Wooden Tents Featuring Doubly Curved, Bending-Active Vaults

Innovative self-assembling timber shells known as FLIM-FLAMS (Force-Lifted, Timber, Flat-Laminated Shells) have been designed by i/thee & Neal Lucas Hitch. These shells are created by radially cutting patterns from flat sheet materials, which are then laminated together and stretched upward to form quickly deployable wooden tents.

The process involves simulating the deformation of flat geometries cut with computationally optimized radial patterns when lifted from a central axis using advanced digital software. By cutting a flat radial pattern onto plywood panels, the flat sheet goods are transformed into large wooden springs that become doubly curved, bending-active vaults when raised from their center.

The FLIM-FLAMS procedure was developed at Cornell University’s Department of Design Technology in collaboration with The Soil Factory, a non-profit in Ithaca, New York that promotes innovative sustainable practices. Traditionally, achieving complex bending with timber components has been challenging due to the limitations in molding or casting wood compared to materials like steel, plastic, or concrete.

However, FLIM-FLAMS introduces a novel approach that utilizes computational tools to support hand-building processes, resulting in intricate timber shells that are flat-fabricated, quickly deployable, and waste-free.

To digitally create FLIM-FLAMS, a computational method codes undulating radial patterns that are then sliced into flat shapes using biological principles. These geometries are virtually replicated to mimic the self-assembly process. The cut design is etched into plywood sheets using a two-axis CNC mill, initiating the physical manufacturing process.

The plywood sheets are delivered to the site and laminated at the short ends to create a large flat sheet with a diameter of 15 feet. A hexagonal nut beneath the plywood is threaded up a central rod, allowing the plywood to self-assemble into its final vaulted shape when raised.

This innovative technique transforms wood, typically known for its stiff qualities, into a flexible membrane that can easily bend into complex shapes. By demonstrating how wood can be used to create multi-curving geometries with minimal material waste, the FLIM-FLAMS project showcases the integration of modern digital processes with traditional construction methods to produce more sustainable design solutions.

Overall, FLIM-FLAMS exemplifies the fusion of technological and analog procedures to create innovative and environmentally conscious architectural solutions.

Similar Posts