“How virtual becomes real” 2017

“How virtual becomes real” 2017

“How virtual becomes real” 2017

The 7th edition of “How virtual becomes real” continued the research into the applications of form-resistant structures. The virtual and the real were synthesised by means of both physical form-finding and numerical/digital technologies.

The studio began dedicating 4 weeks to experimental and numerical form-finding techniques. The students were also exposed to different fabrication methods through the understanding of architectural precedents and the reconstruction of selected case studies. Here’s a selection of the pneumatic models made by the students through vacuum forming.

It’s worth mentioning that the fabrication exercises were only meant to stimulate the students to develop a critical approach towards model making. They were also conceived to highlight potential similarities between model making and actual construction techniques, bearing in mind that a certain degree of speculation and discrepancy between the two things is inevitable. Understanding the shell/gridshell geometry was generally the key for the students to produce a rational and realistic result.

In Week 5, the students had to redesign one of iconic national pavilions of the Expo ’70 – Osaka: “Progress and Harmony for Mankind” (15 March – 13 September 1970). The projects were developed in 9 groups of 2 students each, by replacing the original building with a new design that included a shell or a gridshell structure. The students had to maintain the approximate scale, and use the same brief and site of the original pavilions.

Why the Japan World Exposition (Expo ‘70 Osaka)?

The first World Fairs – London 1851, Paris 1878, San Francisco 1915, Barcelona 1928 – can be said to be the expression of cultural ideals, of which the Crystal Palace is an obvious example. The pavilions of the Japan World Exposition were symbols of youth, industrial production, technical development and prosperity. Shell, pneumatic and space structures were used to represent those ideas, and the pavilion designs were developed by outstanding architects and engineers, such as Kenzo Tange, Mamoru Kawaguchi and Yoshikatsu Tsuboi.

We felt there were a few other reasons to use the Expo ’70 Osaka as a precedent and working site: first, the articulation and expression of structure in most of the national pavilions has clear parallels in the work that we make reference to (in Studio 20); second, there is a consistent use of large spans and lightweight structural typologies in the Expo buildings/pavilions; third, colour and light design is an integral part of the building concepts.

Below you can find a selection of the final projects, together with the pictures of the final MSD Exhibition.

Studio Leaders: Alberto Pugnale and Alessandro Liuti