Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 723–740 | Cite as

Design and Fabrication of a ruled surface vault with the Exquisite Corpse

  • Simon WeirEmail author
  • Dylan Wozniak O’Connor
  • Rodney Watt
  • Dagmar Reinhardt
  • Shayani Fernando
  • Jason Dibbs


This paper describes the adaptation of the Exquisite Corpse to the design of a vault, cut using only ruled surfaces. The Surrealist process of the Exquisite Corpse, where a group of artists work collectively on a single drawing, without seeing the work of their collaborators, Salvador Dalí called working in “semi-darkness”. This method succeeds however in producing complex combinations of forms that rarely emerge from solo designers. When a project arose for a vault in a remote environment, the Exquisite Corpse was chosen to generate complimentary and juxtaposing forms from which an architectural language could be later assembled. A model of the vault was fabricated using a robotic arm with a custom built nichrome wire foam cutting end effector from 107 billets of expanded polystyrene. The discussion notes the stereotomic challenges, the differences between the modelled outcome and its stone version, and reflects on maintaining “semi-darkness” during early stages of form design.


Exquisite Corpse Stereotomy Vault Ruled surface Robotic fabrication 



Project team: Simon Weir, Dylan Wozniak O’Connor, Rodney Watt, Dagmar Reinhardt, Shayani Fernando, Lynn Masuda, Jason Dibbs, Charlie Sarkis, Evgeniya Egorova, Hugh Nagle, Matthew Fuller, Sarah Oh, Estefano Bonfante, Lewis Miles, Matthew Gardner, Eric Hu, Matthew Brooks, Jerry Feng, Andrew Wu, Brennan Clody, and with thanks to the anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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