Tetris Cube

with Wilson Harkhono and Jade Poon
UC Berkeley | ARCH 160: Introduction to Construction
Instructor: Brendon Levitt | TA: Richard Klaja | Spring 2015

The concept of interlocking and composing components into another form is seen in the game Tetris, which served as inspiration for this project. The components in this project are derived from the “tetriminos” in the game, geometric shapes formed by connecting four squares orthogonally. There are seven possibilities in total, and these shapes were extruded by the length of a side of the square to generate our components. Each component is then a form produced by connecting four small cubes, or “modules”. Two of the seven shapes can be replicated by flipping another two shapes upside down in the three-dimensional space, and so are redundant. In the end, five components were used. Like in Tetris, these components are stacked to compose a larger cube. Unlike in the game, the components in this project interlock each other not only in the two-dimensional space; rather, each piece is oriented differently than the other in the three-dimensional space, creating interesting spatial conditions.

The technique of interlocking blocks made it possible for the resulting concrete cube to stand without any additional support. Some of our components are not able to stand on their own in certain orientations given their form, but interlocking them with each other helped distribute the load onto one another. A component that would not stand on its own would exert load onto an adjacent piece, causing compressive reactions. Since concrete is a material with strong compressive capacities, our technique was expected to be one that takes advantage of the properties of its material.