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02.04.11 - 04.22.11 | SCI-Arc Library Gallery
Audience of Objects

Designed and curated by Eric Owen Moss for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 Austrian Pavilion.

Participants include Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, B+U; Hernan Diaz Alonso, Xefirotarch; Craig Hodgetts and Hsinming Fung, Hodgetts + Fung; Elena Manferdini, Atelier Manferdini; Alexis Rochas, I/O; and Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich, PATTERNS.

Opening Reception: Friday, Feb 4, 7–9pm
Discussion: Wednesday, March 16, 7pm
W. M. Keck Lecture Hall

The curatorial objective at the Austrian Pavilion was to use an imaginative design means to communicate the most imaginative prospects for contemporary Austrian architecture and urban design around the world, as well as to represent Austria as both a unique repository of architectural talent, and an attentive welcomer of a new spirit of foreign architectural invention. Design works of international architects who have taught in Austria were displayed in the "Audience of Objects" exhibition inside the 2010 Austrian Pavilion.

The exhibition in the SCI-Arc Library Gallery includes six projects previously "seated" in the Austrian Pavilion of the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennal.

In September 2010, Eric Owen Moss Architects, led by SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss, presented the work of 65 international architects in the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, marking the first time a country was represented by a foreign architect. One portion of the exhibit utilized standard scaffolding to construct a stepped seating system. Typically such an arrangement accommodates audiences observing games, plays, concerts, and so on, presented by performers who face the audience from a staging area in front of the seats.

In this exhibit the seats were used to mount multiple models designed for the event by faculty/student teams from schools of architecture around the world. The Audience of Objects transposed the conventional positioning of observer [seated attendees] and observed [performers on stage].

On view in the Library Gallery are six projects by SCI-Arc faculty members, minus the scaffolded bleachers.

Audience of Objects exhibitors are as follows:

Herwig Baumgartner & Scott Uriu/BplusU

City Futura is a visionary urban design proposal for an expansion of the city of Milan set in the year 2210. BplusU were invited, among other international architects, to imagine the city of the future, situated on Milan’s outer ring. Superimposed over the existing city, City Futura leaves most of its buildings untouched, tapping into its existing infrastructure and expanding it. The 600m tall structure hovers over the city, covering an area of a million square meters, organized around three programmatic topics: civic; entertainment and recreation; and art, fashion and manufacturing.

BplusU's mission is to constantly push the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Based in Los Angeles, the firm is on a continuous mission to research and experiment with new technologies, building materials and construction techniques by virtue of 3D technology and manufacturing techniques often employed outside of the architectural profession. Its projects are often informed by the mapping and transforming of imperceptible forces, including sonograms, the firm developing analytic and generative software that have allowed BplusU to implement its theories into a three-dimensional form.

Craig Hodgetts & Hsinming Fung / Hodgetts & Fung Design and Architecture

Casa Pulpa is the culmination of research into the intersection of automotive design philosophy and architecture. Utilizing the principles of double-skinned thin shell components, structural rigidity is gained by the strategic connections between inner and outer faces. The shell of Casa Pulpa is formed of two skins: an outer, structural and waterproofing face, and an inner, utility face, which gains strength from the ergonomic forms of shelving, compartments and chases which are formed into the molded surfaces. The resulting assembly, comprising a three-dimensional wall-roof element, is then clipped to a supporting frame of steel, bamboo, or timber to form a compact dwelling unit. Casa Pulpa proposes a prolific hybrid solution to the endemic issues of waste disposal and housing production found in many poor countries.

Hodgetts & Fung Design and Architecture, the experimental practice established by Hsinming Fung and Craig Hodgetts, has engaged in a wide spectrum of architectural discourse in both built form and theoretical posture. With a primary focus on the dialogue between technology and meaning, their projects, both visionary and practical, have sought to unravel the complicated relationship between object and perception, time and experience, imagination and realization. Their research into these aspects, and their relationship to the built environment, has formed the foundation for an architecture which is innovative yet profoundly engaged with both context and culture.

Alexis Rochas / I/O

Imagine a world built for a fraction of its weight, where mass becomes a fluid medium mediating between ground and gravity, environments are defined by lines, and lines are affiliated to one another by a singular, yet malleable connection. We believe that a sustainable building application ought to empower the designer with a versatile set of tools for the resolution of increasingly complex interactions between structure, space and environment. The OCTA.BOT system is a universal building system based on the combination of freely rotating elements into robust tectonic assemblies—a proprietary technology developed by Los Angeles-based firm I/O, led by Alexis Rochas. The OCTA.BOT name refers to the eight members converging at a double grid space-frame node. The .BOT suffix lays out a broad family of assembly nodes, including the HEXA.BOT for the creation of Diagrid structures and formworks, and the DODECA.BOT for the creation of three-dimensional lattices.

