This is the result of the MIT Architecture Studio I class in the fall of 2017. For a semester, we investigated the possibilities, in collaboration with Design.Lab at UAI, of creating new fabrication and construction techniques using lava rocks. The objective was to design an inhabitable space/shelter that relied the locally available lava rocks in Mocho-Choshuenco, Chile (which we visited!).
My objective was to construct a module that can aggregate to form interesting spaces. As a method of joinery, I began experimenting with magnetism, and combining metals with lava rocks in new ways in order to magnetize the metals and aggregate the rocks.
This process evolved into the Smart Lava Bricks, which is a modular system of construction that relies on a unique geometry that allows for structural joinery. The magnets are not strong enough to bond the modules, so instead, they are used as instructions of assembly, with attraction indicating that modules could be joined in this configuration, and repulsion indicating that they couldn't.
The system was designed to be easy to fabricate on site, so the lava rock was no longer the module. Instead, it is combined with concrete as aggregate in a new, three-headed modular "brick."
The result is a modular system that is easy to fabricate with readily-available materials and locally-sourced lava rocks in order to create temporary shelters for volcano hikers. The magnets are used to inform the logic of assembly, and tell you how to assemble the modules to create inhabitable spaces.