suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
jason s. JOHNSON (MINUS ARCHITECTURE STUDIO): AX2011 explores localized weather conditions as generative tactics for a parametrically limited undulating geometry. The project simulates the surface and formal effects produced by warm air masses often referred to as “Chinooks” or foehn winds as they collide with arctic air masses. This phenomenon which occurs in southern Alberta, is capable of producing rapid and extreme variations in air temperature as well as a cloud formation known as a Chinook arch. These formations are produced through orographic lifting and often manifest in variably coloured and rippled stratus clouds with a distinct trailing edge.
This project was developed as a part of the ACADIA 2011 project exhibition in collaboration with the sponsors and fabricators FLATCUT_. Undulating masses and surface articulations where produced through a set of metaball and subdivision simulations and translated into flat sheet material fabrication strategies. Translucency, reflection and subtle tonal variations interact with ambient lighting to condition the exhibition space. The wall also produces an armature for the inclusion of selected projects from the exhibit.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
jJ: I have been reading an old text on cloud formations by Luke Howard called “Essay on the Modifications of Clouds”, in which he describes the formation and transitional states of clouds as a structure of aggregation. So there were several strategies related to the movement of clouds from one state to another that were interesting to me as ways to generate specific but open ended formal responses.
At the same time we were working with some fabricators in Brooklyn who were asking that we try and simplify the fabrication techniques away from 3D milling towards 2D cutting. So in the end the drive to embed the logics of cloud formations described by Howard was translated into a series of components that could be fabricated through 2 dimensional cutting. We went back and forth quite a bit on how best to make this work.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
jJ: In addition to the Howard reading, I have been going through a pile of old Architectural Forum magazines that I inherited from a retiring colleague. It’s always interesting to read about old projects from the perspective of them being new.
In the studio at the time we were watching a lot of reruns of “That Mitchell and Webb Look.” Let’s just say that Netflix in Canada has a bit of a limited selection and frankly the “Numberwang” sketch pretty much sums up what it’s like to try and decipher some of the grasshopper definitions we developed for this thing.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
jJ: I work a lot with Joshua Taron at Synthetiques. I like catching up with Marc at theverymany. I think in both cases the level of focus that they apply to very specific ways of working is really inspiring. While curating the exhibit for this project we included some really interesting stuff from Skylar Tibbits, Alvin Huang (SDA), Steven Ma, Mark Gage, and PROJECTiONE.
We had Nick Puckett up here running a workshop last month which was great. Really there is too much stuff I look at on a daily basis to include here.
Additional credits and links:
Code + Fabrication Design: Jodi James, Kurtis Nishiyama
Photos by Eric Au