Once again, we find ourselves amidst a technological revolution. The digital and ecological revolutions are both aspects of the technological and we are beginning to see political and social revolutions enabled by the new technology. This Neo-Technological revolution has once again determined a new architecture. El Lissitzky said that buildings in his day must be judged by different criteria determined by the “social commission” to be universal, a responsive building that “participates in the full realization of the new world.”
This proposal for the Worlds of El Lissitzky competition in Novosibirsk, Russia seeks to build a bridge that connects the city’s inhabitants to the world enabling participation. Furthermore, the building finds new use for post-industrial concrete waste as a panelized cladding, the toil of previous generations protecting contemporary activities, thoughts and creations.
Under the guidance of the late visionary architect and theorist, Anne Tyng, Kristen Smith collaborated with Srdjan Weiss with Normal Architecture Office to conceive an immersive installation that realizes the ambition of all Tyng’s work: to inhabit geometry. Since the 1950s, when she worked closely with Louis I. Kahn and independently pioneered habitable space-frame architecture, Tyng has applied natural and numeric systems to build forms at all scales, from urban plans to domestic spaces. This exhibit, first displayed at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and later at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, was Tyng’s first retrospective exhibit. Curated by Ingrid Schaffner, Srdjan Weiss, and William Whittaker, the exhibit also features a selection of drawings, models and documentation of Tyng’s past projects from the University of Pennsylvania archive.
Exhibition catalog AnneTyng: Inhabiting Geometry published in 2012
The architecture of San Francisco is known for two divergent eras: the exuberance of the Victorian and the Californian Modern exemplified by the Eichler developments connecting interior space to the landscape. While these two aesthetics define the public’s perception of the city, its civic architecture often follows the typical Beaux-Arts tradition found throughout the country.
Triangulated Peaks utilizes a large-scale truss structure to accommodate both long span space for the apparatus garage and smaller pockets for domestic program. By folding and creasing the truss structure, an extravagant silhouette emerges that is sympathetic to the Victorian and Eichler identities, creating a civic architecture specific to San Francisco. As one of the city’s most revered institutions, the department deserves a home that contributes to the beauty it protects.
“Take the example of rhyme: it is indeed verbal repetition, but repetition which includes the difference between two words and inscribes that difference at the heart of a poetic Idea, in a space which it determines.” - Gilles Deleuze
While it is through repetition that we understand difference, repetition in itself is often banal. Think about the uniformity of the drop in ceiling and how each penetration for lighting or air conditioning seems like an accident. While natural systems integrate multiple systems to create a coherent expression, building systems often exist within disciplinary silos, preventing any consistency.
This exploration in pattern seeks to express the difference inherent in nature while having an underlying repetitive structure. The system simultaneously serves as an atmospheric architectural expression while integrating the needs of light, air and acoustics.
ABC Food was designed in 2008 in the office of Joel Sanders Architect. It was cancelled due to the economic crash of that fall.
Places of worship principally occurred in forests and caverns throughout human’s existence. The qualities of space that humans deemed sacred greatly influenced the structures of worship that we built across time, region and style. This chapel built for the New Colombiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore, MD continues that tradition within a contemporary framework.
Two “tree canopies” embrace the space between the north and south curtain walls, configured to let in a dappling of light. While the steel frame remains consistent in each bay, the perforated plywood panels vary in shape to allow pockets of light to bounce through the layers, creating a dynamic formal and atmospheric affect across the day and year.
This project was completed in 2011 by the office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. It received AIA Philadelphia awards in the Honor, Built and Honor, Devine Detail categories.
Collection_More than just an attraction for visitors, City Cinema and the Reading Viaduct collect resources. A thick layer of planting on the viaduct allows rainwater to percolate slowly through soil and plants. Similarly, a deep undulating skin that wraps the theater collects rainwater and recycles it for building grey water use.
