Trunk Cell Split

Tim Black on translating 2D doodle to 3D folly…

What do you find special about this model?
I enjoy the fact that ‘Trunk Cell Split’ came from a two-dimensional sketch but it found three-dimensional expression as something entirely different. In this sense ‘Truck Cell Split’ is the unanticipated end point of a speculation, and it is the expression of the exploration which is at the heart of what we do as designers. We start out, and we have no idea what’s going to result. However results do come, and are realised through a degree of rigour around exploring a problem.

I also like that is has an element of wit about it, intended or otherwise. And like many of the models, it reflects a particular way of thinking and exploring somewhat freely as a designer, free from the constraints of an actual brief or a real problem.

Where and when did the idea behind this model originate?
It essentially came from a doodle. Sketching remains a pivotal part of what we do as Architects and whilst the exhibition presents physical models, a lot of the models arise out of hand sketches as they are such a critical way of thinking.  Not just doing; through sketching you are actually thinking. 

I still have the very original sketch that I did. It was a geometrical thought experience, born on the page, where I happened to draw two cells that appeared to be dividing from a single cell. The sketch was a simple speculation where I wondered what the geometrical relationship was when a single circle is split into two, whilst retaining the same surface area. It turns out it’s not a different problem to solve. But then I wondered what happens when those two branches split into a further two, and they split again into a further two. And then, what happens if that evolutionary split continues whilst maintaining the same cross sectional area all the way through, and this collection of circles is then stretched out in a ‘z’ direction.

The result is this interesting tower form that could be seen in one of two ways. 

It is an extruded tower form of consistent cross sectional area in the same manner than any floor plan is, in the same way that any tower is a continuous floor plate. But with the ‘great granddaughters’ pointing upwards, it presents opportunities for multiple penthouses. It’s a silly idea but also an interesting and fun one.

Alternatively, if we flip it the other way, it is a tower of many legs. It then has touches of delight and the folly of some of the Archigram’s Walking City and of Theo Jansen’s Stranbeests.

Has this influenced any projects within the BKK studio?
Not yet, but if you look at the pantscraper currently under construction on 447 Collins Street at the moment and you see that this model is the ‘multi-pants’ building! It ‘out-pants’ the pantscraper.

How does it relate to the other 99 models?
It relates to M003 ‘Torus Tower’ in that it is one of those open-ended speculations that starts with an experimental wondering and ends in a delightful surprise. 

If you were to iterate another version of this what would it look like?
I kind of have in a way, as it did inspire M051 ‘Trifoil Curves’. It doesn’t have the same consistent cross-sectional analysis, but it is also a contortion; in this case a tapering contortion.