Working at the intersection of art and architecture, Faulders Studio functions at multiple scales, focusing on material research and architectural experimentation. The focus is on projects “working with a really reduced set of materials and tectonics,” said founding principal Thom Faulders. “Selecting a set of operable media that we are going to explore and then limiting yourself to doing as much as possible with that.”
As an example of Faulders’ working philosophy he pointed out a sculpture by Tony Smith titled Moondog, which at certain viewpoints appears perfectly ordered and symmetrical, but from others appears to tilt and lean in another direction. While the piece’s 15 octahedra and 10 tetrahedra are perfectly made, their interaction with one another leads to what one might think of as an imperfection. Faulders is interested in methodology steeped in the notion of “unpredictability and how comfortable are we with unpredictability,” “the unpredictability of growth,” and the challenges of “trying things for the first time.” As one can see from the following projects, the studio’s focus is on changing the way people interact with the world and repositioning architecture in a space of transformation and uncertainty.
Crystalline World: Subhedral
SOMarts Cultural Center, San Francisco
Crystalline World was an installation at SOMarts Cultural Center in San Francisco, designed with artist Lynn Marie Kirby. The project focused on creating crystals out of multi-faceted 3-dimensional forms. The firm created simple, crystalline building blocks that were stand-ins for the ubiquitous 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-10-foot shipping container. Their name, “Subhedral,” is basically “a state that’s between an ordered crystal, euhedral, and basically anahedral, which is complete granularity.” The blocks explored the significance of the massive global salt industry while also encapsulating the studio’s interest in exploring the ordinary materials that surround us, and repositioning it into extraordinary new situations.
San Francisco, California
Framespace, an extensive house renovation in San Francisco, is an attempt to translate the studio’s more speculative work into built form. The goal was to provide the client with a home and a high end space for displaying art, with a sprawling 3,000-square-foot one room gallery showcasing specific views of the owner’s incredible artworks. The built in cabinetry, bathroom tile, and entryway signage all exhibit a translated noise, then lets you know that you have entered “a box that is a set of situations.”
Entrium Light Cloud
Entrium was the winning public art commission for Portland State University’s renovation of its Science Teaching and Research Center. The overhead canopy addresses the entrance to the building, interacting with the users of the main space and attempting to create new patterns and light conditions—significant in a city where light is often grey and overcast. Fabricated by LIT Workshop in Portland, it was a combination of digital fabrication and a uniquely hand-crafted piece that essentially is “just a fin system,” said Faulders, but “the fins are not only moving in plan but they’re moving in section.” All of the bending for this sectional change had to be done by hand, a perfect example of what Faulders calls a “responsive situation,” rather than merely the creation of a new “object.”
Courtesy FRAC Center
Geotube Tower Dubai
FRAC Centre, Orleans, France
The Geotube Tower is a speculative proposal for a 43-story building in Dubai that would be, to some extent, grown, with local conditions sculpting and transforming the building over time. Salt would be harnessed from the highly saline ocean water of the nearby Persian Gulf, supplied via a pipeline and misted onto the tower’s exposed mesh. As the water evaporates and salt deposits aggregate over time, the tower’s appearance would transform from a transparent skin to a highly visible white solid plane.