The 'Bloom' project set out to demonstrate and test the capabilities of this bimetal in an outdoor laboratory setting over the course of one year. The site's various daily and seasonal changes allow monitoring of three goals: the movement in the surface, the durability of the material and the integrity of a structure over time. This large public installation changes the way people think about architecture vis-a-vis the digital capabilities of design to fabrication; It excites public interest in smart materials vis-a-vis the green revolution and climate change; and it sparks interest in innovative structures vis-a-vis current demands in high performance buildings.
In order to make an impact on the architectural industry, the installation has to embody the three virtues of architecture according to Vitruvius: firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Firstly, the structure must be solid, which, in this case, embodies an optimized shape for a highly efficient monocoque system. Like the matrix of branches on a tree, it is designed to hold its own weight and resist lateral loads flexibly. Secondly, the same large form provides sunny and shaded spaces below for a variety of functions and experimental reconfigurations of public space, part of the gallery's mission. The changing surface controls the temperature of those spaces on hot days. And, finally, the beauty of the piece is derived from its overall form, size and shiny aesthetic. It is difficult to compare the effect of this piece to any other experience. It balances art with technology, an area familiar to architects.
Further Resources and Readings
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