Memory Cloud in FabriKator

May 24, 2013 by metalab

Cloud lifted

February 14, 2013 by metalab

16 hrs, a dead winch, chain hoist and a bent pully later...

Gagarin + Glenn dedication

October 15, 2012 by metalab

The monuments to the first men in space were dedicated today.  Mayor Annise Parker officiated with members of the Russian community present as well as visitors from the RF.  Notable attendees were Charles Bolden, the current Administor of NASA as well as Yuri Gagarin, the grandson of the cosmonaut.  

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.

Gagarin + Glenn

September 26, 2012 by Metalab Admin

We've been asked by Houston Arts Alliance to provide architectural and fabrication consultation services as well as construction management on a project that lies at the crossroads of the history of the space program in Houston and beyond.  A bronze statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, has been gifted to the City of Houston by a Russian donor.  A matching monument to the first US astronaut in space, John Glenn, has been produced through a collaboration between Ron Whitte, Randy Twaddle and Metalab.  Based upon an image of Glenn in his capsule during his historic journey, an algorithm produced a gradient perforation pattern made up of tiny Mercury capsules.  The 8' x16' panel accompanies the bronze statue and is sited at the COH Parks Department headquarters which used to be the US space agencies main offices in Houston before the JSC was built and NASA was formed.

Woozy Blossom Installation @ AIA Houston FORECAST Exhibition Video

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

Memory Cloud Video

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

New Harmony Grotto video

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

Radiant Fountains video

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

Open Channel Flow video

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

The Huddle

July 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

We've installed the latest project for Matthew Geller in Albuquerque, NM called "The Huddle".  It is a small stainless steel pavilion canopy held up by three columns with tactile surfaces created by Haden Garrett here in Houston who led the assembly fabrication.  It in the front entry to the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visual Impaired.  The design features a public swing with handicap accessible seating.  Metalab provided architectural design, digital fabrication and construction management on the work.  The installation was finished in an hour!  

Public Art Network

June 10, 2012 by Metalab Admin

We were invited to be panelists at the Public Art Network pre-conference to the Americans for the Arts convention in San Antonio.  Our panel was titled Ops and Apps: The Art of Technology and was moderated by Martha Peters, Public Art Vice President of the Arts Council Ft. Worth.  The event was held at the Pearl complex and we convened in the historic Stable hall.

Jim Isermann @ OSU

May 22, 2012 by Metalab Admin

Our first collaboration with Jim Isermann has gone well and is being 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 presentation

March 02, 2012 by Metalab Admin

Images from the Memory Cloud presentation at TAMU. Re: Site, Artists Metalab, Architecture + Fabrication  

Ceiling Cloud / New Conference Room

July 01, 2011 by Metalab Admin

We have moved to 1824 Spring St., Suite 220. Our new conference room is the new home for the Ceiling Cloud

Fabrication Time

April 30, 2008 by Metalab Admin

From Campo Sheet Metal Works' 12'x60' Water jet cutter to the Keeland Building at UHcoA. The parts for our 1/4 actual size model have been received with a ONE DAY turnaround from our friends at Campo. We must label by hand because the water jet can not etch the parts. The part names and bends are determined by interacting and referencing the 3D model in realtime in order to dynamically control accuracy to the virtual Grotto our students modeled in Rhino software.

Site Integration

April 28, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Lee Kelly has drawn the site plan of our Grotto in the same retro-graphic style as Kiesler's draftsman.

Grotto in Houston

April 28, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Our process as culminated to a point that we feel is a definitive interpretation of Kiesler's Grotto adapted to our context here in Houston through the eyes and hands of our talented students using contemporary design tools. Come by on Friday, May 2nd from 5 to 7pm in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture Atrium for the exhibition opening and see the adjacent proposed site for the project next to College, the new Keeland Building and the University's new Koi Pond.

DigiFAB Shell Model

April 21, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Rosalia is leading the effort to assemble a complex assembly of parts extracted from the digital models. After days of preparation and negotiating the queue at the laser cutter, the model goes together in ONE DAY!

Shell Development

April 02, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Structual Gradient

March 31, 2008 by Metalab Admin

We are now coordinating the form of the shell, core and groundwork with the structural patterning. The cellular system is derived by points projected along the z-axis onto the surface. This produces regularity in the top while creating elongated cells in the wall area. As the shell approaches the Cartesian plane it lineates into ribs that extend along the surface of the existing slab on the west side and curl under to support the seating core on the east side of the grotto.