Connection_City Cinema celebrates the past, present and future of Philadelphia through both visual and physical connections. The proposal respects the historic fabric of both the viaduct and the old train station while presenting itself as a contemporary icon to the future development of the neighborhood. The upper level cinema is oriented back toward City Hall, creating a spectacular view back to the city skyline.
Community_City Cinema serves as a gateway for future development on the Reading Viaduct as well as a bridge connecting several distinct and diverse neighborhoods: Chinatown, the Loft district, the Art Museum and Northern Liberties West.
Bloom is a botanical garden that displays the morphological shifts in plant forms as a way to highlight the mutual effects of plants and their environments.
Adjusting itself in scale and density along the length of the site, the structure responds to the change in span as well as plants defined in the pockets below. The gradation in color reinforces the experience by emphasizing the gradation of climatic zones while also opposing (and thereby enhancing) the colors native to the species of plants within different climatic regions. The pockets integrated within the structural formation of the botanical garden serve as a way to curate water flow throughout the landscape depending on specific needs of the plants. A water retention basin at the base of the system collects and re-circulates water collected from the structure through a system of channels sized specifically for the different plant regions.
The result is a responsive infrastructural system that serves the needs of plants from all parts of the world by mitigating light and water in a way that reinforces the climatic impact on the morphology of plants. The glass structure reflects the synthetic climate-altering capability of the greenhouse typology while attempting to create a more natural system for light and water mitigation. In the end, the plants are allowed to take the forefront of the design, growing and overwhelming the (infra)structure that supports them.
Bloom has been published in Meander: Variegating Architecture and Bloom and presented at Talk20.
Orna-mate Shadows is a competition entry for a temporary religious pavilion, known as a Sukkah, built during the Jewish festival of Sukkot in New York City’s Union Square Park. Governed by Jewish law, a strict set of rules covering everything from the type of materials used to the size and proximity of walls set the constraints for the Sukkah’s design. Our design uses these constraints to create a place of reflection and celebration highlighted by a production of complex atmospheric effects that express the transience of light and shadow.
The orientation and size of the sections which make up the walls fulfill the requirement for shade during the day and visibility of the sky at night without the necessity of adding or subtracting material as the sun sets. The form of the individual sections integrates the programmatic needs for dining with ornamental protrusions into a single language. Combined, the animation of these sections forms the language of the whole – one of continuity, movement and growth. The addition of the palm leaves at the ornamental protrusions enhances this language of growth while blurring the boundaries between manmade structure and nature.
Embroidery is traditionally an art of handcraft – an articulation of lines through the layering of thread on a specific medium, generally a textile. Much like the traditional art of hand drawing, embroidery has experienced an overhaul in technique, as computer numerical control (CNC) machines automate embroidery stitches in a faster and more precise way. The open source platform called Processing was developed to handle this new way of seeing the potentials of digital drawing – a form that doesn’t just mimic the techniques and outputs of hand drawing, but is able to add more to that interface – pushing drawing into a form of complex visual language that has never before existed. At a time when the techniques of embroidery have shifted from analog to digital, what new potentials might we be able to realize? How can digital embroidery move beyond a mere representation of its former life?
Impromptu Redux is an exploration on this theme, utilizing drawing techniques in Processing as an interface to digital embroidery software and hardware to push the limits of embroidery production.
This project seeks to explore an adaptable set of protocols that facilitate the movement of people and materials through closed, secure trajectories. Since the site was not specified, these protocols were developed with an internalized logic of flow and space, which were incorporated into a prescribed building component, and when deployed in a specific environment are capable of local adjustment and global consistency.
Considering the primary security risks found within public access and routine airport operations, this project proposes a typological re-evaluation of the airport. By introducing degrees of separation, thresholds and check points, the public is capable of understanding the security strata embedded in a multi-layered design. The airport operations are then completely internalized, clearing the tarmac of unnecessary traffic that can cause airport accidents among both vehicles and personnel.
Component Fuselage won 3rd place in the ACSA Airport.Security competition and was exhibited at the ACSA and AIA National Conferences.
