Composite materials are on display in the undergraduate-built FIBERwave PAVILION.Carbon fiber’s unique properties would seem to make it an ideal building product. Untreated, carbon fiber cloth is flexible and easy to cut. After an epoxy cure, it is as hard as steel. But while the automobile and aerospace industries have made widespread use of the material, it has gone virtually untouched by the architectural profession. Alphonso Peluso and his undergraduate students at the IIT College of Architecture set out to change that with their FIBERwave PAVILION, a parametric, sea life-inspired installation built entirely of carbon fiber. "We want to make the studio an expert resource for people trying to get into carbon fiber in terms of architecture," said Peluso, whose students designed, funded, and built the pavilion this spring. "There’s a studio in Germany that’s in their second year of working with carbon fiber, but I don’t think anyone in the United States is working with it." Peluso’s studio began with an internal competition. Because the spring semester course followed a class dedicated to the exploration of various composite materials, many of the students were already familiar with the pros and cons of carbon fiber. "Toward the end of the first semester we started working with carbon fiber, and it wasn’t the greatest result," said Peluso. "But we knew we had to keep working with it. That played a big part in the selection of the design for the second semester." The students judged the submissions on constructability as well as aesthetics, he explained. "It was interesting to see the students as the pavilions were being presented, see their minds turning on: ‘Okay, this one is feasible—this is one we can actually build.’ Sometimes the design was a little better, but the overall project seemed less possible within the time frame." The winning design is based on a bivalve shell structure. The student who came up with the idea used parametric design software to explore tessellations of the single shell form. "What I was pushing them to do in the first semester was large surfaces that weren’t repetitive," said Peluso. "In the second semester, it was like they intuitively knew there had to be repetition of the unit." As a group, the class further developed the design in Rhino and Grasshopper. But while the students used parametric software to generate the shell pattern, in general FIBERwave PAVILION was "less about designing in the computer," said Peluso. "Most of it was fabrication based." The studio was hands-on from the beginning, when students were asked to submit a small-scale carbon fiber with their competition entries. They went back to Rhino to make the molds. "We had to make six molds," explained Peluso. "Even though it was one identical shell unit we had to produce 86 of these shells. When you make a composite unit, if you have one mold you can only make one shell per day." In the end, the students fabricated a total of 90 shells (including several extra to make up for any defects) over the course of about four weeks. "The actual assembly was pretty quick, the pavilion itself went together in less than a day," said Peluso. Laterally, bolts through CNC-drilled holes connect the shells at two points on either side. The overlapping rows of shells are secured vertically through bolted pin connections. The installation remained on the IIT campus for one month, after which the students disassembled it in just 25 minutes. The Chicago Composite Initiative, which provided crucial technical guidance during the project, has since erected FIBERwave PAVILION in one of its classrooms. The fundraising component of the project was as important as its design and fabrication elements. Peluso initially hoped that the carbon fiber industry would donate materials, but "we didn’t have as much luck as we anticipated because we hadn’t done anything before that would warrant their interest," he said. "That’s one of the goals of the pavilion itself, to create an awareness in architecture that this could be a great material to use." Peluso’s course did have help from West System Epoxy, which provided the curing resin at a discount. To fill the funding gap, the students ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $6,937 from a $6,500 goal. They made incentives for the donors, including 3D-printed necklaces and earrings. "I don’t think we realized how much work was going to go into that," said Peluso. To raise additional funds, the class held bake sales on campus. For Peluso, the process of designing and building FIBERwave PAVILION proved as valuable as the finished product. "The way the students collaborated made the project a success," he said. "Sometimes in group projects you get a few drifters, and some really strong ones. But all twelve students really stepped up. This wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t all come together as a group."
