In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.
So you want to win the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program? This year’s champs Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner of HollwichKushner (HWKN) shared some insight about their strategy with AN. The competition started with an invited portfolio submission from about 20 young architects. After being selected by the MoMA PS1 panel as one of three finalists, HWKN started in with rigorous research into past winners and the selection process. “We made a book about every entry,” Hollwich said. This study provided in-depth knowledge of the different approaches and forms which have won, and also those that have not been successful.
The 12th annual IESNYC Student Lighting Competition, “Fraction/Refraction”, was held Wednesday night at the appropriately well-lit Helen Mills Event Space in Chelsea. The competition was open to all interested students in New York City and included entries from designers at Pratt Institute, Parsons/New School, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham, and New York School of Interior Design. Over 100 entries created a luminous one-night exhibition of over 100 light-sourced objects, each with a different take on this year’s theme of “how light plays with textures, flows through materials and creates layers of contrast.”
The New Museum has been transformed into a real-life game of chutes and ladders, or perhaps a Fun Palace a la Cedric Price, for its new exhibition Carsten Höller: Experience that opened this week and is running through January 15, 2012. The centerpiece of the show is a spiraling stainless steel slide traversing the fourth through second floors and providing what certainly must be the most rapid vertical circulation in the entire city short of a plummeting elevator . We stopped by to check out the slide and, after signing our lives away on a waiver, took a couple rides ourselves.
If you didn’t catch the giant inflatable pop-up chapel/igloo at Silver Lake’s Materials & Applications gallery last year, now’s your chance to experience it in person. Well, it’s cousin anyway. The 25-foot-tall second rendition, Density Frames was designed by USC’s architecture director Gail Peter Borden for the school’s Religious Center courtyard. The irregularly-shaped balloon-like structure will be on display through December 15.
A High Line education. A $75 million for-profit school called Avenues will open next year at the High Line, reported the NY Times. Funded by private equity firms, the school is slated to move into a converted ten-story, 215,000-square-foot historic Chelsea warehouse in September of 2012.
Cyclopedia. Finally, we have a well-curated, refreshing book celebrating vintage bicycle design. Publishers Thames & Hudson recently released Cyclopedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs that explores 90 years of classic and racing bicycle history through bright, crisp photographs and an uncluttered layout. More info at Cyclodelic.
Plaza politics. Beginning September 7th, Cheonggyecheon Plaza in Seoul, South Korea will host an installation titled Itjanayo (You Know…) featuring the work of Soo-in Yang. The project is comprised of a mirrored cube on the outside and a recording studio and viewing room on the inside allowing visitors to record their opinions to be replayed for others.
“Throughout history, a plaza has been a place for airing statements of opinion, historical statements are limited by time and forgetfulness, but the statements inside Itjanayo are recorded and replayed for others to hear. Others who subsequently enter the box can add responses to the earlier statements as though they were adding online comments”, wrote e-flux.
Saving the ranch. Ranch houses, those one-story dwellings once popular in the suburbs following World War II, are now turning fifty years old, making them eligible for preservation. While some deride the houses for their plain style, preservationist Richard Cloues argues that they must be saved as an important markers of U.S. housing development in the mid-twentieth century. More at the WS Journal.
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An aluminum prototype structure at FRAC explores non-linear design and fabrication
The 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.
37 first year SCI-Arc students have just finished a mesmerizing new installation in the school’s parking lot called Sway. The project is made of 228 thin bundled steel rods, bolted into the ground and joined via flexible (and wild) wire units above. The vast and tightly-packed array of bendy rods are responsive to subtle changes in wind force (and not-so-subtle pushing by visitors), enabling the structure to move around like trees in a forest, or a collection of organisms. At night they catch the light in changing and surprising ways.
The 1A Studi0—which produces a large installation every year— was led by professors Nathan Bishop, Eric Kahn and Jenny Wu. Bishop accurately called the piece an “encompassing environment.” Which is what makes it so great: the chance to walk right into the art and interact with it.
Artist Nils Völker has created a breathing wall comprised of trash bags and cooling fans. One Hundred and Eight selectively inflates a grid of, you guessed it, 108 bags to create a strikingly simple yet poetic result. The softness of the trash bags rising and falling is really something to see. The installation can also interact with the viewer, sensing a person’s presence before the wall. From the artist:
Although each plastic bag is mounted stationary the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively and moving creatures which waft slowly around like a shoal. But as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around.
Can you imagine this idea translated to the scale of architecture? Cloud-like hallways – or even full facades – might actively follow passers by with a gently inflating and deflating rhythm. [ Via Today and Tomorrow. ]
Watch the video after the jump.