Environments in Motion

Submitted by Lawrence Scarpa

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Client: Sound Transit

Location: Seatac, WA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $925,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

John Welsch

Harbor Pacific

Architect

Jeffrey Huber

Brooks + Scarpa

Overview

Using ruled surface geometry, the undulating façade is formed by connecting two curves with a series of straight lines to form the surface of the façade. Each of the custom aluminum façade elements were designed and segmented into standardized sizes for the most efficient structural shape and material form, while maximizing production, fabrication and installation cost efficiency. This technique allowed the design team to work with complex curved forms and rationalize them into simple, cost-effective standardized components, making them easy to fabricate and efficient to install.

Goals

Inspired by William Forsythe’s improvisational piece ‘Dance Geometry’ where dancers connect their bodies by matching lines in space that could be bent, tossed or otherwise distorted, we began to think of the possibilities where simple straight lines are composed to produce an infinite number of movements and positions with little need for transition. This idea lessens the need to think about the end result and focus more on discovering new ways of movement and transformations’.

Process

Every unique condition of the project’s shape had to be geometrically rationalized. In other words, a fabricator must somehow measure and build off a set of drawings with the assumption that automated fabrication techniques are not always at hand. Beginning with the top and bottom chords, every segment of the curves was reduced to either measurable arcs for a pipe roller or straight-line segments for standardized shapes. Following this process, the lines of the ruled surface had to be segmented into standardized sizes for efficient fabrication while adhering to a set of rules given by the structural properties of the material. The architect provided analysis, constructability, and digital documents for direct and automated fabrication.