Parametric Metal Sculpture • System: Material & Performance •




Introduction: Parametric Metal Sculpture • System: Material & Performance •

About: Yagmur Uyanik is an architect with a professional interest in media art, sound, computational design and fabrication techniques. She studied Architecture in Istanbul and recently graduated from San Francisco A…

The purpose of this project is to integrate thinking with materials and 1:1 scale construction with computational design-manufacturing technologies. It is important to be able to formulate the relationship between 1:1 reality and design through thinking with material.

This project named as System: Material & Performance is constructed through experiments made in 1:1 scale design to understand and develop the structural potentials of the material. The main objective of the project is to discuss the relationship of design and realization process and to drag attention to contribution of contemporary technologies to design process.

Step 1: Digital Modeling

Modeling with Rhinoceros:

-Use Rhinoceros, 3D computer graphics and computer-aided design (CAD) application software, to design the form, starting from a basic 2D triangle and turning it into a 3D unit for the whole structure. (Download both for MAC and Windows from here:

-Open a New Project in Rhino and follow the steps one-by-one which are explained through the images to make the 3D model.

-Finally, color-code the different clusters as shown in the image in order to identify and place them in the right places through the construction process.

Step 2: Maquette Making

With the help of your color-coded digital form, make a physical model and color the units as they appear in the digital model. Keep the dimensions same with the digital model's. (scaled by 1:5)


-2 mm paperboard (white and various colors)

-utility knife



-glue (hot silicon works well)

-color pens

To make the extruded pentagon unit:

-Cut a precise 2D pentagon from the paperboard.

-Etch the pentagon with the knife from the center to each corner, in order to bend it easily.

-Make one cut from center to any corner. So, you are supposed to have 5 etched lines and 1 cut.

-Bend the paperboard from each etch and superpose the two edges from the cut and staple them.

-Now, you have a 3D pentagon, which is extruded from the center.

-Repeat these steps until you have the right number of pentagons. Start to join them as they are in the digital model.

While building the whole model, start from the bottom part and be precise working with the digital form back and forth. For example, change the color of the units of the digital model that you've made from paperboard in order to avoid any confusion.

Step 3: Building the Units

After all the preparations, it's time to start building the actual units.

Starting from this step, this is going to be more like a team-work. For the most precise results, if you are not much experienced with metal shop, I recommend getting help and support from people have experience in cutting, bending, spot welding and screwing metal.


-2 mm metal sheet (I used galvanized metal, since it's easy to work with in comparison with stainless steel.)

-metal bending machine

-spot welding machine

-drilling machine and screws

To make the pentagon units:

This process is just as same as the maquette making process, but with the scale of 1:1.

-Cut 2D pentagon from metal sheet whose edges are 35 cm.

-Bend it from the center to the corners.

-Make one cut from the center to any corner. So, you are supposed to have 5 bended lines and 1 cut.

-Superpose the two edges from the cut and spot weld these two edges.

-Repeat this until you have the right number of units.

Step 4: Joining the Units

Now, it's time to join the pentagon units that you've made from metal. The most important point here is to work with the paper model for a reference. Since the units get heavier as they join together, it's necessary to have people around to help lifting and moving the parts.

Start from the bottom parts because the whole structure will stand on these parts. Color the inter-units in order to distinguish and make visible them in the structure.

Step 5: Building the Structure

For the last step, join the bigger parts which are formed by the pentagon units. Once again, it's important to take a look to the paper model in every step in order to avoid any confusion building the metal structure.

This step needs extreme muscle work and lots of people to give a hand carrying the structure. I recommend having one people as a guide, outside of the working area to pilot the directions, locations etc. Of course, don't forget the safety rules, wear helmets and shoes.

And voila! You made it! Enjoy your parametric sculpture sitting and lying inside.

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    Yagmur Uyanik
    Yagmur Uyanik

    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you!


    6 years ago

    Wow! Love the design.

    Yagmur Uyanik
    Yagmur Uyanik

    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks a lot!