MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s giant alien-like structure is pushing the envelope for self-supporting architecture. Built of material as thin as a coin, Minima | Maxima is a 43-foot-tall organic building commissioned for the World Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The self-supporting structure is an incredible achievement; as the studio puts it: “If an egg were scaled up to the same height as Minima | Maxima, it would be much thicker.”
Like most of MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s projects, Minima | Maxima looks like something straight out of science fiction with its organic yet alien shape created using digital tools. The installation is as tall as a four-story building and is built from 2-millimeter-thick aluminum. The studio used their signature “Structural Stripes” material to build the self-supporting curvilinear structure, and reinforced it with multi-ply composite. Three flat strips of powder-coated aluminum—white and white sandwiching pink—are layered to create a 6-millimeter-thick anisotropic composite material comparable to fiber technology like carbon or glass fiber, yet does not need to be in tension or temporary scaffolding.
“The unprecedented structural achievement of the project lies in its geometry,” said the studio. “Minima | Maxima extends MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s research and development into achieving structural integrity through ultra-thin, self-supporting structures which find their strength in the double curvature of their form. In the whimsical yet durable universe the studio creates, curves win out over angles; branches, splits and recombinations make columns and beams irrelevant. A ‘networked’ surface rolls in, on and around itself, transforming into a space that obscures our preconceived notions of enclosure, entrance/exit, and threshold, while also providing its own support to stand up.” Minima | Maxima was completed in June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan and is a permanent installation.
Images © NAARO