The Blobwall and the Bomb

[Image: Operation Sailor Hat, before detonation, via Wikipedia].

It’s a house, it’s a ziggurat, it’s… 500 tons of TNT stacked in a dome on the Hawaiian island of Kaho’olawe. A later test-detonation of these architecturally arranged fissile materials left a huge, still-extent crater that “currently contains unique sub-species of shrimp” that have “evolved to survive the hypersaline conditions” in the artificially excavated hole.

Bringing to mind Greg Lynn’s Blobwall—amorphous and multicolored plastic “bricks” whose puzzle-like stacking produced (unfortunately quite garish) enclosures—or even Gramazio & Kohler’s robot-built wall in New York City, Pike Loop, the dome implies a kind of militarized vernacular through which new, functional architectures can be constructed.

20th-century prefab modularity by way of well-placed bricks of TNT.

[Image: Greg Lynn’s Blobwall, on display at SCI-Arc].

But perhaps someday we’ll see autonomous instruments of robotic war crawling behind enemy lines, building fantastically elaborate, Dr. Seussian architectures on the shores of foreign continents. Artificially intelligent 3D printers, producing bomb-domes—explosive ziggurats—vast and terrible buildings awaiting their detonative spark from the sky.

3 thoughts on “The Blobwall and the Bomb”

  1. "The ships were fully manned during the tests." Obviously. Because if you're going to build a 1:1 scale kaboomer and test it on 1:1 scale battleshipes they may as well be loaded with 1:1 humans.

  2. During a photo roadtrip I happened to meet an engineer that worked on the design of the "Sailor Hat" TNT dome. He now runs the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum – in Hawthorne, NV, and proudly showed me photographs of the test and its construction that were exhibited in the museum.

    "…I could not have shown you this a few years ago, it was highly classified material."

    BTW, the landscape around Hawthorne, site of the largest US Army ordnance depot, is a completely fascinating animal…

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