N-51 Courtyard Vault

N-51 Courtyard Vault, built by SMArchS Computation Student Jonathan Dessi-Olive

Fireproof Metal Casting Pavilion | N51 Architecture Workshop, Cambridge, MA

MIT - School of Architecture | Fall 20156 | 4.s48 Re-imagining Structural Design

Project Collaborator: Nick Krouwel (TU Delft)

This project was started as a part of the design workshop taught by Mark West and John Ochsendorf in Fall 2015 and completed in Summer 2016. It now serves as a fire-proof metal casting pavilion for the architecture workshop at Building N51. The design for this un-reinforced vaulted masonry pavilion was computationally generated and chosen out of a range of forms that can be constructed with as little support as possible, which is uniquely possible by combining the extreme lightweight of the autoclave aerated concrete (AAC) tiles and thin-tile vaulting, which permits the construction of evocative spaces out of masonry. The project expands the range of forms that can be built out of masonry with minimal formwork, and therefore, minimal waste. During construction, bricks were supported by a single steel arch in the center of the form; the rest of the vault was constructed in open space, without any guides or supports, which provides an added element of agency for the builder to alter the design during construction - a rarity when fabricating objects (large or small).