Zurich-based Michael Hansmeyer is a computational architect who examines the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural forms. His latest project, Subdivided Columns – A New Order is a 9-foot column that weighs nearly 2,000 pounds generated by iterating a subdivision algorithm and then utilizing a laser to delicately slice each segment of cardboard. Via his web site:
A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core.
The calculation of the cutting path for each sheet takes place in several steps. First, the six million faces of the 3D model are intersected with a plane representing the sheet. This step generates a series of individual line segments that are tested for self-intersection and subsequently combined to form polygons. Next, a polygon-in-polygon test deletes interior polygons. A series of filters then ensures that convex polygons with peninsulas maintain a mininimum isthmus width. In a final step, an interior offset is calculated with the aim of hollowing out the slice to reduce weight.