Categories
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.

Categories
Vera Parlac

Differentiated Topographies 1: Repetitive Topographies

Date: 2014
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: n/a
Funding Agencies: n/a
Publications: n/a

Differentiated Topographies is a research project that explores the ways of constructing and re-constructing structures through aggregation using small components. Repetitive Topography is the first one in the series, made from components same in size and similar in shape. The final configuration of the full-scale construct is governed by the stability and transparency requirements. Stability is achieved in two ways: by interlocking the components through simple slot friction connection and by pattern of aggregation (forming one-module short extensions, similar to buttress structure, that run perpendicular to the general direction of the surface). Transparency of the surface can vary by changing the basic shape of the component. This particular surface presented here uses two different shapes. One of them is more enclosed reducing the see-through effect in some areas. The structure is able to adapt to variety of spaces and configurations due to the shape and connectivity of its components. The project is based on the concept of structures built in nature such as bird nests or beaver dams. It exploits the notion of resilience achieved through redundancy of connections and elements. This concept of redundancy is applied in a design, fabrication, and construction of the Repetitive Topography project. The structure was installed as a classroom partition in the outdoor education classroom and built with seven grade students (providing a learning experience for them). It is positioned to divide the bicycle and outdoor gear storing area of the classroom from the lecture and work area.

Categories
Adam Onulov Richard Cotter Seed Grant Todd Freeborn Vera Parlac

SKIN: Soft Kinetic Network

Date: 2012
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team (Role): Richard Cotter,
Todd Freeborn, Adam Onulov
Publications:Surface Dynamics: From Dynamic Surface to Agile Spaces ” in Proceedings of the 2013 ASCAAD Conference: DIGITAL CRAFTING Virtualizing Architecture and Delivering Real Built Environment, Jeddah, March 2014
Agile Spaces/ Iconic/ SKiN“, Responsive Architecture Research Team V. Parlac and B. Kolarevic, in Facing the Future, Exhibition Book, 2nd International Scientific Conference and Exhibition, Gallery of Science and Technology, Belgrade, Serbia, 2014
Surface Change: Information, Matter and Environment ” in Proceedings of the 2013 CAADRIA International Conference of Computer-Aided Architecture Design Research in Asia: OPEN SYSTEMS, Singapore, May 15-18, 2013
Surface Change” in Proceedings of the 2012 ACSA International Conference: CHANGE, Architecture, Education, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, June 20-21, 2012

Project Description: The SKiN project consists of small-scale prototypes of an adaptive kinetic surface capable of spatial modulation and response to environmental stimuli. The Soft Kinetic Network (SKiN) surface is organized around the network (Soft Kinetic Grid) of embedded “muscle” wires that change shape under electric current. The network of wires provides for a range of motions and facilitates surface transformations through soft and muscle-like movement. The material system developed around the wire network is variable and changes its thickness, stiffness, or permeability within its continuous composite structure. The variability in the material system enables it to (a) behave differently within surface regions; (b) vary the speed and degree of movement; (c) vary surface transparency; and (d) provide other levels of performance such as capture of heat produced by the muscle wire and distribution of heat within the surface regions.

Categories
Brett Osness Mike Kryski Vera Parlac

Shifting Terrain: Interactive Surface

Date: 2010
Client: OPEN SPACES: Window to a View, City of Calgary Public Art Program
Principal Investigators: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Brett Osness, Mike Kryski
Sponsors: LID Laboratory for Integrative Design Publications: “The Shifting Terrain: Interactive Surface” in Project Catalog of the 31st Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), University of Calgary, Calgary, 2011

Interface is defined as a common boundary, boundary between things, boundary across which data passes, a point of interaction, linking software, or linking device. Interface could be a place, situation, or a way across which things or people act together and affect each other.

The “Shifting Terrain” project explores a notion of an urban interface, through a responsive surface activated by an inquisitive observer/passerby. The undulating surface is made of strips of veneer that form a regularly patterned field. When stimulated by sensory input, the field shifts animating the surface. Sensors attached to the window glass entice the viewer to touch them, registering the change in light intensity and triggering the movement of the surface. This installation links art, design, technology and public realm. Its goal is to engage the public by providing an alternative, interactive interface between the street and the interior of the building. The broader goal of the project is to explore the role of the responsive surfaces in architecture.

Categories
Vera Parlac

Structured Elasticity: Material Agency

Date: 2008
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: n/a
Funding Agencies: n/a
Publications: “Structuring the Surface / Material Agency” in the digital proceedings book, ACSA Annual Meeting 2008 Conference: Seeking the City, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
“Structuring the Surface” exhibited at Seams and Surfaces Exhibition, January 2008, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Architecture Department

Structured elasticity is a series of experiments focusing on making a composite material that embodies behavior and has capacity to adapt under external influences. The composite material exploits elasticity and strategic positioning of various forms of infrastructure that facilitates the shaping of the material and its response to dynamic influence.

Two types of the composite material are developed:

  1. The constituent materials, matrix and reinforcement, have the same physical properties (elasticity). One of them is pre-stressed and induces a behavior of the other.
  2. The matrix is elastic but the reinforcement has two components, elastic and non-elastic that are not fused together and are able to perform independently. Material can be formed by manipulation of the non-elastic component of the reinforcement.

Structure, infrastructure and surface are collapsed into one system that performs by allowing each component of the reinforcement (structure and infrastructure) to behave or to be manipulated relatively independently.

The goal of the research is to blur the boundaries between form generation and materialization by unfolding innate material capacities and behaviors, as well as to test a threshold between a composite material and an architectural assembly.