Field Experiment is a competition that “aims to develop a rare vehicle powered by extraordinary ideas driving the wrong way down the streets of Atlanta uncovering truths and igniting new thinking.” I was named one of the 5 finalists, “selected from 130 applications received from 44 cities, 21 states, and 5 countries. The proposals included experimentations in the natural sciences & applied sciences, new media, movement, sound based work, transportation, architecture & design computation, music composition, participatory interventions, 2D & 3D visual art, large scale puppetry & materials engineering.”

I was inspired by a questioning of the typical exteriors of our buildings and by the multiple meanings of the term Envelope.  The everyday paper object, an envelope is looked over and passed by.  The important part is the letter sealed inside.  A building envelope acts in much the same way, though a developed construction detail reveals that the architectural implication of envelope is no longer a paper thin membrane, but is thickened to involve a complex system of layers that make up the assembly of the exterior wall and separate the interior from the exterior.  Questioning such a separation, the function of the wall, and exploring new manufacturing techniques, the project also suggests that faces of too many of our buildings adopt an anonymous attitude.  We certainly don’t want our buildings to be looked over and passed by.

Investigating further, envelope is both a noun and a verb; a physical object and a series of actions leading to the erection of the same.  It is an enclosing structure meant to enclose a structure.  The project suggests that faces of too many of our buildings adopt an anonymous approach.  On the other hand, developing digital design and fabrication techniques offer an opportunity.  Envelope aims to take something ordinary, everyday and passed-by and, with thoughtfulness and experimentation, turn it into something unexpected, useful and beautiful. 

The installation built for the 2015 Hambidge Auction and Gala at The Goat Farm Arts Center is a mock-up for a new building skin comprised of mass-produced sheet metal panels with embedded connection details for easy assembly in the field.  Parts are designed to be flexible for adaptation by and to site conditions – natural and man-made.  The design process embraced a back and forth between multiple aspects of the project; pattern and object, drawing and model, physical and digital, materiality and abstraction, detail and whole.

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