For the student FAST projects, my team is reconstructing a previous installation completed for studio.  For the redux, the installation will be scaled 1.5x from the original. The last week of the IAP course was utilized in testing and construction one of the largest plaster slumps in order to determine feasibility for the final installation.




The fabrication of the plaster pieces requires a specialized latex jig that was developed during the first installation. A new jig is required for the construction of the largest part, improvements were made to the overall structure of the jig and alterations were designed to allow the jig to easily disassemble to aid in the removal of the final cast part.


Profile measures 6′ in length by 40″ in width. Plywood frame constructed around perimeter.


The underside of the jig was framed to accommodate the 150+ lbs of plaster to construct the part. A problem encountered in the previous installation was the bowing of the jig under material weight which in turn deformed the final part.


To resole the parts at their base, a 1″ diameter quarter molding is attached to the base profile. This detail rounds the base of the pieces to run parallel with the ground plane.


These pieces were milled in order to provide thickness to the bottom of the cast parts. A channel was furrowed to allow for connection hardware to be set below the top plane of the mold.

Lycra Tulle was stretched across profile opening, this material is used to provide additional support.

.006″ Latex stretch over Lycra. This will be the final material into which the plaster will be cast and provides an extremely smooth finish to the parts.

Materials stapled and trimmed

All jig components in place


The jig allows for the casting plane of the part to be angled up to 15 degrees, this is a central design element giving a directionality to the project.


Plaster allowed to slump to achieve maximum depth, then is pulled up onto the sides to create a shelled object.


Casting platform dropped to ground, pushes cured part slightly out of mold for removal.

Flip and complete

Part strength proves to be successful, however maximum depth was not achieved. Our ambition is for the parts to be 30″ high, this only was around 15″. A total of 125lbs of plaster was used, further testing will be conducted to add weight without increasing amount of plaster by means of a water diaphragm when casting to generate the shell structure. Also, hooks were cast into the part to allow for removal with a hydraulic engine lift, the lift was not available at the time of removal so this feature remains to be tested.

4.196 Special Problems in Architectural Design Complete Fabrications Nick Gelpi Mon-Fri, Jan 5-7, 10-11, 13-14, 18, 20-21, 24-25, 27-28, 01-04:00pm, 3-402/7-432studio, 1st mtg Wed 1/5 Pre-register on WebSIS and attend first class. No listeners Prereq: Permission of instructor ; Yr-1 MArch students who have completed 4.123 only Level: H 9 units Standard A - F Grading Can be repeated for credit Lab Fee: 150 A comprehensive introduction to methods of “making” explored through a wide range of brief but focused exercises. Skills = developing complex geometries from flat components; fine-tuning press fit construction, molding and casting, and making repeatable molds for customization. A two-part workshop, the first half will contextualize contemporary tools and techniques within the trajectories of historical case studies of building, combined with hands on familiarization of tools. The second half will implement the tools of our workshop in the context of Design. Working on group design build process for three MIT 150 FAST installations, students will test and influencing designs through the instrumentality of production. These hands-on design build projects are intended to produce reciprocity between skills and design, making more complete the problems of fabrication. Subject limited to year-one MArch students who have completed core-1 studio. Contact: Nick Gelpi, 9-224, 253-9415, -


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