(work from 09.2016_12.2016)
Our second study of trait-making focused on a portion of the gothic rib vault in the Chartres Cathedral in France. This work was done with help from the students of the Fall 2017 Intro to Digital Fabrication class at LTU. The plan for the project, beginning in September 2016, was to (a) develop a trait for the vault, (b) develop a Grasshopper script of that trait method and (c) let the script generate blocks to be milled on a CNC. The vault was completed in December 2016 and stood about 7’ tall. The vault was collapsed in February 2017 and took about 45 minutes to clean up. Multiple findings arose from this project that all exposed our lack of understanding of the true use of a trait. It became clear at the completion of this research phase that it takes a full iteration – from manual trait to script to physical blocks to assembly – to tweak a student’s understanding of the stereotomy definition. We reached our main goal for the project about a month after we started it, which was to feed the manual trait method into an automated script, which then produced blocks for us in digital space. In real space, producing the blocks with a CNC uncovered the true difficulty of that process: how do we make blocks efficiently through digital fabrication?
Below is the manual trait we developed for the panel of the Chartres Cathedral and fed into a Grasshopper script.
Below is the panel made from the Grasshopper script and RhinoCAM.