Casey Hughes Architects
Limaçon Pavilion



  • Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • The Limaçon Pavilion was designed in collaboration with Hernan Garcia, William Choi and Hiroshi Jacobs. This project, lead by Prof. Ingeborg Rocker, examined the brick from a historical, theoretical, design and fabrication perspective. Debate focused on the limits of what could fall under the rubric of a “brick” and its relevance to contemporary interest in modularity and discretization.

    The two major components of the design are the brick and its reference surface that the brick was instantiated on. The geometry of the brick was determined to maximize its rigidity and bearing complicity as well as to allow the brick to transform to the requirements of the reference surface. To reduce, cost the brick was designed to be fabricated in chip board, creating the challenge of cutting and folding 1400 sheets into volumetric bricks.

    The reference surface was derived from the lofting of a limaçon curve. In addition to fulfilling the requirement for a “wall vault” (simultaneously wall and vault), this design produces a structurally efficient minimal surface. The surface started as a pitched vault that flattened into a vertical wall allowing for access to an inner court.

    This design was selected for fabrication of a one-to-one mock-up built by Mais Al Azab, William Choi, Hernan Garcia, Casey Hughes, Alstan Jakubiec, Lesley McTauge, Marta Nowak, Mark Pomarico, Andrea Love, and Alex Yoon.
  • Types of Limaçons.
  • The Limaçon with a inner loop allow us to derive the exterior and the inner court with one geometric operation. By adjusting the length of the arm that traces the curve, within the parameters of a/b > 1, the size of the inner court can be varied.
  • The plan of the pavilion is a limaçon.
  • The inner loop is elevated from the ground plane.
  • Two profiles are swept along the rails.
  • Plan view.
  • Isometric view.
  • Elevation.
  • Elevation.
  • The parameters that control the aperture: Frustrum rotation A = (A param max - A param min) x (unit VOLUME x volume STEP VALUE)
    Frustrum rotation B = (B param max - B param min) x (unit VOLUME x volume STEP VALUE)
    Aperture size C = (C :: D ) x (unit VOLUME x volume STEP VALUE)
  • A unit unrolled.
  • Units nested on a sheet for cutting.