Leaving behind overstated smooth forms that transmit a frictionless, streamlined, and dissolved materiality, Carved in Stone revisits the age-old use of rustication and traditional wood carving to produce a new breed in architecture, one that brings roughness back, celebrates imperfections, and creates an environment in which fact and fiction coexist.
Making the right thing out of of the wrong material, or in our case, superimposing 3D scanned stone geometry onto highly figural wood, provides meaning through sculpting that is both synthetic and real. Rustication becomes fantastical and perverse and challenges one’s perception of what is authentic and artificially constructed.
When applied to an architectural envelope, the wood/stone hybrid moves from one surface to the next, creating both continuity across facades and disruption across a field of authentic geometry/material. The duality of rustication and smoothed planar geometry produces two ambiguous readings of surface, one which plays on optics and other which questions reality. By blending synthetic material with natural, one’s understanding of what is real and artificial is skewed.
In Carved in Stone, surfaces are not only understood as just one thing, one experience, or what one would try to define as either “authentic” or “fantasy;” they are combination of the two, what Silvia Lavin would define as a kiss, that creates misreading, confusion, and fascination. The intermixing of rough and smooth geometry also creates an optical illusion of physical relief in certain moments and the projection and recession of volume in space in others. The use of rich texture with exotic coloration and dramatic fractures across a field of mosaic bricks establishes a parallel surface network, one that alternately camouflages and reveals each brick’s topography while at the same time displays a dizzying complexity over it’s macro organization.
The contemporary quality of the project is really born from these strange assemblages that trouble us, as well as the material quality of the wood. What is normally considered a defect or imperfection becomes celebrated with the injection of synthetic materials, pigments, and natural minerals. The ordinary transformed and made extraordinary produces a new effect and material, unique and unlike it’s previous associations.
“A New Sculpturism : Contemporary Architecture in Southern CA”
Client: Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
Project Team @ PATTERNS: Marcelo Spina, Daniele Profeta, Ashley Sholder, Matthew Kendall, Mike Wang
Textile Room, a 16’ high, twisty crystal-like volume aims to physically stage a direct response to the exhibition brief set up by the Museum of Modern Art Curators, following the tradition of formal experimentation and material innovation in Southern California that the show embodies. Textile Room illuminates the possibilities of extreme lightweight materials in architecture, by producing a supple, quasi-rigid and cloth-like space that physically and experientially blurs the threshold between hard and soft, textile and tectonic, intimate and public.
The design and material development of the Textile Room is developed in collaboration with North Sails Flexible Composites division, taking advantage of their advanced technology. The pavilion surface panels are constructed of yellow aramid and black carbon fiber tape and resin coated tow. The radiating patterns articulate the border of the saddle shapes in black while highlighting the inner areas in yellow, producing varying fiber densities and therefore generating a vast range of opacities.
To further enhance the luminous quality of the space, Media Artist Casey Reas produced a site-specific slow-motion digital projection that subtly illuminates and delicately amplifys the color contrasts and textural gradations of the space, while completely concealing itself as a medium.
As a multidisciplinary collaboration, the project’s ulti- mate goal was to insinuate the possibility that new architecture will emerge out of an intimate and dynamic interplay between contemporary design aesthetics, digital technology for visual communication, and advanced material manufacturing; and that in doing so, it will enhance our interaction with space in profound ways.
Society's additiction to speed, technology, and smoothness has produced a world of isolation, sensory detachment, and predictability. From the shiny plastic surfaces of automotive design, to the latest ant-ageing wrinkle smoothing creams, and the polished iPhone devised to never leave the hand, smoothing has proliferated and saturated our streets, faces, thoughts, and more importantly architecture. However beautiful and appealing these objects may appear, they have never been more guilty.
In architecture, the smoothing effect has created mere objects of visual seduction, deprived of sensory invitation and discovery, intimacy and nearness, and mystery and uncertainty. Leaving behind overstated smooth forms that transmit a frictionless, streamlined, and dissolved materiality in favor of forms that radiate gritty, earthy attributes, this thesis revits rustication as a medium to challenge architecture’s dependence on current assumptions of beauty and reclaim our undivided attention. Divorcing rustication from its strong associations with solidity, permanence, and impregnability, Smooth Criminal’s veil shifts the discussion of surface articulation to that of porosity, transparency, and curiosity. Smooth Criminal explores the beautiful in the ugly, the rough in the smooth, and the sublime in the grotesque to produce a new breed in architecture, one that brings roughness back, celebrates imperfections, engages the senses, generates conflicting emotions, and creates an environment in which fact and fiction coexist.