Posts tagged with "kickstarter":
Circuses have been a historic gathering place in cities and towns across America. Crowds of people are attracted to the towering tent, local music, and fragrant carnival food. A group of five architects tap into this pop appeal with their project, Circus for Construction, which won a competition in May,2014 held by Storefront for Art & Architecture. Their plan retrofits a semi-truck to transform into a pop-up venue and experimental gallery space for architecture and art. To get their project moving, the team known as The Spectacle Syndicates have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000. Initial plans include driving the semi-truck to five locations in the New England area—Provincetown, MA; Providence, RI; Ithaca, NY; Buffalo, NY; Portland, ME—and docking in Boston. If funds exceed their goals, they plan on taking the traveling architect's circus to other major cities. The Spectacle Syndicate's design will use a 30-foot-long, goose-neck truck trailer and simple construction materials to build an exhibit that will unfold from the truck to create a festive space for events. The set-up will feature temporary exhibitions, lectures, and workshops that focuses on regional professionals and local talent. "Circus for Construction will challenge existing ideas about where 'museums' or 'lecture halls' reside," the team stated on their Kickstarter page. The carnival effect from the truck unfolding and arriving grandly in a town gives architects a new platform to interact with clientele and peers. Instead of a traditional brick-and-mortar venue, the traveling showcase allows the team to be dynamic with their presentations and incorporate the local brand and specialities of each place. For instance, the semi-truck arriving in Portland can park along the scenic Maine coast, sell Portland-brewed Shipyard beer, and display local architecture projects. Time to buy your tickets for this circus act.
Known for his political activism and for art that spans east and west, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will hold an exhibit on Alcatraz Island this September. The show will include seven works at the notorious former federal prison—with partners including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the For-Site Foundation. The installations will be spread throughout Alcatraz, including the 1941 New Industries Building, where prisoners worked in manufacturing or did laundry for local military bases. The A Block section of the 1912 Alcatraz Cellhouse will also open. It included solitary confinement cells as well as ones that contained typewriters and legal reference books. There will also be installations in the hospital and the Dining Hall, according to Architect. Ai Weiwei is a prisoner of sorts himself. He will work on the exhibit from China, since the Chinese government has barred him from leaving the country since 2011. To help visitors understand more about Weiwei's installations, guides will be stationed throughout Alcatraz, to be funded by a currently-in-progress Kickstarter campaign. The exhibit will run through April 2015.
Party boats are common in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago’s more well to do neighborhoods. But local entrepreneur Beau D’Arcy wants to corner that market with Breakwater Chicago—a floating club and leisure destination anchored in the city’s downtown harbor year-round. The 33-year-old engineer told the Chicago Tribune he’s hoping to create the city’s “next Bean,” referencing Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture. To launch the project, which will cost $23 million total, D’Arcy is seeking Kickstarter donations in the amount of $30,000—one dollar for every square foot of Breakwater Chicago’s proposed plan. He hopes to take the vessel on its maiden voyage, as it were, by July 4, 2015. SPACE Architects + Planners designed the floating attraction, which would employ a large dome to shield the “tropical pool environment” during winter. Programming includes three restaurants, a bar/event space, a large swimming pool, a spa, and retail space. Breakwater would drop anchor about a mile off Navy Pier or a bit farther south in the Chicago Harbor during summer months, and be towed into shore during the winter. Private boat-owners could dock off Breakwater, while water taxis would ferry visitors without their own vessels, for a fee of about $20. The team behind Breakwater said they’ll comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding navigable vessels on Lake Michigan, but regulatory hurdles are no afterthought for the project. “At the completion of Detailed Design, scheduled for this summer, our team should have construction drawings submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard for final review and to shipyards for final bids,” reads the project’s Kickstarter. “Once a shipyard is chosen, construction will begin so that the vessel can be delivered to Chicago late in the spring of 2015.”
