University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
critic: Andrew SAUNDERS.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Gary POLK: Refraction is defined as the fact or phenomenon of light being deflected in passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another, or through a medium of varying density.
Torque Carving utilizes light refraction as a vehicle to derive geometry and creates a new envelope from light rays that divide at specific angles of refraction, simultaneously torquing to full or partial inversion. The transposition that these lines creates appears in the form of a hyperbolic surface. Once it invades a new normative envelope dictated by parti, various spatial conditions and effects are created—including a gradient in the density of topology, seamless transitions between interior and the exterior, and explicit normative edges.
Programming began by examining Philadelphia’s bid for the Olympics and the city’s apparent lack of aquatic facilities. This program also takes on the additional demands of “carnival,” or flexible event planning in additional theaters, galleries, and other amenities. The plan’s development was then filtered according to [Giambattista] Nolli’s mapping conventions—certain programs play the role of “figure” against the “figuring” of other programs. Just as the public space of Roman churches and public streets are represented in white in Nolli’s mapping, this project’s refracted envelope begins to define special moments of “figured voids” within the site.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
GP: Kepler’s poly[he]dral planets, Descartes’s plenum, Baroque churches, Nolli maps, and Aires Mateus’s drawing conventions.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
GP: Reading Saga; listening to Hail Farm, Of Monsters and Men, and the Deus-Ex: Human Revolution OST; and watching Jodorowsky’s Dune.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
GP: Jimenez Lai, Neri Oxman, Paul Preissner, and Neil Denari.
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