3. Wind Tunnels
Related: Working Prototypes Exhibition, From Instrument to Architecture
Photography: Lisa Moffitt and Emma Bennett
Four wind tunnel prototypes adapt engineering and DIY guidance using architectural design fabrication techniques. Wind tunnels are designed to a create a controlled interior environment of steady-state laminar airflow in order to observe air movement patterns made visible through smoke streams. Wind tunnel assemblies therefore require streamlined constructional strategies that eliminate material resistance, which creates turbulence. The prototypes transition from carpentry-based construction methods to digitally fabricated ones, increasing precision and componentry fit. The final version, akin to an airplane turned inside out, relies on exterior steel frames for stability to create a smooth interior surface of seamless transitions. The prototyping trajectory reflects a shift in focus from the streamlines of flow visualisation to streamlining as a design ambition.