Smooth Criminial explores figuration and synthetic materiality to transport us to somewhere new, a place that engages the senses, generates conflicting emotions, and catalyzes new interpretations. Intuitively we all look for recognizable figures and patterns to process our complex world and when figures are present but camouflaged, we oscillate between the legible and the blurred. Smooth Criminal takes advantage of these incongruities in perception by using the silhouettes of prominent works of art found in the Eli Broad Collection, and obscuring them with rich texture, geometry, and exotic coloration to provoke new sensations and evoke culture in a physical environment.
Rather than taking the “true” or literal approach to materials, Smooth Criminal explores the misreading of its materiality to produce in environment in which fact and fiction coexist. Superimposing 3D scanned stone geomerty onto what might be closely associated with transparent colored glass, allows rustication to do work it has never done before. Rustication becomes light, translucent, and reflective. Figural apertures also aid in this desire, performing as a veil to filter light in and out of the facade in a contemporary new way. By combining flat and textural transparency in close proximity to one another, the viewer is again faced with another ambiguity of depth.
Competition Entry for New Harbor Service Building in Taiwan
Project Team @ PATTERNS: Marcelo Spina, Daniele Profeta, Matthew Kendall, Melissa Peter, Ashley Sholder, Mike Wang, Eli Arkin
Keelung Crystal, aims to become not only a gateway, but also a destination, a metropolitan space for public use and access to the waterfront. Its massing strategy aims to hybridize typologies. Atop the urban podium sits a contorted crystal, both connected by a large atrium. The podium allows for a new Harbor Park with expansive vistas toward Keelung City and its harbor.
A diamond shaped depression within the podium anchors the building in the site, articulating the fork at the corner where site directionalities diverge. In contrast to the more stationary podium, the coiling mass containing the harbor offices is a contortionist: it shifts direction as it loops and folds onto itself, stopping to face and engage the most important directions of the site with hovering projections. Its contorted shape generates an ambiguously iconic presence on the harbor: at times solid, smooth and monolithic, at others porous, textured and multifaceted.
Applied Studies - Seminar: Design Development
Instructors Tom Wiscombe and Herwig Baumgartner
In collaboration with Ryan Martinez, Sophie Lauriault, Joel Kerner, Luis Tornel, Cheng Gong, Jinming Feng, Anass Benhachmi, and Christian Santini
Spiked Box is a proposal to build a major, state-of-the-art addition to the Southern California Institute of Architecure’s shop at the south end of the quarter mile long building in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This 4,000 square foot addition is a free standing building with two levels and will house all the schools digital fabrication tools, with more conventional tools and workspaces reorganized within the existing shop space. The exterior facade is comprised of folded aluminum, solar thin film, and glass spikes.
The work of the class as a whole critically participates on the current debate about the state of technology for the production of drawings and images, and questions the ideological and formal implications of various digital representational modes. The seminar speculates that contemporary surfaces have the ability to breed new sensations and seeks to extend the effective potential of figure, focusing on issues of material, chromatics, and their relationship to flat and curved sheets.
We conducted a series of highly focused experiments dealing with the relationship between geometrical relief, coloration, surface treatment, and materials and also explored the way in which texture and color is reflected and redracted through matter. We also focused on fabrication from digital models, creating a feedback loop between the form of analog and digital matter, establishing a rich geometrical and material vocabulary.
Applied Studies Seminar - Textile Tectonics
Instructor Marcelo Spina
In collaboration with Sophie Starlinger and Wan Lee
North Sails pre-preg carbon fiber and aramid tapes have previously been used to produce soft surfaces capable of withstanding extreme conditions. With the goal of discovering other possible architectural capabilities and usages the team tested and analyzed the physical and aesthetic qualities of these resources. When the materials are pressed in a vacuum bag, the results are soft, fabric-like surfaces. While extremely strong, these surfaces do not hold to form well. In order to provide structure and rigidity to the surface, the carbon fiber and aramid tapes were used in combination with carbon fiber tow dipped in a laminating epoxy resin. The results yielded an object which displayed both soft and hard characteristic and created varied patterns of opacity, colors, density, and strength, depending on how many layers of materials were used and how much resin was applied.
