//AIRTIGHT introductory exercise ::

The first component of the studio was an exercise in understanding digital ecologies and their relationship to physical construction techniques. This model was made in response to a reverse-engineering exercise intended to illuminate the implications and ecologies of constructing complex NURBS geometries in a stringer & former structural system, with an implied stressed skin {akin to the semi-monocoque construction of a contemporary passenger airliner}.

This particular shape was comprised of six individual surfaces made by sweeping static spline profiles down shared edge rails, resulting in a tube section of adjacent panels that vary in surface area, and go in and out of tangency along its length. Each sweep was carefully calibrated to be at or near the elastic limits of its algorithmic definition to prevent surface cusps etc., by modifying either the rail or profile definitions. Because the profile of the tube was originally divided into six gentle splines and swept along rails, the moments where the surface deformation was greatest was also the moment where the rails were closest together - a result of forcing equal curvature into less space. Each panel was then divided to contain the same number of stringers based on U or V divisions; each stringer follows one of these isoparametric paths down the panel. Thusly, as the width of the panel changes along its length, the stringers modulate accordingly. They bunch up where the width is more narrow, and spread apart where it is wider. Similarly, the frame spacing was modulated to be more dense where the curvature was greatest, understanding that - as a model in the absence of skin, more definition would be needed to describe the geometry and support the increased density of stringers at these points {contrary to a structural p.o.v.}. These inflections were then tied to in rough respect to the material behaviors of and module of thin 1/16th inch balsa strips, pretty much at its elastic limits.

The form of the object is hence a direct expression of the intrinsic limitations/opportunities of creating and dividing NURBS surfaces based on its algorithmic definition, expressed through a kindred material behavior. While this object is the expression of near pure digital ecologies, the ecologies which were chosen were those that could be synergistically paired with structural or material implications, never those at odds with them. Each digital tool carries with it its own paradigm that dictates the ways it is used, which can be both generative, and also quite at odds with material, fabrication, or constructional considerations. It is possible however to calibrate and exploit digital ecologies to those of materials or manufacturing contingencies with interest if they are mutually informative.