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.
Our product design clients at Smilebooth asked us to design their home offices at Spring Street Studios in Houston. The space is defined by an occupied platform floating in the open studio space. On top are the workstations for event photography employees while underneath is a "dark room" for conferences and display of photobooth projects (designed by Metalab). The storefront further features the Smilebooth line of products in a branded environment.
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.
In this March/April 2014 Texas Architect piece, Andrew Vrana articulates the creative opportunities that exist in the University of Houston's cutting-edge fabrication lab, the Burdette Keeland Design Exploration Center. Vrana also describes another intriguing UH project, the "Three Continent Studio," in which students devised positive solutions for the problems that vex Houston and other large, industrial cities located in estuary environments.
Ringo was selected as a 2014 finalist for the Products + Lighting category in this year's Architizer A+ Awards. Be sure to vote before March 21!
We are working again with Jim Isermann and the University of Houston Campus Art and Facilities on a large outdoor public artwork on the new UH Cougar Stadium now under construction designed by Page Architects. The pattern of interlocking U's and H's is set within 8' square pre-cast panels that will be erected as walls and ground work at the southwest corner of the facility. The new Metro lightrail station will be online soon and the passage onto campus from that point will connect to the project. We have been working with Gate Precast, the fabricators of the pre-cast panels on the Perot Museum by Morphosis, to develop these unique panels with recycled crushed red and black glass to evoke the school colors. Our lighting product, Ringo, will also be included to illuminate the work. Installation will be June 2014.
Some shots of completed project from Matthew Geller
Our Digital Fabrication Seminar is focusing on the completion of the New Harmony Grotto this semester. We initated this project in 2008 with Visiting Critic Ben Nicholson and substantially completed it in 2010 when the donor, Jane Blaffer Owen, passed away. We seek to resolve the interior space, footbridge, site work and the gate that Kiesler designed for the original project. Ben visited the College recently and gave a lecture to the students along with Michelangelo Sabatino who are completing the book related to the project called Forms of Spirtituality. Ben's talk starts 30 minutes into the program.