Alex Wilton Arole Oluwaseyi Guy Gardner Jason Johnson SSHRC

Limenitis Wall


Date: 2016
Client: Emerald Hills Sports Pavilion
Principal Investigator(s): Jason S. Johnson, Guy Gardner
Project Budget: $32,000
Research Assistants/ Project Team:  Arole Oluwaseyi, Alex Wilton
Funding Agencies: Strathcona County, SSHRC
Status: Built

The Limenitis Wall takes its inspiration from the White Admiral butterfly, Limenitis Arthemitis, a large and highly contrasting black and white species commonly found East of the Rockies. The butterfly has historically functioned as a potent symbol for the metamorphosis of the human soul. We believe this is an apt metaphor for the dynamic and transformational qualities of the Emerald Hills Sports Pavilion in Sherwood Park, a growing community in Strathcona County, Alberta.

The work is composed of hundreds of custom milled, rolled and anodized aluminum components mounted to an exterior wall facing a public plaza. The components, flatcut using a CNC router and formed by hand, are of different sizes and occupy a diagrid with varying levels of subdivision. The components are anodized in black or clear, or are left in a raw state. The colouration and subdivision are driven by a parametric definition which uses multiple layers of image mapping to create a complex visual effect, which is amplified by the curving forms and variety of sizes, colours, and finishes. The combination of these elements plays with the viewer’s pattern recognition system to activate a sense of pareidolia, a response where we project our own meanings or interpretations onto complex formations, which is exemplified by the act of seeing faces in clouds.

The various elements of the work allows it’s appearance to change with different seasons and lighting conditions, and its meaning to shift depending on the viewer’s response. These dynamic forces of transformation combine to activate the façade of the emerald hills sports pavilion and the surrounding public plaza.

Adam Onulov Richard Cotter Todd Freeborn Vera Parlac

Soft Kinetic Grid

Date: 2011
Client: n/a
Principal Investigators: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Richard Cotter,
Todd Freeborn, Adam Onulov
Sponsors: University of Calgary Seed Grant
Publications: “Responsive Architecture Project: “Soft” Kinetic Grid” in Project Catalog of the 31st Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), University of Calgary, Calgary, 2011

This project is driven by an interest in adaptive systems in nature and a desire to explore the capacity of built spaces to respond dynamically and adapt to changes in the external and internal environment. The Soft Kinetic Grid project examines the capacity of the shape memory alloy to act as a point source and as a linear source of actuation of the grid. The SMA is embedded into a silicon tubing diagrid in order to test the extent and the nature of the grid movement. To better understand the gradient of movement of the actuated grid, the grid was restricted by anchoring joint points to a flat surface in a variety of configurations. Depending on the configuration, the behavior ranged from expanding cells to vertical movements of the grid’s regions. The Soft Kinetic Grid provided an important groundwork of the development of the SKiN project.