Metalab

Finding new and better ways to build things

#al
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#al #al #al Ringo Ringo Ringo Ringo Ringo Ringo Ringo SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE
Linus Linus Linus Linus PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD PV-POD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD GroPOD Queso Queso Queso
misting tree
Product Design
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Metalab pursues product design commissions by first asking the core questions about a product and it's genre: why is it the way it is? And why has it been done this way now and throughout it's history? These questions encompass market research and comparative analysis, and often suggest an elegant solution. We then design from a holistic process-based approach that seeks to simultaneously understand the why and the how of our core response by seeking a manufacturing logic to the prototyping and production of our design. With an inherent expertise in digital fabrication, construction, and sustainable technologies, we have produced successful product designs for both startups and established companies.

The latest addition to the Smilebooth line of products.  Prints from Twitter with custom hashtags or wireless from Linus or Queso. 

The concept for the Greater East End’s Solar Pedestrian Pathway Lighting design, provides a robust stand-alone solar powered system. The cluster concept pairs a string of highly efficient LED light fixtures with a solar generator that also provides form and function as a shelter and seating area.  Each generator consists of both solar panels and batteries held below a simple bench surface. The generator harvests power during the day to be stored and released to the string of pathway lights at night.  The solar generators are designed to provoke curiosity, provide shade, and be effective in different locations within the Greater East End District. Discus refers to the simple cylindrical form of the luminaire that takes advantage of the thinness of an LED light board. The Discus features a colored edge band, themed to the Greater East End District, and the light posts have an optional string of LED’s lights, a festive and whimsical gesture held between two delicate armatures, providing a unique identity to the Greater East End during both day and night.  We are developing this project in partnership with Philips Hadco, Ameresco Solar and The Art Guys (Lead Artist).

Employing proprietary design and material innovation, SPACE (Solar Powered Adaptive Container for Everyone) is made up of four major components: an up-cycled 20 ft x 8 ft shipping container housing a climate controlled work/ storage space, a proprietary solar rack capable of producing up to 5 kW of solar power, a selfcontained battery end-cap with 5 days of battery backup, and a fully integrated renewable power management system. Together, the total package is a mobile solar generator and work/ storage space capable of accommodating job site activities, special events, and emergency response operations. Company website:  www.adaptivecontainer.com

We completely rethought the genre. We literally took the booth out of the photobooth, so there is no seat, no curtain, no privacy. We felt like the photobooth was predicated on the notions of modesty and privacy, which no longer exist in our digital culture. We literally stripped away the curtain and created this digitally-fabricated, tall object. It’s a beautiful, stand-alone unit that’s technologically integrated. It has a touch screen interface, high quality digital SLR camera, printer and an LED flash box as well. It’s packs into two carry-on containers for traveling to far-flung events.  Product developers:  www.smilebooth.com

The PV Pod is a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) vessel that is filled with water as a ballast and used to mount single PV modules to flat roof tops. Most of the current systems for mounting solar panels involve aluminum “stick-built” racking, and concrete block ballast to counterweight the solar panels from high winds. Such systems are problematic due to the labor cost and complexity of assembly, the need for these “racks” to be contiguous in rows across the roof, and most importantly, the potential of the concrete ballast blocks to be dropped and damage the roof membrane.  The PV Pod allows for quick and safe installation by simply loading the roof with plastic tanks, mounting the panels, arranging the array, filling each tank with the specified amount of water ballast, and finally wiring the array together and into the building’s electrical grid. Because there is one Pod for each panel, the layout is flexible.  US Utility Patent Pending.  Generously supported by the UH Green Building Components grant program


 

A revolutionary yet simple raised bed gardening system, the groPOD is now in production and ready for use in community gardens, commercial developments, and private home gardens – anywhere there is a flat surface! The groPOD can be purchased alone, or with simple and inexpensive accessories, including integral soak-hose watering and cedar trim boards.  Best of all, the groPOD is inexpensive, movable, reusable, and high quality – perfect for do-it-yourself groups without being too much work to get down to the business of urban growing. Visit us at our website to contact us and place an order for groPODs at wholesale pricing directly through Metalab, for a limited time.  groPOD… Grow Anywhere!  Generously supported by the UH Green Building Components grant program

 

