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FibrousRoom: Fibrous Structures / bio-computation / ecoMachines / responsive systemsJanuary 10, 2008

The fibrous room installation was commissioned by the Garanti Gallery, whose main space opens up onto Istanbul’s busiest street, Isticlal Caddesi. The main machinic diagram of fibrous room was directly exposed to thousands of people and tourists, which were encouraged to enter the room and be part of the experiment itslef.
The room frame was a steel structure of approximately 3x3x8 meters functioning as a constraining device for the fibrous assemblage. Such a device allowed a controlled manipulation of the fibres and a coherent transmission of information from the digital diagram to the phisical embodied structure; the frame and its constraining devices are machinic casting formwork . 
 
In the fibrous room the diagrammatic lines were translated into two sets of structural fibers: the thick supporting ones, with a hollow diameter of 6cm, and the tendons, thin plastic strips of about 1cm diameter.  The two sets were organised on the XZ plane by a classic Arabic decorative motif visible from the large window of the gallery connecting the fibrous room back to a well known ornamental languadge along the streets of Istanbul. However this familiar patterns was deployed in the room to materialise a rather novel and extraneous material organism. 
 
The extrusion of the fibres along the Y axis of the room was achieved by mean a weaving operator, not dissimilar form the one typical of basket making.  Such a pre-industrial technique and structuring logic was part of the fibrous structures research protocol, together with bundling, knitting and branching operators. These organisational principles are present not only in human civilisation but in many biological organisms, like plants for example, allowing them to grow, reconfigure and self repair; in our socio-technological history they have been used for their ability to achieve resistance together with flexibility and for their applicability to many fibrous materials found in nature independently from their quality and homogeneity; weaving has since remained in the tradition of Islamic culture in bi-dimensional representations or patterns that decorate buildings and mosques in Istanbul and elsewhere; readdressing this tradition has become possible through digital technologies and, in this experiment, thanks to the innovation in the chemistry of cement mixtures; as such the fibrous room acquires special relevance as an experiment in  post-industrial architectural manufacturing. 
 
Woven structures cannot be defined geometrically with Euclidean exactitude but they can easily be defined locally as parametric relational diagrams to generate virtual fibrous fields.
In the fibrous room 3 sets of large hollow fibers are extracted from the computational field and materialized within the room’s frame. These main supporting fibres are woven across the room into 3 bundles and interconnected in their centre of mass to create a coherent structural component; special connections distribute the stresses among all the fibers in each bundle and downwards towards the ground while maintain structural flexibility and geometric adaptation. 
Another 3 sets of fibers, the tendons, are than woven throught the main bundles and the connectors and secured to the external frame. This set up constituted the basic framework for the Fibrous room machine to function.
Parametric adaptation become possible and can be performed to achieve the desired initial deformation of the structure and at the same time give tension to each fiber.
 
When one night, at 2am, the LaFarge truck is granted access to the gallery and the concrete pumping phase starts, a specially developed fiber reinforced and super fluid cement mix is injected in each supporting filament. One by one all the filaments are filled up radically altering their material status and the equilibrium of forces in the fibrous room.  This condition of instability liberats the process of material self-organization; novel effects are harvested within  the fibrous room mechanism; the newly developed plasticity of Lafarge’s fibrous concrete actualizes as a specific spatial quality in the new configuration of the fibrous room. The machinic prototype is able to harnessed the potential of the fibrous concrete to its structural limits to materialize new spatial and material effects. 
Now operating as an analogue computer the fibrous room starts a process of material computation that continue during the entire curing time of the concrete, constantly readjusting its form to optimize the distribution of internal stresses. As some tendons fibres become loose in the process, re-tensioning of the assemblage is performed regularly by the room staff and visitors until final hardening. 
As the solutions are processed in real-time, the audience is made aware and participative of the in-formation process; as the fibrous room becames alive, experimentation equals participation and interaction.
Fibrous room: evolving structural logics, Garanti Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey. (Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto ecoLogicStudio , Nilufer Kozicoglu, Tusba).

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