As New York City's +Pool—the world’s first floating swimming pool—gets closer to the water, it was high-time for another river-based project to make itself known. The latest comes in the form of City Beach NYC, a beach-topped barge that would float in the Hudson River. The idea for the vessel comes from Blayne Ross, and it was designed and engineered by Matt Berman, and Andrew Kotchen from workshop/apd, and Nathaniel Stanton of Craft Engineering. While the project is described as a beach, it doesn’t actually offer New Yorkers the chance to swim—that is, unless they dive off the barge and into the Hudson, which is not advised. This barge, though, has more than beach chairs and umbrellas. Its sandy topper lifts up 16-feet on either side to create space for a food court, two local restaurants, changing rooms, a guest services desk, and a “kids history & marine science lab.” There is also a double-height restaurant that is “the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner.” The team will be launching a Kickstarter for its project on June 19 and is aiming for a 2016 opening, the same year +Pool aims to be in the water. The race is on. [h/t Curbed]
Move over, Aalto vases and Eames coat racks: there are some fresh new works available at the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. Sourced in partnership with Kickstarter, 24 products from 20 international designers are getting a shot at icon status over the course of four short weeks. As with the standard stock of the MoMA store, timepieces, toys, and techy items are well represented among these limited editions. An elegant, spare wooden wristwatch by Lorenzo Buffa (716 backers on Kickstarter) is offered in light and dark finishes, with an innovative bonded-wood and leather strap. Created by art professors Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin, the NeoLucida Drawing Aid (11,406 backers) is a portable, prism-based tool that projects the subject matter of a sketch onto a sheet of blank paper, so it can be easily traced. The Powerslayer Phone Charger Kit (597 backers), designed by Justin Champaign and Velvetwire, detects when your smartphone is fully charged, and then frugally breaks the power connection, saving both money and battery life. Emmanuel Platt, the director of merchandising of MoMA’s retail division, came to the museum from another bastion of fine design: The Conran Shop, where he was president of U.S. operations. “We were inspired to pursue this project because so many of the most impressive, new, and innovative products we have been finding lately kept leading up back to Kickstarter,” he said in a statement. “It became clear that Kickstarter is an important new way for good design to come into being, and we wanted to celebrate that.” The Kickstarter collection will be available from through June 16. And there’s a launch party tonight during New York Design week [aka #NYCxDesign] on May 19 at the MoMA Design Store SoHo from 6:00 to 9:00. Meet the makers, eat & drink, and drink & eat. Be polite and RSVP to email@example.com.
The Chicago Design Museum, our resident pop-up pantheon of graphic aesthetics, is looking for your help to mount the first exhibition in its new permanent home. They’re planning a centennial show for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (hey, AIGA’s as old as Wrigley!), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded (and time is really running out!). Eavesdrop’s been known to drop in on ChiDM’s shows since its inception, so we could be persuaded to part with some cash.
It looks like design history is in the air here in Chicago. The Chicago Design Museum is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to launch an exhibition looking back at 100 years of graphic arts. Chicagoisms just opened at The Art Institute—a meditation on Chicago’s architectural history and mythology that builds off a previous exhibition of unbuilt work reviewed here. Now another exhibit glances at Chicago's design history to better assess its present and future. Chicago’s design history will be on the menu at a new exhibition, CHGO DSGN: Recent Object and Graphic Design, which opens at the Chicago Cultural Center on May 30, from 6:00–10:00p.m. The exhibition runs through November 2, 2014. “Chicago has long been regarded as an international center for design, and this retrospective celebrates the region’s creative and innovative spirit,” reads a press release for the show. Curator Rick Valicenti, who won Cooper Hewitt’s 2011 National Design Award for Communications Design, and display designer Tim Parsons said in a statement that they want to celebrate Chicago’s design history, from early print developments through international modernism, and probe its future with more than 200 works that range from functional objects to theoretical proposals. Among the pieces on display will be Ania Jaworska's 8-foot-tall architectural model, Monument for Them, and an 80-foot print by Chicago photographer Sandro that includes 115 of the exhibitors—an homage to Richard Avedon's famous portrait of the Chicago Seven.