Queso is a digitally designed and fabricated Photobooth based on the integration of equipment including a digital SLR camera, Wi-Fi enabled and custom programmed CPU, strobe lighting, touchscreen LCD monitor and a dye-sub printer. The design, responding to the ubiquity of social networks and image sharing, eliminates the “booth” from the photobooth, leaving a sleek, minimal container as a human interface and locus of activity.  ID Award 2011:  Consumer Products, Honorable Mention.  Product developers:  www.smilebooth.com


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Cutloose
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Cutloose Cutloose Cutloose Cutloose Cutloose Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Mercado Picado Aurora Theater Aurora Theater Aurora Theater IT 093-066 IT 093-066 IT 093-066 IT 093-066 IT 093-066 Round Pen Round Pen Round Pen Round Pen Round Pen Round Pen Round Pen POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP POP-UP Quadror Quadror Quadror Quadror Quadror Quadror Quadror Ceiling Cloud Ceiling Cloud Ceiling Cloud Ceiling Cloud Ceiling Cloud Press+Pleat+Peel Press+Pleat+Peel Press+Pleat+Peel Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence Twaddle Residence dogTROT dogTROT dogTROT dogTROT dogTROT LiteBeam LiteBeam LiteBeam LiteBeam LiteBeam Silver Express Silver Express Silver Express
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Architecture
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METALAB is a licensed architectural practice with previous experience in architecture, metal fabrication, industrial design, and manufacturing. While we have experience in projects ranging from small residential renovations, to large civic projects, we believe that the best work in any genre can be done by outliers with fresh perspectives, and as such, we specialize in everything and nothing. We offer standard architectural services, as well as design consulting services for projects or specialized spaces within a larger context. Our extensive experience in metal fabrication and project management in large scale civic arts grounds our design sensibility in the how-to. Our patents and innovations in sustainable technology gives us a deep understanding of what it means to be green. And our common dialect with engineers and fabricators across a broad range of scales give us the ability to realize unique and compelling solutions for the built environment.

CUTLOOSE A façade makeover for Cutloose Salon on the Westheimer commercial strip in Montrose.  CNC cut serrated blade edges and flap pack letters for the letters and graphic identity while thousands of hanging ball-chains strands of “hair” are suspended from the perforated metal canopy and are cut into a angular style that might be the first architectural “mullet”.

Metalab was retained by Greater East End to design a prototypical market kiosk for the Navigation Blvd Esplanade in the east side of Houston.  These shade structures are installed along with our Ringo LED pedestrian lighting system with accompanying solar generators.  The wispy design alludes to the the Vesica Piscis,  the shape created by the union of two circles which historically in gothic architecture has symbolized community and union.  A perforated sheet metal shell roof provides dappled light shading while retaining transparency to reduce wind loads.  The perforated pattern references the tradition of "papel picado" in the Hispanic culture of the surrounding neighborhood.

An addition to the Menil campus behind the gray bungalow, the Aurora Picture Show is a an indoor/outdoor screening space.  A large window box operates as a dual direction projection screen and a large door hinges to cover the window during indoor screening events.  It also has the option of opening up to the outside, activating the lawn space into a new outdoor theater area.

An invited competition, Innovation Territories (IT) 093 - 066, was curated by AIA Houston and New York artist Mary Ellen Carroll to explore the potential of the slowly decaying Sharpstown Mall area.  The proposition digs a deep hole into the southeast corner of the lot, scraping the existing shopping mall structure in and encapsulating the debris. The dirt removed from the hole is used to create a structured mound over Interstate 59, thereby extending the useable land. The site is then converted to a green space with some combination of park space, productive landscape, comminty garden, and pasture-land.   A 400,000 SF footprint mixed-use building sits at the center of the site with retail on the bottom floor, and offices, hotel, condo, and event space above. A depression in the site above the debris field becomes a lake and its surrounding marshland become a reservoir and habitat for native plants and animals, while providing ample storm water retention for this site, and others around it, with excess storm water capacity being reserved and sold as credits to future area development in order to promote density.  
Competition Winner with Faro Studio
Head of Jury:  Charles Renfro, Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Round Pen is a standard size – 62′ diameter – open riding arena that is used to train yearling horses in a simple environment without distraction. This project was a re-invention of this rural building typology, using computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) laser cutting and digital modeling to create a kit of parts that was built on site by skilled craftsmen using only scaffolding, minimal equipment, and hand tools. Precise truss layouts were generated, along with parts and assemblies directly fabricated from the digital model. A unique convergence of design, manufacturing, and craftsmanship resulted from this highly collaborative and interdependent effort.  Designed with Joe Mashburn.  AIA HOUSTON ARCHITECTURE DESIGN AWARD 2008

