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A close-up of a prototype shell structure made from ¼ inch thick chocolate pieces that span 3½ feet. The shell is made of planar frames with variably sized voids connected together with liquid chocolate welds. Condensation from the humid surroundings gives the surface its luster. Given the challenge of designing a structure completely out of chocolate compounds, we took advantage of the properties of chocolate to create a shell structure system. Material testing revealed a compressive strength/weight ratio 24 times smaller than standard concrete. Without any form of reinforcing, this strength restriction dictated a form with minimal bending stress – an inverted hanging shell with voids. An integrated form-finding, void optimization, and mold layout process minimized self-weight. Pre-casting the pieces allowed for best control of material quality but added further design constraints. This prototype demonstrated how the parametric workflow allows design exploration informed by adjustable material constraints, further integrating design and construction into an interdependent process.

Artist(s):  Alex Jordan GS, Sigrid Adriaenssens (fac), and Axel Kilian (fac)