Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Area: 4200 square feet
Client: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Flatland is an installation that forms a canopy over the south balconies of Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Designed by Casey Hughes Architects (CHA) and installed in collaboration with Hiroshi Jacobs, the concept was developed for a design competition initiated by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Student Forum and Building Services.
The installation is made up of 10,000 feet of custom-made 1/8-inch-diameter red and blue bungee cord, fixed in place by more than 1,000 hardware connections. Sixty individual lines emerge from the entrance of Gund Hall on Cambridge Street and traverse the south façade of the building, suggesting two continuous doubly ruled hyperbolic paraboloid surfaces. This highly rational geometry creates Flatlands’ distinctive whipped, saddle-like spaces.
This project studies the relationship between dimensionality and flatness by exploring how a one-dimensional line can at once produce a surface and a volume. The design began with the interest of developing a lightweight system that is economical and durable while having a large spatial impact. This led to Flatland, a system where, with mathematical efficiency, one-dimensional lines produce complex spaces with a wide range of scale and enclosure.
The title of the installation is based on Edwin Abbot Abbot’s 1884 novel Flatland, about a fictional two-dimensional world inhabited by geometric figures. The plot follows the protagonist, a square, who discovers “the mysteries of three dimensions” and returns to the Flatland to share it with others.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Area: 450 square feet
The Limaçon Pavilion was designed in collaboration with Hernan Garcia, William Choi and Hiroshi Jacobs. This project, lead by Prof. Ingeborg Rocker, examined the brick from a historical, theoretical, design and fabrication perspective. Debate focused on the limits of what could fall under the rubric of a “brick” and its relevance to contemporary interest in modularity and discretization.
The two major components of the design are the brick and its reference surface that the brick was instantiated on. The geometry of the brick was determined to maximize its rigidity and bearing complicity as well as to allow the brick to transform to the requirements of the reference surface. To reduce, cost the brick was designed to be fabricated in chip board, creating the challenge of cutting and folding 1400 sheets into volumetric bricks.
The reference surface was derived from the lofting of a limaçon curve. In addition to fulfilling the requirement for a “wall vault” (simultaneously wall and vault), this design produces a structurally efficient minimal surface. The surface started as a pitched vault that flattened into a vertical wall allowing for access to an inner court.
This design was selected for fabrication of a one-to-one mock-up built by Mais Al Azab, William Choi, Hernan Garcia, Casey Hughes, Alstan Jakubiec, Lesley McTauge, Marta Nowak, Mark Pomarico, Andrea Love, and Alex Yoon.
Location: Denali, Alaska
Area: 6.7 square miles
Client: National Park Service
Status: First place in Competition
This entry won first prize in the Lyceum Fellowship competition for which I was awarded a six-month travel grant. The brief called for "a dwelling for two in a National Park." We selected a naturally occurring ice cave in Denali, Alaska because it seemed like an ideal location for the inhabitants to experience the force and magnitude of this changing glacial landscape. Embedded in the floor of the cave and suspended from the ceiling are a series of platforms that constantly shift due to the movement of the glacier. Beams of light penetrate the glacier through perforations connecting the enclosed world of the cave and the continually changing light of the outside environment.
Our intervention into the cave goes beyond the beauty and spectacle of the space in an attempt to create a sense of temporality for the inhabitants. The project does not aspire to be architecture but rather to occupy a space between culture and nature, creating a middle ground for reflection.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Area: 600 square feet
Client: American Institute of Architects New Orleans
Vector Knot is the second iteration in a series of studies on the relationship between dimensionality and flatness. The installation utilizes the potential of each dimension, exploring how lines can suggest surfaces, and how surfaces in turn can suggest volume and enclosure.
Vector Knot is an installation made up of 6,000 feet of custom-made 1/8th inch diameter black bungee cord and fixed in place by over 700 hardware connections. Designed and constructed by Casey Hughes Architects with Hiroshi Jacobs, Vector Knot was created as a temporary installation in the New Orleans AIA Gallery for the DesCours 2011 event. DesCours is a free, public, architecture and art event that invites architects and artists to create ten architecture installations for the public to engage with throughout New Orleans. Rather than an object to be looked at, Vector Knot is intended to create an immersive spatial experience. The coexistence of the 1D, 2D, and 3D in Vector Knot offers an oscillating experience that is simultaneously volume and line, spatial and flat. The perception of volume from a series of closely spaced lines is echoed in mathematics.
