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  • Materialization of Information: Knowledge City

    Columbia GSAPP, Studio-X Mumbai, & NMIMS University, "Materialization of Information: Knowledge City."
    mumbai INDIA

    Columbia GSAPP, Studio-X Mumbai, & NMIMS University

    The project is located in Mumbai, on the boardwalk promenade of Carter Road. The ribs were constructed in a double layer of router-cut overlapping ½”MDF. The repetitive rib system, expressing the fluid transformation of a visual frame responding to different perception depending on the position of the viewer, defines both the structure and its deformation. . . .

    Relation between the Virtual Visual and Physical Environments
    Professor Frederic Levrat has been investigating the relation between the Virtual, the Visual and the Physical environments for more than twenty years, through studios taught at Columbia University GSAPP. Over the last two years, he has partnered with Phillip Anzalone, the director of the Laboratory for Applied Building Science to explore more precisely the relationship between the physical and the virtual environments with the construction of small pavilions. Combining Levrat’s knowledge of philosophy and theory with Anzalone expertise in the materialization and new fabrication technologies, the Columbia University students were asked to explore the concept of the “materialization of Information.”

    The studio process is highly collaborative, involving a number of actors on different continents, starting in New York with the GSAPP studio students, the Laboratory for Applied Building Science, in Mumbai the students from the NMIMS undergraduate architecture program and their professor Atray Chhaya, as well as the director of Studio X in Mumbai, Rajeev Takkher.

    The project is located in Mumbai, on the boardwalk promenade of Carter Road. Prototypes at full scale were constructed at Columbia University in Honeycomb board. In Mumbai, the ribs were constructed in a double layer of router-cut overlapping 1/2″ MDF. The repetitive rib system, expressing the fluid transformation of a visual frame responding to different perception depending on the position of the viewer, defines both the structure and its deformation. It is a self-referential system, repeating itself twenty-six times with each rib notating a slight transformation of the frame. Structurally, a second system of ribs intersect the primary system and rigidify the entire spatial device through their intersections.

    The pedagogy of the exercise was to explore the limit of architecture as a media, and what architecture can achieve as a text and a context. The abstract qualities of the self-referential deformation nevertheless, had now to touch the ground, respond to gravity and the user’s bodies, standing up and creating a new floor for walking through the structure. The floor boards became the spacers between the inner ribs, creating a new elevated datum, while the outer ribs completed the structural puzzle. As the structure became larger it grew in stability, with the network of ribs supporting each other.

    The Pavilion on Carter Road in Mumbai is an excellent attempt at exploring the relationship between the Virtual, the Visual and the Physical environment, showing the potentials as well as the limitations architecture inherently carries within itself. It certainly showed that developing economies such as India are avid explorers of new production technologies and capable user of computer generated design and computer assisted fabrication.

    Additional credits and links:
    “Materialization of Information: Knowledge City”
    Relation between the Virtual Visual and Physical Environments.

    GSAPP Studio (Fred Levrat)
    Theory and Design.
    Laboratory for Applied Building Science (Phillip Anzalone)
    Detail design and material concepts.
    Studio-X Mumbai (Rajeev Thakkher)
    Logistics and sponsoring.
    NMIMS University, Mumbai (Atray Chhaya)
    Cultural feedback, site management, and production.

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