Digital Piling

When the profile of a gothic column gradually turns into the foundation of its vault, it produces a coherent geometric transformation of its structural skeleton. Base on this observation, this research proposes a re-interpretation of ceramic construction by using 3d printing technique.

The project concentrates on exploring the role of additive manufacturing and the possibility of clay as individual component in catenary system. Base on the brick construction principle, the installation provides a high level ornamental attribute both on geometry variation and printing resolution, through treating the constraint of fabrication as a feedback of digital design.

Harvard University GSD

Material Practice as Research

2016 Fall

Professor: Leire Asensio Villoria

Group project: Eliza Pertikiozoglou, Johae Song, Math Cadan Whittaker, Yuan Mu

Initial Design


The 1st brick we print ... was an attempt to test the tool path, printing time, and the big cantilever. The tool path produced a random retrack pattern with infill material. The printing time was not very long, but the double-cantilever started to collapse a little as the print went up.


The 2nd brick we print ... was an attempt to test infill layer, printing time and the density. The infill layer made the piece very solid and stay strong, but the printing time took very long and the grid-geometry lost the sharp edge quaility because of the contour layers.


The 3rd brick we print ... was an attempt to test the translation from dynamic curved form to tool path printing time. The tool path went smooth and the circular geometry reduce travel time from one layer to the next. The printing time was much faster, so we decide to make the profile of our geometry into a circular shape.

Final Design


In parallel to the structural investigations, we explored non-standard profile geometries, in order to make full use of the 3d printing technique. This would be similar to the nerves of the gothic columns, although in our case it is non-structural. However, the geometric transformation incorporates information of the structure on the texture and the form of the elements. One example to illustrate this is the transformation of the 4 circle profile into separate branches of the column. The variations of the profiles are quite rationalized and precise in the manipulation of geometry. It consists of tangent circles around an octagon base. We created two variations, one going from two to four and one transforming from four to eight circles. Our base shape is an octagon, in which each corner becomes the center of the circle. The circles are associated with each other through the edge of the octagon: when the radius of one increases, the radius of the other decreases so that the total sum of the two radiuses is always the edge of the octagon.


Gallery 224

Exhibition: Material Practice as Research:

Digital Design and Fabrication

Jan 17 - Feb 10, 2017