A thermally formed Variable Wall
With Drawn Wall, we are further pursuing a line of research that generates shapes using a strategy of variable forming. The vacuum-formed modular units are generated without the use of traditional molds. This allows us to achieve infinite irregularity through the use of a single molding apparatus. We speculate that the reductions in cost and material expenditure will be significant. The technique we propose replaces a traditional vacuum-forming mold with an automated pulley and cable system. Polystyrene sheets are heated in the vacuum-former until they begin to sag. Once they are heated sufficiently, four automated pulleys draw elongated legs out of the plastic sheet. Each pulley has a 360 degree range of freedom in plan and can also move down, away from the material plane. When sheets of plastic are inserted into the apparatus, the positions of the pulleys are adjusted using robotic actuation. This generates the new shape of the unit and gives significant control and freedom to the designer. Once formed, the units are stacked, back-to-back, and feet-to-feet, alternately. They are held together in tension through an internal cable system that pulls them tight.
Because each module is shaped differently, the overall form of the wall emerges as a curved, elliptical cone. Openings in the wall vary along its length allowing for strategically deployed areas of porosity and density that respond to views, breezes, or other conditions on the site.