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Following tests on several assembly systems applied to the triply periodic minimal surfaces, the Minimal Complexity perspex prototype is the first developed system that emerged from the ‘Minimal Surfaces as Architectural Prototypes’ research project. Due to the modularity of the surfaces,the fabrication strategy was reduced to creating a set of components with a geometry built around the 16 triangular faces of the mesh of the fundamental region of the Schwarz P Surface – chosen as a case study. The final surface was then created from multiple identical or mirrored instances of the basic region. The shape of each component was derived naturally from each triangular facet within an instinctive design process by taking into consideration the fixing mechanisms between them, the flexibility needed and the structural stiffness of the material.

The final piece is made of 1936 laser-cut acrylic components, the equivalent of 121 basic surface segments each generated by 16 different shapes only.  All the components were fixed with zinc plated screws, nuts and washers. Various tests were initially made on different materials such as mild and stainless steel plates. The assembly process was very interesting in experiencing the fact that the minimal surfaces have extraordinary structural properties, uniform distribution of loads and their stiffness increases with the level of complexity they reach. Accordingly, as the main parts of the piece were initially very sensitive to deformations, the final piece reached a greater level of rigidity.

Many thanks to: Professor Stephen Gage, Sean Hanna, Ruairi Glynn, Richard Roberts, Nick Westby.  Bartlett, UCL. Special thanks to everyone involved in the assembly: Konstantinos Mouratidis, Anghelos Chronis, Ermis Konstantinos, Alex Bulygin, George Giokalas, Kaiti Papapavlou, Sorina Tigaeru, Veronica Ochoa, Zoe Stathaki, Mihaela Varzari, Dana Knight, Chris Wong, Antonis Prodromou, Pauline Tzachrista.

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