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Mr Wiggly Sticks

Objective: Design and build a wall that uses experimental fabrication and assembly strategies.

Response: This project combined 52 simple wall studs into a complex tectonic surface.  The structure utilizes the 2x4 as a cheap and easily accessible module but subverts its common cultural image by implementing a double sided kerf cut that allows the members to curve and undulate.

The practice of bending wood has three main categories; steaming, laminating, and kerf cutting.  The former two are most common in that they can maintain significant structural integrity while the latter gets very little attention due to the very tricky nature of the process.

This project was begun with the selection of the common 2 x 4 units.  This not only adds a level of intrigue due to the basic nature of it, but also is so common that it enhances the surprise when one sees it perform in such a way.  Experimentation with the double sided kerf ensued and a density and depth of cut was determined based on strength, workability and speed.  The radius that this afforded was 12”.  A wall was then designed using the same radius but various lengths of kerfed sections.  This gave a wide variety of moments, especially considering that two of these systems were intersected.  The filleted partition of the lines generated a cut sheet that was then translated by hand using a custom sled and a table saw.

Completed: April 2015

Course: Visualization III: Fabrication at the Yale School of Architecture

Collaborators: Rachel Boyd, Chad Greenlee, Alex Stagge, Graham Brindle