Posts tagged with "Installations":

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Top of the Glass: Students Design Shimmering Pavilion At USC

Once again the courtyards at the USC School of Architecture are bubbling with installations as part of the second-year 2b studio, in which several teams of undergraduate students design and build structures in a very short period of time. Perhaps the most striking is the shimmering pavilion created by the 14-student class of professor Roland Wahlroos-Ritter. The studio focused  on glass' structural, reflective, and refractive qualities. All of those attributes are apparent in the installation, in which 800 translucent and triangular polycarbonate pieces (actual glass was deemed too expensive and time-consuming) were folded like origami and zip-tied together. Each piece was drilled with several holes and inserted with vinyl tubing to reinforce the connections. In fact, the model for the structure was made with paper, then translated into its new, highly refractive form. The installation was brought to the site in five segments and then pieced together on site. The students see this as a 1:1 prototype for a future pavilion to be built in glass.
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Ernesto Neto's Lacy Pavilion Offers A New Take On Islamic Architecture

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto has been exhibiting his work for almost 25 years. With his latest work, Neto crocheted a netted pavilion shaped almost like a spider that is currently on view at the Sharjah Biennial 11 in the United Arab Emirates. The Biennial, titled Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography and curated by Yuko Hasegawa, investigates the overlapping public and private life found in the historic Islamic architecture of the Sharjah courtyards. Neto's pavilion, While culture moves us apart, nature brings us together, delineates a calm retreat complete with traditional trademarks of Islamic courtyards including shade, benches, greenery, and a small pond. He used a natural wood frame draped in yellow and pink netting to create a unique circular shape defined by arcs. And while the space looks distinct, it mirrors the basic ideas of traditional Islamic courtyards by offering an intimate public space for diversity, creativity, and exchange. Artists for the Biennial were chosen based on their deep and visible connections with their own cultures, like Neto, in efforts to view places outside their own cultures in fresh ways offering new perspectives and possibly creating cross-cultural materials.
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Tonight> Watch Leo Villareal's "Bay Lights" in San Francisco (or Online!)

Lighting artist Leo Villareal has been busy lately, opening installations in the New York City subway system and in Madison Square Park, but an even bigger achievement is set to debut tonight in San Francisco. Villareal has attached 25,000 LED lights to the San Francisco Bay Bridge and connected them to a computer in order to create dazzling lighting displays viewable from the city and the water along the suspension bridge. Called The Bay Lights, the project celebrates the bridge's 75th anniversary and is set to go live tonight at 8:30 PST. But don't worry, if you're not in San Francisco to view the installation from the Embarcadero or Telegraph Hill, the event will be streamed live online at the project's website here. Until then, check out a couple videos below of the installation being tested. The Bay Lights is believed to be the largest of its type in the world and will be in San Francisco for two years, lit each night from dusk till 2:00a.m. [h/t to WNYC and Inhabitat for the videos.]
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Vlad Tenu Gets Down to the Bare Minimum


MC/2* is composed of .04-thick laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets. Each component is flexible, but when assembled the surface becomes rigid.

