Voussoir Cloud by IwamotoScott explores the structural paradigm of pure compression coupled with an ultra-light material system. The design fills the gallery with a system of vaults to be experienced both from within and from above. The edges of the vaults are delimited by the entry soffit and the two long gallery walls. Spatially, they migrate to form greater density at these edges. Structurally, the vaults rely on each other and the three walls to retain their pure compressive form. The fourteen segmented pieces also resolve to make a series of five columns that support the interior and back edge.

The overall design draws from the work of engineer/architects such as Frei Otto and Antonio Gaudi, who used hanging chain models to find efficient form. We used both computational hanging chain models to refine and adjust the profile lines as pure catenaries, and form finding programs to determine the purely compressive vault shapes. In this case, however, the structural and material strategies are intentionally confused. Each vault is comprised of a Delaunay tessellation that both capitalizes on and confounds the structural logics — greater cell density of smaller more connective modules, or petals, gang together at the column bases and at the vault edges to form strengthened ribs, while the upper vault shell loosens and gains porosity.

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