Vlad Tenu Gets Down to the Bare Minimum

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Friday, March 1, 2013
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MC/2* is the latest of Vlad Tenu’s research projects to create minimal surface geometries from modular components. (Courtesy Vlad Tenu)

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.

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Twaddle and Topocast Make Houston Textural

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Friday, February 22, 2013
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The tiles’ intricately curving geometry was derived from a photo of a power transformer. (Courtesy Topocast)

Topocast and Randy Twaddle used Rhino to produce a 3D version of a 2D pattern. The 3D model became a 3D print, which was used as a prototype for casting 65 sculptural tiles.

The entrance portal of Mirabeau B, a 14-unit residential complex in Houston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is home to a 7-foot-high, 25-foot-long white wall of deeply textural tiles. Each tile is 20 inches square and features on its surface a three dimensional pattern that resembles nothing so much as the carapace of a Sci-Fi race of crab creatures. In fact, the pattern was derived from a photograph of a power transformer and its tangle of intersecting wires atop an electric light pole. It was worked into its current condition through a collaboration between print and textile artist Randy Twaddle and Dallas-based design and fabrication studio Topocast.

Twaddle had used this image to generate several of his designs for wall coverings and rugs and the like. In this instance, he manipulated the image until arriving at a pattern that could be repeated and assembled modularly in a system of tiles. Twaddle delivered the 2D pattern to Topocast, which began to develop a workable 3D version. “Most of the 3D was done in Rhino,” said Topocast founder Brad Bell. “We also used the Rhino plugin T-Splines to create the intricate curvature and geometries.”

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CTC Helps Piano Give LA’s Resnick Pavilion the Pompidou Treatment

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Friday, February 15, 2013
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The bright red cladding calls attention to the mechanical systems as the “lungs of the building.” (Courtesy CTC)

CTC realized Piano’s design concept by designing and fabricating a cladding system of a structural steel tube framework covered by extensive FRP panels.

For his design of the Resnick Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Renzo Piano revived an idea he first explored with Richard Rogers in their design of the Centre George Pompidou in Paris: the idea of the building as an organic breathing machine. At Pompidou, the architects turned the museum’s mechanical systems into expressive elements, color coding the pipes, ducts, gantries, and escalators and pulling them to the exterior of the structure. At the Resnick Pavilion, Piano located the mechanical rooms and air handling units prominently outside the four corners of the 45,000-square-foot building, applying cladding to the ductwork in a bright red color used in circulation corridors throughout the LACMA campus.

Piano turned to Capastrano Beach, California-based design/build firm CTC (Creative Teknologies Corporation) to realize his design concept. “We took in data from three parties,” said CTC president Eric Adickes. “Piano gave us perspective sketches of how he wanted the air handling units to look, the air conditioning contractor, Acco, gave us Revit drawings, and the general contractor, MATT Construction, gave us 2D Autocad documents of the building and concrete foundation.” From those sources, CTC developed 3D models of a cladding system for the ventilation ducts using CATIA.

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INABA Creates a Cylindrical Beacon For A Norwegian Concert Hall

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Friday, February 8, 2013
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Cutaways in the cylinder reveal the LED lighting scheme. (Courtesy Ivan Brodey)

INABA’s inverted chandelier comprises a steel frame clad with aluminum tubes and activated by LEDs.

Both simple in its geometry and intriguing in its illumination, a massive new lighting installation in Stavanger, Norway, aims to activate the lobby of a concert hall and create a welcoming civic gesture. Designed by New York-based INABA, the cylindrical structure responds to its setting in a variety of ways. Cutaways in the cylinder reveal views out for visitors inside the concert hall and also reveal slices of the dynamic LED lighting inside the structure to people outside the concert hall on the plaza.

Jeffrey Inaba, principal of INABA, calls the installation Skylight, and refers to it as an “inverted chandelier.” The light is reflected within the rings, rather than out. The outside is coated in glossy white to reflect the warmer daylight and ambient light in the building. The design of Skylight is meant to function as a recognizable figure for the building, which was designed by Oslo-based Ratio Arkitekter.

Continue reading after the jump.

Marlon Blackwell Weaves Plywood At The Crystal Bridges Museum

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Friday, February 1, 2013
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(Timothy Hursley)

(Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell uses ribbed ceiling to evoke craft while mitigating contemporary challenges at Arkansas museum.

The setting for the gift shop at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art seems idyllic—a vast glass wall opens onto a entry courtyard that gives way to a placid pond reflecting the Ozarks landscape. But to create a design for the 3,100 square-foot space in Bentonville, Arkansas, architect Marlon Blackwell had to overcome multiple hurdles. The first: a thicket of concrete columns supporting the green roof of the Moshe Safdie-designed building. Next: the west-facing glass wall, which made heat gain an issue. And finally: the very small budget (the total project cost was $644,000).

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Ellipses Collide in Mathematically-Inspired Installation at the University of Oregon

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Friday, January 25, 2013
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Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

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.”

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Utile Makes a Splash With Digitally Fabricated Pavilion in Boston

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Friday, January 18, 2013
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Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. (Chuck Choi)

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion roof channels rainwater for irrigation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Jump on a ferry in Downtown Boston and in twenty minutes, you’ll arrive at the Boston Harbor Islands, an archipelago of 34 islands dotting Boston Harbor managed by the National Park Service. To entice city-dwellers to make the trip, Boston-based Utile Architecture + Planning has designed a composite steel and concrete pavilion with a digitally fabricated roof for the National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to provide travel information and history about the Islands and a shady respite atop the highway-capping Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Two thin overlapping concrete canopy slabs supported by delicate steel beams provide a sculptural shelter. Utile digitally designed the $4.2 million Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion using Rhino to respond to the surrounding cityscape and serve as a playful rainwater-harvesting system to irrigate the Greenway’s landscape.