The triangular MC/2* is the latest iteration of London-based Romanian architect Vlad Tenu’s Minimal Complexities Series. With this prototype, he continues to explore the idea of creating minimal surface geometries from modular components—a thread that has been present throughout much of his work. This time, he has pushed the boundaries even further by whittling down the components. The undulating structure, made of translucent laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets, was first unveiled hanging from the ceiling of the Open House event for Digital Shoreditch Festival 2012. It was then exhibited months later, at the International Architecture and Design Showcase at the London Architecture Festival 2012. This prototype follows a natural progression in this ongoing series, which gained recognition when Tenu was named the winner of the second annual Tex-Fab Repeat Digital Fabrication Competition for his Minimal Complexity structure in 2011.
  • Fabricator  Surface
  • Architect  Vlad Tenu
  • Location  London, UK
  • Date of Completion  2012
  • Material  .04-inch-thick polypropylene, aluminum rivets
  • Process  Processing, laser cutting, hand riveting
For this project, Tenu created an algorithm within software program Processing that dictates basic geometries on minimal surfaces. “The method that is behind this project is having a very flexible number of particles added and removed from the system that constantly updates itself into a minimal geometry, and that is what the algorithm originally refers to,” said Tenu. Tenu fabricated Minimal Complexity from 16 modular variants. For MC/2*, he reduced that number to just two different components. Over the course of two afternoons, Tenu and colleagues from Surface assembled the 500 components into 250 modular regions. The entire structure, which can stand independently or be suspended from the ceiling, spans 10 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and 5 feet in height. While the individual pieces are light and malleable, made of .04-inch-thick laser-cut polypropylene, “Structurally the piece is very rigid and quite strong compared to the material which is very flexible. It can easily be self-supporting,” said Tenu. “I am always trying to integrate ideas of very pragmatic applications,” said Tenu. “With these prototypes, the idea is to test systems and learn from the special properties of them.”
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Situ Studio's Hurricane Sandy-Salvaged "Heartwalk" Installation Under Construction

Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance's Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City. The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, "Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city."
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Ellipses Collide in Mathematically-Inspired Installation at the University of Oregon


SubDivided provides a unifying element in Fenton Hall's three-story atrium, tying each level together visually.

In December 2012, the University of Oregon completed a renovation of Fenton Hall (1904), which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years. In addition to sprucing up the interior and upgrading the mechanical systems, the institution hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. Out of roughly 200 initial applicants three were shortlisted, and of those the university selected a design by Atlanta-based architect Vokan Alkanoglu. Composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, the 14-foot-high by 10-foot-long by 4 ½-foot-wide sculptural form is derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses—a nod to the discipline that calls Fenton Hall home. “We wanted to create something that would be visible on all three floors of the atrium to connect the levels and create flow in the space,” said Alkanoglu. “We also wanted to have an interior to the piece, so that you could see inside and outside, to give it a real sense of three dimensionality.”
  • Fabricators MAC Industries
  • Architect Volkan Alkanoglu
  • Location Eugene, OR
  • Date of Completion  December 2012
  • Material   .04-inch-thick pre-painted aluminum
  • Process  Rhino, Grasshopper, CNC routing, riveting
Alkanoglu and his associate Matthew Au modeled the piece, named SubDivided, in Rhino, using algorithms to define the curved surfaces that link each open ellipse. In addition to giving the sculpture a sense of depth, the curves also add to its structural integrity. Alkanoglu tessellated the surface with perforations to keep it lightweight and increase its visual permeability. Once he had defined the form, Alkangolu transferred it into Grasshopper, breaking the model down into 550 unique sections. Each piece was given tabs with holes in order to make connections with rivets, and assigned an identification number. Alkanoglu transferred this subdivided version of SubDivided as .dxf files to local fabricator, MAC Industries. MAC fed the files into its CNC routing machines, which cut the profiles out of .04 aluminum sheets pre-painted in two colors—the University wanted the sculpture to have a duotone appearance, matte gray on the outside and white on the inside. Once cut, the sections were given a non-scratch coating and labeled with stickers. To assemble these puzzle pieces, Alkanoglu recruited three architecture students from U of O. In a shop, the team set about the work of peeling off the non-scratch coating, rolling the sections to give them the requisite curve, and connecting them with rivets. The team assembled the piece in four chunks, which they then transported to the site, where a scaffold had been erected in the atrium. The four larger pieces were connected atop the scaffold and the entire assembly was attached to the ceiling with three narrow-gauge galvanized cables crimped to steel plates inside the sculpture. According to the calculations of the project’s structural engineer, Buro Happold, SubDivided weighs a mere 56 pounds. “It’s kind of like a research project," said Alkanoglu. "A small prototype that could move into a larger building, maybe a facade, or an atrium for a bigger building, which hopefully will come in the future.”
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On View> Alyson Shotz's Geometry of Light at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Alyson Shotz: The Geometry of Light Indianapolis Museum of Art 4000 Michigan Rd. Indianapolis, IN Through January 6, 2013 Following the U.S premiere of her animated Fluid State, which visualizes the creation of matter in a fictional landscape, artist Alyson Shotz has adapted her installation The Geometry of Light for the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion Series. Shotz—who is recognized for exploring the physical world by engaging with concepts of light, gravity, and space—uses industrial materials such as stainless steel wire, silvered glass beads, and cut Fresnel lens sheets to form a sculpture that considers the duality of light as both particle and wave. During daylight hours, natural light filters through the lens sheets, and the varying angles bring life to the piece as the position of the sun changes throughout the day. By moving through the room, visitors perceive how light and motion shape the experience of space.
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Extreme Commutes: Architects Build "Fast Track" Trampoline Sidewalk in Russia

