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Modular Folding


UIC SOA - 2011                                  

Prof. Julie Flohr

This fourth year option studio was lead by Julie Flohr and acoustician, Zachary Belanger. Funded by a research and development grant from the Graham Foundation, Flohr and Belanger were interested in creating a parametric, 'ideal' form for the highest audible quality of a musical performance. At the outset of the studio, a thickless 6-sided room of convex curvature walls was presented as the skeleton for a pavilion for an exhibition at Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center. Students were tasked with creating a parametric material system for the handed-over geometric form, focusing on experimentation in material patterns, design intelligence, and musical effect. 

Modular Folding builds off of research from Digital Surfaces by creating a parametric system for a modular wall system. The project however seeks to replace the brick as a modular element with a variable, foldable module. 

Modular Folding produces a system of modules for a single surface such that each uniquely contains the local curvature definition of the system as a whole. Utilizing a flat and pliable sheet material, each module is folded along a curved seam. The curvature of the scored seam produces the curved form across the surface of the folded module and defines its location across the system. Each module connects with another along its edges using zip ties as fasteners. As the modules are connected, the system is understood to be "loose" such that the surfaces dynamically shift as they encounter external influences, like that from a person brushing up against the wall. Additionally, the system is defined such that seams are created within the surface where modules may be selectively untied. Thus, any given face is capable of giving when being pushed, allowing one to enter the volume without disrupting the system.