Ming Fung leads a discussion of SCI-Arc and Caltech’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon. Event participants contrast their Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype (CHIP) with the nineteen other entries. Wes Jones explains the team’s desire to address the competition criteria without regard for traditional images of a house. They debate the imagery of CHIP, and the creation of an architectural icons. Wes Jones discusses the process by which the team arrived at the CHIP design, noting the long sequence of interresting iterations and alternatives. Ming Fung asks about the team’s strategy for shipping the house from Los Angeles to Washington. Brian Zentmyer discusses the decision not to follow the example of most previous Decathlon teams and build an easily-transportable modular design. Andrew Gong and Cole Hershkowitz discuss their design of CHIP’s electrical systems, especially control mechanisms and interactive features. Ming Fung asks participants how much they used prior knowledge and how much they learned on the job. Dwayne Olyer discusses the relationship between architects and engineers, and the process of prioritization.
Video Archive | Building skins (19)
Andrew Zago concludes by answering several questions about the work he showed and his architectural intentions. He feels SCI-Arc is not a mere willfulness, but rather a significant exploration into architectural limits.
Zoe Coombes and David Boira cite Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison’s exhibition “Super Normal,” as exemplifying the kind of mastery of simple objects they seek. Describing a line of simple lamp designs, they relate how quickly projects became complicated when trying to resolve the details. Their Lard furniture also strives for balance between control and excess by using simple containers filled with lard-like surfaces. A flooring project called “Fleshless” simulates the sensation of a thin skin, and exploits the tension between digital form and the natural dynamics of plywood.
Alejandro Zaera-Polo describes the Flat Vertical X<Y envelope type with his Carabanchel Social Housing, and Trinity EC3, and the Vertical X=Y<Z envelope type with his WTC1 – Bundle Towers, World Business Centre, and Masaveu Tower Hotel.
Alejandro Zaera-Polo’s describes the envelope as the most important element of his architecture because it links technology, representation and politics. The envelope is more than a surface, it establishes the relationship between the shape of the container and the construction of the skin. By categorizing building envelopes into four distinct typologies (Flat Horizontal, Spherical, Flat Vertical, Vertical) he explains their potentials, and presents projects in relation to each category.
Ming Fung introduces Alejandro Zaera-Polo. He outlines the political connotations of his approach, and identifies four typologies of envelopes: Flat Horizontal, Spherical, Flat Vertical, Vertical.
Alejandro Zaera-Polo explains two types of envelopes. First, the Flat Horizontal X=Y>Z, as illustrated by the Meydan Retail Complex and Multiplex, and Birmingham New Street Station. The Spherical X=Y=Z envelope type is illustrated by the John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex, and Ravensbourne.
Brendan MacFarlane of Jakob + MacFarlane graduated from SCI-Arc in 1984 and returns to present projects from his Paris-based firm that reflect the influence of SCI-Arc on his practice. MacFarlane presents projects that deal directly with architectural issues of skin, volume, materials and fabrication, including Restaurant Georges on the roof of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Librairie Florence Loewy V, their proposal for the Mus?e du quai Branly, the Centre de Communication Renault, their proposal for the World Trade Center competition, 100 Logements, and furniture design for Sawaya & Moroni in Milan.