“Imagine a structure that is quick to assemble, easy to transport and offers shelter in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Now, imagine one that can assemble itself in mid-air. This is the vision of a group of students from the Masters of Architecture Options Studio at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)," writes Alexandra Simon-Lewis for Wired Magazine on the Fall 2016 Options Studio 'Fast, Cheap and Out of the Box'. The studio, led by Assistant Professor Skylar Tibbits with Neil Thomas and Aran Chadwick, Atelier One, sought to experiment with fast, inexpensive, and out-of-the-box construction techniques.
Students James Addison, Zachary Angles, Zain Karsan, MyDung Nguyen, and Danniely Staback envisioned a reusable structure that could self-assemble in mid-air and worked together to design, prototype, test, and deploy the structure at the Autodesk BUILD space and on campus. "The self-assembly relies on a folding 'figure 8' structure - a fiberglass hoop that can fold into two smaller rings. It's reminiscent of the pop-up tents you can buy for festivals. This design leaves a lot of potential energy available to help the structure expand upon release. Thanks to the fixed joint structure, the pop-up can automatically move back into its original form, too," writes Lewis.
The project is on display at the MIT Museum as part of Rapid and Deployable: An Experiment in Fast Construction through September 2017.