AA Tehran Visiting School – Fractal Composites

AA Visiting School Tehran - September 2014

Course Director : Omid Kamvari

Unit Tutor : Riyad Joucka

Students : Amir Keshavarzian, Anna Hajishahmohamadi, Bahar Vakili, Elmira Abbasi, Hanif Haghtalab, Korush Mohammadi, Negin Imani



Dual Processes


This unit will investigate the use of composite shells as means to facilitate the construction of complex fractal tessellations found in traditional Persian architecture. We will take a radical approach to materiality, reimagining modes of production, to generate a novel vernacular. The outcomes will aspire to speak for the ambitions of the young generation for global recognition, where tradition and identity are at the backdrop of rigorous scientific architectural experimentation, allowing for unprecedented forms to emerge.

The core of the process will investigate the hybridization of tensile structural systems with compressive materials as a method for developing building blocks of spatial fractal tessellations. The unit will look at designing formwork framing systems, processes and material layers, in combination with digital methods for simulation and fabrication. The designer becomes the assembler in order to achieve the intricacy and finesse of traditional craftsmanship while allowing for with the lightness and efficiency of contemporary fabrication practice to play a role in the process.

Starting with digital geometry simulations, we will constantly alternate between quantative digital models, which will be full of useful data, to enable us to rationalize the complex geometries of our precedents. Students will learn to combine their understanding of geometry with qualitative physical tests, to refine the outcome utilising digital fabrication to produce reusable tensioning apparatus. Digital simulation processes will then act as a means to re-inform these qualitative physical processes. This method will operate in feedback, constantly adapting to new discoveries noted by our team members.We will look at fabric formwork as means to facilitate casting doubly curved surfaces with minimum material waste. We will work with exerting forces onto our material to shape it: through stretching, pushing and
pulling to form our cast blocks, amalgamating form and formwork. The team will operate subsequently to test several approaches. Iterating between these to present an evolutionary process, ending with the fittest formal result as a design-base.

The outcomes will respond to the workshop’s theme of ‘Tradition and Identity’ by proposing an installation that computes simple geometry as the building block to three-dimensional physical complexity. Our team will design the process as well as a shell at full scale. Our shell will inhibit the public domain as a freestanding, doubly
curved surface.
The function of our intervention will be informed by the results of the tests carried out during the workshop. Primarily, our intervention will aim to encourage public interaction and intellectual stimulation, through challenging recognizable traditional geometries into the contemporary design practice.


AA Visiting School Tehran - September 2014