Buoyant Cinema

REACT Buoyant Cinema is an alternate environment that challenges the state of traditional cinema. As a reactive cinematic pavilion for the River Thames, tidal and user flows act as input to generate spatial configurations of a dynamically buoyant component organization. Through the study of temperature and weight, component organizations generate a constant reconfiguration as a response to both the tidal state and the user’s response to the cinematic experience. In locations where habitation occurs, the component organization must flatten out, yet as the buoyancy requirements change, expansion occurs on the outside. The interior screen environment communicates this by folding and creasing. In this way, the interior gradient communicates a renegotiation of the engaging tidal flow. This renegotiation is comfortably slow, almost imperceptible. The building’s transformation based upon tidal swings may not be perceived in a 10-minute stay, yet over the course of a full movie, would be noticeable. Through the use of biometric sensing, the user becomes an integral part of the cinematic experience. The user’s reaction to the film is monitored and used as input to direct the narrative of the film and the creation of multiple film zones. Once a camera has identified a face and locks onto the moving image, the surrounding cameras immediately adjacent are disabled to allow for a constrained zone to form around a user. As the pavilion is entered, the screen environment engages the user response and begins to form zones of space specific to the direction of the narrative. With the use of database organization, the narrative of the film will have the potential for multiple directives. Based on the user response, the narrative can change from happy to sad, from anger to fear, and so on.

Architectural Association School of Architecture – Masters in Architecture

Flood Barrier

3D modeling has become an important tool in my work because it has allowed me to explore and communicate the dimension of time. Once set in motion, this model allowed me to communicate how this buoyant flood barrier, designed for the river Thames in London, could reconfigure to act as a water park and river crossing during normal tides and a dynamic flood barrier capable of providing additional bulwark during outstandingly high tidal surges. These surges have been increasing in frequency over the past two decades to the point where the current barrier will become obsolete by the year 2030.

Architectural Association School of Architecture – Masters in Architecture

Inflatable Skin

The goal of this prototype study was to produce a dynamically changing skin system, capable of reconfiguring in response to the forces applied by a fluid environment while maintaining occupiable volumes.

A series of small study models were created to understand the incorporation of inflation techniques within a dynamic structural frame. Immediately, it was clear that the air distribution needed to be incorporated within the frame system to achieve a dynamic movement uninhibited by a ducting system.

It was possible to look at the tubular distribution of air as structure itself, creating a hierarchy in the frame system, similar to an HVAC branching system. The second observation of inputting air into the frame system was the bending, flexing and reconfiguration occurring when the air was not evenly distributed. This observation was critical because it allowed us to use the air pressure, as well as the change in buoyant state, to create curvature within the system. The final prototype incorporated a version of a scissor structural frame previously studied, but with some variation. In using the air duct as a central spine, the expansion and contraction of the frame needed to occur without constricting air movement in any way. This was achieved by allowing the ducting to act as the datum from which the system expanded and contracted, not just in one direction, but three dimensionally.

The planning and construction of the model involved a full set of construction documents and a team of five to construct. The prototype was constructed of latex, polypropylene, styrene, flexible tubing, steel and compressed air. The construction of the skin system incorporated expandable components, flexible connections and most importantly, a series of compression springs which aided the components to return to their deflated state quickly after the air pressure was released.

Testing of the prototype resulted in a successful expansion and contraction of the structural frame while the pressure of the inflated bubbles created twisting, turning and enclosure in the skin system.

Architectural Association School of Architecture: Masters of Architecture

Laminate Volumes

In collaboration with Professor Kristy Ballet, I developed a research project for the Smart Geometry conference in Munich, Germany using the software Generative Components. We aspired to reveal the inherent and potentially generative spatial and material properties of an object manipulated by interior and exterior opposing forces. The form was to negotiate the applied forces with specific attention on the exterior form as connected to, but distinctly different from the interior, comprised of fine laminate layers. The layers created pockets of expandable volume, contributing to a structural logic similar to petticoat layering (or puff pastry). The specific study of this project in Generative Components was meant to challenge its assumed role as a surface modeler and explore its volumetric potential.

Smart Geometry Conference, Munich, Germany 2008.