>Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Architecture

Voided Space


Virginia Tech has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 SOFA CONNECT program exhibit in Chicago. The architecture students will be building an installation within the 24’ x 24’ space allotted at the art fair with funds provided by the event. The team plans to augment the installation through the use of a custom fabricated LED lighting system that reacts to the participants’ movement through space.

Installation:Voided Space

Voided Space challenges our perception of solid and void space. The installation consists of negative spaces that are accessible from the exterior, as well as enclosed positive spaces that contain lights and sensors. The interior walls consist of a layer of elastic, translucent fabric that diffuses light as it passes through the space. Visitors can sit in the darkened space and observe as beams of light obscure activity around them. A CNC milled plywood track will fix the fabric membrane into a sinuous, organic form.

Dynamic Lighting:

The passages in the installation use Raspberry Pi technology to create an interactive environment. Each space has its own Raspberry Pi computer wired to discrete Passive Infrared motion sensors that send a signal to the lighting fixtures to turn on. The movement of visitors through the spaces triggers an impulse of light to enhance and exaggerate the presence of energy in the space. As the movement subsides and the visitor takes a seat, the light dissolves, and the subject has now become the observer. Rendering Digital modelling has been a useful tool in the design process and group collaboration. By testing the lighting scheme through realistic rendering, the team has been able to make more informed decisions.

Voided Space
Section cut displaying light activation


Ultimately, the team aims to demonstrate Virginia Tech’s promotion of cross- disciplinary collaboration, especially in joining the arts and technology. In addition, we hope to use this installation’s exposure to incite future research on computationally-enhanced environments.

Voided Space

Voided Space
Shown above, a piece model of one light fixture illuminating a path across the fabric. Additionally, the CNC routed tracks at the ceiling and floor are defining the fabric’s curve.

Bryan Bergan, Mech. Engineering
Hayden Bernhardt, Architecture
Peter Daian, Architecture
Matt Delvecchio, Engineering
Matthew Dipietro, Architecture
Alexander Hoelzli, Architecture
Katie MacDonald,CAUS Faculty

Collaborative Colleges:

Computer Engineering
Mechanical Engineering