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Fluid Crystallization: Architectural League Prize: NY 2013

Skylar Tibbits has been named one of the Architectural League 2013 Prize winners and has presented the Fluid Crystallization project as part of the winners exhibit. This installation investigates hierarchical and non-deterministic self-assembly with large numbers of parts in a fluid medium. 350 hollow spheres have been submerged in a 200 gallon glass water-filled tank. Armatures, modeled after carbon atoms, follow intramolecular covalent bonding geometries within atoms. Intermolecular structures are formed as spheres interact with one another in 1, 2, or 3-Dimensional patterns. The highly dynamic self-assembly characteristic of the system offers a glimpse at material phase change between crystalline solid, liquid, and gaseous states. Turbulence in the water introduces stochastic energy into the system, increasing the entropy and allowing structures to self-assemble; thus, transitioning between gas, liquid, and solid phases. Polymorphism may be observed where the same intramolecular structures can solidify in more than one crystalline form, demonstrating the versatile nature of carbon as a building block for life.

A collaboration between:
Skylar Tibbits, The Self-Assembly Lab, MIT

Arthur Olson, The Molecular Graphics Lab, The Scripps Research Institute

Graham Francis, Marianna Gonzalez, Amir Soltanianzadeh, Monica Zhou, Veronica Emig

Fluid Crystallization was made possible by support from the Department of Architecture, MIT and the Architectural League of New York.