Structured Elasticity: Material Agency

Date: 2008
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: n/a
Funding Agencies: n/a
Publications: “Structuring the Surface / Material Agency” in the digital proceedings book, ACSA Annual Meeting 2008 Conference: Seeking the City, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
“Structuring the Surface” exhibited at Seams and Surfaces Exhibition, January 2008, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Architecture Department

Structured elasticity is a series of experiments focusing on making a composite material that embodies behavior and has capacity to adapt under external influences. The composite material exploits elasticity and strategic positioning of various forms of infrastructure that facilitates the shaping of the material and its response to dynamic influence.

Two types of the composite material are developed:

  1. The constituent materials, matrix and reinforcement, have the same physical properties (elasticity). One of them is pre-stressed and induces a behavior of the other.
  2. The matrix is elastic but the reinforcement has two components, elastic and non-elastic that are not fused together and are able to perform independently. Material can be formed by manipulation of the non-elastic component of the reinforcement.

Structure, infrastructure and surface are collapsed into one system that performs by allowing each component of the reinforcement (structure and infrastructure) to behave or to be manipulated relatively independently.

The goal of the research is to blur the boundaries between form generation and materialization by unfolding innate material capacities and behaviors, as well as to test a threshold between a composite material and an architectural assembly.