Afrotutions aims to inspire a strategy for design-thinking rooted in African tradition that reimagines design aesthetics and communication. It celebrates the identity of afro-people around the world through a historical and cultural framework. The project investigates the broad range of practices and techniques used to maintain afro-hair and showcases the implications of a traumatic, yet inspiring past rooted in generations of tradition. Hair braiding interweaves a wide range of social and physical relationships: heritage, expression of individuality, community building, and means of survival. Black women and men have always communicated through the beauty of hair. Globally, hair braiding has transcended the diaspora of African people and its formation as an institution within Afro-communities is important in our understanding of the world today.
Daham Marapane and Michael Ferguson
Fire and architecture are intimately intertwined: from prehistoric homes built around the hearth to the massive urban reconstructions following catastrophic fires in the modern era — the history of architecture is also a history of the management of fire. Four Fires looks at recent blazes in Oakland (the Ghost Ship warehouse), London (Grenfell Tower), Rio de Janiero (National Museum of Brazil), and Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral). How did these fires start? What was consumed in their flames? What factors—technical, social, political—allowed them to burn the way they did? How will they be remembered? What agency and responsibility does architecture have in the prevention, mitigation, and cultural memory of catastrophic fire?
Sinuous Steel: Auxetic Possibilities
Mackenzie Bruce and Maggie Cochrane
This project explores the opportunities and limitations of auxetic patterning on steel sheets to create controlled doubly-curved surfaces. Auxetic patterns are created through nested geometries that create “hinge points”. When cut into planar sheet material, the surface is allowed to expand in multiple directions when stretched, rather than stretching parallel to the applied force. The resultant elasticity allows the material to be formed into unique forms beyond the typical capabilities of flat surfaces. We have interrogated the potential of this technique by combining fabrication technologies of the CNC Waterjet and 7-axis Kuka robot which allow for formal, spatial, and experiential explorations with greater material efficiency in the panel and form-making process. Our research involved an iterative process of experimentation of thin gauge steel sheets with various auxetic pattern geometries, sizing, and robotic toolheads that allow for the flexibility and control of the form. The research not only generates material prototypes, but also incorporates automation with robotic processes for controlled localized surface deformation without the need for material-intensive molds. As a result, the steel gains qualities of visual permeation, air flow and structural strength, otherwise unobtainable in a sheet material of a thin gauge. This research gives insights to the material behavior of auxetic steel, a step toward the fabrication of architectural enclosures, furniture, structural elements and other possibilities.