Great White: Plastic Folded Structure

The Great White is an installation that embodies specific developments within material research and fabrication processes. Utilizing CNC technology to machine High-Density Polyethylene planar stock material, the project explores aggregation and assemblies. Amidst the increasing automation and digital fabrication processes, the research project explicitly situates itself within the territory of technology and material research. Using tools of algorithmic modeling for automation and form finding, digital fabrication, coupling the discovery of direct tacit knowledge with rigorous hands on material investigation. This methodology expands the cyclical nature of design research toward a built prototype. The research seeks to extend the boundaries of traditional notions of folded plate structures by exploring the capacity of thick gauge plastic.

The research project tries to negotiate between a surface derived project and one that concentrates on material and fabrication constraints solely. Attempting to leverage the ubiquitous qualities of surface description in tangent with specific material characteristics of plastic adjacent to fabrication and assembly constraints. The research entwines the precision of digital fabrication with the elastic properties of plastics, demands for processes and methods of designing precisely imprecisely. Great White revisits folded plate structures to activate a research trajectory through both contemporary and analog means.

Fabricating each unit uses the capacity of a seven axis robotically controlled abrasive water jet cuter to cut each ruled surface on each block.

Geoffrey Salvatore
Andrew Wolking
Ted Teng


Building custom software to help architects, engineers, and builders is what Robert does full time.