FabriKator: Wolf-Gordon’s Escalator Canopy

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Friday, August 3, 2012
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How a boutique Brooklyn design-build collective strung up NeoCon’s first major installation.

Attendees of NeoCon in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart rode the escalators and ascended towards Wolf-Gordon‘s large crystalline canopy hanging overhead. Though NeoCon has come and gone, Wolf-Gordon has just begun using the tessellated, prismatic structure for an ad campaign that, for the company’s new Chief Creative Officer, Marybeth Shaw, signifies a renewed approach to design and a willingness to take risks. To announce Wolf-Gordon’s new face to the world, Shaw enlisted the help of advertising agency Karlssonwilker, who has created campaigns for Adobe, the New York Times Magazine, BMW, Vitra and MTV, among others, and The Guild, a Brooklyn-based design and build collective whose clients include Dior, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Hurley and Diane von Furstenberg. It’s a bit of an unexpected mix of talents, to be sure, but Shaw wanted to shake things up.

After developing a concept with Karlssonwilker that was inspired by Bruno Taut’s 1914 Glass Pavilion, Shaw turned to The Guild, where Creative Manager Graham Kelman translated her idea into a spiky, crystalline form onto which Wolf-Gordon’s fabrics, textiles and wall coverings could be displayed. Kelman’s first design had between 650-700 prismatic faces with an area far too small to show off the fabric, so Kelman decreased the amount of faces to around 250 while also increasing their individual size. “I increased the largest spike from three to six feet by using a sheet of material per spike side,” Kelman said. He was able to decrease “the total number of faces by two-thirds and still retain the aesthetic impact, volume and material” he wanted.

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TUFTIT Teaches Materials A New Language

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Friday, July 27, 2012
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A new modeling program can give any material a makeover.

TUFTIT is a fabrication program developed by Alexander Josephson and Pooya Baktash, two students who put their studies at the Architectural Association in London on hold to found Partisans, a research-based architectural platform they started in Toronto following the financial meltdown in 2010. What seemed like a risky venture at the time might just be Josephson and Baktash’s best career move, especially if TUFTIT is an indication of the kind of technologically innovative projects they’re executing.

The modeling program was born from a desire to reinterpret popular traditional styles, like “Edwardian tufted leather furniture” featured in a Restoration Hardware catalogue, for a contemporary audience. “To us, this was an apt example of where innovation and reinvention could occur, especially with the use of parametric modeling,” said Josephson. “The goal was to create a radical new interpretation of that model, one that was completely organic and free in its scale and use.”

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Seeing stars indoors with Encounter

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Friday, July 20, 2012
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Simple materials get elevated in a paper-and-staples homage to  Isaac Newton’s cenotaph

French neoclassical architect Étienne-Louis Boullée may have drafted his famous proposal for a cenotaph for Isaac Newton in 1784, but his ideas continue to influence architects to this day, like RISD architecture graduate student, Greg Nemes, whose recent project, Encounter, draws inspiration from the nighttime starlight effect in the interior of Boullée’s proposed monument. “It was an exploration in my thesis project,” said Nemes. “The intention was to make an immersive space out of a ceilingscape using…a defamiliarization of space, scale, and material.”

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Surface Deep: Undulating Installation Invites Visitors to Climb Atop Its Mossy Nooks

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Friday, July 13, 2012
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Asensio_mah & Harvard’s Graduate School of Design’s moss-covered installation is architecture on the cellular level

When visitors stroll through Quebec’s Redford Gardens, the first of many large installations they come upon is Surface Deep, an undulating, moss-covered structure designed by international architecture firm asensio_mah in collaboration with students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. It was built last summer, but with this year’s Metis International Garden Festival, Surface Deep is once again getting major foot traffic in the most literal sense of the word. Surface Deep is a mountable, climbable series of snaking panels that invites visitors to explore it in its entirety, from its long, sweeping form to its small, mossy nooks.

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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Tree Canopy

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Friday, July 6, 2012
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A tree grows in the Colombiere Center Chapel

It all started with a beech tree that has lived for the past hundred years on the Colombiere Jesuit Brother’s bucolic 14-acre site in Baltimore, MD.  The tree stands in plain view of the brothers’ new chapel, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ). Alfred Dragani, an associate with the firm and the lead on the project, said that “as our Jesuit clients expressed a greater desire for privacy, we began to study ways of designing a shroud behind the south and north facing glass walls of the chapel that would operate like light-modulating screens. Our hope was that we could simulate the effect of an actual tree canopy, resulting in a dappled and serene light.” Dragani and his team used digital modeling (Rhino and Grasshopper) to simulate daylight conditions in the chapel throughout the year and create an interior installation in the chapel made from perforated wood panels in an organic arrangement of overlapping planes within a repetitive steel framework.

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SOM and Virginia Tech’s Hanging Garden Automatically Responds to Weather

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Friday, June 29, 2012
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Hanging Garden

A motorized green wall that reads the weather and adjusts automatically

Two years ago six students and three faculty from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design spent three weeks at SOM‘s Chicago office applying industrial fabrication solutions to the problem of high density housing for Southworks, a housing development that’s currently being planned for a large vacant section south of the city. The result was LumenHAUS, an aggressively energy efficient home that won the international Solar Decathlon Competition that June for sustainable solutions to high density construction. LumenHAUS is not only net zero, it actually creates more energy than it uses by implementing, among other innovations, a modular system that autonomously responds to external weather information and internal environmental conditions to optimize energy use. This Fall Virginia Tech’s Center for Design Research will begin construction on a full scale prototype of six housing modules, including a working prototype of Hanging Garden, a dynamic plant wall that reads the weather and responds by sliding along the walls and windows to either block or allow sunlight into the living unit.

