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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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.

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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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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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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.

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Profile> Evolute workshop on Parametric Optimization with Florian Isvoranu, October 12

Midwest
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
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Evolute-designed "KREOD" pavilion in London. Photo: Kin Ho

Evolute-designed “KREOD” pavilion in London. Photo: Kin Ho

The Austrian company Evolute itself began with an evolution: in 2008 a research group on industrial design and geometric modeling at Vienna University of Technology founded a business. The goal? Deploy mathematicians, engineers, and architects to create tools that facilitate the design and optimization of highly complex geometric forms.

In the October 12 workshop “Parametrically Driven Optimization for Freeform Facades” Florin Isvoranu, an architect who now leads Evolute’s outreach efforts, will focus on optimization of complex geometry envelopes for efficient and cost effective fabrication. Working in Rhino 4, EvoluteTools PRO 2.0, and Monkey Script Editor, Isvoranu will move step by step from design to optimization to detailing to generating fabrication information, and how to parametrically link these steps into an integrated workflow.  The day-long event is part of Collaboration: The Art and Science of Building Facades, the Chicago edition of The Architect’s Newspaper‘s popular conference taking place October 11-12.

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FreelandBuck’s Slipstream Installation Hits The Auction Block

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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Slipstream installation at the Bridge Gallery in New York by FreelandBuck. (Courtesy FreelandBuck)

Slipstream installation at the Bridge Gallery in New York by FreelandBuck. (Courtesy FreelandBuck)

Inspired by Lebbeus Woods’ “Slipstreaming” drawing series envisioning the dynamics of flow, New York- and LA-based FreelandBuck architects designed Slipstream, a colorful installation made of CNC-cut birch-veneer plywood currently on display at New York’s Bridge Gallery through August 24. Now the sculpture could flow out of the Lower East Side gallery and into your home or apartment. Citing storage constraints, FreelandBuck has placed Slipstream on eBay and the installation—all 1,400 pieces of it—could be yours for cheap.

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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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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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Design Looks Up with Bluarch’s Cloud Installation

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Friday, March 23, 2012
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The ceiling-mounted installation in made of 144,000 poplar pieces assembled by hand (Bluarch)

A geometric ceiling installation creates an organic, light-diffusing shape in a new Port Washington restaurant

New York-based architecture and interiors firm Bluarch has become known for innovative designs that have people looking up. The group has created ceiling installations for residences, restaurants, and retail locations across the world. One of their latest projects is close to home, at Innuendo restaurant and bar in Port Washington. Located on Main Street, the restaurant’s seamless storefront reveals a cloudlike ceiling installation with integrated lighting designed to create an ever-changing atmosphere.

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Profile> Kevin Patrick McClellan & Brad Bell

National
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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Kevin Patrick McClellan (left) and Brad Bell (right).

Kevin Patrick McClellan (left) and Brad Bell (right).

On February 17, Kevin Patrick McClellan and Brad Bell will lead RHINO Design, a workshop focused on the digital design program Rhino, as part of DAY 2 of the upcoming COLLABORATION conference on fabrication and facades in NYC.

Kevin Patrick McClellan is a designer, artist, and founder of Architecturebureau, a design research office exploring complex systems and their material effects on form. After receiving his Masters in Architecture and Urbanism in the DRL from the Architectural Association School of Architecture with a Project Distinction in 2005, he subsequently worked in New York for Kevin Kennon and in London with Zaha Hadid Architects. There he led the development of two highly publicized temporary installations, one for the Serpentine Gallery titled Lilas and the second for Swarovski Crystal Palace exhibited in the 2008 Milan Furniture Fair. He teaches design studio at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kevin is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication.

Brad Bell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Arlington where he researches and teaches on the integration of digital fabrication technologies into the architectural design process. He has lectured, taught, and written on the uses of such technologies for the past 10 years and has been an invited critic at schools of architecture throughout the United States. Brad is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication. And as principal of brad bell studio, he has completed projects in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. His practice focuses on adapting contextual and regional construction methodologies with new digital fabrication techniques.

TEX-FAB co-founders Brad and Kevin will present the day-long workshop, Rhino Design, and will cover user interface navigation and provide a broad understanding of the different tool sets and workflow options within the software. Step-by-step design problems will address both Solids Modeling, NURBS Modeling and documentation methods. Advanced techniques for complex geometries and the use of the paneling tools plug-in will be covered in the afternoon session.

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