Alexis Rochas is principal and founder of I/O, a Los Angeles-based practice focused on the development of dynamic architectural methodologies integrating design, technology and advanced fabrication techniques. A member of SCI-Arc’s design faculty since 2003, Rochas has headed numerous projects through the school’s Community Design Program, including the FAB Arts Market Temporal Gallery, LINC Housing community grounds prototyping, SCI-Arc’s Lecture Hall Acoustical Treatment, and the LAMP Community’s Sun Shelter Pavilion. Since 2006, he has been coordinating Making and Meaning, SCI-Arc’s five-week summer foundation program in Architecture.

Elena Manferdini/ Atelier Manferdini

In 2015, the city of Milan will host the World Expo, centered around the “feeding the planet, energy for life” theme. As part of its new integrated infrastructures to support the large scale events taking place in the city, the Malpensa Airport will need a new gateway connecting the Express train station to Terminal One. In addition to covering and directing the pedestrian traffic flow into the airport, a canopy will function as a gate into the lateral gardens over the parking structures. The metal roof is supported by a regular diagrid and its panel system is made out of 13 modules in colored metal (golden, matte and mirrored) that create a dynamic chromatic effect both during the day and night.

Founded in 2004, Atelier Manferdini is a design office based in Los Angeles and Bologna. The firm is a highly visible advocate of design excellence and has been recognized internationally for its creation of imaginative architecture, fashion and product design. The office is based on a multi-scale work methodology and embraces the philosophy that design can participate in a wide range of multidisciplinary developments that define our culture. In addition to leading her design practice, Manferdini has been an instructor of architectural design studios and technology seminars in the graduate and undergraduate programs at SCI-Arc.

Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich / PATTERNS

Bluring the boundaries between architecture and industrial design, Lucent Saddles is an outcome of collaboration between Patterns and 3form Advanced Technology Group. The installation experiments with saddle surface geometry, non-uniform tiling, lush coloration and figural assembly in the production of playfully prickly and luminous solid objects. Lucent Saddles was built using Varia Ecoresin®, a material that utilizes 40 percent recycled content, and encapsulates translucent color and sheer textile. Fuchsia, turquoise, light blue and metallic grey were used to compose single primitives, so as two neighboring primitives will never share the same color, producing a myriad of contrasting and continuous figures within the same object.

Directed by Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich, Patterns is a design research architectural practice based in Los Angeles, whose work is internationally recognized for its innovative approach to design and architecture that fuses advanced computation with an extensive understanding of form, tectonics and materials. What sets Patterns apart is not only their overt ambition to materialization but the quality and extent of realized work. The firm’s work has received numerous prizes and awards and has been exhibited worldwide at the Venice, Shenzhen and Beijing Biennales, SF MoMA, MAK Vienna, the Art Institute of Chicago, Artists Space New York and the Gyeonggi Foundation in Korea. Their first book, Embedded, is forthcoming by the Beijing based AADCU.

Hernan Diaz Alonso / Xefirotarch

Architecture is never displayed innocently. Any encounter with the work is framed by multiple determining contexts—political, sensual and spatial—that productively contaminate the moment of reception. Using the image of the horrific as a driving aesthetic, we develop topological mutations that will engage the manner and form of insects to create and proliferate architectural matter. Perhaps some might see this as a triumph of superficiality over depth, but it’s also an intensification of the conjectural and fictive logics of design, of its ability to mobilize a social imagination and, with it, a series of potential futures. We see this as a real and complex demand that mutating culture makes on producers of architectural content.

Considered an influential voice of his generation, Hernan Diaz Alonso, principal of Los Angeles-based Xefirotarch, has achieved wide recognition for his biomorphic models exhibited both in architecture and art museums around the world. In 2005, Diaz Alonso was the winner of PS1 MoMa's Young Architects Program (YAP) competition. His work has since been the subject of solo shows at the San Francisco MoMa, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the MAK Centre, Vienna. He is scheduled to produce a solo show at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 2012. Recently, Diaz Alonso was named Graduate Programs Chair at SCI-Arc.