 

POP-UP is a temporal and interactive space making product that adapts to and transforms public spaces in the Greater East End neighborhood of Houston.  Through a series of movable and playful architectural elements, it creates functional scenarios appropriate for markets and other public gatherings.  The iconic geometry of the octahedron is simple and unique to the urban environment and invites curiosity. The module scales to become enclosure, seating and stacking blocks. A series of shade structures expand the form into the surrounding landscape.  POP-UP exemplifies the ability of ephemeral architecture to transform a vibrant neighborhood in Houston by fostering new forms of urban interaction and informal commerce.   A collaboration with the Digital Fabrication seminar at UHCoA.

We worked for Studio Dror to assist in the development of the ingenious structural system they invented.  QuaDror is a unique structural unit that takes advantage of the structural integrity of interlocking members. Based on a space truss geometry made from the assembly of four identical L-shaped pieces, this form creates four traingular trusses which handle downward and lateral forces.  The premanufactured QuaDror unit is shipped flat, and then lifted, opened and locked into a final form. The collapsible system allows for rapid assembly in order to quickly adapt to various conditions and configurations on a particular site.  Prototypes for an architecturally scales and repeatable frame system were made at Crow Corporation in Tomball.

The focus of the cloud has been on “designed assemblies” and the use of parametric software and digital fabrication. The project was to design a new type of suspended ceiling system.  The students developed a Ceiling Cloud that is proposed to clip on to an modified suspended ceiling grid using lightweight folded aluminum panels that are designed to incrementally change dimension and drape into the space below. Constraints and variables within the parametric models allowed for the extraction of 150 unique panels that are also perforated with their own individual pattern. The goal of the variations in the overall ceiling system are to disburse and dissipate sound through refraction and absorption created by the corrugation in the panels and their perforation. The gradient of holes also are calibrated to allow more light to penetrate in the center of the space.  Collaboration with the UHCoA Digital Fabrication seminar students and Scott Marble, Visiting Critic.  First Place, AAFAB Award 2009, Interior Category

This site-specific work installed in Peel Gallery is just one instance of the infinite possible configurations of an expandable architectural system. These “integers of construction” were built by extracting precise information from a virtual 3D model that was used to configure the design to the spatial parameters of the gallery. The various profiles for these stress-skin panels were then sent electronically to a series of local professional fabricators in Houston's light-manufacturing industry where they were water-jet cut thin-gauge aluminum, CNC hot-wire cut EPS foam, and CNC routed wood The system can be reconfigured into various architectural forms to define space, divide rooms, or suspend as a ceiling. The shape, size, and frequency of the perforations are infinitely variable to make the panels lighter and more transparent.  Collaboration with the UHCoA Digital Fabrication seminar students

This project focuses on the re-introduction of the dogTROT house type to Texas through the launch of their prefabricated version of the dogTROT. As a pre-fab home, the dogTROT leverages existing prefabrication methods for economy of means, combining those with patented methods of fabrication and assembly to produce a well-designed, well-crafted economically viable option to the prefabricated housing market. In addition, this building system is designed to be disassembled, re-assembled, reduced expanded, re-cycled and up-cycled.

LiteBeam was a function of available local fabrication resources, as well as a basic desire to modify and expand the parameters of the typical suspended ceiling system. Primary elements – beams – were conceived as sculpted solid forms, complex shapes that are simple catenary expressions of a uniform load over a simple span. Between each beam is a series of vertical lenses, CNC router-cut from ½” thick clear plexi-glass. These are embedded with colored cold-cathode lighting, and support a series of fluorescent single tube fixtures that provided indirect lighting between each of the 4 beams. Below the lenses and in between each beam are a series of three shells – concave space frames that serve to capture and diffuse the light emitted from the fluorescent tubes and the edges of the lenses. While this iteration of the LiteBEAM System extends for 4 modules, it is understood as a repetitive system that could extend indefinitely.  Collaboration with the UHCoA Digital Fabrication seminar students.

