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Reflexivity

2008

– with Jeong Yul Lee, Felix Monasakanian, Efren Soriano


     If the concept of the exhibit is to catalogue specific artifacts to form an idea about something-- a historical event, a series of achievements, or an emerging trajectory of developments, it can be viewed as an encapsulated snapshot of those concepts, bounded by influences such as the subjectivity of the curator, the duration of the show, and the walls of the gallery. The notion of a floating pavilion liberates the exhibit from the constraints of situated duration. The contents of the mobile exhibit grow and change over time, influenced by its visitors, as well as by its constantly changing urban context and the varying environmental conditions that come with this ephemerality of locale. As a consequence, the pavilion evolves beyond existing simply as a container, and begins to act as an attractor or node of confluence for the artifacts and ideas that it encounters and consequently assimilates to form a recombinant entity of experience.

     Our proposal, at its most basic level, can be described as a sixty-six meter long, nine meter tall mirror. A steel space frame holds up 3,615 mirrored panels, each measuring 750 mm by 750 mm. The panels tile together to form the entire envelope of the pavilion. Each mirrored panel is attached to a mechanical assembly that allows it to flip, rotate and slide along a track attached to the space frame, facilitating a wide range of motion. The movement of the panels enables the floating pavilion to adapt and respond to its environment. To blend in with the surrounding context, the mirrors can deploy to fully enclose the space. Standing on shore, a viewer sees the skyline and the cityscape reflected back. From the inside, occupants can look out through the one-way mirrors to observe the city invisibly. The pavilion reveals itself when panels flip out or rotate to let sunlight into the gallery, or when entire bays retract to accommodate an open-air event. Throughout the day, panels angle themselves towards the sun to charge photovoltaic cells that are laminated within the thickness of the panels themselves.

     The observation deck consists of an elevated platform that emerges from an opening in the roof surface. As they are walking across it, visitors look out across the Thames while the sky is reflected below their feet.

     At night, LEDs embedded in each panel light up to animate the surface of the pavilion. Different regions of the panels light up to both illuminate the exterior and respond to activity inside. For instance, the number of LEDs that are lit up are proportional to the number of occupants that the floating pavilion is carrying at the time. As the gallery reaches maximum occupancy, the panels reach maximum illumination. The panels can also nest into clusters, forming glowing canopy-like spaces. This system allows the pavilion to configure itself into a virtually limitless number of permutations.

     The proposal is both a monolithic, alien insertion onto the river, and a completely invisible entity. The floating pavilion uses the simple act of reflection to both alter the urban profile of London and blend into the context of the city.



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