While helping my 9 year old research information on Leonardo Da Vinci for a school report, I chanced to glimpse a few pages from one of the master's sketch books - the Codex Atlanticus. The pages in question revealed an amazing idea for a roof system composed of small individual members acting in unison to span a large distance using only gravity and friction to hold them together. In further searching I found Rinus Roelofs, a Dutch sculptor who discovered the same system and did an expansive study of the permutations of the patterns that can be created following its simple rules of construction.


This is the type of Installation I'll create with harmonic geometry. Using a simple pallet of construction grade, 12 foot long 4 x 4's I'll apply the concept of reciprocal grids to build several different patterns and experience the space they create. My favorite one will be built in Black Rock City. The installation will be anywhere between 40'-60' in diameter, depending on the pattern, and 12'-15' tall. A set of 6 tuned bells will hang from the center of the form and can be played by the wind or by the mallet wielding people sitting around it. My goal is to create a serene and tranquil environment with a minimal amount of containment. I plan to light the installation with the L.E.D. light strings I employed on last year's project - tall grass - powering them with a telecoms battery and inverter.


After its life on the playa, I would love to see this wood help a family in need build an affordable home - perhaps donate it to a local co-op housing organization. I can think of nothing more gratifying than creating this project in the desert and then have the wood continue its life as a house. That's my  American Dream.

The image at the top of this page is a computer rendering of one of the patterns I was able to build in the computer. Not surprisingly, they are much easier to build as physical models where gravity and friction actually work. The set of four images are photos of one of the physical models. The sticks are very close in scale to the 4 x 4's I will use. All the images on this website can be clicked for a larger view.

I never tire of looking at the patterns that can be devised using this system, especially when they take on a 3d form. They seem almost crystalline in nature, as if generated by some organic process. It did not surprise me that Leonardo Da Vinci was a keen observer of nature - this system seems to mimic it so profoundly.

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