WRITINGS / INTERVIEWS / LECTURES

CANTILEVER

Los Angeles, California / 2011


Supported by SCI-Arc and Buro Happold, this project is an investigation into the aesthetic and performative potentials of composite materials. Composites are more than a class of materials; they imply a paradigm shift in architecture, allowing real progress on the contemporary desire to allow formal, structural, and ornamental systems to interoperate. They also engender a new way of thinking about assembly and engineering: systems thinking is replaced by chunky parts fused together without hardware, and structure is embedded into architectural surfaces rather than separated into vector frames.

Structural Tattoos
Avoiding homogenous ‘surfboard’ aesthetics, this project favors new forms of surface articulation that are informed by both material logic and painterly aesthetics. The project is a 50’ cantilever supported asymmetrically from three points, which introduces asymmetry into surface features. A combination of surface pleating and dyed fiberglass structural tape is used to stiffen translucent surfaces locally and draw forces toward supports. Nevertheless, the location and patterning of pleats and tape are driven by graphic sensibilities as much as by the structural diagram. They became structural tattoos, free to track with underlying forces or deviate from them. Structural tattoos unsettle the rationalist realm of technological intelligibility, producing more ambiguous relation to technology and aesthetics.

Client: SCI-Arc
Type: Installation
Instructor: Tom Wiscombe
Design Team: Dave Bantz, Michael Gross, Paul Mecomber, Vince Pocsik
Construction Coord: Tom Benard, Henry Dominguez
Engineering: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, LA    
Composites Fabrication: Machineous, LA