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Tessellation - Important Architectural Trend


When the history of 21st Century architecture is written, the first decade of the century will be remembered as the era of blob-like, curvy architecture as exemplified in the work of Frank Gehry:

This decade is shaping up to be the era of the tessellated surface. Tessellating a surface, in a simplified definition, means to cover it in polygonal patterns. An article I wrote on this topic has recently appeared in Construction Specifier. May 2010, page 84.

Chief among the driving forces that make complex tessellations practical are BIM-driven CNC-controlled fabrication systems that make it possible to mass-customize components. As the article states, "The machines don't care what shapes they make."

Here is a recent example of a tessellated facade:

Manufacturers of curtainwalls, interior finishes, ceiling systems, and other products are rushing to capitalize on the interest. Ad agencies are incorporating tessellations into graphic designs.

Be wary, however: Architectural fashions lose favor as quickly as they rise.

Photo Credits:
Experience Music Project building, designed by Frank Gehry.
Photo by Rebecca Kennison under Creative Commons.

Iluma, designed by WOHA
Photo © Patrick Bingham-Hall

by Michael Chusid, 2010

Published with permission of BuildingProductMarketing

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