At Stoss, our fabrication work is the direct result of our emphasis on expanding the realm of possibility and our focus on discovering simple technical efficiencies and hybrid solutions that can efficiently and cost-effectively deliver creative solutions.
We constantly engage with new digital tools and emerging technologies to allow us to explore new geometries, processes, and experiences. While the range of application opportunities for digital fabrication has broadened our workflows, it is our nature to use the processes and materials familiar to landscape architecture to push digital fabrication techniques yet further. From innovation within traditional landscape construction practices, to experimental formal/material relationships, and new ways to engage audiences in design processes, our digital fabrication practices have fundamentally enriched the way we work, whether through furniture design, material research and development, or digital explorations in 3-dimensional modeling.
Furniture: Harvard benches
Based on the premise that people are very obviously not one-size-fits-all, the way we make space for people cannot be one-size-fits-all. Digital fabrication provides a flexible framework for formal exploration that allows us to develop custom furnishings that embrace bodies of all kinds. Ultimately, because we can design and build unique and varied forms, we can create completely new ways for people to comfortably occupy public spaces.
Our custom designed benches for Harvard Plaza embody the spirit of our digital fabrication pursuits. Initially studied without limiting material choices, the freedom of digital space allows us to test unique forms to accommodate the vast range of human proportions. Knowing we have tools that can aid in translating inventive forms into constructable systems in limitless materials allowed the design process to proceed with profound creative freedom.
Biodegradable, renewable, and non-toxic, mycelium (the underground structure of mushrooms, similar to the roots of a plant) grows into a foam-like material that can be made stable when dried.
As an experimental pursuit, we’ve undertaken a series of tests using 3D printed formwork and mycelium substrates to test materials for outdoor furnishings. Combining super precise digital workflows with mycelium’s semi-random growth patterns creates situations that are both inventive and challenging, grappling with the inherent contradictions of digital precision with growing media.
Digital: Galveston Seawall
Beyond prototyping for future construction, digital fabrication tools are especially useful for developing novel representational strategies to better convey spatial designs to people who may have difficulty envisioning 2 dimensional drawings. With 3d Printing, laser cutting, and CNC routing at our disposal, we can produce increasingly complex forms to increasingly high detail, making it possible to produce immensely intricate forms at very small scales. These models are key to expanding the audience that can access certain types of our work.
This capability is exemplified through our work in modeling seawall options for community engagement events in Galveston, TX. By creating different sets of seawall options, stakeholders and the public were able to play with the blocks and envision different scenarios for the sea wall in 3 dimensions. The act of organizing 3d representations of imaginative futures allows the public to engage deeply in the visioning process, taking a small piece of agency in the design by casting a vote.