Inside / Out
Design Studio - Generative Morphologies
Instructor Tom Wiscombe
Inside Out sets out to blur the distinction between the exterior and interior by exploiting the ambiguous relationship between an interior figure and the loose outer shell. This is achieved by 1) Externalizing the interior and internalizing the exterior 2) Using the striped synthetic garden to seamlessly stitch the inside to the outside and visa versa 3) Introducing a secondary skin that delaminates from the exterior shell 4) Amplifying depth and producing optical effects with the use of stripes. In the same way a herd of zebras confuse their predators, the stripes act as camouflage and create an optical illusion in regards to the figures mass and location.
In terms of its placement on the site, the building’s apertures are located to address each approaching vantage point. The offices are organized in the delaminating skin to take advantage of the light and the inner figure is used to organize the public spaces (auditorium, lobby, and garden). The scripted drawing was used to generate the interior figure and became the source of inspiration for the use of stripes.
Design Studio - Complex Morphologies
Instructor Marcelyn Gow
The formal design for the new RedCat Theater began with the investigation of incongruity. Radial curvature from typography designed by M/M Paris was sampled, revolved, and extruded to create three-dimensional geometry. The generated figures, sometimes-false projections of the sampled profiles, were then placed in close proximity to one another to form a composition of volumes rather than one monolithic structure. This loose organization of objects allowed the internal arrangement of program to develop alongside the developing mass. The project advanced with the use of pattern as surface articulation to create continuity across the surface despite the discontinuity amongst the volumes. It formed apertures at a micro scale and in some instances, created the illusion of mass as an intentional play of perception.
While exploring formal incongruity, the existing RedCat’s programmatic relationships were examined to design the inner-workings of the new interdisciplinary contemporary arts center. The integration of dance studios to the modest program brief of theater, café, and gallery components became crucial to resolve the apparent emptiness of the existing RedCat. The idea was to arrange the program on multiple levels and spread across numerous volumes so that dead spaces would become non existent as café patrons, dancers, students, and art enthusiasts moved throughout the cultural center complex. To counteract the obvious disconnect between the theater and gallery in the existing RedCat, a continuous ramp forms the circulation between the gallery and theater lobby.
Art from the Boneyard
Design Studio - The Garden in the Machine
Instructor David Ruy
The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, more commonly referred to as the Boneyard is located just outside of Tuscon, Arizona and is known as the Pentagon’s 2,600 acre parking lot for about 5,000 retired military aircraft. It is closely guarded and off limits to anyone not employed there with the exception of a bus tour which is conducted by the the nearby Pima Air and Space Museum. The airplanes have had their wings clipped, they’ve been striped to the bone, and their noses cut off. They will never fly again.
Art from the Boneyard makes these forgotten metal giants come back to life by creating a new landscape which they reside on and painting the airplanes to obscure their familiar form, utilizing color, shade, and shadow. Art from the Boneyard was also interested in blurring the relationship between ground and object by disrupting and manipulating the ground to delaminate and engulf the field. Art from the Boneyard stretches the boundaries of how we view and contemplate art as we live in a time where art does not have to be displayed on walls but now can be viewed from google earth.
Cancer Research and Treatment Center
Undergraduate Studio III
Instructor Ping Xu
Multiple myeloma is a malignant cancer that affects white blood cells and destroys normal bone tissue. Close to 11,000 Americans die of multiple myeloma each year and an additional 20,000 people are told they have the disease. It is difficult to grasp the true impact of these speculative numbers, but after my uncle was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007, they became a close reality. When asked to design a heath center, I jumped on the idea of designing a comprehensive cancer center, which would support a broad range of programs and approach the problem of cancer in many different ways. The programs include cancer treatment, laboratory research, outreach (such as support groups and community events), and cancer education for both professionals and the public.
In addition to program, art played a significant role in spatial composition. Since the design studio emphasized "the integration of architecture with the surrounding landscape and compromising functions with spatial composition," art was required to generate form. The abstract shapes and arrangement of Jean Helion's Figure Creuse (1936) inspired the first parti model carved from a potato. The project evolved with the use of Helion's llle de France (1935) to re-align the geometric shapes and create the next parti model.
