The Digital Grotesque II project is a human-scale, highly ornamental grotto that was specifically designed to fully exploit the potentials of large-scale binderjet sand printing. It was guided by the search for new design instruments, and by a redefinition of the role of the computer vis-à-vis the architect. A new type of topological subdivision algorithm was devised that allowed not only the deformation and articulation of surfaces, but also the successive refinement of solid volumes. An orientable surface with genus 0 can evolve into a form with a genus of thousands – a single input volume can spawn millions of branches, with hundreds of metres of surface being compressed into a 3.5m high block that forms a landscape between the man-made and the natural.
Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of computation to generate and fabricate architectural form. Recent projects include the Sixth Order’ installation of columns at the Gwangju Design Biennale, the ‘Platonic Solids’ series, and the fabrication of full-scale 3D printed grottos for FRAC’s Archilab exhibition as well as for Centre Pompidou.