There are countless ways to get around cities these days—on foot, bike, or skateboard, by transit or car—but Estonian firm Salto Architects has imagined what could be the next dedicated lane to hit a street near you: the Fast Track trampoline sidewalk. The 170-foot-long trampoline was built earlier this year in Russia for the Archstoyanie Festival, sending leaping pedestrians through Nikola-Lenivets Park, about 120 miles southwest of Moscow. According the the architects, Fast Track "is a road and an installation at the same time. It challenges the concept of infrastructure that only focuses on technical and functional aspects and tends to be ignorant to its surroundings. Fast track is an attempt to create intelligent infrastructure that is emotional and corresponds to the local context. It gives the user a different experience of moving and percieving the environment." Just take care not to spill your coffee on the morning commute! [Via Knstrct.]
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Figment 2013 Brings a Cloud of 50,000 Plastic Bottles to Governors Island

Each year, the AIANY's Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York bring a whimsical, wondrous, and often absurd pavilion to New York's Governors Island as part of the FIGMENT Festival. This year, FIGMENT held a design competition and 200 designers submitted proposals. The newly announced City of Dreams Competition winner for 2013 is Brooklyn-based Studio Klimoski Chang Architects and their sustainably-minded Head in the Clouds pavilion, comprised of metal rods, and thousands of plastic milk jugs and water bottles. Head in the Clouds is really a collection of 120 "pillows" joined together to create a bumpy cloud filtering light into an occupiable space below. Designers Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang will partner with local schools and organizations to collect the 53,780 needed milk jugs and water bottles. From outside the pavilion, the array of plastic bottles will appear sparkling white, but inside with the help of a little water and blue-tinted water coloring, light shining through the pavilion will radiate in a variety of shades of blue. The pavilion will be built and displayed on Governors Island during the summer of 2013 pending necessary permitting and fundraising. At the end o the summer, the pavilion will be recycled to help offset its carbon footprint. You can donate to the pavilion-building effort at the FIGMENT website. Four other finalists were named in the competition and their proposals can be seen below: A cloud, in a tree by SAMPLES, Julien Boitard and Richard Nguyen, the Enneper Pavilion by Maria Mingallon, Fodder Form Pavilion by HuycKurlanDowling, Teddy Huyck, Alexis Kurland and Conner Dowling, and For Rent by MTWTHFSS, Ed Blumer and Pete Storey.
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“Minimal Relaxation” Has Maximum Impact at MoCA Shanghai


