Material Replication–Or should I say substance replication?

The H2O building designed by the firm Axis Mundi, is an example of architecture trends that recailm the essence  of materiality. Here, phenolic composite material is used to give a sense that the facade is water (how appropriate seeing as the client is a water production company). The rippling effect was captured through precise 3-D modeling of wave inference patterns that occur through the movement of water.

This phenolic composite material is derived from carbon resin that is extremely durable under heat. This helps to alleviate warping and weathering of the facade as it seconds as a sort of sun shading device. The form was created by utilizing section cuts of the 3D model, taking several wave-like lines and intersections that emerged, placing and shifting them to create the form you see. The locations within the curved-line matrix that intersected and overlapped each other became openings. The varied punched openings within the wave-like matrix help to ventilate and keep air circulating throughout the structure. The facade is attached with “organically shaped” aluminum web trusses that are sporatically placed.

With the coming age of technological advancements and discoveries in materiality, it is becoming easier to reclaim, push or defy the limits and essence of materials. Material properties are being engineered to become more durable and stronger therefore making them able to withstand more creative solutions to the end result. However, are these results ever going to be able to exhibit the natural glory from the inspiration source from which they were derived? This project, being inspired by the movement of water, will never sound like a rushing river. It will never relieve thirst, cannot clean itself nor will it effect air quality. If the material is formed to take on visual characteristics of another material or substance, should it also try to react and function as the material?

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