Skyscrapers are usually admired for their mighty feats of structural engineering. Respect though you might the elegance with which Chicago’s Willis Tower lifts steel and glass 1,451 feet into the sky, you probably wouldn’t want to nuzzle it. A Chicago startup wants to make plush toys with the forms of famous skyscrapers, and Willis is one of their first prototypes. Squeezable Skyline launched their Kickstarter campaign this week, asking for $25,000. The toys would retail for $29.99. The 22-inch Willis replica would be accompanied by a 21-inch Empire State Building. If funded, the team’s line of “huggable high-rises” could include 25 skyscrapers from across the U.S. “Our 'Squeezables' are simplified massings of the real buildings and are designed at a relative scale to look great together as you build your collection,” writes the team—Michael Gordon, and brothers Brent, Glenn and Struan Robertson.
Since 2010, New York–based artists and theorists Gregory Sholette and Olga Kopenkina have invited people around the world to imagine "a past whose future never arrived." Through their ambitious installation, Imaginary Archive, participants can interact with both real and fictional “printed matter, small objects, artist’s books and self-published narratives" to envision alternative political and cultural histories. The installation has appeared in New Zealand, Ireland, and Austria, and, if their new IndieGogo campaign is successful, it will arrive Kiev, Ukraine next month. For Sholette and Kopenkina, the country's current political upheaval provides a unique opportunity for their work. They write, "With the future of the country teetering in maximum uncertainty, the need for intense artistic reflection and discussion of historic choices and possibilities is as great as ever."
Despite what your takeout dinner delivery person may have you believe, electric bikes are, in fact, a fine-able offense in New York City. Nonetheless, Manhattan resident Jeff Guida is hoping to make these outlawed vehicles much more common by selling a small, portable device that motorizes Citi Bikes, the city's popular bike-share network. The Shareroller is housed in an 8-inch-by-11-inch-by-3-inch box that, once mounted, turns share-bikes into e-bikes. While New York was the laboratory for the product, the engine can be installed on many bike-share systems in other major cities—like Washington, D.C., Chicago, London, Montreal, and Toronto—as they all share the use of the same basic vehicle model. The product boasts an installation/removal time of ten seconds and claims it allows users to reach top speeds of 18 mph. The Shareroller also comes equipped with a pair of LED headlights and a built-in USB charging port. In explaining how the product actually works, the Kickstarter page enthusiastically boasts: "Let's just say it required thousands of hours of CAD design and prototyping. It's a very complex system that has been designed with incredible precision" before launching into the nitty-gritty." Guida and his team are in the process of developing 3-D printed adaptable mounts that allow the Shareroller to be affixed to bike and scooter models beyond the base bike-share design. The group is hoping to raise $100,000 to enable further testing and larger-scale manufacturing. While the goal seems to be to launch in the summer, pledging over $1,995 to the cause now grants you immediate access to beta-version just in time for Vision Zero!
Last year, just around this time, AN sat down with Los Angeles-based cinematographer Tomas Koolhaas to discuss his highly anticipated film, REM, about his Pritzker Prize-winning father. Casting aside the dusty architectural documentary formula of conceited talking heads and lifeless shots of seemingly uninhabited buildings, the younger Koolhaas set out to explore the “human condition” around some of his father's most high profile projects. Now the film is nearly complete, but with grant money running dry, the filmmaker has turned to Kickstarter to pull in the final funds to push through the post-production process, and has released two new clips to promote the project: the film’s first official trailer and an interview with "the Rem Koolhaas of hip-hop," Mr. Kanye West. As Tomas Koolhaas told AN last year, "my concept has always been more focused on human interaction with the work, just because I find that more interesting, and it’s the least explored aspect." From "free runner" bouncing off the walls of the Casa da Música in Porto, Portugal to Chinese migrant workers constructing the CCTV building in Beijing and a homeless man spending his days within OMA's Seattle Central Library, Koolhaas' film seeks to capture a variety of modes of interaction that people and buildings engage in. By turning his attention towards these real-life stories that highlight the diverse intersections of human life and architecture, Koolhaas hopes to capture varied social, physical, and cultural experiences of a building instead of the same armchair theories that are fed to us in most design documentaries. And what does Kanye West have to do with all of this? Why don't you just watch and see for yourself.