Among the Sequoias, a 3D-Printed Refuge by Smith|Allen

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Friday, February 14, 2014
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ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD'S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

ECHOVIREN IS THE WORLD’S FIRST FULL-SCALE 3D PRINTED ARCHITECTURAL INSTALLATION (SMITH|ALLEN)

Smith|Allen’s 3D-printed forest refuge is inspired by the site’s patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.

When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. “We were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,” said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the world’s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks.

Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioas’ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. “The overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,” said Allen. “It turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.” The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioas’ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. “The 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycle” of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen.

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From the Floor: Installation Design Showcase at Coverings 2013

East, Product
Monday, May 6, 2013
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A tile-centric vignette designed by Michael Nieswander and Margaret Nysewander of ASD Inc. was installed at Coverings 2013 over a period of four days. (Lagniappe Studio)

Trade shows are no longer simply product exhibitions: Education and networking sessions have become essential components to a show’s success. Coverings has expanded this formula to include installation vignette’s that, built over the course of four days during the show, demonstrate the versatility and variety of applications for ceramic tile. The Installation Design Showcase has paired four local, Atlanta-based design firms with four installation teams that have achieved the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Recognition, and have been certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Now in its fifth year, the teams will produce a bar/lounge; a hotel lobby; an in-patient room in a women’s birthing center; and a master bathroom, all designed to demonstrate the design possibilities of tile and stone.

“These rooms are not all settings in which you would necessarily expect to see tile,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director, NTCA. “Above all, the Showcase highlights just how important the ongoing designer/installer partnership is to a successful project. Bringing the field to life in this way is another example of what makes Coverings a unique and valuable experience.”

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“Minimal Relaxation” Has Maximum Impact at MoCA Shanghai

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Friday, November 2, 2012
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"Minimal Relaxation" at MoCA Shanghai.

“Minimal Relaxation” at MoCA Shanghai.

Reimagining traditional Chinese gardens with parametric geometry

For MoCA Shanghai’s exhibition MoCA Mock-ups: The Architecture of Spatial Art, USC American Academy of China (AAC) Summer Studio 2012 spent six weeks designing, fabricating and constructing “Minimal Relaxation,” a parametric canopy and undulating, LED-lit landscape that creates prime skyline viewing locations on the museum’s rooftop terrace. Inspired by Frei Otto, an architect and structural engineer famous for his complex canopy structures, “Minimal Relaxation” extends his body of design research into physical and digital form-finding processes for minimal surface structure through “dynamic relaxation techniques.”

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‘Cosmic Quilt’ Makes Waves In Interactive Architecture

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Friday, October 26, 2012
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Cosmic Quilt (The Principals)

Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture

Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive “light-sensitive barrel vault” created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone’s eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt. Read More

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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Npsag’s Grass-To-Grid Installation

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Friday, April 27, 2012
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The installation at night under blacklights (Npsag)

A wayfinding beacon for New Orleans’ electronic music festival

With a successful debut last month at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans last, the electronic music festival Buku Music and Art Project could become a mainstay of city’s lineup destination events. Envisioning what a success the event would be, Tulane architecture professors Nathan Petty and Sheena A. Garcia jumped at the opportunity to create a temporary installation for the event site at the edge of the Mississippi River. Petty and Garcia founded their design office, Npsag, in 2008 to work with radical architectural forms and emerging technology. While much of their work is speculative, the Buku installation had the practical purpose of being a wayfinding device at the event’s main entrance.

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Bring to Light Fest Shines on Brooklyn

East
Friday, October 1, 2010
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Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche New York

If New York is the city that never sleeps, how come it took us so long to get around to hosting our own Nuit Blanche (French for “Sleepless Night”)? The global all-night festival of arts began in Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg way back in 1997, and has spread around the world in the years since.

This Saturday, October 2, starting at 7:00 p.m., Brooklyn will host our city’s first Nuit Blanche, rechristened “Bring to Light” by local organizers DoTank:Brooklyn and producers Furnace Media. Over 50 artists and performers will converge on Greenpoint’s Oak St. between Franklin St. and the East River, taking over street corners, galleries, vacant lots, and rooftops to showcase their work. Read More

Acconci Gets In on the Ground Floor

East
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
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Vito Acconci's Corian "Lobby-For-the-Time-Being" at the Bronx Museum

What do kitchen counter tops, shower-wall cladding, and the Grand Concourse have in common? Corian, of course. Thanks to performance-artist-turned-designer (and Bronx native) Vito Acconci and Acconci Studio designers Adam Jakubowski and Bradley Rothenberg, the Bronx Museum can now boast its very own DuPont fabricated sculpture. Acconci’s large, porous installation is titled Lobby-For-The-Time-Being and provides an imaginative, fabric-like reconsideration of the now ubiquitous polymer, originally developed in 1967 to replace human bones. In what seems like the most recent installment in a worldwide series of Corian-centric, site-specific sculpture, Lobby-For-The-Time-Being incorporates seating (take that Philadelphia), as well as lighting and projections by Taylor Levy and Che-Wei Wang. Technically, Acconci’s first foray into architecture was way back in 1971, the year the
Bronx Museum opened. Though it’s unlikely anyone remembers Seedbed for its central wooden structure…

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