A team of students in the ESTm Textile Tectonics class led by Bill Pearson and Marcelo Spina recently completed a site visit at the North Sails facilities in Minden, Nevada. The highlight of their field trip was the opportunity to observe the evolution of a sail, from a computer model all the way to its final details. Students also presented their course research to North Sails engineers.
A first collaboration between SCI-Arc’s ESTm program and North Sails, the Textile Tectonics course aims to speculate on the future of extreme light materials in architecture by experiments in the design and fabrication of quasi-rigid, and quasi-flexible, objects that blur the threshold between hard and soft, textile and composite.
Taking advantage of the advanced manufacturing knowledge and capabilities from North Sails 3DL systems and technology, the class concentrates on the possibilities offered by composite materials for architecture and design, paying close attention to the role of computation and robotic manufacturing in the fabrication and new modes of adhesive assembly in its construction. The course encompasses several areas of design, from digital computation needed to digitally and physically distribute yarn pattern over complex surfaces, to the construction of necessary intricate mechanisms for laying carbon fiber, aramid and other yarn reinforcements within a resin matrix.