Material Diversions VENTULETT WORKSHOP 2020

MATERIAL DIVERSIONS is a space for experimentation. A space for Action Design where we connect our head with our hands and our hands with the materials that build architecture. It is through this intimate encounter that we can understand, learn and unlearn, maybe then innovate.

MATERIAL DIVERSIONS 2020 takes off-the-shelf materials and products and, through analyzing the material nature, production methodology and typical application of ready-made constructive units, tests alternative uses to the prescribed ones, builds structures and imagines spaces without the constraints of specific programs or sites. Through an iterative design process of making like sketching, students develop from experiments to prototypes, understanding the limitations of the materials and products they work with while exploiting their untapped possibilities.

The work you will find on this site has been developed by students of Georgia Institute of Technology during the spring of 2020 in the Material Diversions 2020 Workshop directed by Débora Mesa Molina, the Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design.

Rethinking Plastics Bags by Arti Verma & Sanishka Balasooriya

Innovative ways to repurpose and up-cycle abandoned plastic bags by fusing them using heat. Prototypes are built and applications at multiple scales imagined, from small-scale products, to furniture, architectural elements/structures, to art. Get Ready to Collect -> Create -> Craft!

Arti is a graduate student in the Master of Architecture program at at the Georgia Tech. Along with working part time at Dynamik Design in Atlanta, she is the Vice President of SKY at Georgia Tech, a student organization aimed at providing students with sustainable techniques of health and well-being. She loves experimentation, may it be architecture, materials, cooking or traveling to uncommon places.

Sanishka is an undergraduate student from UNSW Australia, currently taking part in the Study Abroad exchange program at Georgia Tech. As an architecture student, he has a passion for design and is always up for a challenge. Sanishka believes that thinking outside the box is a key to success and uses his international experience to bring new ideas to the table.

Dichroic Materials by Daniela Marquez

A close investigation of dichroic materials through iterative model-making process, focusing on their material properties. The two primary mediums explored are cellophane and dichroic film. Architectural applications are proposed to inspire novel spatiotemporal qualities through light.

Daniela “Dani” is a Master of Architecture student in her last semester at Georgia Tech. She obtained her B.F.A in Interior Design from SCAD in 2017 and is a Research Assistant and founding member of Georgia Tech’s Spatial Futures Lab. Through this course she has further investigated her passion for the physiological response people have to materials, light, and space.

Weaving: A Journey to Create Structure by Monica Rizk

Space is created from a flat surface, a weave that can be pulled in multiple ways, to build a wide range of spaces using the same formwork. The technology is developed through a series of prototypes that suggest how this iterative process could be continued to produce large scale structures.

Monica is a fourth year undergraduate Architecture student and a Research Assistant at Georgia Tech. She is interested in sustainable architecture and high performance buildings. Through this course she pushed the boundaries of what she thought cane could be used for, and explored what it could become. She has been working on the transformation of a flat surface into a habitable space.

Rethinking Tire Recycling by Darcy Brown, Joshua Macbeth & Conner Smith

Tires are an available and accessible material that human kind has standardized across the world. Used Tires are discarded every day all across the world with little means of recycling without industrialized processes. Explorations here use limited tools and show some alternative uses that can extend the life of these products to produce architecture. Gather some tires, follow the instruction booklet and roll on!

Joshua is a recent graduate from the dual Architecture and City & Regional Planning program at Georgia Tech. He has worked for the private sector with architects, the non-profit sector with urban and sustainable growth firms, and the public sector with the City of Atlanta. Josh’s passion is in creating community-based designs that utilize sustainable materials in the construction process. Josh believes people are essential in the design process to create meaningful change in our communities.

Our Trash by Paula Morales Solorio

Plastic has become so accessible and practical to use that it is nearly impossible to get rid of it. While its environmental impact is huge, we ignore how much plastic waste we produce because we do not see it accumulate. This project spatializes plastic cups to raise awareness about single-use consumption.