Twin House is the combination of two trajectories, biology and material science, to form and inform a new set of protocols for the development of a suburban housing system and guide the actualization of a single house. In the biological twinning of humans, there exists a debate around the influence of internal (genetic) forces as opposed to the influence of external (environmental, parental) forces on the personality and long-term achievement of individuals. In the field of material science and in particular the subject of crystallography, there also exist a notion of twinning, where the organizational structure of a crystal is dislocated along a mirroring plane as a result of external forces of heat or pressure. It is between this dichotomy of internal codified geometric relationships and the external forces of site and program that the Twin House reflects both the architectural requirements of a building and the care and nurturing of each unique client and situation.
Twin House was designed in 2007 in the office of Moto Designshop and was exhibited in Fertile Ground at the Crane Arts Center.
A series of performance/exhibit volumes establishes a collection of open terraces that act as an extension of the external plaza from the site through the building. The terraces contain circulation pathways and connection spaces between spectator and maker. Encasing the volumes is a continuous system of louvers and patterned surface. The density of louvers responds to and projects the internal program, activating the facade with an undulating pattern that distinguish the opaque performance, production, and public spaces.
Inter-Change was designed in 2009 in the office of Joel Sanders Architect in collaboration with H Associates.
“The majority of patterns and structures [on earth] are the result of the interplay of a number of different processes that can often happen over long periods of time.” - Bernhard Edmaier
Until modernism made ornamentation a crime, architecture had a rich history of articulating surface. Having been cleansed and abstracted to the point of non-existence, architecture is beginning to accumulate a 21st century language of articulation. Much of this language originates from the computation of earthly processes that embed not only the aesthetic qualities of nature, but its performative abilities as well.
This research project seeks to define new methods of producing surficial effects and patterns utilizing numerous contemporary design tools including scripting, parametric modeling and CNC fabrication.
Non-Linear Loom was published in Meander: Variegating Architecture and exhibited in Fiber at the F.U.E.L. Gallery.
Within the network of global economics, complex patterns emerge with the study of immigrant relocation and as flows of capital, goods and services increases. A hotly contested political issue in much of the developed world, immigration is one of the lone catalysts for economic expansion. Like pollen in nature, immigrants will provide an important part of the labor force sustaining economic prosperity.
While more than one third of the estimated 20 million immigrants from Mexico and Latin America acquire jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries, less than half will ever be able to afford to own their own home. The Pollen House changes this by creating an industry of pre-manufactured structural panels that could be assembled on site by these new immigrants. Each house would be customized by the potential family by adjusting parameters such as desired square footage, number of levels and number of rooms. The panels would be formed and issued along with a set of instructions.
Pollen House was selected as a finalist and published in Self-Fab House.
In order to provide extra seating for guests during parties or visits, the stoo(L)amp takes advantage of the formal similarities inherent in the stool and the standard lampshade. By slicing through the standard truncated cone shape of the lampshade, a natural affinity for hanging or sitting against the wall is achieved. Perfect for its stored state, this slice also gives directionality and added comfort to sitting in the stool. The handle for moving the stoo(L)amp also serves a double function, providing a notch for hanging while in use as a lamp.
In an era absent of architectural craftsmanship, buildings too often are merely expressions of the efficiency of sameness. The loss of variety and the quizzical in our cities has paralleled a decrease in public life. Of what interest is a casual stroll without the promise of discovery and surprise? While some seek to regain these qualities, they often take a nostalgic form that does not align with the times in which we live.
This project began with research of natural systems focusing on structural variation and continuity. By deploying a structural frame designed to weave a network of material interdependence on an unstructured grid, a variety of spatial configurations are possible. The result of this exercise is a building where typical architectural divisions of structure, building systems, program and ornamentation cohere into a unified expression that permits anomaly within the system.
Symbiotic Infrastructure was published in Meander: Variegating Architecture and Work 2006/2007 and exhibited in WorkWorkWork.