Pulled Plaster Research

The spatial parti of the Gerken Residence is anchored by a monolithic mass serving as the reference for a series of voids and floating volumes that define the public spaces of the house.  This core is clad in custom pulled plaster panels, a technique developed through the controlled collision of a centuries-old fabrication technique with contemporary digital design language.  Working with renowned plaster artisans and skilled contractors, Young Projects developed a technique for translating the tools used in making traditional crown and base mouldings  to a means of generating multiple geometries: sweeps, lofts, and extrusions.  

The traditional pulling technique involves repeatedly scouring wet plaster with a contoured die (knife) held by a carrier (horse) that glides along straight rails.  The modified technique developed by Young Projects introduced the ability of the knife and horse to move independently of one another along curving rails.  This allows for the creation of orthogonal tiles where the inscribed profile can oscillate along the length of the tile, both in plan and section, and create elegant, curving forms in addition to simple extrusions.  

In order to simplify fabrication, a series of 8 distinct tiles has been commissioned.  The layout of the tiles is carefully controlled across the unfolded elevation of the monolithic mass’ three visible sides; some areas are restrained and quiet while others appear to elegantly flutter in a manner suggestive of draped cloth.