Going Deeper into Surface: A Network of PiecesJustin Diles
Rock. Nail. Time. A puzzle can be as simple as three seemingly unrelated words placed side by side. Their adjacency signals a veiled connection, capturing our attention. Bed is here the linking word—riddle solved. Puzzles throw a net of mystery over everyday stuff. Consider the corny images typically printed on jigsaws—Kittens! Lighthouses! Santa!—that often disguise a sophisticated network of pieces. To get to the heart of the challenge, many jigsaw aficionados prefer to work on blank puzzles or puzzles with pieces so interchangeable that their assembly points toward thousands of incorrect solutions.
Like puzzles, the expansive surfaces of architecture are routinely covered with interlocking elements that combine graphic and constructional qualities. But the tiling systems, or tessellations, used for jigsaws are bound to a 2D surface; one that lies politely on a tabletop. Whether made from cardboard or wood, these parts remain thin. The surfaces of buildings, on the other hand, move through space at multiple angles and capture volume in a variety of ways. In architecture, the 2D methods that organize tilings of panelized materials are always in contact with the 3D realities of built surfaces.
Fig. 01: The Fractile was developed by Cecil Balmond to cover the façade of the Victoria and Albert Museum Spiral extension designed by Daniel Libeskind
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