Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural form, and he has created these incredible cardboard sculptures using algorithms. As he explains on his website:
In recent years, algorithms in architecture have been able to transcend their role as frameworks of formalization and abstraction. This has been made possible in a large part by the integration of scripting languages into CAD programs. Algorithms’ output can now be directly visualized, and through digital fabrication methods this output can be built.
This opens up a new role for algorithms as a design tool. As such, they provide the benefits of depth and breadth. On the one hand, their computational power can address processes with a scale and complexity that precludes a manual approach. On the other hand, algorithms can generate endless permutations of a scheme. A slight tweaking of either the input or the process leads to an instant adaptation of output. When combined with an evaluative function, they can be used to recursively optimize output on both a functional and aesthetic level.
...Hansmeyer started with a computer model of a simple Greek column and ran it through a subdivision algorithm which repeatedly splits the surface, creating more detail with each iteration.
The result is a 3D model with between 8 and 16 million faces, but 3D printers can only handle half a million, so Hansmeyer needed an alternative solution to transform his creations from virtual to physical reality. He sliced the column into 2700 pieces and used a laser cutter to create each slice from 1mm-thick cardboard, then reconstructed the column by layering the slices together with a solid wooden core. The whole process only cost $1500 and took about 15 hours, with three laser cutters working in parallel.
To see more of Hansmeyer’s work, check here.
With thanks to Iris Lincoln