Collection by Joanne Furio

Cut it Out: The Work of Lisa Iwamoto

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It’s not hyperbole to say that Lisa Iwamoto has written the book on digital fabrication. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques (2009), an industry best seller, reveals that she is both an expert and a practitioner of the technique, along with her husband, Craig Scott. The two have been partners in the San Francisco architectural firm IwamotoScott for the past 12 years. Architects like Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn introduced the world to the dramatic forms made possible by digital fabrication—which involves the transfer of designs from a computer to machinery that creates building components—and Iwamoto and Scott were among its early pioneers. The process allows architects to break from the rigid geometry of traditional building materials by getting them to perform in ways they’ve never been able to do: to ripple like fabric or fold upon itself like an origami sculpture. “It’s another kind of tool, another way of making something,” says Iwamoto, who also teaches a class on digital fabrication at the University of California at Berkeley. “The innovative part is what you do with it.” Here are some innovative examples from the IwamotoScott portfolio.

Voussoir...
“Our goal was to make the thinnest surface possible and to make a vault, which you would expect to be heavy, into a...
One Kearny...
Inspired by coffered ceilings, Iwamoto and Scott used paperwood, a micro-thin wood veneer laminate on paper, to create...
Construction did involve something of a sleight of hand: the coffers are made without any mechanical fasteners like...
Façade for House in Bruges...
The architects created perforations in the screen, which allow light to enter the building, and also refer back to the...
Design...
Here's the ceiling of the MAC design concept.
Wurster Cloud...
The project proved to be the perfect “teachable moment” for the professor: the light and airy structure made by...
The technique’s perfect for projects involving various sized parts—this one contained four different shapes.
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