Houston, TX
Joe Meppelink, Project Architect, with Ray + Hollington Architects

A development in 3 phases, the site planning situated the 32,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters building toward an adjacent office park, as well as a 35,000 sq. ft. retail strip center and 5,000 sq. ft. pad site facing each other toward a busy intersection. The Silver Express Office Building has a simple yet refined pallet of materials includes blue glass tile, iron-spot brick masonry, white 3-coat stucco, and horizontal aluminum paneling. A unifying horizontal white plaster band contains all signage and turns up at the far north end of the site providing identification and visibility for the development at a much higher level than free-standing signage would allow.


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Tumbling House
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Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House Tumbling House The Huddle The Huddle The Huddle The Huddle The Huddle Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Showershade Petit Five Petit Five Petit Five MEMORY CLOUD MEMORY CLOUD MEMORY CLOUD MEMORY CLOUD MEMORY CLOUD MEMORY CLOUD
Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Gagarin + Glenn Tolerance Tolerance Tolerance Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow Open Channel Flow
Cloud Code Cloud Code Cloud Code Cloud Code Cloud Code
Minimal Complexity Minimal Complexity Minimal Complexity Minimal Complexity
Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom Woozy Blossom
Radiant Fountains Radiant Fountains Radiant Fountains Radiant Fountains Radiant Fountains Radiant Fountains
Moveable Type Moveable Type Moveable Type Moveable Type Moveable Type Windfarm Lookout Windfarm Lookout Windfarm Lookout
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Civic Art
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We provide a unique array of services including Design optimization, Engineering Coordination, and Project Management for  our clients in large scale civic art with project budgets ranging from $30,000 to $2M and up, in locations worldwide. We typically work for the artist directly, but at times provide services directly to a commissioning agency, gallery, or private client. As experts in digital fabrication and component based design, we can often suggest solutions using these techniques that enhance the concept while saving money. We are sensitive to conceptual and curatorial issues, and are well versed in materials, engineering and code compliance, and technologies that are often central to the commission. We enjoy the challenges and uniqueness of each civic art project, acting as a translator and broker between the broad array of professions involved; creating value through attention to detail, diligence, and clear communication.

Tumbling House is a privately commissioned architectural folly by The Art Guys that doubles as a dynamic playscape for children big and small.  An assemblage of completely customized components forms a house that is seemingly frozen in a series of Muybridge-like stop-motion instances as it wildly tumbles through space.  The implied trail of the tumbling house is solidified into a pathway that also doubles as its support structure in the form of a primary 50' arch and secondary rolled pipe forms.  The suggested trajectory of the bounce is translated into "ghost houses" that float in the air and embed in the ground with integral playground features - a slide, swings, and a climbing ladder.  The uppermost house serves as a fully finished and enclosed "tree house" filled with whimsically surreal interior accoutrements provided by the artists.  Metalab provided design development and optimization, 3D modeling, architectural documentation and project management for the artists from conception through completion. A digitally fabricated "kit of parts" were made into subassemblies that bolted together and minimized work on site.

The Huddle is a sculpture by New York based artist Matthew Geller for the front entrance to the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  This work of art features a public swing with handicap accessible seating suspended from a stainless steel canopy supported by three tactile columns. The surfaces of this piece are as engaging to the touch as they are to the eye.  Metalab provided architectural design, digital fabrication and construction management on the project. The installation phase was completed in an hour.

Designed by New York based installation artist Chris Doyle, is a Percent for Art project located at the City of Austin at the new Public Safety Training Facility.  This permanent installation was designed as a modest, open-air shelter and includes a roof mural that was made through CNC cut perforations to the corrugated stainless steel canopy.   The pavilion and canopy were fabricated and pre-assembled in Houston and shipped to Austin as a kit-of-parts that require minimal site work.

Our first collaboration with Jim Isermann installed in a courtyard at Ohio State University.  We worked with Deep South Plastics, the same roto-mold fabricator we worked with on PV-POD.  Jim's work is a fascinating combination of repeating geometric patterns, intense use of color and inventive architectural products.

