Field Research in Unconventional Space (SCU2128.01)

John Umphlett

This class will push the envelope of closed membrane structure design. A membrane is more than an impermeable skin; it can selectively filter particles, chemicals, light, sound, and smell. A balloon has an expandable latex surface easily manipulated by air and water pressure. However, a rigid fabric material that has a less forgiving response to pressure forced on its walls affords more control of form through the fabrication methods within its structure. What is the process to develop a form with an inner structure that primarily exists as an environment shifted slightly from its exterior? In the prototyping stages, it will be important to experiment in the regulation of these pressures along with changes in the material structure of the forms themselves.

The first seven weeks will be focused primarily on hand building fabrication methods, including Origami folding, adaptive creasing, casting flexible materials, and welding methods for a variety of plastics. Along with understanding the material properties in practice, we will be researching pattern design and skinning techniques by using 3D modeling and digital fabrication techniques to push patterning beyond analog capabilities and to visualize forms. The final project is a result of all that was learned in the class and for each student to have designed and made a flexible space “cell”.


Learning Outcomes:
effective collaboration as a team, how to think around a problem
Understanding the real world design considerations when building a large scale project.
Learning openness and confidence in uncertainty



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
F 8:30AM - 12:10PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Sculpture , Visual Arts (VA) , Fully In-Person
Tags: , , , ,