Monday, March 11, 2013


By drawing from our historically predominant obsession with the heavy and the permanent, La Voûte de LeFevre Installation re-examines our current addiction to the thin. The rapid, efficient and surface-orientedigital fabrication is used as a modern equivalent of ancient stone carving, marrying the two major architectural parameters – surface and volume. Designed by the New York based Matter Design, the project was preceded by an extensive research dealing with the eco­nom­i­cally friendly sheet mate­r­ial, while main­tain­ing a com­mon thread of a ded­i­ca­tion to vol­ume.

“The vault is com­puted with a solver-based model that elic­its a compression-only struc­ture, from a non-ideal geom­e­try. The model requires a fixed geom­e­try as input, and opens aper­tures in order to vary the weight of each unit. This dynamic sys­tem re-configures the weight of the units based on a vol­u­met­ric cal­cu­la­tion. If unit A con­tains twice the vol­ume of unit B, then unit A weights twice as much. It requires that the mate­r­ial of the project be con­sis­tent, and solid (hol­low does not work). The com­puted result pro­duces a project that will stand ‘for­ever’ as there is zero ten­sion in the sys­tem pre­cisely because of the weight and vol­ume of the project, and not in spite of it.

The vault is pro­duced with Baltic Birch ply­wood. The ply­wood is sourced in three quar­ter inch thick sheets await­ing the ‘thick­en­ing’. Each cus­tom unit is dis­sected and sliced into these thick­nesses, cut from the sheets, and then phys­i­cally re-constituted into a rough vol­u­met­ric form of their final geom­e­try. These roughs are indexed onto a full sheet and glued, vac­uum pressed, and re-placed onto the CNC (com­puter numer­i­cally con­trolled) router.”

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