Digitally Manufactured Installation by Ventullet Chair Adorns West Architecture Terrace

For more information, contact :

Leslie Sharp
College of Architecture, Dean's Office
Contact Leslie Sharp

The Thomas Ventulett Chair, an endowed chair that was originally launched in 2004, has become a central component of the intellectual life of the Architecture Department at Georgia Tech. Donated by Thomas Ventulett III, the chair is dedicated to research, outreach, and the intellectual development of an emerging scholar or practitioner. The recipient of the 2005-6 Thomas Ventulett III Chair was Nader Tehrani, principal of the Architecture firm, Office dA from Boston.

Dedicated to research on fabrication, Tehrani led a team of both graduate and undergraduate students at Georgia Tech through a series of explorations that focused on possible innovations in materials studies, assembly techniques, and structural explorations. After a semester of small exercises and mock-ups, the second semester brought the students together to design and fabricate a full scale installation that would materialize the theoretical and intellectual project of the research.

Working with acrylic donated by Bayer, the team explored the basic question of how to fabricate a three dimensional construct out of two dimensional surfaces. Using a computer numerically controlled router, the team cut out over 1500 customized pieces to explore the different spatial, programmatic and structural possibilities imparted by the fabrication technique. More specifically, the team set out to design a hybrid structural system that seamlessly combines three different structural typologies: a vector active, a surface active, and a stacked aggregate slab system. If traditionally these typologies are seen as mutually exclusive, the research group aims at demonstrating how the development of a new geometrical logic has the ability to overcome their apparent differences to bring their varied spatial, structural and perceptual qualities towards a single and organic system. Using H2O as analogy, the installation plays out its various properties much like the phase change one witnesses as water transforms to snow, ice, or steam.

The installation is being fabricated on the South face of the Architecture Building, and is slated for completion before August 20th, in time for the launching of the new academic year. The installation will be followed by a publication, edited by Nader Tehrani, that will document the pedagogical objectives of the research, the construction process and final installation, as well as pointed articles that speak to new advances in architectural pedagogies and technologies.