Grotto for Meditation Exhibition at the Kiesler Foundation

March 14, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Living in Shelters The Future of the Cavern Opening: Thursday, February 28th, 2008, 7.30 pm Mariahilfer Strasse 1b se 1b, 1060 Vienna/Austria Duration: February 29th, 2008 - March 18th, 2008 Opening hours: Mo – Fr: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Do: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. http://www.kiesler.org/cms/index.php?lang=3&idcat=88

For the first time in an exhibition, the Kiesler-foundation confronts the two models Grotto for Meditation and Endless House. Both concepts are characterized by the artists research for a form, which attempts to satisfy both practical and spiritual human demands, in order to provide men a livable and adequate environment.

Working on a construction (which was close to Philip Johnsons Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana) for the successors of Robert Owen (1771-1858), an early socialist and founder of the cooperative system, Kiesler found in 1962 an opportunity to verify his co-realistic theories in the built practise. The design of the Grotto for Meditation refers to the history of the social-reformatory movement of the location, but first of all, it should represent a room of meditation, a universal form beyond all religious denominations.

Similar to the Endless House, Kiesler gets inspired by morphologic formal vocabulary and chooses the motif of a spiral, for the artist a symbol for change and assimilation. The centre of the complex is built in form of a snail. This form combines the centrifugal power, the expansion to the infinity, with the centripetal power, which approaches the individual towards contemplation.

Mid Review

March 12, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Digital Fabrication Team

March 09, 2008 by Metalab Admin

The Grotto in Houston

March 09, 2008 by Metalab Admin

We are exploring the idea of building a contemporary interpretation of the Grotto in Houston next to another Philip Johnson building... the UH College of Architecture. This proposal will take the project from its original spiritual context and reframe it into architectural pedagogy that will provide a place for rest and contemplation on the campus. UH Facilities is serendipitously building a "Meditation Pond" adjacent to an existing slab next to the architecture building. We are in discussion with their landscape team on how we can integrate the project with their efforts using some of Kiesler's earthwork forms. We have been invited to submit our proposal to Campus Planning for their review... Here are some images that describe the larger context of the project within the UH Arts Precinct and the new quad beginning formed with the Grotto as its focal point.

New Harmony Site Plans

March 09, 2008 by Metalab Admin

The aerial view shows the Roofless Church at the Northern edge of New Harmony. The group of trees to the east is Paul Tillich Park with its adjacent pond. We are building a scale model of Kiesler's model in its originally proposed context and will present it as a gift to the Blaffer Foundation in New Harmony.


March 09, 2008 by Metalab Admin

The students made the architectural pilgrimage to New Harmony, Indiana to meet with Ben Nicholson and visit the original site for the Grotto. We listened to Ben read the address Paul Tillich gave at the dedication of the park and proposed project...

"I have seen the model of the new park and the Cave in it. It was sent to me in bronze, a very heavy package, and was immediately powerful in its symbolic character, even in the diminished form of a model. So I look forward to one day when Mrs. Tillich and I might be here again, to see the work as it is finished. In any case, my impression of this place is an impression of something astonishing, surprising, great in itself, in its past, and in its present. And my wish is that it may remain great also in its future."

Across the street is Philip Johnson's Roofless Church also commissioned by Jane Blaffer Owen. Johnson introduced Kiesler to Mrs. Owen which led to the conception of the Grotto. He subsequently told Mrs. Owen that it could not be built and the project was abruptly ended. We had our review in Ben's studio space. The teams were able to see their collective efforts in one space for the first time outside of the Architecture Building in Houston. St. Louis is the closest airport to New Harmony so we had an opportunity to the Saarinen's Arch. Its exquisite stainless steel structural skin was a profound experience for the group as we consider the materiality of the Grotto and its potential for permanence in the Houston climate. The subtle integration of the monument into its landscape pedestal is just as impressive.

Digital reproduction of Kiesler Model in Keeland Building

March 03, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Surface Structural Patterning

February 26, 2008 by Metalab Admin

A series of studies involving different patterns projected, mapping or generated along a surface. The fact that a patterned surface can perform as a minimal structure opens the possibility to us that Kiesler's Grotto might be constructed using a frame rather than a homogeneous amorphous mass. This moves us toward an assembly of rigid parts instead of an arrested liquid such as concrete.


February 26, 2008 by Metalab Admin

This series of sketches exemplifies the exploration of Kiesler's spaces through the medium he used consistently throughout his career. The expression of topological space formed by a closely measured presence of the body is one point of departure for our current work.

Sectional Analysis

February 26, 2008 by Metalab Admin

Kiesler and his various drafting assistants produced several versions of the Grotto in section. An important task is to compare these original studies at a common scale to see what the essential qualities were in development and how they contradict each other.