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Meet Wendy, HWKN’s pollutant-fighting pavilion at MoMA PS1

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Friday, June 22, 2012
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Wendy, by HWKN

Volunteers pitch in to install Wendy in the MoMA PS1 courtyard

Wendy will eat the smog of the equivalent of 260 cars this summer

“I cannot wait for the data to come in so we can show people,” said Matthias Hollwich, a principal of the Manhattan-based architecture firm HWKN. Hollwich is talking about the air quality monitoring system that will be hooked up to Wendy, the 3,000 square-foot star-shaped pavilion HWKN is currently installing in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 for the annual Young Architect’s Program. Because PS1’s Kraftwerk exhibition occupied the museum’s courtyard until May 14th, HWKN only had six weeks to build Wendy, which will not only house a pool, a misting station, a water canon, an elevated dj booth and an exhibition space, it will “eat” smog all summer long thanks to a special little ingredient called TiO2.

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Oyler Wu’s “Screenplay” Installation

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Friday, June 15, 2012
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An installation team is using a digitally designed model to carefully wrap steel frames with rope (Clifford Ho)

The firm continues its exploration of creating complex shapes with rope

The West Coast’s design show Dwell on Design brings tens of thousands of visitors to the Los Angeles Convention center for three days of modern design each summer. This year, the show commissioned a project from Oyler Wu Collaborative, the LA-based architecture firm of Jenny Wu and Dwayne Oyler. The most recent of seven installations (including “Netscape,” the SCI-Arc 2011 graduation pavilion) that the duo has designed since 2007, “Screenplay” is a 22-foot-long, 9-foot-high steel frame over which is woven an impossibly complex web of silver polypropylene rope.

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Situ Studio’s Maker Space

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Friday, June 8, 2012
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The 1,200-square-foot space is installed in the Hall of Science's Central Pavilion (SITU)

A new installation at the NY Hall of Science celebrates DIY culture

The recently opened Maker Space at the New York Hall of Science is just what its name implies—a place to make things. The initial installation is by Singer Sewing Company, which donated 18 sewing machines, a garment steamer, finishing iron, and other equipment that will teach children and families the basics of sewing and quilting. Programming will also include workshops about conductive fabrics and soft circuits that can be used in a range of applications. The space is a symbol of work that can come out of fostering a culture of scientific learning through hands-on projects. Designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based Situ Studio, the Maker Space itself is contained within a plywood 3-pin arch structure based on themes of craft and assembly.

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PROFILE> Bill Kreysler Explores Composite Facades with Joshua Zabel

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Thursday, June 7, 2012
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Bill Kreysler of Kreysler and Associates. (Photo Jorgen Gulliksen)

Bill Kreysler of Kreysler and Associates. (Photo Jorgen Gulliksen)

Composite materials, a.k.a. “composites,” are the result of the two different materials being combined but remaining physically and chemically distinct. For over 40 years Bill Kreysler, founder of the Napa County-based Kreysler Associates, has been leading developments in molding and application of composites for architectural use. On July 27 Kreysler and his associate Joshua Zabel will lead a special workshop on how composites are used in facades today as part of the AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

After getting his start in manufacturing sailboats, Kreysler founded his own firm in 1982 and brought his knowledge of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) to bear on  architectural and industrial products as well as large scale sculpture (his workshop boasts three CNC-milling machines). Currently chair of the committee to write Guide Specifications and Recommended Practice for FRP Architectural Products and a founding member of the newly formed Digital Fabrication Alliance, Kreysler is also co-author of Composites, Surfaces, and Software High Performance Architecture with Greg Lynn.

Through lectures and a rare opportunity for hands-on learning, the upcoming July 27 workshop will provide participants with both the creative and technical knowledge to design and prototype composite based building components. Participants will also be eligible to compete in a limited competition to have a small component fabricated full-scale by Kreysler & Associates to be exhibited at ACADIA 2012, a conference on computer-aided design. To register for the Collaboration conference, click here.

 

South Korea’s Expo 2012 Pavilion: Active Facade Design

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Friday, June 1, 2012
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Elastic deformation of the pavilion's glass-fiber reinforced plastic lamellas gives its facade movement (Soma)

A 34,000-square-foot kinetic media facade represents the themes of Korea’s international exhibition

Opened last month in the coastal city of Yeosu, South Korea, the 2012 International Exhibition’s theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast,” is a way for attendees to examine challenges and solutions to development on oceans and coastlines. As the architect of the expo’s thematic pavilion, Vienna-based Soma Architecture designed a kinetic media facade to act as a counterpart to the show’s location by the water and to its multimedia presentations. Working with Stuttgart- and New York-based structural engineering firm Knippers Helbig as facade consultant, the team developed a constructible solution for building one of the largest adaptive structures in the world.

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Chicago Loop Alliance to Coat Sidewalks, Streets, & Buildings with Color

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The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

The promotional rendering for "Color Jam."

From May 29th through June 4th, sheets of vinyl will be layered over the intersection of State and Adams streets in Chicago’s Loop in a site specific installation entitled Color Jam. The public installation, commissioned by Chicago Loop Alliance through their Art Loop public art program, is the work of multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder. The exhibit will be an ongoing piece of public art, covering sidewalks, buildings. and the intersection itself with contextually abstract shapes and colors. The work will be on display from its “official” completion on June 5th through September 30th of this year.

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