MAKE IT WORK. Engineering Possibilities - Center for Architecture January 22 - April 25 2009

Group show including works by: William Baker (SOM), Chuck Hobberman, Buro Happold, Arup, Patrick Teuffel, Phillip Anzalone, Mark Goulthorpe, Kieran Timberlake and Rafael Vinoly.

Exhibition Texts by Rosamond Fletcher:

"Today's engineers are working across disciplines and driving innovation. MAKE IT WORK. Engineering Possibilities looks at how engineers are envisioning and realizing the future of our built environment by transforming structures, improving environments, enhancing materials, re-inventing building technologies, and advancing forms. This exhibition highlights how inventive strategies for building are born from multidisciplinary research and integrated practice. Small engineering firms, large engineering firms, engineering schools, university labs, materials labs, artists, inventors, and architects are all part of the exchange of ideas - plotting trajectories of innovation.

"Engineers, architects, and inventors are exploring how actuation, movement initiated by mechanical devices called actuators, can be used to create active structures and surfaces. By incorporating the idea of Tensegrity, a concept for self-stressing structures developed by Kenneth Snelson in the 1950s, engineers and architects are envisioning the possibility for responsive structures that change shape according to changing environmental conditions.

"The work of Tristan d'Estree Sterk and The Office for Robotic Architectural Media & Bureau for Responsive Architecture (ORAMBRA) explores how the actuation of tensegrity structures can produce a responsive architectural envelope that addresses real-world weather and structural loading conditions. His research investigates a repeated module in which three compression members meet to form what can be simply described as a tripod whose legs are tethered by tension cables. Repeating this module in a regular pattern results in the formation of two membranes that have variable and controllable rigidity. In principle, the act of controlling the rigidity of these two membranes results in the possibility of producing structures whose shapes can alter. By cloaking one layer of tension members with a soft waterproof membrane, and the second layer of tension members with an insulating membrane it becomes possible to turn a tensegrity structure into a weather tight building envelope. The possibilities for practical applications of this technology include: theaters that dance with performers, houses that shrink to reduce their heated volume in the dead of winter, and skyscrapers that alter their aerodynamic profile to reduce wind loads.

Exhibition website: "Make It Work", American Institute of Architects Center for Architecture, NYC, 2009
>> Two structural installations from aluminum and pneumatic muscles, wood and thermal memory alloy

Panel discussion review: "Make it Work" Multidisciplinary Innovation, NYC, 2009
>> Chuck Hoberman, Tristan Sterk, Craig Schwitter, Phillip Anzalone, Nina Rappaport, 4 February 2009, AIA Center for Architecture, NYC