This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.
A 48-by-35-by-26-foot public artwork has been installed in the main concourse of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The work, titled Under Magnitude, is designed by New York architect Marc Fornes and his firm THEVERYMANY as a “curious signal and a place for visual wandering” meant to activate one of the convention center’s main social spaces.
The two-story sculpture—made up of 4,672 ultrathin aluminum strips and 103,723 rivets—is suspended above the concourse floor via steel wires and can be seen at eye level from the mezzanine. The structure follows the laws of what Fornes described as “tangential continuities,” a geometric phenomenon describing how micro-level linear components are utilized to describe macro-scaled, nonlinear geometries. The model dates back to the work of 20th century artist Frei Otto, whose Soap Bubble Model theory postulates the so-called “extensive curvatures” at the foundation of Fornes’ work. Frei was interested in the geometric and structural tension that occurs in surfaces that transfer stresses along their length. Fornes inverts that theory via his notion of “intensive curvatures,” in which digital modeling is used to “maximize double curvature across the project,” rendering dynamic and fully self-supporting forms. The result is a holistic structural system that is defined by a tightly curved and constantly changing surface that is also incredibly strong and composed of thin materials.
The project, developed using Rhino digital modeling software, opened in March 2017. In a video, Fornes said: “Some people start to project their own background onto it. If you come from the sea, some people will read coral. Some people will read flowers. It doesn’t matter [how the viewer interprets the form], but it matters that they engage and that they start to wonder about the structure.”Under Magnitude Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida Tel: 407-685-9800 Architects: THEVERYMANY
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An aluminum prototype structure at FRAC explores non-linear design and fabricationThe new nonLin/Lin Pavilion at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France, is a coral-like structure of 40 pre-assembled white aluminum modules made of 570 CNC-cut single components punched with 155,780 asterisk-shaped CNC-drilled holes and held together by 75,000 white aluminum rivets. But these pieces, as designer Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY has demonstrated throughout his work, are much more than the sum of their parts. Neither an art installation nor a model, the pavilion is full-scale architecture that pushes the limits of its materials and of physical fabrication processes with custom computational protocols. The pavilion’s form began with the idea of a “Y” model—essentially the most basic form of multi-directionality. The study indicates Fornes’ interest in architecture’s shift away from linear spaces, including tube and doughnut shapes, to tri-partite forms that cannot be described through one bi-directional surface. Even in the avant-garde architectural repertoire, writes Fornes in his project brief, the bi-directional surface is still often the main medium of representation: “In order to resolve such an issue, it is required to address morphological models of change and introduce split or recombination—or in other words, how can one become two and two become one.” The computational model developed to create the structure describes it as a set of linear, machinable elements that can be unrolled and cut out of flat aluminum sheets. But the process could not be applied globally to the pavilion; that strategy would fail because the structure’s “defects” are recurring yet shifting. Nodes contain varying numbers of branches, and double-curvatures and radii are constantly shifting. Instead, the model was designed to create an individual solution to each surface while keeping in mind nearby conditions including branches and holes, connections, end rings, and open edges. Though the amount of variation is massive, the information was translated to a series of stripes that would be CNC-cut, drilled, or engraved into 4-by-8-foot sheets of aluminum. Machining took less than 2 ½ hours, but pre-assembly using pneumatic rivet guns to fasten the stripes into 40 modules took several weeks. Now part of the FRAC’s permanent collection, the self-supporting structure is 30 by 18 by 15 feet. Fornes’ model is also scalable to a degree and could appear in other applications in the future, but even at the current size it will inspire visitors to think bigger.
We had over 600 entrants, so it was really a diverse set of answer to how this structure could be imagined. Some designers engaged with the idea of ephemerality. Some engaged directly with the idea of collective memory, a structure meant to provoke collective memory. Some engaged with the idea that the structure confront social justice issues. [...] Some of the structures were just little beautiful jewels that are just stunning little pavilions. The idea is that the 12 together will speak to the diversity of responses. It's not the 12 best sukkahs but the one best sukkah city.The dozen winners are:
- Kyle May and Scott Abrahams - New York, NY LOG
- Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen - New York, NY Gathering
- SO-IL - Brooklyn, NY In Tension
- Matter Practice - Brooklyn, NY Single Thread
- THEVERYMANY - Brooklyn, NY P.YGROS.C / passive hygroscopic curls
- Bittertang - Brooklyn, NY Bio Puff
- Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan - Long Island City, NY Fractured Bubble
- tinder, tinker - Sagle, ID Shim Sukkah
- Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello - Oakland, CA Sukkah of the Signs
- Volkan Alkanoglu - Los Angeles, CA Star Cocoon
- Matthias Karch - Berlin, Germany Repetition meets Difference | Stability meets Volatileness
- Peter Sagar - United Kingdom Time/Timeless