Paula is a third year Architecture undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. She is very interested in sustainable architecture and building performance. She is the Secretary for the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) and enjoys making graphics and physical models. In this course she further pursued her interest in sustainability and architecture to raise awareness about single plastic consumption.

Glass Reuse by Chloe Kiernicki

Glass is an infinitely recyclable material, but the costs associated with the process are prohibitively high. This project explores consumer level experimentation with reusing glass from domestic life; with a focus on visual properties of light and the creation of unitized forms that can be replicated by users.

Chloe is a lifelong resident of Atlanta. She is a student of Design and Humanities and is interested in how people and societies articulate themselves through physical manifestations. In this course she explored the industry of glass recycling, complemented by hands-on research into glass properties and experimentation.

Paper Pulp Pavilion by Breanna Rhoden

Paper pulp is a compostable way to give structure to a fabric. The project focuses on a 100% compostable paper pulp mixture -avoiding glues and adhesives- that is added to burlap to build a pavilion, where paper pulp and burlap structurally support one another in an eco-friendly way.

Breanna is a graduate student in the Master of Architecture program. She works at an architecture firm on multifamily housing projects and has an interest in sustainable housing. She loves making physical models and learning through the process of trial and error and through this course she was able to experiment with making recycled and sustainable materials.

Bent Wire Brick by Ashlee Bryant

This project explores the material properties of wire to create lightweight modular structures. The constructive unit becomes a brick, a lattice brick, that gets aggregated using Shape Grammars to allow for many different configurations.

Ashlee is a fourth year undergraduate Architecture student at the Georgia Tech. She is currently working at the Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation initiative at Georgia Tech's Institute of People and Technology. She is interested in computational design and exploring how many designs can be created through using a single unit. Through this course, she has explored materials and techniques to create design.

Bamboo Light Wall by Minh Nguyen

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth and a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A grove of bamboo release 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. This project matches bamboo with light to discover architectural potential.

Minh is a second year undergraduate Architecture student at Georgia Tech. She is interested in exploring alternative materials as a way to reduce pressure on the environment, the economy, and the construction process. Through this course, she has learned about how to use bamboo in an unorthodox way while paying respect to bamboo’s natural shape and properties.

Amorphic Shapes in Aggregated Structures by Michael Koliner

This work investigates how to control semi-liquid materials and “freeze” them into a state where they can perform individually or in a collective state. Arches and funicular/catenary structures are utilized to exhibit the potentiality of this model.

Michael received his Bachelors in Fine Art in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012. Following his graduation he worked with Fung Collaboratives to exhibit relational aesthetic design projects in Washington D.C. and Redwood City California. During this period Michael attended The Penland School of Craft as a Windgate Fellow, The Vermont Studio Center as Sculpture Fellow and Neu Kirche Contemporary Museum of Art as a Visiting Artist. He is now completing his Masters in Architecture at The Georgia Institute of Technology as the Cooper Carry Fellow where he has published research for Pneumatic Tensegrity Structures in Collaboration with James Case and Jonathan Dessi-Olive.

Many people have contributed to making this project possible providing knowledge, resources and much more.

Our special thanks to: Thomas W. Ventulett for funding this Workshop; Dr. Russell Gentry, Jake Tompkins and the Digital Fabrication Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology for their constant support and knowledge; the Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling at Georgia Institute of Technology for facilitating the collection of plastic cups and data about GT’s recycling program; Prof. Hyunjoo Oh and Himani Deshpande from GT’s School of Industrial Design; CHaRM Atlanta for donating lots and lots of old tires; Lance for the access to a larger oven to melt glass; Aramark for sharing data on the CULC Starbucks Sales; Ball Nogues Studio for answering research questions about their paper pulp making process; Emma Brodzik and Sarah Neville for making us part of Earth Day; and all of you who donated materials individually contributing to this collective effort!

Created By
Debora Mesa Molina