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Climate Responsive Pavilion Uses Laminated Metal to “Bloom” in the Sun

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Friday, January 11, 2013
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The 20-foot-high installation only weighs 500 pounds. (courtesy TK)

The 20-foot-high installation only weighs 500 pounds. (courtesy Brandon Shigeta)

Made from approximately 14,000 pieces, Bloom is the first architectural application of a laminated metal material that includes nickel and manganese with a bit of iron.

Architecture has long been valued for its static nature and sense of permanence. Increasingly, however, architects are working to make buildings more responsive to their users and to the climate. Often this is accomplished through mechanical means, but architect Doris Kim Sung, principal of LA-based DOSU studio architecture, is looking at how building materials themselves can be responsive, integrating changeability into the structure itself.

The dramatic shell-like form of her recent pavilion, called Bloom, suggests, at first glance, that Sung is interested in cutting-edge digital design. While this is certainly the case, Bloom’s true innovation happens more slowly, through the bending of its metal panels according to heat levels generated by the sun.

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Daly Genik and Machineous Affordably Fabricate Sun Shaded Facades

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Friday, January 4, 2013
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To avoid the monotony of a repetitive facade, Daly Genik designed idiosyncratic sun shades for the apartments’ south-facing windows. (Courtesy Iwan Baan)

The fabrication team cut, folded, and welded 264 aluminum panels into 66 uniquely shaped sun shades.

One of the challenges of designing affordable housing, points out Kevin Daly, principal at LA firm Daly Genik Architects, is “managing a balance between the economic forces that demand repeatability and the risk that monotony comes with that repetitiveness.”

Daly Genik and LA fabricators Machineous came up with a great solution for Broadway Apartments, an affordable project at the corner of Broadway and 26th Street in Santa Monica, developed by Community Corporation of Santa Monica. Read More

SITU Fabrication Produces a Dev Harlan-designed Projection Wall for Y-3’s 10th Anniversary

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Friday, December 21, 2012
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Dev Harlan’s installation for Y-3’s 10th anniversary greeted revelers with a prismatic display of light and geometry. (Courtesy SITU Fabrication)

SITU Fabrication produces and installs a Dev Harlan-designed projection wall in three weeks flat

For Adidas street fashion line Y-3’s 10th anniversary, the company commissioned New York City-based artist Dev Harlan to produce one of his distinctive 3D light installations. Y-3 wanted the installation to serve as a backdrop for a runway show at this September’s New York Fashion Week. Harlan designed a 170-foot-long wall with a deeply textural pattern of 656 skewed pyramids made prismatic by projected colored light and geometric shapes. He called on Brooklyn-based SITU Fabrication to produce and install the work in three weeks flat.

“We had worked with Harlan before on ‘Astral Fissure,’ a sculpture of folded aluminum plates that he projected light on,” said SITU partner Wes Rozen. “This time the budget and timeframe were much less, so we worked with foam core instead of aluminum.”

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Manhattan Street Map by FLATCUT_ Ties Together Experiments In Motion

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Friday, December 14, 2012
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The model of Manhattan's street grid floats above visitors, offering a new perspective on the city. (Collin Erickson)

The model of Manhattan’s street grid floats above visitors, offering a new perspective on the city. (Collin Erickson)

Audi and GSAPP teamed with FLATCUT_ to create a 1:1500 scale model of Manhattan’s street grid from 3/16-inch-thick aluminum sheets

This September at the preview of the Lowline Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, visitors had the opportunity to absorb nine visions by students from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) about the future of urban living and mobility. Conducted as the culmination of a yearlong research program in partnership with Audi of America, the exhibition, Experiments in Motion, was tied together and contextualized by a hanging, 50-foot-long, 1:1500 scale model of Manhattan’s street grid. Audi and GSAPP called on New York and New Jersey-based fabrication studio FLATCUT_ to create the model, which also calls out every subway station on the island. The job required the studio to pull off a high wire balancing act: the fabrication of an object both intricate and sturdy, modular yet monolithic. Read More

In Miami, A Lounge Shows FXFOWLE’s Handiwork

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Friday, December 7, 2012
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FXFOWLE's installation at the Miami Project Fair. (Moris Moreno)

FXFOWLE’s installation at the Miami Project Fair. (Moris Moreno)

At Miami Basel, a digitally fabricated pavilion marries classic origami techniques with advanced technology

For this year’s inaugural Miami Project Fair, the design team at FXFOWLE Architects, led by Sarah Gerber, created a temporary architectural pavilion, the FXFOWLE Lounge, from both cutting-edge technology and good-old-fashioned manual labor. The 24-foot-long pavilion embodies the “duality of this very high-tech and sophisticated fabrication and this very low-tech material and assembly process,” said designer Lucio Santos. Over the next few days, the sculpture will be housed in a lounge and bar area outfitted with beanbag chairs and a carbon fiber bar that FXFOWLE also designed for the event.

In past years, architects such as David Adjaye, Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY, and Rachely Rotem and Phu Hoang (now of Modu), have designed temporary pavilions for Miami Basel—introducing their work to a wider audience. This project is “a first” Santos said, but this might be changing for FXFOWLE, which is trying to branch out on the digital side of architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

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