57 Otis is an apartment renovation project in Cambridge which utilizes the latest cutting edge 3D printing technology and fabrication techniques to create a highly sculptural interior space. The project spanned two years and includes a uniquely crafted kitchen, feature wall, floor, and stair system. Traditionally it takes a lot of time and artisanal craft to create objects with highly detailed and sculptural features by hand. The goal of this project was to use new technologies to rapidly explore an aesthetic and design informed by qualities traditionally seen in objects with handcrafted geometries and detailed ornamentations.
Autodesk Toronto Technology Center: Mathew Spremulli, Chris Chekan, Ellen Hlozan, Tyson Fogel, Brian Jeong. Autodesk Boston Technology Center: Adam Day, Athena Moore, Haley Cormier, Stephanie Pender, Taylor Tobin. LuxMea: Jean Yang, Edward Broeders, Ryan Cook, Steven Avis, Vahid Esraghi, Xiao Su.
There are multiple detail passes for the pattern generation. The first being the use of simplex noise, the second being a wrinkle effect along surfaces which had less of a curvature, and in the last pass, the form is manually sculpted and twisted by hand to give the piece a more human touch. The feature wall was cast from concrete with the help of 3d printed negatives for the formwork. However, because there were a lot of fine details and edges in the design, the edges that had the thinnest features had to be thickened algorithmically in order to reduce any chipping or breakage during the demolding process.
There are 10 panels that make up the entire installation, each with a tolerance of 1mm between panels. The wall also has a gradient of mass where detail is thicker at the top and becomes thinner as it reaches the ground in order to introduce some additional complexity to the design. This is most noticeable as it results in an outward protrusion on the top left side of the wall.
The kitchen involved experimentation with structural ornamentation and optimization using both software tools and 3d printing to produce scaled prototypes of the whole and the various parts. Printers were also employed to produce the molds to form negatives of the cabinet surfaces and island entity. The goal was to create a continuous moire effect that ripples uninterrupted throughout the surfaces of the concrete.
Everything in the kitchen is made of one material and has unprecedented minimal tolerances between parts that have highly intricate details. Printing the molds for the island ensured that the 10 feet long by 3 feet wide feature could preform as a sculptural entity with continuous concrete surfaces, uninterrupted with joints on all faces except for the bank of concrete cabinetry doors below the working surface. This area is made to fit extremely tight tolerances while accommodating for the geometry and movement of the cabinet doors and hinges.
The amount of detail transferred from digital to physical is highly accurate with the help of 3D printing. A small amount of post-processing was required to smooth out any bumpy details to ensure the concrete surfaces could be cleaned and sealed later.
The floor is created with computationally driven logic where the lines respond to the island as if it were flowing water. There are over 200 uniquely cut porcelain tiles throughout the kitchen, and the cost was optimized by making certain zones with modularized tiles that could be cut by hand rather than by waterjet machine.
Due to the age of the apartment and a lack of proper plans and documentation, the entire project relied on photogrammetry to 3D scan each floor so that every measurement would be accurate for assembly. This came in most use for accurately creating the spiral staircase throughout the apartment.
The technique of topology optimization was used in generative design in order to create the form of each bracket. The resulting forms are determined by how forces are applied onto the brackets, and this also controls the outcome of the surface detailing. In total, there are 23 metal brackets that were 3d printed, and each one is entirely unique in form and pattern while sharing the same connection detail.
This is one of the first iterations of exploring generative design with small structural brackets.