In emergency circumstances, man’s successful fit into the hosting environment depends on the possibilities for change and adaptation within a context of conservative use of resources. The project byOpenSystems (Marco Vanucci) illustrates a differentiated and performative system attempting to overcome an existing dichotomy between standardization and need for diversity and change in environmental structures. The design uses parametric design protocols to develop a semi-modular system formed by the aggregation of differentiated cellular units. Each unit consists of a monocoque rigid shell and a pedestal. The differentiated monocoque shells are made of Fibre-Reinforced Plastic and their design is achieved by structuring an adjustable mould. Each individual unit is designed to provide self-sufficiency within extreme emergency conditions. The lightweight modular construction provides a minimum inventory / maximum diversity system. The minimum inventory of components (a kit of parts) is generated from the same topological matrix so standardized construction processes provide different design outputs. The units generated can then be assembled and reconfigured to better suit specific local conditions while retaining their individual effectiveness.
The modular system uses a construction technique that supports structural load by using its external skin: the monocoque shell. Its design is achieved by casting plaster into a thin sheet of elastic fabric to produce variety organically-curved surfaces. Plaster is used to freeze the concave and convex surfaces formed by latex under tensile stresses. A steel frame with elastic fabric and metal cables is used as the ‘mould’. The direction of the curve and the height of each slump can be controlled by the angle at which the mould is set, when the plaster is poured, and the amount of stress applied by the weight of the material itself. By relying on gravity and the weight of the plaster to achieve each curvature, structural catenary and parabolic curves are achieved. The smoothness of the elastic fabric sheet provides the desirable surface to cast Fibre-Reinforced Plastic to form the final shell. Additionally, joint conditions are controlled by creating a smooth lip at each base edge creating a smooth transition between each mould.