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UAL Research Online


Wingfield, Rachel and Gmachl, Mathias (2006) BioWall. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Wingfield, Rachel and Gmachl, Mathias

Biowall is a woven scaffold that becomes a partition wall when colonized by living plants. In their attempt to create a modular building system based on structures found in nature, the designers looked at several geometries, such as Penrose tiles (pairs of shapes that tile the plane only aperiodically) and Synetic structures (airy, lacelike basketries of thin arcs patterned in curvilinear triangulation). They finally opted for a dodecahedron weave of twelve small circles made of one-millimeter fiberglass rods around which plants would grow and creep. The designers explain that “the construction is based on the principle of self-similarity, translating a biological construction from the nanoscale to the macro scale. It can be seen in our natural environment in the formation of bubbles, living cells, and water molecules.

BioWall explores the possibility of using constructed textile techniques on an architectural scale. Following extensive material and fabrication tests with new composite fibres a unique construction technique has been established that uses curved structural elements that are tangentially joined, with forces distributed in a near continuous manner. This results in structural stability, not because of the strength of individual parts but because the entire structure distributes and balances mechanical stresses evenly. The space-frame uses tangential joints exclusively and is easily scaled to fit any dimension from the nano to the macro world.

The work also engages with the current discourse addressing ‘living’ design and the use of biotechnology as it relies on the use and integration of living botanical matter, questioning the boundaries between nature and man-made interventions. The woven space-frame is designed for climbing plants to propagate, growing in and around the structure.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Research Centres No Longer Active > Textiles Futures Research Centre (TFRC)
Date: 1 March 2006
Related Websites: http://loop.ph/bin/view/Loop/BioWall
Related Websites:
Event Location: Gallery droog@home at New British Design, Amsterdam, Netherlands PublicationDate
Locations / Venues:
From Date
To Date
‘New British Designers’ Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
1 March 2006
23 April 2006
HauteGREEN, New York Design Week 2006
20 May 2006
22 May 2006
Old Truman Brewery, London Design Festival 2006
September 2006
The piece has also been exhibited in Madrid (Efimera01, June 2007) and was part of a UK touring exhibition called “Domestic Things’.
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 14:04
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2010 14:22
Item ID: 1186
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1186

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