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Carbon Fiber Architecture

C-LITH: Carbon Fiber Architecture

C-LITH is the reconsideration of the architectural building unit through the exploration of new composite techniques and materials. Our project develops individual components that exploit the strength, lightness, and variability possible with carbon fiber filaments when paired with computation, digital fabrication, and hand assembly. 

Traditionally, architectural units made of brick or concrete are small and multiple, heavy, difficult to vary, and are much better in compression than tension. Using carbon fiber filaments to create variable units allows for larger individual units that can vary in both shape and structural performance as needed. Our units, pound for pound, have higher capacities in both compression and tension and therefore impact the design in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Most importantly, however, our units address the use of carbon fiber at the scale of architectural production. 

Component Design and Assembly; The development of a manufacturing process.

A majority of the effort involved in materializing the presented installation was the development of a two-fold prototypical manufacturing process that produces the components and assembly. For this we invented a method to quickly and cheaply construct variable cardboard molds that could withstand the wound casting and baking steps, but could also be easily weakened through water immersion to be removed. For the assembly we developed a rigid dummy-jig system to hold the joint plates in position with a high level of precision but could also incrementally absorb the adjustment errors unavoidable in hand assembly systems. Using a simple pin connection the resultant structures can be easily disassembled for transportation and reassembly elsewhere.

As C-LITH is truly the development of a non-standard system, in both computation and manufacture, the resultant structures and drawings on display are simply select variations of endlessly variable forms.

Project Leads:

Glenn Wilcox and Anca Trandafirescu

Research Through Making Photos