La Cage aux Folles is an architectural folly inspired by a Mongolian yurt crossed with the concept of a cage. It was originally designed as an installation project at a Materials and Applications Architecture and Landscape research exhibition. It makes use of many of the same structural principles as a traditional yurt, which is a structure comprised of many small wooden rods which join together to make a sturdy form. Arranged in a circle, the rods form a system which defines an enclosure. Perceived in a different way, the installation may also resemble a cage. The design explores the craft of pipe bending in architecture and combines form, procedures and fabrication processes.
The architects describe the construction: “Using ‘Schedule 40’ steel tubes, the installation explores the idea of constructing parametric surfaces with fields of linear strands which simultaneously define variable spatial conditions in synchronicity with structural needs. The tubes are organised in shifting layered continuities, using bends to transfer loads and rigidify the structure at the same time as conveying a sense of space and form. Each of the members is looped and variably arrayed through a generative algorithm. As each loop crosses others, connections are made in some places to take advantage of triangulation while in others the space is turned inside-out. If one were to calibrate these bends and transitions to habitation and use, new types of porosity are generated, folding together.
Watch the video on constructing La Cage.