Installation of the 3 benches at Herman Park with Randy Twaddle and Escobedo Construction. Congratulations to Escobedo for their Texas Society of Architects Artisan Award.
With two rain delays we were happy to see art panels for Jim Isermann's "Cougar Walk" to go in smoothly in one day by Gate Precast. The 19 panels (4 on the wall and 15 on the ground) are 8'x8' and each weighs about 1500lbs. The effects of the red glass and black onyx were nice to see relative to the colors of the metal panels on the stadium itself. All will be done by game day later this summer!
We are working with Matthew Geller, the artist who we teamed with on Open Channel Flow, for a new project in El Paso near the new ballpark. The tower of pipes will emit a misting fog with integrated lighting to create atmospheric effects in the public plaza designed by SWA/Los Angeles. Fabrication will begin soon and installation will be before then end of 2014.
We are working with RE:site, the team that we worked with on Memory Cloud, on a new project at Houston Animal Adoption Center. In the main entry foyer a canopy of catenary forms will hang over the vistors to the facility on their way to the adoption area. Dog Leashes will be used to create a quilted pattern of forms. We are using Grasshopper and Kangaroo to simulate the global geometry and different sorting algorithms to study the color patterns using standard 4', 6' and 8' leashes.
Renovation of the park and design/construction of a new pavilion at Dow School Park in the Sixth Ward of Houston. The Long House combines outdoor recreation programs in a continuous organizational band covered by a series of roof profiles and materials that are adapted from the Victorian era residential fabric surrounding it. Historic sensitivity meets a contemporary programmatic mixture. A collaboration between Metalab (Architecture) and Asakura Robertson (Landscape Architecture).
We visited Escobedo Construction to view the first of three unique park benches. Designed with Randy Twaddle, artist, the benches are being cut on a 5-axis OMAG robot in Kyle, Texas. No two benches are the same and none of the exposed faces are planar. This entry into robotic fabrication is exciting for us after attending the Robots in Architecture conference recently and now having to opportunity to apply this technology to a permanent installation for a new feature on top of a landscape in the renovation of Herman Park in Houston. The benches are made out of Lueders Limestone in three sizes the largest of which will be monolithic, extending over 9' long and will weight over a ton. The smallest one has been milled and will be finished by hand at this point with some faces left with the toolpath marks. Each bench will have an inscription and the robot will engrave the text along the topological surface after the final round of finishing. The tooling diameters range from 16" down to 1/8" end mill bits.
Students and faculty at UH worked with Ben Nicholson to revisit the New Harmony Grotto project. Cellular Infill (Seating, Skylights and Living Wall), Site Design and a Footbridge for the site were designed and developed with the intention of finishing the project and providing a new series of material responses to the existing structure and landscape.
At Griggs and MLK on the SE Metrorail line in Houston
We made the trip up to Gate Precast recently to view and approve the first prototype for the UH Stadium public art project by Jim Isermann. Metalab is providing design optimization, fabrication documents and project management. We developed custom aggregates of red glass and black obsidian for the main U and H figures in the field. Gate tells us that this is the most complex project they have taken on other than the Perot Science Museum by Morphosis.
The three sculptural signs from Paul Kittelson have been installed at the Magnolia station on the East End MetroRail line on Harrisburg at Wayside. The three assemblies of extreme way-finding where developed with an algorithm that sorted name lengths, directions and distances and packed the signs into a close arrangement while avoiding self-intersection. When the trains pass by the signs will become urban scaled wind chimes. Merge Studios fabricated and installed the signs with shop fabrication drawings and full-scale alignment templates provided by Metalab. The columns are festooned with unique weathervanes designed by the artist and fabricated out of stainless steel with iconography representing Houston, Texas and the World. We worked for Houston Rapid Transit who are building all the lightrail extensions in Houston with great support from Sara Kellner as the public art administrator.