degrees to which these tangencies erase the reading of particular modules from their neighbors within the aggregation, the module itself challenges the notion of a singular, contained space, instead privileging a continuity of spaces that roll into one another delicately along their edges.

While the quality of the study remained decidedly abstract, an emphasis was placed on module flexibility in anticipation of future architectural programming. In this case, such prerogatives dictated one large space be “carved” out of the field.

Because the module itself was designed to distort to a variety of dimensional inputs, the requirement to create a larger space within the aggregation was easily accommodated by stretching its associated grid cells. Of particular interest was the character of this resulting space, sinuously linked to those around it and therefore less an independent part of the aggregation than simply one of many interior caverns.

The anticipation of such architectural qualities also provides theoretical space to consider the qualities of an architecture manifest in such forms. What might a building elicit when it is comprised not of a set of particular, independent spaces but of a broad range of self-similar, interdependent passages?

Various sections through the aggregated field of modules

The resulting series of spaces, when considered architecturally, allows us both to question the innate presumptions we hold towards how rooms, spaces, programs might be organized and divide as well as the historical contexts in which various organizations of rooms demarcated space. What might it mean, in terms of experience and theory, for a space to be entirely continuous? What historical antecedents provide precent for such conceptions of space?