Konrad Wachsmann and the Grapevine Structure
This book sheds new light on the work of German-born modernist architect Konrad Wachsmann (1901-1980) and his legendary knotted joints. It is based on years of research on Wachsmann’s work by Swiss architect Christian Sumi.
At the core of this book is Wachsmann’s dynamic ‘Grapevine Structure’, a universal construction element developed with students in the early 1950s at the Chicago Institute of Design. The book also investigates the ‘Local Orientation Manipulator’ (LOM), an apparatus developed in 1969 by Wachsmann at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles that anticipated the robotic assembly of building components. Moreover, it explores Wachsmann’s ‘Packaged House System’ and his designs for relocatable hangars for the US Air Force. The book features these through concise texts and rich illustrated material, the majority of which are published here for the first time.
Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, and Hannes Mayer (Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich) revisit Wachsmann’s ideas from a contemporary perspective where robotic building processes become increasingly common. An essay by neuroscientist Andreas Burkhalter looks at the phenomenon of knotted joints in the context of similar structures in the human brain. Architectural historian Marko Pogacnik highlights the significance of Wachsmann’s lectures at the Salzburg Summer Academy in the late 1950s.
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