Memory Cloud is the winning commission awarded to RE:Site (Norman Lee and Shane Allbritton) and METALAB by Texas A&M University for the new Memorial Student Center 12th Man Hall. Through a competition, the team demonstrated the ability to harness the potential of programmable LEDs, remote sensing, parametric design and digital fabrication to create an open ended narrative of the story of the University through animated silhouette imagery of past and real-time present student life on the campus. Texas A&M, a place of deep traditions that are played out on the football field at every game and in the everyday lives of students will create the imagery that will be played within the layers of the LED matrix at different speeds and durations. Parametric design created a unique cloud form that creates a landscape within the student center where monumental and ephemeral figures will pass through the space, blurring the distinction between past and present.

Two pioneers in human space flight, Yuri A. Gagarin and John Glenn are memorialized in contrasting media, a perforated stainless steel halftone image of John Glenn rendered as a contrast to a bronze of Yuri Gagarin donated by the Russian consulate.  Metalab, working with Architect Ron Witte and Artist Randy Twaddle developed a custom algorithm to render John Glenn’s iconic image aboard the Mercury Capsule by perforating the shape of the capsule in a staggered pattern with varying sizes to render light and dark tones. The image panels are delicately suspended on thin standoff rods connected to a powder coated steel frame.  Each figure stands on a shallow plinth edged in cor-ten steel, in an historic dialogue on the site of NASA’s first manned space flight headquarters, now occupied as the Houston Parks and Recreation headquarters.

Jaume Plensa’s TOLERANCE is a set of seven stainless steel human figures, each kneeling atop a boulder placed along the banks of Buffalo Bayou just outside of downtown Houston.  All of the figures are taken from the same model, but each is composed of a distinct set of characters taken from a mix of languages including Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Latin, Hindi and Cyrillic.  At night, the figures glow from within, creating a “constellation of beacons.”  Metalab, working on behalf of the Houston Arts Alliance, provided construction management and installation services, and fabrication of a custom foundation system that allowed for rapid placement of the sculptures on site.

​Work for him!

Open Channel Flow, a sculpture by New York based artist Matthew Geller, was commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance as a permanent piece for the City of Houston Art Collection. Turnkey architecture, custom component fabrication, and construction management helped to realize this commission as a kit-of-parts that was assembled on site efficiently with the quality and finish of a manufactured product. Located next to Buffalo Bayou, the structure emerges from the landscape of a Houston Water Production Station to a height of 60'. Inspired by the unexpected protrusions of plumbing infrastructure in urban lots, the colossal pipe works features a public outdoor shower activated by a hand pump. A nearby skate park ensures that a steady flow of skaters and passersby will indulge in a refreshing spritz on Houston's infamously humid afternoons.

Cloud Code in the City of Houston Permitting Center is a conduit and real-time display of the occupancy, activity, and air quality in the building. The interaction of occupants within the physical space of the public areas is measured and displayed as civic art.  A rear-projection display of animated graphics is generated by a network of meshed micro-sensors housed in custom fabricated enclosures. The occupants feed data to processing software that Metalab coded for the project. The activity creates a cloud-like indication of indoor air quality in the first floor public area of the building. In addition to air quality and occupancy, other qualitative aspects of the building such as movement and ambient sound are graphically represented in an abstracted floor plan.

 

In June of 2010 our non-for-profit organization TEX-FAB commissioned the REPEAT competition with the explicit intent of promoting the role of digital fabrication and parametric design within the Texas region. A total 95 teams of 1-4 designers from 19 states in the US, 18 countries and 5 continents participated. The competition brief asked the entrants to look first at the connection and then, through repetition to define the whole. The jury of experts on parametric design and digital fabrication from around the world conferred online and selected Minimal Complexity for the aesthetic beauty, technical superiority and elegance of detailing embodying the principals of the competition brief to the highest degree. The final structure was engineered, fabricated and installed by TEX-FAB collaboratively with Vlad Tenu the designer. The built iteration of Minimal Complexity and all the competition proposals in the form of the REPEAT Exhibition were revealed at an event in Houston, Texas that featured juror presentations, workshops and conversations on the design strategies and techniques employed in the design and making of the winning project.

Woozy Blossom (Platanus nebulosus) with Matthew Geller, Artist commissioned for Katonah Museum of Art.  This sixteen-foot-high perforated steel tree produces a continuous fog, inviting visitors to be engulfed in its mist and revel in its cool, moist air. The fog is in a constant state of flux, sensitive to the slightest changes in wind, temperature, and humidity. Simultaneously eerie, unexpected, and playful, Woozy Blossom transforms the Katonah Museum of Art Sculpture Garden into an ever-changing, otherworldly environment.  Metalab contributed digital parametric design and fabrication.  The project was built as a kit of parts that can be disassembled, packaged and shipped to its location.  Installation took one day.

