This proposal for a two-sided modular facade system merges what David Pye calls the ‘workmanship of certainty’ and the ‘workmanship of risk’ by juxtaposing fabrication techniques from two different periods of time: the era of handcraft and the era of industrialization. By integrating aspects of both, the project begins to suggest one way to introduce craft and unpredictability into processes of automation and digital fabrication. The basis of the facade system is a simple, repetitive curve pattern adapted from a wallpaper design by William Morris. The pattern is distilled into three tile types, which are then transformed into a three-dimensional relief pattern and materialized as a 3d-printed negative form. A composite mold is used to cast a two-sided module that introduces the risk of losing resolution of the original geometry but nonetheless maintains a certainty in producing a module that can tile with its neighbors. One side of the mold consists of a high-resolution form of the original negative, while the other side of the mold incorporates a fabric layer over this geometry. The fabric-formed side distorts and smooths the original geometry, introducing uniqueness and variety in each cast.
By parametrically controlling the distribution of the three original tile types, larger gradations and figures can be produced across a larger field. The high-resolution and low-resolution sides of the system produce very different readings and affects, yet they maintain a consistency and fidelity to the original Morris-derived pattern. In this regard, the project echoes Farshid Moussavi in The Function of Ornament -- using the same material to produce “two different affects... transmitted from two different ornaments that are generated from two different processes.”