Vault Shuffle


Course: UCLA A.UD 411 Introductory Design Studio

Term: Fall 2014

Critic: Andrew Kovacs

In analysis of Santa Maria de Santes Creus, a grid is imposed over the entire church which it adheres to on all axis. The individual vault is divided into 36 individual units, 20 containing parts. Because the vault is symmetrical on two axis, the units are reduced to 6 different types which are rotated and repeated.

141213_final_page_05Unitized abstractions create a vault “composition” through a collaboration of objectivity and subjectivity. The fundamental form of the vault is then recombined within the 20-space grid of the original quadripartite vault so that edges of each unit must connect.


[ (Number of Unit Sides) * (Number of Unit Orientations) ] ^ (Number of Possible Spaces)

Since each unit has up to 24 possible orientations and 20 possible spaces, there were originally over one trillion possible outcomes. To narrow down, rules of robust value judgments are imposed to create vault rearrangements in which more massive units are supported by less massive units, and the curvature continues when connecting units. When the 20 rules limiting connection are applied, the number of possible outcomes is reduced to eight.


The vault composition of parts is unrelated to its original tectonic, and in place of structural rationality, the success of the resulting composition is determined by its likeness of vault characteristics.



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