Radiant Fountains, a set of three sculptures by artist Desnnis Oppenheim, was commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance for the Houston Airport System. The work serves as an icon visible to motorists upon leaving Bush Intercontinental Airport and entering the City of Houston. Each 60' tower is wrapped in animated LEDs that begin as droplets plunging downward and then radiate out in a seemingly endless upward flow of light and spectacle.

This proposal with RE:site for the sculpture to the fill the pediment of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston originally built in 1820 but never completed is based on a set of defined parameters that convey a message repeated in a multitude of languages on undulated substrate of typeface blocks.  An algorithmic process is utilized to generate the complex forms that communicate the relationship between the variegated surface subtly depicting St. Andrew’s cross, the typography, the physical limitations of the existing pediment, and the constraints of the pre-cast concrete molds. This design strategy allows us to explore various design iterations while maintaining the highest degree of accuracy available with contemporary rapid prototyping techniques.  The new pediment is fabricated out of a pre-cast concrete system with the highest degree of accurate translation of the digital models for legibility of the text.  A CNC process is utilized to sculpt the block and letter forms to make the molds for casting the surface. While the appearance of the pattern is of a multitude of undulating typeface blocks, the system will be composed of ten large uniquely formed panels for optimum pre-fabricated quality control and efficient installation on site.

The project is a public landscape installed at Horizon Wind Energy’s Twin Groves Wind Farm in central Illinois. The concept of inscribing the outline of a 70 meter wind tower at full scale in the ground was conceived by ttweak, a strategic communications and design company. Metalab digitally modeled and fabricated the components as a kit-of-parts made in Houston and transported to remote sites via a modified shipping container and assembled with minimal site work and labor. The Lookout has been repeated at Horizon’s other wind farms in Minnesota, Texas and New York.  With accuracy and efficiency the wind tower’s scale and form is realized as a concrete surface with stainless steel edging that will last as long as the life span of the wind farm. The Lookout serves as an information center and viewing platform for Horizon to explain wind energy to the public. Its construction process is uniquely parallel to the manufacturing and assembly of the wind tower that it represents.


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JOE MEPPELINK

Bio »

Metalab principal Joe Meppelink previously co-owned and operated Metalab as an architectural metal fabricating shop. This shop fabricated dozens projects in the Houston area, ranging from furniture to multi-story stair structures, and began steadily employing digital fabrication technologies in 1998. After selling the shop, Joe returned to teaching and practice in Houston. He taught design and fabrication courses at Rice University for 2 years, and then began Framework Design Studio (now Janusz Design) – a residential practice still active in Houston – in 2004 with partner Marisa Janusz. Currently, Joe is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Houston, co-teaching courses in digital fabrication with Metalab partner Andrew Vrana. Joe also serves as Director of Applied Research at the College of Architecture, where professional and academic efforts coincide in his leadership of the University of Houston Green Building Components initiative (UHGBC). Joe’s desire is to design via constructive interplay between the often disparate camps of architecture-design-technology and construction-fabrication-manufacturing or more simply put, the head and the hands.

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ANDREW VRANA

Bio »

Andrew Vrana is an Architect who has structured his practice around design informed by advanced computation and digital fabrication as well as a working knowledge of materials and building culture. This expertise was cultivated at Columbia GSAPP (MArch '98) were he was awarded the McKim Prize upon graduation and though employment at the offices of Enric Miralles/EMBT and Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Now through working with a network of capable fabricators at Metalab since 2007, the integrated delivery of design, custom building components and construction management is achievable on architecture, civic art and product design projects.  In academia as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture at the University of Houston he has co-taught digital fabrication seminars and studios since 2005. Andrew seeks to merge the formal and material possibilities of contemporary design with a localized sensibility toward craft and quality of execution.  In 2009 he co-founded TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance to expand his interests in pursuing design research through the application of digital technology within the Texas region and beyond by organizing workshops, lectures and design competitions.

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mailing address
2003 Kane Street
Houston, TX 77007

office address
1824 Spring St - Suite 220
Houston, TX 77007

P: 713.426.3640
F: 713.893.6073

joe@metalabstudio.com
andrew@metalabstudio.com