Nick Gelpi: Unflat Pavilion/Feather-Weight House at FAST Light 2011
A freestanding pavilion, created by flexing two dimensions into three, this house deploys a fabrication system used to create a membrane, which is simultaneously structural, functional and representational in a single act. Entirely constructed of laminated plywood, an open pattern is cut into flat plywood stock which transforms into three-dimensional architectural features as flat sheets are bent and unfurl into skylights, columns, buttresses, windows and vents, in the act of becoming UNFLAT.
This project demonstrates an architectural role reversal across its surface. On one elevation, a soft skin is hung on a structural frame. On the other elevation, the skin becomes structural, lifting the frame from the ground, inverting the normative structural hierarchy in an act of tectonic confusion.
The project uses a promising method of fabrication with flexures, as many hundreds of parts become discreet, yet remain continuously attached to the sheet, eliminating the need for fasteners. This structure isn’t hard, heavy, bulletproof, or monumental, it is modest, soft, cheap, low-tech, and full of holes.
Inside the house, the walls appear porous and lightweight, its cavity illuminated with flexible LED strips attached to interior of each sheet.
MIT Festival of Art, Science and Technology. FAST Light 2011. Video by Judy Daniels.