Matthew Ritchie artwork

Matthew Ritchie artwork

Concept Matthew Ritchie

Concept Matthew Ritchie

The Morning Line sculpture ARUP AGU Sevilla water.jpg
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The Morning Line sculpture ARUP AGU computer.jpg
The Morning Line sculpture ARUP AGU computer model.jpg
The Morning Line sculpture ARUP AGU physical model.jpg
The Morning Line sculpture ARUP AGU calculation 01.jpg
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The morning line


Project: ‘The Morning Line’ installation

Location: Sevilla, Vienna, Istanbul

Date: 2009

Artist/Architects/Engineer collaboration: Matthew Ritchie with architects Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU Advanced Geometry Unit

Type: Installation/ Pavilion

Size: 8 meter high and 20 meter long frame

Stage: Built


The Morning Line is an experimental project by Matthew Ritchie designed with the architects Aranda\Lasch and
Arup AGU.


“Not light, but darkness visible. This project proposes a ruin from the future, a new type of structure whose function can only be inferred not just by using it but by reading it. Combining science, art, architecture, music and film an architectural language that directly expresses its content through its structure. An anti-pavilion, not an enclosure, but an opening of space, a conversion of place into language.”

                                                  Matthew Ritchie


The Morning Line is the corner stone of the 3rd BienalInternacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla, built of 17 tons of coated aluminum is an intersection for information from various fields, such as art, music, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physics, cosmology and technology.


Built from an idealized ‘universal bit’ that can be reconfigured in to multiple architectural forms, The Morning Line uses fractal cycles to build a model of the universe that scales up and down.


The geometric-structural system, based on the Truncated Tetrahedronon (Tetrablock), that can grow and expand at different scales creating architectural space and proposed mapping Ritchie’s drawings on the faces of the Tetrablock to create a true “three-dimensional painting”.


The Morning Line consists of a three dimensional spatial network with a hierarchical crystalline organization of truncated tetrahedral blocks (Tetrablocks), which act as rigid self-contained units of a rigid structural framework. From the fractal nature of the Tetrablock geometry derives a rational hierarchical structure of four generation blocks, which can be assembled on site following very simple sequencing rules (gen1,2,3 and 4).


The primary structure is composed of gen2 blocks, measuring about 2.5m in size and weighing 400kg each. The gen3 and gen4 blocks, respectively 1m and 350mm in size, form secondary and tertiary extensions of the gen2 structural backbone, forming arches, branches and canopies. Gen1 is composed of individual surfaces of a 6.5m large truncated tetrahedral block. These surfaces unfold into gen1, 2, 3 and 4 floor patterns. Gen2 consists of 32 gen2 Tetrablocks, each with 8 faces: 4 hexagonal and 4 triangular.


When all the Tetrablocks are assembled The Morning Line is a fully braced structure of slender surface patterns, consisting of high strength aluminum plates, grade 5083, creating a complex flexible network. These profile-cut aluminum plates provide the main structural loadpaths transferring gravity and lateral wind loads through 6 arching supports to the ground. The patterns are based on artistic drawings by Matthew Ritchie, intuitively mapped on the faces of the Tetrablocks.


To simulate their correct stiffness and structural behavior, each pattern was modeled into a global 3D structural finite element model. This was run through a non-linear buckling analysis, which allowed to optimise its geometric configuration and thickness, strengthening the main load paths and critical connections. The global and local buckling behavior of every plate is modeled to verify the stability of the structure in the critical load cases. The basic principles of buckling of thin plates had to be employed, rather than standard codes of practice because of unique and non-standard nature of the structure.


A special detail was devised at the foot of each base Tetrablock to allow the structure to accommodate elastic deformations without producing high concentrated stresses in the aluminum plates closer to the ground. This detail also allows the structure to be supported on a minimal footprint of only 6 points.


The whole installation is a traveling structure in aluminum, designed to be transportable and rebuildable. The gen3 and 4 blocks are fabricated as single unfolded profiled plates and then folded and welded along the free edges to generate complete rigid Tetrablocks. These are prefabricated off site and transported as complete units. On the other hand, the larger gen2 blocks are designed with bolted connections so that the so that they can be taken apart and transported easily and efficiently.


The choice of aluminum is mainly driven by the need to reduce weigh, and facilitate packaging, transport and construction. Each component of the structure can be stacked, transported and erected easily by 2 persons. The Morning Line is completely modular and transported and re-erected in different successive venues, it can be reconfigured, expanded or redesigned in multiple different ways.


All pictures copyright Matthew Ritchie, Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU