The primary challenges of fabricating the millwork for this Theatre project were:
1. Working with The Artist to accurately translate the material properties of hand steam bent millwork into a digital environment.
2. Synthesizing the variegated acoustic requirements for spoken word theatre
3. Working with The Fabricator to mass produce steam bent millwork, with 1/32nd tolerance, by leveraging augmented reality tools. Defining a fabrication process that minimized waste.
Architect, Artist, and Fabricator leveraged a series of 1:1 mockups to define a data base of material behaviors, achievable curvatures, and acoustic strategies. The resulting research process required a fabrication work flow which merged hand-crafted steam bending with augmented reality construction techniques such as 3D laser projection and photo laser scanning. The Architect developed scripting techniques to provide layouts of over 100,000 linear feet of oak millwork slat center lines to The Fabricator. These layouts merged requirements defined by the Artist (such as minimum spacing, degree of curvature and profile shape) with requirements from the Acoustician (such as heavy and closed or light and open). To mass produce the design, the Fabricator developed an automated workflow which utilized 3D laser projection technology to locate and verify each element of the assembly - from initial layout and jigging through the final placement of each wooden stringer. This process allowed the Fabricator to move laser scanning/projection from the shop to the project site to support the installation of these complex assemblies. The result is a series of beautiful steam bent millwork guardrails and balconies that merge hand craft with mass production. The synthesis of acoustic performance, hand driven artistry, and augmented reality fabrication are all carefully choregraphed to execute the curvilinear steam bent millwork without the need for wasteful CNC molds. Delivered for $350/sf, the process has proven to be both economical and reproduceable.