Reimagining traditional Chinese gardens with parametric geometry

For MoCA Shanghai’s exhibition MoCA Mock-ups: The Architecture of Spatial Art, USC American Academy of China (AAC) Summer Studio 2012 spent six weeks designing, fabricating and constructing “Minimal Relaxation,” a parametric canopy and undulating, LED-lit landscape that creates prime skyline viewing locations on the museum’s rooftop terrace. Inspired by Frei Otto, an architect and structural engineer famous for his complex canopy structures, “Minimal Relaxation” extends his body of design research into physical and digital form-finding processes for minimal surface structure through “dynamic relaxation techniques.”
  • Fabricator  USC AAC (American Academy China) Summer Studio 2012
  • Designer  USC AAC Summer Studio 2012
  • Location  Shanghai, China
  • Date of Completion  August, 2012
  • Materials  Nylon string, high tension cables, bamboo poles, PVC rings, fishing line, MDF, shrink wrap, LEDs
  • Process  Parametric modeling with augmented Rhino 3D, CNC milling, shrink-wrapping
Faculty advisor, Alvin Huang of Synthesis Design + Architecture, explained that dynamic mesh relaxation is a digital simulation process in which the net, in this case, “is placed into continuous tension through the combination of the organization of its mesh network (the net), and the position of its fixed edges (the perimeter) and points (the poles) to find a stable force equilibrium. This results in a minimal surface, where each node within the surface has zero mean curvature.” The students then manipulated funicular form parametrically to accommodate the canopy’s holes, or viewing portals, and reverse engineer the construction process. For a 2,000 square foot rooftop, the students ordered a custom made 55’ x 55’ net with a 3,025 square foot reach that allows for the undulations in the design. The viewing portals were positioned to frame points of interest for viewers, such as the surrounding high rises. Once the students derived a geometry that incorporated these elements they were able to design an internal tension in the net so precise that its bamboo support poles didn’t require any additional attachments or securing. The canopy was so taut, in fact, that since its installment in early August it has already outlasted multiple monsoons. Though the construction of the net is basic (nylon string knotted into diamond shapes, much like a soccer net), the play between the parametric geometry and the net is what lends the materially basic structure such strength and staying power. The same idea of minimal surface for maximum impact was applied to the shrink-wrapped MDF landscape furniture, “where the plastic membrane is constantly trying to minimize itself over its rigid constraints.” Justin Kang, the Landscape Team Leader, explained how the landscape forms were designed to emulate the ripple effect of water droplets. “Wherever the canopy feature drops down the landscape feature dips up to meet the canopy.” Kang also positioned the forms “where the canopy opens so patrons can look through these apertures and see the framed Shanghai skyline.” The furniture does double duty as a lighting element, too. Each form is lit from within by 20V LED strips linked to motion sensors attached to an Arduino board that, ideally, would be programmed to produce light patterns in waves, but due to time constraints the lighting is controlled by a remote, allowing the museum to decided on the kind of lighting to play on the surface of the landscape. Even if visitors aren’t aware of the complicated geometry at work above their heads, the experience underneath the canopy and the view it provides, as well as the light show on the ground, have turned MoCA Shanghai’s previously underutilized and seldom visited rooftop into a nighttime destination. “Minimal Relaxation” was only scheduled to be on view for two weeks, but now the museum has announced that due to its popularity it will remain up indefinitely. Faculty: Neil Leach (USC/AAC Program Director), Wendy Fok (Univ. of Houston/We Designs), Alvin Huang (USC/Synthesis Design + Architecture) Canopy Team Leader: Ty Harrison Landscape Team Leader: Justin Kang Photography by Wandile Kraai
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'Cosmic Quilt' Makes Waves In Interactive Architecture


Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture

Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive "light-sensitive barrel vault" created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone's eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt.
  • Fabricator  The Principals
  • Designer  The Principals
  • Location  New York, NY
  • Date of Completion  May, 2012
  • Materials  Coated paper, plastic fasteners, aluminum, light sensors
  • Process  Welding, weaving, digital design (Rhino, AutoCAD, Solidworx, Arduino code-writing)
Cosmic Quilt began as an architectural research project, which The Principals opened up to students at the Art Institute of New York. "The response was a bit overwhelming," said Seskunas. "Interactive design isn't even a subject at the Art Institute, but the desire of the students to learn about it was really staggering." The Principals first led their group of eager students in researching different kinds of paper, a material they chose not only for its cost effectiveness, but because small, lightweight, interlocking pieces of paper facilitate the kind of free movement they were aiming for. There are 3,000 4x4-inch squares in all, which are coated for durability, die-cut into two patterns, and woven into four 4x8-foot quilts with small plastic fasteners that attach at the corners. Seskunas can't divulge the materials in the coating because it's patent pending, but as far as the pattern is concerned, "we were inspired by coats of armor, scale patterns on reptiles, and catenary curves," he said. "The main problem to solve was how to achieve a gradient curve that could simultaneously increase light flow, but using no more than two different pieces. Our aim was to achieve maximum complexity with a minimum amount of dissimilar parts." Cosmic Quilt - REALIZED from The Principals on Vimeo. Since they have the facilities to fabricate and construct everything in their Greenpoint, studio, Seskunas, Williams, and Constantine had the luxury of going back and forth between building and digital design throughout the entire process. After they built a working scale model, The Principals fabricated the full-size quilts and attached them to a welded aluminum frame through which they wove the wiring and sensors. They then mounted the assembly to the ceiling. The quilt is attached to hi-torque stepper motors controlled by a series of Arduinos equipped with light sensors that read the shadows of people walking underneath. The Principals wrote an Arduino code that transmits that information to motors, resulting in the undulating movements of the quilt. "This, in turn, also affects the changes in light patterns, creating a feedback loop in which the quilt can communicate with the people under it as well as with itself," Seskunas said. The Principals also hid sensors along the floor and hung them from the ceiling along with instructions for visitors explaining how their physical movement would impact the shape of the quilt. "We experiment with each project on where to put the sensors," Seskunas said. "Sometimes people want to know where they are and sometimes they're content to not be aware how exactly they are affecting the installation. In this case we decided to do both." "This is a new territory for architects and designers, so each time we have the opportunity to do something like this we observe how people react, what the effect on them is, what they get and don't get, and how the feeling in the space changes," Seskunas continued. For their latest installation, Wave Dilfert, The Principals created a more immersive architectural space with technology similar to that used in Cosmic Quilt, but with a new skin that can work on X, Y, and Z axes. "The difference of feeling in the space was really powerful. As you walked through it the space either contracted or expanded, and the reaction of the people who experienced it was amazing," he said. As The Principals' work continues to grow in scale, user experience, and technological fabrication, Seskunas said they're continually inspired by the "unbounded consequences" referenced by Walter Benjamin in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: "The orientation of reality toward the masses and of the masses toward reality is a process of unbounded consequence not only for thought but also for the ways we see things." The Principals aren't sure where their research will take them, but whether it's for a weekend-long installation or a building skin, you can be certain the user will play an exciting part in its ultimate configuration.
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Balmond's Snow Words Brings New Light To Alaska

Cecil Balmond, who famously left ARUP to start his own firm, Cecil Balmond Studio, a couple years ago, has a mesmerizing new project. The ethereal light sculpture, dubbed Snow Words, stretches out towards the Alaskan sky and illuminates the lobby of the new Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Suspended between a glazed skylight and a mirrored floor, the 30-foot-high beacon, which opened last month, seems to float within its laser-cut cylindrical shell. Made of LED-lit rods calibrated to a unique sequence, the installation commemorates the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The tower of light features 24 aluminum tubes containing 206 LED strips encased in acrylic and spaced according to patterns which “draw inspiration from prime numbers.” Each tube is programmed independently allowing for infinite variety as the lights gently pulsate from a bright white to a faded glow. Balmond has been busy—and exhibiting his adventurous, artistic side—since leaving Arup. Some other new work includes Arcelormittal Orbit (2012), the wondrous pavilion with Anish Kapoor for the London Olympics; and Star of Caledonia sculpture in Scotland (2011). More images of Balmond's new work below.