Michael Hansmeyer: Computational Architecture
April 26, 2011 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Michael Hansmeyer: Computational Architecture. Subdivision: Ornamented Columns -- "A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core."

Several more geeky architectural projects from Hansmeyer.
posted by Gator (17 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
At least we now know what supported the ornate pediments of drowned Rl'yeh.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:12 AM on April 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Wonderful - thank you! His Platonic Solids are like reimaginings of the intricate designs of Jamnitzer, Stoer & their ilk brought spectacularly up to date.
posted by misteraitch at 7:19 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fantastic. So intricate it takes on an otherworldly organic appearance.

However, I do not want to be the poor soul that has to keep these columns free from dust and whatnot. They'll probably double in weight in a couple of weeks.
posted by flippant at 7:20 AM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Cool stuff.

At the risk of being overly pedantic, though : architecturally the columns are a fail. Ancient architects discovered that columns needed particular proportions to avoid some optical illusions - columns that are the same width from top to bottom appear top heavy, and rows of columns that are not tapered appear to curve towards each other at the top. The solution was the use of entasis in the classical column orders - columns begin to taper about a third of the way from the bottom (and it is a curved taper based on a fairly precise equation).

(I used to sell architectural materials and was involved in designing a line of consumer-level architecturally-correct columns. The fact that I know Vignola and the orders and proportions of classical columns is truly sad, I know.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:31 AM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Benny, you can rest easy:

"An abstracted doric column is used as an input form to the subdivision processes. Unlike the minimal input of the Platonic Solids project, the abstracted column conveys a significant topographical and topological information about the form to be generated. The input form contains data about the proportions of the the column's shaft, capital, and supplemental base. It also contains information about its fluting and entasis. "

From the Subdivided Columns Information section.

Those are pretty wild columns. Interesting to see where technology takes us. Not so much in the forms themselves, but in the economy of process. Old ships and buildings were ornate because they took so long to build by hand, labor was cheap, so it was economically feasible to spend huge amounts of time carving intricate details in stone. Current technology is all about cheap, automated, turnkey processes that don't lend themselves to detail. Starkness of form has it's own merits, but the inability to detail a form constrained by economy alone is a frustrating thing. Perhaps new fabrication processes will allow us to provide a level of interest and human scale that is lacking in modern forms and spaces.
posted by Xoebe at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2011

The columns are computed. You can't compute a slight taper or curve to correct for this well-known illusion?
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on April 26, 2011

Benny: you and most Art History students out there? Can't be that sad, can it?
posted by flippant at 7:52 AM on April 26, 2011

cute stuff, but he sure cant make the back button on my browser work.
posted by DarkForest at 8:00 AM on April 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Those columns are ugly. They look like something you'd see when the Brave Heroes explore the Evil Aliens Lair.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:14 AM on April 26, 2011

His design wasn't very sympathetic to the house painter who is going to scrape, wire brush and sand those columns.
posted by digsrus at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

cute stuff, but he sure cant make the back button on my browser work.

neither can Metafilter at this point...
posted by ennui.bz at 8:51 AM on April 26, 2011

They're kind of lovely, but they're too close to Mandlebulbs for my brain to allow me to look at them for very long. After more than a couple of seconds, the screaming begins in the back of my brain and I have to look away.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

My frustration with ornament described in terms of computation is that most of the effort goes into process and very little on content.

There will be a huge deal made about formal control, I'm sure the algorithm can control the number of openings, geometry of subdivisions, the points of nesting, the distribution across surfaces, normal alignments, even apply an entasis if it really bugs you, although misleading tapers is probably the least of problems. But no one will make an attempt to elaborate or control the visual analogies which are obvious at a cursory glance; waves of honeycombs, serrated openings, taut ligaments, snapped carapaces.

These columns for example would probably fit in well at an adventurous branch of Ann Summers or perhaps to front a members only burlesque club, but admitting the erotic alienation of the thing would seem to threaten the academic cache of talking about heterogeneous topological subdivision.
posted by doobiedoo at 9:52 AM on April 26, 2011

The columns look like electron microscope views of bug legs.

I like the L-System pics. Algorithmic old-school-ravey aesthetic.
posted by Babblesort at 11:18 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

not geeky. beautiful.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2011

Rest assured that there are real live architects and architecture students who know Vignola (I should know, I'm one of them). There is actually a nascent movement in architecture to return to classical forms and ideals, for a number of reasons. I've been putting together a post on this for a while, but it's dancing on the cusp of self-linkism because it's such a small area, and something like half of the major players in the feild have been instructors of mine in some capacity or another.
Alas, it will have to wait until after Thursday, as I have a 80,000 sf hotel project due and I could use some sleep at some point this week. Architecture!
(p.s. Vignola is for suckers, the real punks use Vitruvius. I like the Rowland translation, but again, that may be because I can hear Ingrid Rowland speaking as I read it. She deserves a post of her own, too.)
posted by daniel striped tiger at 12:49 PM on April 26, 2011

Beautiful, but meaningless. At least it's essentially free. A little bit of math, a 3D printer, and some resin...and you're done. It's also instantly obsolete. There's some cooler algorithm waiting to be printed tomorrow.

OTOH, Vitruvius is so last year.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 1:51 PM on April 26, 2011

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