Cardboard is perhaps the most vernacular engineered material today. Almost everyone has had interaction with cardboard and most have experimented in their own construction using cardboard. Remember that toy you […]
As the snow fell today in Minneapolis, Christmas music and lights began to surround me. Yes, it’s that wonderful time of the year when it’s okay to eat an extra […]
I call Omaha, Nebraska home. A mid-sized city in what many Americans call the “fly over” portion of the country, the Midwest. Omaha is unique in that Nebraska law allows […]
My design education over the last 6 ½ years has settled into a few areas of interest. One of these areas is interactive architecture and the use of textiles in […]
Technology today has continued to drive design, namely in the way we create space. This may happen in the production of the materials to make the space. It may happen […]
When seeing the Vizio All-In-One PC commercial recently, I was intrigued by the visual argument being presented. Most commercials attempting to sell technology present you with a magical (and in […]
Barns scattering the Midwestern landscape have always brought a lot to mind for me. The barn is such an iconic structure, with icons differentiating with local materials and building practices, […]
There is something so beautiful and so intriguing about a fold. For the last month or so my studio partner, Alex, and I have been studying the honeypot ant in […]
Rather than looking toward a new and innovative material this week, I have decided to look to an experimental and innovative use of an unlikely and common material, designed and […]
The German Chinese Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo Shanghai (by Markus Heinsdorff in collaboration with MUDI) brings together a wide spectrum of materials which evoke age old traditions mixed […]
While looking to biology in the Bio-Inspired Studio, a classmate and I came to the conclusion that if we joined our research together we would find better answers. We both […]
Bimetallic strips are made up of two strips with of different metals joined together in length. Each metal has a different expansion rate and when the two metals together (as […]
To ask a similar question that Chris Brenny asks about brick, I would like to ask what is the role of wood in the built environment today? We have […]
These temperature sensitive tiles from Moving Color caught my attention this week. They are composed of recycled glass with a temperature sensitive film embedded in the glass. They can be activated […]
When looking to modernize the aesthetic of the Liverpool department store in Tabasco, Mexico, the store relied on an innovative idea from architect Iñaki Echeverria. Focusing on the façade to create a new face for the store, Echeverria drew from Tabasco’s tropical climate with sever sun and high humidity and chose to work with concrete to resist this climate but also chose to use it in a way that would create a light, airy, and open feeling.
Another concern was to accelerate the building assembly. Forms as well as formwork materials were explored through a highly iterative research and design process. Fiberglass, sand, and concrete were all tested as formwork options and eventually concrete was chosen. The form evolved to a propeller like shape that twists 180˚ allowing visibility through the façade in a diamond shape that occurs from the repetition of the propeller along the façade. Five different propeller forms make up the façade which allowed for variation and pre-fabrication.
The sense of movement created through this varied repetition of the 5 forms can be experiences up close with each individual propeller, or as a whole by driving by in a car. What struck me the most about this material wasn’t this sense of movement but an application that gave such a new meaning to concrete. Typical associations with concrete are often heavy, bold, load bearing, and of the earth but this application is quite the opposite, evoking feelings similar to material associations with fabric. The twist of each propeller and the way the light plays along these twists make me expect them to blow in the wind slightly as if they are stretched fabric.
But they are not fabric, they are concrete, which is another reason they struck me. There is such a rich history of the exploration of concrete in Mexico and similar climates and each propeller here seems to nod to Felix Candela’s hyperbolic play with concrete in a new, innovative way.
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