Rivet Reef

Digital Fabrication Project at the University of Michigan
Project team: Rennie Jones, Conor Wood, Brenna Williams, Andrew Auler
Instructor: Maciej Kaczynski

This self-supporting structure of aggregated aluminum units was designed to created space and volume from sheet metal using only developable surfaces. The specifics of each unit were scripted algorithmically to achieve a desired overall appearance. Once the basic frame was created, each surface was digitally modeled and unrolled, then detailed and arranged on a cut sheet to be CNC routed. The results of extensive material and assembly tests informed angle dimensions, arm lengths, tolerances, placement and depth of score lines, and tab designs. Ultimately, we envision the structure as a large installation with occupiable apertures between units and beneath the structure.

Once routed, the fabrication process involved carefully bending each face along score lines, riveting corresponding faces together to form discrete units, then attaching the units to complete the aggregation.