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Over the last years several groups of scientists, architects and
engineers have developed innovative ideas that can go beyond these
limitations, creating initial examples of jamming-based aleatory
architecture.2 Rather than using external confinement, they have
explored mechanisms internal to the particle assemblage. Gramazio
Kohler Research at ETH Zurich have used string for this purpose. In
Rock Print (see pp 82–6 of this issue), a large freestanding structure
by Gramazio Kohler Research in collaboration with the MIT Self-
Assembly Lab for the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), the string
is laid in a preprogrammed pattern by a robotic arm and then becomes
sandwiched between layers of gravel as it is poured, thereby providing
tensile strength.3 Alternatively, particle shapes that enable neighbours
to interlock or entangle can provide autonomous self-confinement,
simply through their geometry. Prime examples are the star-shaped
particles used by Karola Dierichs and Achim Menges of the Institute
for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart in their
extensive work on aggregate architecture (see also their article on pp
88–93 of this issue).4
Project Z-Form
A collaboration between physicists in the JaegerLab at the University
of Chicago and artist Dan Peterman, who is ...

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