Composite Assemblies was an installation at Royal Institute of British Architects, commissioned by the UK Green Building Council to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.
The installation is formed from a series of cubic timber modules, arranged in a cluster which can be walked through, to encourage gathering and interaction. With reusable fixings, this framework can be assembled, disassembled and transported with ease. The intentional simplicity of the timber structure sits in contrast with the complexity of the three-dimensional ceramic elements, which inhabit the modules. Developed in collaboration with a Research Cluster at Bartlett School of Architecture led by Daniel Widrig and Guan Lee, these elements of the sculpture are at the forefront of experimental digital fabrication. The geometry of the ceramic forms was evolved using a six-axis robotic arm, and each piece was then slip cast to create light-weight and delicate volumes. In this way, tradition and innovation sit side by side, complementing rather than contradicting each other.
The ceramic elements were prototyped and produced at Grymsdyke Farm, an educational research and workshop facility in Lacey Green, rural Buckinghamshire, whilst the timber frame was made by local furniture fabrication team Design and Making, based nearby in High Wycombe. Having been involved in design workshops throughout the development process, lead sponsors were also invited to visit both sites during the fabrication process, to better understand the way in which the piece was made, and to meet the people involved. On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the RIBA in September, the sculpture was assembled as part of a workshop involving employees from the UK–GBC. In these ways, the piece celebrates the potential for skill-sharing and social interaction within the construction process.