Octahedron

Seattle, Washington

Project Size:

1,000 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2013

Selected Awards

2013 AIA Seattle Chapter

Honor Award

2013 Architect's Newspaper Best of the Year Design Award

Fabrication: Honorable Mention

Vision
The Octahedron was a signature installation for the 3rd annual Seattle Design Festival. Blending parametric modeling, digital fabrication, and collaborative interaction, the structure established a new precedent for the event’s human-scale design competition, going on to win an Honor Award from the AIA Seattle Chapter and inspiring expanded ambitions for the event’s future. The festival is put on by Design in Public, an organization with the mission of involving the public in design thinking.

Site and Program
Set in the brick-paved Occidental Park section of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, the festival’s “Design Block” segment asks participating teams to design and build interactive pavilions and street furniture.

Design
An octahedron is an 8-sided polyhedron that possesses the fascinating quality of appearing as various forms from different perspectives.  Each side of the installation is an equilateral triangle measuring 10.5’ along an edge, containing 9 instances of the triangular base unit.  All components of the space-frame structure are designed to be cut from 1/2” sheets of plywood, with no further molding required.

Some 2000 individual pieces were milled on a CNC router, using digital fabrication techniques to reduce the number of unique components to 9. The structure is held together by friction only. LMN firm members were asked to contribute parametrically generated designs as a technology training exercise, which were then CNC routed into the blue-painted interior face of the panels

During the festival, the community transformed the exterior appearance with chalk, and took home a miniature-scaled kit to assemble a replica of the structure in cardboard.