I’ve been getting several emails over the last few weeks about my Balcony Project since my department lecture at UCSB MAT. This was the digital experiment I developed in 2006-7 to test variable connections fabricated from one direction on a standard 3-axis CNC mill. To distribute these connections, I wrote a VB script to find the optimal layout of identical panels and structural tubes to nest into these connections. I used my balcony as the test case virtual environment, of which the images and renderings were posted until recently on the Scripted by Purpose website.
The CNC-milled connector piece had a bit of parametric brilliance. I wanted to avoid any two- or three-sided milling or rapid prototyping due to time constraints and cost, so it’s designed to find the orientation best suited to nest panels of varying curvature (saddle or dome shapes along the driver surface). Also, the balcony was to use all recyclable or recycled materials, like extracted conduit tubes and laminated scrap lumber salvaged from demolition sites. You can read more about this on the second board below.
I never ended up building the prototype because I turned my balcony into a raised garden instead. However, in 2008, I was presenting my thesis at one of the SCIarc house tours, and Lynn and Santino asked me if I’d employ this technique of panelization for their Main Event 7. We bumped up the size (three times) and generated the INTRUDER with Kieran McCaughey. So kids, if you learned anything from this, always doodle in your important meetings with boring clients.