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The semester began with Form Finding: Cellular Structures. With that, came studying and categorizing different types of cellular structures. There are cellular structures found in nature, like the honeycomb, and those we could create and compare to the natural cellular structures, like soap foam.

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In order to best understand form finding and cellular structures, the group created a series of plaster models. We began by controlling the mold and varying the materials used to fill the mold; but, eventually we began to vary the complexity of each model by changing the mold and the variables used to fill the molds.

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The group realized that in order to understand cellular structures, we’d need to experiment with form finding. Ultimately, understanding form finding and the materiality of each model helped us understand the materiality for our preliminary gridshell designs. Wood is a material that will change according to it’s conditions, so knowing that will continue to help us design a more structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing structure.

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Our first model was problematic in that the curves were too extreme, the anchor points were unresolved, the structure was too small to hold more than a handful of people and the craft needed improvement. We took these lessons into improving our next models.

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Our next two models primarily focused on making a structure that would hold several people at a time and have less extreme curves. The craft was also taken into consideration with the newer models.

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For the skin of the model, the group wanted to create a system that would enhance the grid design without taking away from the grid pattern. A successful skin system would transform the gridshell into something eye-catching without hiding the pattern.

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The first skin iteration that we experimented with was the most successful of the two. The second skin iteration didn’t work primarily because it was an idea based on a previous project we saw. Because we didn’t think of the second skin iteration as a paneling system, the final result ended up taking away from the actual grid pattern. The group felt that the most successful skin iteration would be one that enhanced the grid pattern and didn’t hide it by covering it up. With that, the first skin iteration was definitely more successful because it didn’t hide the grid pattern and it still created an eye-catching effect that paid attention to the grid pattern.

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