Recently, the Architecture students at IE University set out to complete the Vault Construction Project, an exciting collaboration with Princeton University Form Finding Lab. With Professor Wesam Al Asali leading the project, the students set out to explore how the vault, a timeless invention, can be used in creative ways and implemented in today’s society. While building a vault for the Segovia campus, students also learned all about the history of this crucial machine and how to use tools that help in its construction such as augmented reality software and 3D printers.
Characterized by its innovation, this was the first vault ever to use augmented reality in its construction. As far as physical materials are concerned, mostly bricks, plaster, and cement were used. Students got a more hands-on approach compared to their previous projects, also practicing what they had learned by making their own smaller vaults after the production of the main one was completed. According to Sofia Rojas, a second-year Architecture student, the most difficult part of this entire process was setting precise angles with the bricks in order to obtain the correct curvature. Additionally, they also had to pay attention to the plaster since they had little time to use it before it set.
It is important to mention that the group of students was led by extremely qualified and experienced professors and experts during the whole process. Along with Professor Al Asali, a Princeton team of researchers was present, with the “vault builder” Salvador Gomis Avino who has over 20 years of experience in the field. The different viewpoints and backgrounds ended up complementing each other perfectly and the team designed and built the vault together from scratch. The planning ended up taking much longer than the construction, with the initial idea being drafted back in October, but the vault was built in just one week and finished on March 24th.
When asked about what skills have been exercised during the project, Sofia replied: “We got to practice our programming skills for design, our model-making skills, and teamworking skills, which were key for the project to work out.”
The next project in line for architecture students at IE is the Bamboo Pavilion. This project will consist of several elements, including the centerpiece – the pavilion itself – and the refurbishment of the area behind the architecture studio. The initial plan is to create little orchards that will be fertilized with organic leftovers from the cafeteria.
In terms of materials used in the production of the Pavilion, bamboo will be used for the structure, steel, and rope for the joins, and reinforced concrete for the foundation and the flooring which will be in the form of tiles. If available, AR technology will be used once again to help design the project.