The primary visual element of the cancer research and treatment center is its double curved wall, punctured by the second story, which denotes the entrance. Upon entering the center, one is located in the core of the indoor garden and exhibition space. The area is full of light and serves as a lobby for patients and visitors. To the left, the administrative office and reception desk adorn the corner. Proceeding from here, the learning center and classroom sandwich the laboratory, the main attraction for visitors. In these three defined spaces one learns about the overall symptoms, side effects, complications, and treatment for the debilitating disease. From here, one makes a circle around the main atrium, but before completing it, travels outside to visit the sunken garden.
After some fresh air, one re-enters the building and stops in the art workshop, where patients can release their emotions is positive directions. The next room along the hallway is the entertainment room where patients can put their mind at ease and relax with others experiencing the same difficulties. The physical therapy and exercise room are the next stops, where patients can build up their strength and work off some of their emotional stress. Restrooms and showers can be easily accessed through this space and lead you into the swimming facility. Here, there is a café and dining area where one can sit poolside and enjoy the dynamic activities taking place before them. At this point, one has made the complete circle and it's time to visit the upper level.
Taking the stairs upward and traveling southeast, one reaches the meditation room, a spiritual and quiet place to sit and reflect, or just enjoy the sunrise and the beautiful view. Here, one's mind can be put at ease before reaching the treatment area of the center. After visiting the meditation space, one continues to walk to reach the medical center. In this wing of the facility, exam rooms, treatment rooms, and most importantly the counseling center reside. Here, patients are briefed on the very nature of their disease, prognosis, and future treatment, as well as being assigned to a support group. Before leaving this area, patients can pick up their prescriptions in the adjacent pharmacy.
The medical center is easily accessible to those in need of more help as residential suites make their way along the atrium mirroring the floor beneath. On this same level, patients can walk out of their rooms, grab a book or other reading material from the library and enter the lounge area above the swimming and dining area. This is a very private node of the center a patients interact and converse with one another. For the most part, this center serves as the patient's "home away from home" where they are surrounded by people battling the disease or people who have overcome it. The center also serves as a beacon of groundbreaking research and treatment, where the public can come visit and learn about it's discoveries.
Drawing Things Together
Visual Studies Seminar - Drawing Things Together - Spring 2013
Instructor Marcelyn Gow
In collaboration with Prajakt Karmarkar, Christian Santini, and Larisa Rus
Materializing the mathematical, the exact translation of virtual instructions in the form of drawings or codes to their material actualization, is a fundamental procedure in the production of architecture. This exchange between the mathematical realm, in the form of digital modeling, and the material realm, in the form of fabrication, is the essence of this research. The work is focused on capturing qualities that lie outside the realm of computational control and would appear to be incongruous to the processes and tools used to generate them; pursuing the apparent and actual vagaries of matter in flux albeit through the use of highly controlled algorithmic and machinic processes. The seminar explores the influx of non-inert forms of matter into material assemblies. Iterative physical modeling and casting exploits the transformation between states of fluidity and solidity germane to casting.
Graduate Program Seminar - Advanced Tectonics Fall 2012
Collaboration with Marcelo Spina
Applied Studies Seminar - Advanced Tectonics - Fall 2011
Instructor Marcelo Spina
In collaboration with Alex Dahm, Mohammed Aljehani, Sophie Starlinger, & Wan Lee
The group used carbon fiber tow to construct a series of oblong spherical modules that populate and disperse along a vertical datum around 6 feet tall and almost 3 feet at its widest point. Temporary scaffolding mounted to a rotating mandrel base suspended the modules to establish their location in space and allowed a secondary system of resin-infused carbon fiber tow to be woven through them while spinning. After a few passes of tow to secure the modules in space, the temporary scaffolding was removed without disturbing the now self-supporting structure. Supplemental passes around the assembly added rigidity, resulting in a structure that at times performs in tension, but largely the elements act as a shell enclosing the invisible space that the temporary scaffolding first sketched out. The properties of the carbon fiber tow allow for the tower to be extremely strong relative to its weight, while at the same time the exploitation of the tow‘s linearity provide secondary effects of density, fraying, transparency, and shadow from one side through to the other, something that is unthinkable with traditional carbon fiber mats or tape.