Philippe Morel Studio
Assistant: Jose Sanchez
Sofia Amodio Bernal (Mexico)
Maricruz Miranda López (Costa Rica)
Bridget Munro (USA/UK)
Hexapods is a prototypical construction system, erected using torsion and held in place with tensioned membranes and magnetic joints. It provides a transitional architectural solution for displaced people; it is tested in peri-urban Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is affected by population displacement and growth, and concomitant housing shortages. The conceptual research stems from nomadic African vernacular architecture; its use of knots allows rapid construction and deconstruction of dwellings. These knots were conceptualised into vectors and nodes, and kinetic research led to the torsion system. Hexapods frame is assembled flat, then twisted upright and locked with electro-permanent magnetic joints; collapse is prevented by a minimal surface membrane. Hexapods can be interconnected, allowing growth and expansion. This system also enables community participation and an expression of cultural identity through the potential application of local materials where the minimal surface is not structurally necessary. Technology such as sensors, smart meters and water and solar energy collection is embedded into Hexapods, facilitating activities like agriculture. A script based on cellular automata studies urban growth patterns for hexapod agglomerations, and shared agricultural and community spaces. Hexapods addresses social problems created by an expanding population.