Spiral Kitty occupies an interesting space between the 1:1 scale of a full-size, materially performative structure and the abstract, analogous scale of a representational architectural artifact.
This project was designed as a cat shelter, part of an exhibit to benefit Architects for Animals, a non-profit animal rescue organization. We used this opportunity to research the potentials of producing an entire architectonic structure on the bed of a desktop FDM printer.
Made entirely of 3D printed components, Spiral Kitty uses the geometry and aggregation of “structural shingles” to produce a lightweight, interlocking, reciprocal assembly: no additional framework, connectors or adhesives were used in the structure.
The conical shape comprises nine rows of nine square shingles that diminish in size as they ascend. The shingles overlap and interlock along spiraling trajectories, forming the lines of a reciprocal organization, each shingle supported solely by those around it.
The shingles are angled from the ground plane, with two edges shaped to meet those of their neighbors with coplanar, pinned connections at the centers. The geometries were calculated and refined in Rhinoceros, the components directly printed in our office, and the final object assembled by hand.
We see the outcome of the digital fabrication and structural research scaling in ways that inform greater opportunities: larger versions capable of sheltering people…a village of multiple structures all supporting each other…the production of building systems that use similar approaches – reciprocity, modularity, interconnectedness – to create efficiencies both economic and material…recognizing these and other potentials as paths to an advanced architecture.