Architect and programmer Michael Hansmeyer has undertaken a most ambitious project, designing an incredibly ornate and complex column with over 16 million individual facets. Hansmeyer has taken his initiative beyond the computer design phase and actually fabricated a full-scale 2.7 meter (8.8 ft) column made from stacked cardboard sheets. Check out the pics and information below for more details on this fascinating exploration.
The project involves the conception and design of a new column order based on subdivision processes. It explores how subdivision can define and embellish this column order with an elaborate system of ornament. An abstracted doric column is used as an input form to the subdivision processes. The abstracted column conveys a significant topographical and topological information about the form to be generated. The input form contains data about the proportions of the the column’s shaft, capital, and supplemental base. It also contains information about its fluting and entasis.
The input form is tagged to allow the subdivision process to distinguish between individual components. This allows a heterogeneous application of the process, with distinct local parameters settings. In addition to distinguishing among tagged components, the process parameters can be set to vary according to the input form’s topography as well as its topology. Finally, an environmental specification of parameters is possible to allow regional phenomena to occur.
The result is a series of columns that exhibit both highly specific local conditions as well as an overall coherency and continuity. The ornament is in a continuous flow, yet it consists of very distinct local formations. The complexity of column contrasts with the simplicity of its generative process.