Tesselion by Skylar Tibbits



More tessellated structures: Tesselion is an installation by American architect Skylar Tibbits, constructed from 187 aluminium panels.


"Tesselion is a full scale prototype installation showing the possibilities for constructing doubly curved surfaces from flat sheet material," says Tibbits.


The project is on show at the Philadelphia University Architecture and Design Centre until October.


The following is from Tibbits:


A new era of digital technology has emerged to enable freedom of design expression. Increasing complexity in surface curvature through rapidly developing digital techniques has enhanced an age old design problem of constructability of non-standard surface geometries. Along with the software for creating this complexity, intelligent capabilities for construction can be utilized through algorithmic and parametric logic.


Simultaneously, improvements in fabrication technologies are clearing the way for a fully unified design and construction process. Simultaneously, the possibilities for both design and fabrication are reinvigorating the professional role of the architect.


Tesselion is a built project which demonstrates a system of flat panel tessellation derived from complex surfaces to enable ease in constructability and a directly evolved spatial environment through lighting, programmatic adaptation and structural simplicity. Each panel's uniqueness is afforded by the efficiency of digital fabrication while coded parametric relationships allow an emergent structural efficiency.


Recently the development of planar quadrilateral meshes has become a strong interest in the architectural community due to their potential ease for constructing complex surfaces. The project responds to this problem and proposes a method for flat panelization of free form surfaces which provides large scale, efficient and economic construction from flat sheet material.

Fabrication Sponsor: Jared Laucks & Continental Sign

Posted on Wednesday August 13th 2008 at 7:48 am by Rob Ong. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • One

    This is interesting. I should like to see just a normal photograph, instead of this super artie photo to appreciate the object more… BTW Is this also Baroque???

  • Azeem

    Good, Love to see it applied on building facades!!

  • heath

    shop drawings please.
    (great project!)

  • As digital fabrication improves and we see a more affordable outcome for individalised one off fabrication pieces, particularly aligned to parametric design and programme interfacing, architecture can only respond with joyous design and structural creativity.

    Well done Skylar Tibbits, keep the ball rolling.

  • jed_

    okay, i can’t believe he’s really called Skylar Tibbits.

  • BIFF



  • ujo

    looks like a huge, marvelous card trick.

  • edward

    As a design exercise it’s harmless enough. But creating scaleless , amorphous, undifferentiated blobs with it is depressing. Its all about the media image, branding and frivolity. Fie!

  • Michael

    If you want full appreciation, you will need to go experience the space this solution provides. Otherwise, how and artist documents a project is completely up to them. I do not think drawings are necessary in this case for you to fully understand the object. And heath: there really aren’t shop drawings for some of these digitally fabricated projects. The interesting part in my opinion that gets neglected to be documented is the construction of these objects. Whether that’s a screen shot of the 3D model, the cutting, or the assembly; I would love to see some of those with the final shots. Now if we could only convince more people to give up their initial sketches…
    I enjoy seeing these projects and only hope that people see them on here and other design websites for inspiration or ways to refine them.
    Nice work!

  • Mark

    Great work and an interesting solution to the material constraints.

  • bald skull

    more info here : http://sjet.wordpress.com/

  • Rockstar

    It should go straight to MoMa!

  • Simon

    to see the complete project plus process and drawings


    As a model maker I have to come up with solutions like this almost everyday. Unfortunately I can’t afford the time to document the process, but envy anyone who can. I love work like this and and [C]space. Digital fabrication is just one step in making a screen shot reality. It is the open mindedness of your fabricator and tradesmen who want to share in this realisation that make projects like this so rewarding. Lets see more!

  • Arthur C

    Baroque is back since 15 years in architectural research. See Ocean North and all Performance-oriented Design and Morpho-Ecologies design.

    Parametric building are going to be more an more common around. If the process is understood well, it can provide a nice alternative to eco-friendly sustainable architecture. Foster and Zaha Hadid have started already to use them.

    And no “the blob” is over since 8 years…now it’s a new generation of people that are building in the real world and not any more doing fancy images for websites.

  • Tyson

    kids these days…

    this guy is phenomenal. i think he’s going all the way.

    so young, soooo good

  • Tesselion was done in collaboration with Marc Fornes (www.theverymany.net) and Adrienne Yancone.

    All materials sponsored by Alliance Metals.

    Full project details: http://www.tesselion.wordpress.com

    Many thanks to Phildelphia University and all those that helped make it possible.