The Discus 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).
We have been retained by Greater East End to design a prototypical market kiosk for the Navigation Blvd. espanade in the east side of Houston. These will be installed along with our Discus system with LED pedestrian lightings and solar generators. They are designed with a perforated sheet metal shell roof that 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.
Didn't get to see Metalab's FORECAST: AIA Houston's 2011 Artist of the Year Exhbition? Check out a video of it here.
Architecture Center Houston and AIA Houston present
AIA Houston 2011 Artist of the Year Exhibition
June 14 -- July 13, 2012
Architecture Center Houston
A parametric tree that emits a cloud of fog, a photobooth that captures a vortex of Activity at parties and a shipping container that soaks up the sun to produce its own power. These are a series of projects that will be exhibited and creating their own micro-climates in FORECAST by Metalab.
While we can't control the weather or a turbulent economy that has thwarted many startups, we can make the best of it by reflecting on how an alternate path within architectural practice has generated a body of work in the genres of civic art and product design. Through collaborations with artists, product curators and solar entrepreneurs, Metalab applies an understanding of the leading edge of design and fabrication technology while working within Houston's can-do landscape of manufacturing and industry.
Metalab was founded 5 years ago by partners Joe Meppelink and Andrew Vrana over a conversation that left off in a metal fabrication shop on Old Spanish Trail and restarted with students at the University of Houston in a new Digital Fabrication seminar in 2005. They have since built a multidisciplinary design firm that specializes in architecture, civic art and product design and applies invention and innovation in the use of advanced 3D modeling and digital fabrication, interactive technologies, and a practicing commitment to sustainability through product design and entrepreneurship.
The exhibit is presented in partnership with artist Matthew Geller, Smilebooth LLC, Adaptive Container LLC and the University of Houston Green Building Components program (UHGBC).
Here are some images of SPACE units as they've been installed at the various locations around Houston. Check out the MAP as well. Acres Home Multi-Srvce Ctr. 6719 W. Montgomery Fire Station 31 205 W. Crosstimbers Fire Station 72 17401 Saturn Lane Fire Station 75 1995 Dairy Ashford Rd Fire Station 80 16111 Chimney Rock Fire Station 82 11250 Braesridge Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center 6225 Northdale JW Peavy Senior Center 3814 Market Lake Houston Park Archery Pavilion 22031 Baptist Encampment Ripley House Neighborhood Center 4410 Navigation Third Ward Multi-Service 3611 Ennis Waltrip High School 1900 West 34th Street Westside HS Briarforest Wilson ES 2100 Yupon
[imagebrowser id=2] Our students in the Spring 2012 Digital Fabrication Seminar have been working on a project called POP-UP. It 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. DigiFAB Students Spring 2012: Wells Barber Phillip Bridges Felipe Cosio Nathalia Gallego Tom Hoang Mac Little Pedro Martinez Rodrigo Marron Ricardo Sepulveda Anton Stoev Facebook Page
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.
TRAVEL BOOTH The next implementation of the photobooth product line. The travel booth is designed to be thin and easy to assemble, allowing it to easily be taken by a single person from one event to another.
GRO-POD The gro-POD, a revolutionary yet simple raised bed gardening system, is a drag and drop garden that can reclaim any existing space as new growing grounds. A project supported by the University of Houston Green Building Components (UHGBC) applied research program, the gro-POD is ideal for use in community gardens, commercial developments, and private home gardens - anywhere there is a flat surface! The gro-POD 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. gro-POD… Grow Anywhere! www.gro-pod.com
PODA the PLAY A commission for the Houston Arts Alliance Portable Art on Demand project. Given the presence of both the (grown-up) museum and the children present in the park context of Discovery Green we suggested the overarching narrative of PLAY, as a guiding concept for the development of the repurposed PODS container. The PLAY narrative capitalizes on the context of the park setting and open space, but perhaps more fittingly, offers an energetic creative outlet for both creators and the participants. PLAY also makes a subtle reference to the consumer culture of consumption, acquisition, and obsolescence that defines the lifecycle of the playthings that we buy, and that leads to the now ubiquitous demand and market for self-storage solutions like PODS. Themes developed with students in the DigiFAB seminar included concepts such as unpacking and laying out reconfigurable furniture, laying out maze-like components into pathways, creating a sound piece by replacing POD walls with xylophone bars, creating interior cave-like spaces by removing solid biomorphic forms that function as provocative objects on the surrounding lawn.
Our first PV-POD application has been installed on the roof of the new Houston Permitting Center opening soon. The building will house the new Green Building Resource Center and the roof will be viewable from penthouse in the central staircase. This installation will expand with to include more solar and wind turbines on the roof.
The full-scale Grotto cut out of 1/8", 1/4" and 3/8" stainless steel sheets will need more tolerance between the components as we incrementally assemble the structure. It won't be possible to weld a part without checking and tweaking the alignments a few cells away. We've devised a system of holes that will allow for fasteners to be placed to hold the connectors to the ribs temporarily. As adjustments are made to the braked angles, the fasteners are tightened and contact is made. Two other holes in the connector will provide easy access to perform a basic plug weld. Fasteners are removed, welds ground and the entire structure will be glass-bead sandblasted, erasing the trace of the assembly process.
The Photobooth for Brooke Schwab Photography has returned with its coat of white paint ready for the equipment installation. It will begin making the rounds to weddings and other events for original candid photos taken from a innovative and elegant container. standing on the ballast plate upper aperture for strobe light, camera and touch screen monitor below perforation down the side along the radius of the bends only and blending into the flat solid surface via a sorting script interior, access door open access door closed embedded casters for short distance mobility and placement on ballast plate for stability
The Photobooth is ready to be fabricated. Our assembly team at Merge will receive a kit-of-parts of digitally cut components ready to be formed and welded, a 1/4 scale model and some diagrams... not one dimensioned drawing! Metalab has designed and authored the parts for this innovative and mobile Photobooth. Our clients at BSP will transport and install this at weddings and other occasions for quick, high quality photos printed on the spot. The wheels will be integrated into the box with removable handles so the unit can be easily moved onto the thick ballast plate from the truck/crate.