Irregular shapes

Friedman stated that architectural problems can be resolved geometrically as well as in other ways. This should be no problem, even for the structural engineer. The structural engineer prefers geometrical solutions as they are easy to program. Friedman felt that  should not be the aim in itself. “I have difficulty with anything that is predetermined. And I am really very much against the convention of using geometry.”  (See also Quirky configurationsEstheticsComplexity and Merz Principle).

As a student Friedman tried to draw completely irregular forms and use them like folding screens, a chain of panels that you can arrange in a completely irregular form. Later in life he set out to create structures that allow randomness and are unpredictable.

Playing with principles of forms Yona Friedman liked to stretch these over the boundaries of traditional use. He made a study of the phenomenon of tensegrity. The term tensegrity was coined by Buckminster Fuller as a contraction of ‘tensional integrity’. Tensional integrity or floating compression, is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. (Explanation in Wikipedia).

Friedman combined the principle of tensegrity with the use of irregular elements, thus coining a new principle: ‘Irregular tensegrity’. In his own words: “Usually with geometrical pattern, ‘irregular tensegrity’ does not follow a pattern: the roads (compression members) are kept stable between two stretched plastic foils (tension elements). Instead the roads (the elements compensating pressure), one can use elements with any shape, thus transforming the structure into a kind of sculpture.”

This study completed the series.

Cardtravel Boxes, 1990-2000
Macaroni, 1992
Le Train, 1992
Irregular tensegrity, 2000-2005

Related projects and studies
Amorphous Architecture, 1994-2009
Ville Spatiale, visualization of the principles, 1958-2006
Space Chains, 1970
Protein Structures, 1992
Crumpled Sheets, 1992-1996
Lamel structures, 1990
Project for MART, 2006
Exhibition in CAPC Bordeaux, 2008
Exhibition CNEAI Chatou, 2007
Gribouilli, 1995-2005