3D UNIT VII: Structures

Project VIID  Building Teams | Building Structures
Objectives studio fundamentals: To introduce sructural design principles as applied to three-dimensional problem solving.

concepts: to explore the possibilities of functional and expressive form within strict material and process limitations.

professional: to draw connections between the design professions such as architecture, industrial design, and fine art. To gain experience working as part of a "design team".


Project Overview The challenge for your team is to create a sculpture that achieves a stated design objective (e.g., chair, tower, pedestal) while adhering to strict material and process limitations.
Project References

Diller + Scofidio, Rico Eastman, Buckminster Fuller, Frank O. Gehry, Andy Goldsworthy, Laurie Lundquist, Bill Moss

Vocabulary structure, tension, compression, expansion, load, cantilever, rib, skin, tensile strength, girder, beam, post and lintel, module, strut, cross-brace


Required materials: corrugated cardboard, hot glue, packing tape (and no more!...except maybe paint).
Process Preliminary:

1. Before coming to class read the discussion on Structures for Unit VII under the Studio Fundamentals section of the 3D matrix and the Collaboration readings under the concept section. Discuss both of the readings with your Design Team.

Activities (your group is to choose one):

a) Using no more than 32 square feet of cardboard (one 4' x 8' sheet), design and build the tallest structure you can. It must stand on its own.

b) Using no more the 32 square feet of cardboard, design and build a structure that can support the combined weight of three people from the class at least 18 inches off the ground.

c) Using no more than 32 square feet of cardboard, design and build a functional chair for one person.


The Design Team:

--Consider the makeup of your group. Who has particular skills? What is best pursued by individuals? What can be undertaken collectively? Are you a concept person, a process person, a team builder, a team breaker? How do you know? Are you contributing every step of the way? Are you listening to the other members of your team? Have you personally committed to making a contribution to the project?

Materials and Process:

--Use all of your material (that is, the whole sheet).

--Make the connections and/or material that holds your piece together part of the design.

--Consider the final surface and color of your sculpture.

--Make a structure that is both functional and beautiful.

Critique Ideas


When your Design Team has completed the project, pair up with another Design Team and trade critiques. Consider the following:

1. Describe the techniques used to create the sculptures and explain how various aspects of the problem were addressed such as efficient use of material choice, how the piece "fits" together, the overall design of the sculpture.

2. Is there evidence that the Design Team engaged a design process that explored different alternatives and refined the initial ideas?

3. Discuss ideas the artwork seems to communicate. After some sharing of interpretations, attempt to state the "message" of the design in one sentence. (This artwork is about. . .)

Your notebook should include the following:

1. Evidence of your Design Team's research (print-outs from magazines, web searches, interviews with artists, etc.).

2. Your Design Team's process (documentation of original object, method used to move between scales, drawings, computer-printouts, photos).

3. Supplemental materials (receipts, notes about technique or materials)

4. Documentation of the final work.

The above project was developed by Dan Collins.

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