Vector Knot’s spaces are composed of doubly-ruled surfaces (hyperbolic paraboloids) – which, by definition, can be described by infinitely tangent lines in two opposing directions. Space is only implied (through lines), leaving the creation of a sense of enclosure up to the viewer. Vector Knot specifically studies the 3D spline curves that are created by the bungee connections to the wire guide cable. Conventionally a spline is a device for drawing complex curves. It consists of a long strip of flexible wood that is fixed at a number of vector knots (weighted points) to hold a smooth curve. The spacing, direction, and force of the bungee connections determines the curvature of the spline guide cable.
Los Angeles is commonly thought of as a prototypical North American sprawl city formed by the automobile. In fact, Los Angeles’ nodal and linear urban morphology was defined by a rail system, long before the introduction of the automobile.
Before the introduction of the first railroad, Los Angeles was a small and relatively insignificant pueblo consisting of collection of unaffiliated rancheros with a population of 4,385 people. In the late 1880's, the first national rail line brought an influx of people and capital to the area causing a real estate boom.
This explosive growth continued throughout the first decades of the twentieth century, bolstered by the continued expansion of rail infrastructure. Real estate magnates, understanding that access was essential to property values, built lines leading to new areas for development. In this sense rail lines were the “lost leaders” created to improve real estate prospects rather than only to produce revenue. Thus the demise of the rail system was built into its creation as the rail was no longer necessary for developers once the large swaths of land that they owned were parceled and sold.
By the 1940s, the rail system was in disrepair. Infrastructural funding shifted away from rail to auto-based transportation. Thus in a very short period following World War II, all the rail lines were purchased and rapidly dismantled to be replaced with buses. By 1963, the last public rail line was decommissioned, leaving the city that once boasted the world’s most extensive rail system, without a single line. It is during this period that Los Angeles became infamous for its cars, smog and traffic jams.
Almost immediately after the Los Angeles rail system was decommissioned, proposals for new systems were drafted and put before voters. By 1990, congestion, high gas prices and environmental concerns finally created a public willing to reinvest in public rail infrastructure. An ambitious rail plan was created and approved for public funding. This plan, which continues to be implemented and expanded, calls for lines that will eventually access the majority of the county.
Location: New York, New York.
Area: 70,000 square feet
"Shape is all the geometrical information that remains when location, scale and rotational effects are filtered out from an object" - David George Kendall
The objective of Michael Meredith's (MOS Architects) studio entitled “Mediums” was to investigate “medium specificity” in architecture. The studio’s basic premise was that “the problems of medium speciﬁcity can be addressed by exacerbating multiple medium speciﬁcities into impure, awkward, and paradoxical recombinations.” We were asked to select mediums that are seemingly incompatible and attempt to reconcile them in the design of a church sited at the southern end of the High Line Park in Manhattan. In this project, shape and logo are employed to create a scheme that is simultaneously figural and flat.
This research looks at form generation through an adaption of classical vaulting techniques. In classical vault design, an arch is extruded to form a barrel vault or intersected with another barrel vault at 90 degrees to create a groin vault. This research extends this method by varying the angle of intersection of the vaults and other parameters to create a variety of vaulting conditions. Because the forms are created through a projective method the resultant surfaces are ruled and fully developable. This method ensures the constructability of the resultant vaults regardless of their formal complexity.
This study was created in Digital Project, a parametric software developed for aeronautics design, and adapted for the rationalization of complex architectural forms.
Location: Union Square, New York City
Area: 325 square feet
Client: St. Louis Washington University
Status: First place in Competition
Temporary Building to Celebrate the Jewish Festival of Sukkot -This design proposes to mediate personal worship and celebration of the Sukkot with the community at large.
Like a traditional Sukkah, this proposal uses humble materials and expedient construction techniques in keeping with the temporary and cyclical nature of this celebration. As with tradition, the structure merges with its environment, adapting to its context to provide enclosed intimate space as well as incorporating its surroundings.
Three piano hinges connect the 4 components of the Sukkah and allow the 10’ by 16’ footprint to expand and fulfill a more public role. This possibility of being reconfigured heightens the understanding of the traditional Sukkah’s temporality, in that throughout the Sukkot, the space can adapt to the needs of its inhabitants and the larger community. This proposal fully embraces the traditions of the Sukkot while engaging the city with Jewish culture, celebration and design.