[proj4] FAST: Gradated Field – Plaster Slumps

FAST Student Project : Gradated Field

For the student FAST project, Kyle, Karina and I will be working with an installation we developed for previous semester studio. The site is located between Baker Music Library and Walker Memorial, on a long grass strip.   

We will be scaling the installation 1.5 times, and also increase the number of modules for this FAST installation. During the final week of the IAP class, we tested fabricating largest plaster slump to test the feasibility of scaling up 1.5 times.

We fabricated the jig for the largest piece using 4×8 sheet of plywood and 2×4 lumber. We used the N-51 CNC  to mill  the base profile of the jig and also frame pieces.

To prevent bowing and possible bending of the frame during the plaster pour (150+ pounds of plaster and aggregate), we reinforced the underside of the frame with additional 2x4s.

We added a 1″ diameter quarter molding at the base profile to round the bottom edge of the plaster slumps. Also profile support pieces were added to the base profile to provide thickness at bottom of the plaster slumps.

Lycra tulle stretch fabric(for additional support)  and 0.006″ latex was stretched across the profile opening.  

We applied masking tape over the frame pieces so we can easily tape off the plaster residues after each pour.

The jig allows a 15″ rotation, which enables casting of an angled slump.

We used hydrocal plaster, sand and water and mixed these in a large 20 gallon container.

We poured the entire plaster mixture to achieve maximum depth from the weight, and pulled plaster up the latex sheet to form a shelled object.

To take out the finished piece, we lowered the mold from the base to the ground and slightly pulled the piece away from the mold.

The completed piece was strong enough to sit and stand on, however we weren’t able to acheive the desired height of 30″. We will need to further test this using more material and/or use the weight of the water (poured on top of the plaster mixture with a plastic sheet separation) to reach the desired height.  

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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