A team of graduates from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London have developed a new hybrid building material designed for use in uniquely challenging construction environments. "Augmented Skin" combines a regimented structural core with a flexible opaque skin, which is coated in PVA to serve as casting formwork for concrete. Inspired by biological skeletal frameworks, the material can be assembled quickly at a minimal cost with maximum flexibility. The project was designed by architecture graduate students Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo, and Theodora Maria Moudatsou, and was exhibited at The Bartlett's 2014 graduation exhibition B-Pro.
Read more about the flexibility of Augmented Skin after the break
Encouraged by their tutors to explore the intersection between "traditional, low-tech manufacturing processes with advanced technological approaches," the team conceived of a randomized framework of structural elements teamed with a flexible skin designed to create a new element from which to launch their design process. The team rendered an array of ethereal forms alongside a series of site-specific structures using the unique module.
The project team applied the use of accessible and widely available materials to create a simple framework with multiple uses. The beauty of Augmented Skin lies in its simplicity: ordinary sticks wrapped in an elastic skin and cast in concrete can be assembled to form lightweight interlocking structural modules. The modules can be assembled to form 'strands' akin to steel I-beams but with greater malleability, similar to the composition of the human spine.
Various incarnations of Augmented Skin include an armchair, structural beams and a bridge between protruding canyon rocks. Applications for the design are endless and continue to be studied by the team exploring its further use.
Team members: Kazushi Miyamoto, Youngseok Doo, Theodora Maria Moudatsou, MArch Graduate Architectural Design, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL 2013-2014
Tutors: Daniel Widrig, Stefan Bassing, Soomeen Hahm
Find out more about the many uses of Augmented Skin, here.