Jeffrey Montes
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handmade transforming sculpture

client: Columbia University
my role/scope: design, construction, fabrication, assembly
type: student work

Chiris [“chai-ris”] is a transforming sculpture. The aim is to imagine how the technology and experience of an aperture mechanism could be scaled up and translated into architecture. An innovative, folding origami skin adds a rich third dimension and a shifting pattern of light and shadow.

Chiris sub-scale prototype
Chiris with Danaë

Chiris is comprised of over 100 wooden arms; each CNC milled, hand-routed, sanded smooth and completed with plastic sleeve inserts. Seven unique joint details, which occur in a pattern throughout, were needed to keep the delicate cladding in-plane as well as to keep cumulative friction minimal.

The supporting structure consists of a 10’ circular frame on a 10’ square base with steel cables tied back to the square base’s corners. A moment connection at the frame-base joint was avoided by utilizing a high-density foam block cut into the baseboard.

Project team

Jeffrey Montes
Chenyu Pu
Danae Vokolos (mondae)