Client: UTSoA - Masters Design Thesis
Location: Austin, TX, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $1,000
Dr. Nancy Kwallek
The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture
To design a sustainable ceiling installation using regional wool that improves the interior environment through humidity regulation, acoustic control and VOC absorption, while also serving as an aesthetically pleasing piece of art. The use of vernacular, locally-sourced materials from a small-scale ranch in Dripping Springs, TX greatly decreases transportation and manufacturing emissions.
The final design solution provides an intimate space while seated beneath, both visually and spatially. Optimal acoustic control is created for conversation spaces [ 70 dB or lower ], such as meeting rooms, restaurants and lobbies. The hydrophillic interior cortex of a wool fiber allows for 1/3 its weight in moisture absorption, as well as its unique wicking property - providing humidity regulation in an interior [ keeping optimal level of 20-50% relative humidity ]. Recent research has proven that the wool fiber can irreversibly absorb 3 of the EPA’s top 9 most harmful indoor air toxins [ formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide nitrogen dioxide ], the ability to purify the air quality will improve human health and reduce SBS - Sick Building Syndrome. Along with the inherent wool properties and those designed for, this wool installation has the versatile option to easily become a light fixture.
The design process for TX Campanula began with thorough research covering the air purification, humidity regulation and acoustic controlling properties of the wool fiber. The strong collaboration between the designer, Tamara Kinney and the small-scale wool supplier was an integral part of maintaining the utmost level of sustainability for this project. The hanging forms have been carefully crocheted using hand-processed raw, natural wool roving from the American Cormo sheep. Maintaining the most natural state of the wool enables the fibers to have a stronger absorption rate for both VOC's and moisture regulation.
TX Campanula is the first of a two part installation to complete the Master's Design Thesis during my MID in Sustainable Design degree at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. These pieces will be exhibited in the UTSoA Materials Lab for the WEST Austin Studio Tour in May 2014.