Neri Oxman: Material Ecology

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter. Glass I. © 2019 MoMA, N.Y.. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

Neri Oxman. Glass I and Glass II 125

Neri Oxman: Bringing science and engineering and architecture together is something we care deeply, deeply about. With our new glass printer---a 3D printer with which to 3D-print optically transparent glass---we have had to formulate mathematical equations to describe the fluidics of glass in 1900 Fahrenheit as they jet out of the nozzle of the glass printer. These formulas, these mathematical equations were not available to us. We had to invent them or create them starting with the technology. So this is an example of architects creating science as opposed to architects borrowing from science.

So unlike blowing, forming or pressing glass---the traditional ways of forming glass into three-dimensional objects, with glass blowing--the interior surface geometry is the same as the exterior. With glass printing, because you have control over the nozzle, almost like a calligraphy pen, you can differentiate between the interior features of the product and the exterior features of the product. And that means that effectively you are creating an optical lens. And if you're able to create an optical lens, you can guide or inform the way by which light and heat move through the structure. And so printing allows us to think about facades and building scale as optical lenses. If successful, it has great implications for energy harvesting through glass.

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