suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Kokkugia / Roland SNOOKS with Mitchell Lab: The Cliff House (Nevada, 2012) is an experiment in composite fiber architecture operating in extreme conditions. . . .
The project is a collaboration between Kokkugia / Roland Snooks and the Mitchell Lab at Texas A&M that explored agent-based behavioral design methodologies operating across the scales of form, structure, and composite fiber.
Designing through agent-based behavioral strategies encodes design intent within individual elements that interact at a local scale to give rise to the emergence of complex order at the macro-scale. Applying this methodology to a composite fiber house enables the local scale to be reduced to a sub-material level. This increase in the population of agents generates greater intricacy and intensive emergent affects. The geometry of the Cliff House is not discrete or reducible – instead, geometry negotiates complex behaviors such as structure and ornament, generating emergent characteristics that shift throughout the project.
The site for the house was chosen to test the capacity of composite fabrication in extreme structural situations to resist both wind and static loads. Although an argument for composite fiber construction is frequently premised on the desire for structural optimization, the use of composite material in the Cliff House is a negotiation of structural necessity with more esoteric aesthetic, formal and tectonic intentions – it is the expressive nature of these formations that is of interest.
The translucency of the composite material is exploited to reveal the embedded networks and emergent hierarchies of structural strands. The composite skin registers the ripples of bifurcating and converging strands that blur the distinction between structure and ornament. The strands shift from a networked surface to tentacles that etch their trajectories into the cliff-face. These tentacles, attach to the cliff partly out of structural necessity but also from the desire for continuity and to blur the edge of the object – a strategy for diffusing the object into its environment. The relationship sets up a strange hybrid between rock and composite strand. There is an ambiguity as to whether the strands are growing through the existing cracks in the rocks, or whether the cracks have been made for the strands. This condition is neither geological nor synthetic; instead it sets up a tension between the two.
Additional credits and links:
Design Director: Roland Snooks
Mitchell Lab Director: Gabriel Esquivel.
Project Team: Adrian Cortez, Zach Hoffman, Stephen Renard, Rafael Vazquez, Andrew Horne, Tyler Nagai, and Lyly Huyen.