Launch Slideshow

In the Voussoir Cloud, a series of wood laminate petals were used to create compression arches and vaults in a study of structure and porosity. Teams of students were involved in folding the laser-cut petals and in assembling those petals to construct the installation.

Voussoir Cloud

IwamotoScott Architecture creates a lightweight structure of compression arches out of wood laminate for SCI-Arc.

Voussoir Cloud

IwamotoScott Architecture creates a lightweight structure of compression arches out of wood laminate for SCI-Arc.

  • http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10E7%2Etmp_tcm20-193750.jpg

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    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

  • Students helped to construct the individual petals and then the actual structure. A team of students is seen working to install some of the perimeter petal sections.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10E8%2Etmp_tcm20-193757.jpg

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    Students helped to construct the individual petals and then the actual structure. A team of students is seen working to install some of the perimeter petal sections.

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    Students helped to construct the individual petals and then the actual structure. A team of students is seen working to install some of the perimeter petal sections.

  • This installation had to be constructed in a very specific order, with each phase represented by a different color in this diagram. The column feet (in pink) had to be constructed first, followed by the ribs of the vaults (brown), the perimeter (green), and the infill spaces on top of the vaults (yellow).

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10E9%2Etmp_tcm20-193764.jpg

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    This installation had to be constructed in a very specific order, with each phase represented by a different color in this diagram. The column feet (in pink) had to be constructed first, followed by the ribs of the vaults (brown), the perimeter (green), and the infill spaces on top of the vaults (yellow).

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    This installation had to be constructed in a very specific order, with each phase represented by a different color in this diagram. The column feet (in pink) had to be constructed first, followed by the ribs of the vaults (brown), the perimeter (green), and the infill spaces on top of the vaults (yellow).

  • An assembled petal

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10EA%2Etmp_tcm20-193771.jpg

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    An assembled petal

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    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    An assembled petal

  • In the Voussoir Cloud, a series of wood laminate petals were used to create compression arches and vaults in a study of structure and porosity. Teams of students were involved in folding the laser-cut petals and in assembling those petals to construct the installation.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10EB%2Etmp_tcm20-193778.jpg

    true

    In the Voussoir Cloud, a series of wood laminate petals were used to create compression arches and vaults in a study of structure and porosity. Teams of students were involved in folding the laser-cut petals and in assembling those petals to construct the installation.

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    In the Voussoir Cloud, a series of wood laminate petals were used to create compression arches and vaults in a study of structure and porosity. Teams of students were involved in folding the laser-cut petals and in assembling those petals to construct the installation.

  • Petals were lasercut from thin wood laminate

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10ED%2Etmp_tcm20-193792.jpg

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    Petals were lasercut from thin wood laminate

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    Petals were lasercut from thin wood laminate

  • The seams were scored for ease of assembly

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    The seams were scored for ease of assembly

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    The seams were scored for ease of assembly

  • Each petal was designed using a computer script written by the design team. The virtual petals could then be digitally unfolded to create a template from which the actual petals could be laser-cut.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10F0%2Etmp_tcm20-193813.jpg

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    Each petal was designed using a computer script written by the design team. The virtual petals could then be digitally unfolded to create a template from which the actual petals could be laser-cut.

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    Each petal was designed using a computer script written by the design team. The virtual petals could then be digitally unfolded to create a template from which the actual petals could be laser-cut.

  • Four types of petals were used in construction??those with zero, one, two, or three curved edges. These petals were then placed and secured in a pattern that allows compression vaults to be formed.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10F2%2Etmp_tcm20-193827.jpg

    true

    Four types of petals were used in construction??those with zero, one, two, or three curved edges. These petals were then placed and secured in a pattern that allows compression vaults to be formed.

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    Four types of petals were used in construction—those with zero, one, two, or three curved edges. These petals were then placed and secured in a pattern that allows compression vaults to be formed.

  • This model showcases the development of petal types needed to form a proper compressive vault system. The model was developed using Delaunay tessellation patterns, derived from nature.

    http://www.architectmagazine.com/Images/tmp10F4%2Etmp_tcm20-193841.jpg

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    This model showcases the development of petal types needed to form a proper compressive vault system. The model was developed using Delaunay tessellation patterns, derived from nature.

    600

    Courtesy IwamotoScott Architecture

    This model showcases the development of petal types needed to form a proper compressive vault system. The model was developed using Delaunay tessellation patterns, derived from nature.

The goal of the installations at the Southern California Institute of Architecture’s gallery in Los Angeles is to redefine received notions of space using cutting-edge technologies and to involve students in the construction process. IwamotoScott Architecture of San Francisco endeavored to comply with this mission in its installation at the gallery, the Voussoir Cloud, while taking inspiration from some past masters.

The basic premise behind the Voussoir Cloud is a compression structure made from lightweight petals of thin wood laminate and modeled after voussoirs—the wedge-shaped bricks or stones used to form compression arches. To design the structure, the team used computational hanging chain models (the same method, minus the computer, that Eero Saarinen used for the St. Louis Gateway Arch). Form-finding programs and custom computer scripts helped the architects determine the profile lines and the vault shapes. The jury enthused about the deceptively simple results of the complex process. “It’s minimal in use of materials, it’s spatial, it’s structural—it’s everything architects should be concerning themselves with,” John Ronan said.

The structure uses four types of vaguely triangular petals—those with zero, one, two, or three curved edges, the remaining edges on each petal being flat. Each petal incorporates a series of flanges that fold back to achieve a bowl-like shape. Smaller petals form the structural columns and the petals grow larger toward the top of the vaults. IwamotoScott designed the vaults with gaps between petals, an antithetical approach that admits light from the gallery’s clerestory windows.


  • Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott
    Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott

Voussoir Cloud

Architect IwamotoScott Architecture, San Francisco—Lisa Iwamoto, Craig Scott (designers); Stephanie Lin (design/installation team leader); Manuel Diaz, John Kim, Alan Lu, Tiffany Mok (design/installation team); Chris Chalmers, John Kim (scripting); Andrew Kudless (scripting consultant)

Engineers Buro Happold—Ron Elad, Stephen Lewis, Matthew Melnyk, Tom Reiner

CATIA modelling Sanjay Souki, Daniel Pataki

Installation SCI-Arc, Los Angeles—Oliver Liao, Joanne Angeles (team leaders); David O’Regan, Judson Terry, Yohei Uchino, Zarmine Nigohossian, Tim Francis, Ali Sykes, Jimmy Chan, Channah Levy, Sarah Strauch, Brett Phillips, Marisol Mejia, Liona Avery, Justin Rice, Nicholas Paradowski, Matthew Cavender, Vincent Wu

Materials Lenderink Technologies

Laser Cutting Advanced Laser

Special thanks Greg Otto

2009 R+D Awards

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