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In the last week of September rukamathu.smith llc (r.s) was approached by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) to assist in the fabrication of an entry pavilion titled UNBUILT for Design Miami. The pavilion was the result of an internal student competition at the GSD and resulted in the design for a canopy of 198 hand and machine crafted architectural models that:

showcase a range of experimental and speculative projects by students and faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Design. While these projects may never be built, they manifest the skills, research, and imagination of their designers.” – UNBUILT Miami team

Led by Northeastern faculty members Michael Smith and Mark Rukamathu, the r.s design and fabrication team worked closely with Harvard GSD to understand the scope of the project and the overall aesthetic of the pavilion. In particular, the 198 proposed architectural models were envisioned to be constructed out of solid pink foam, a design and fabrication exercise requiring a subtractive process.

Hiring a team of (5) recent M Arch I graduates from the GSD class of 2015, r.s designed a workflow to take Rhino model files from the GSD and turn them into physical models. First, they redesigned their fabrication space to accommodate several pallets of pink foam, custom hot wire tables, a fume extraction unit, downdraft table and several handheld hot wire cutting tools. Then the team systematically unpacked each Rhino file to create physical foam blanks representing the bounding box of various parts of each model. These foam blanks were hot wire cut based on the Rhino file and chipboard templates supplied by the GSD. When all components of a single model were complete, the entire assemblage was epoxied together, labeled and sent back to the GSD.

In the end, r.s fabricated roughly 70 models in the month of October – a human scale 3D printer of sorts. The models were sanded, sealed and painted a brighter pink at the GSD before heading down to Miami for final assembly.

More Press on the Pavilion:

New York Times Style Magazine

Wired Magazine