Jason Smith, Joshua Evans, Liwen Mao – 2010 – instructors: Cecil Balmond – Roland Snooks
Pixel Studio is a proposal for a new school of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. The project attempts to re-evaluate the traditional relationship between circulation space and program space. The enclosure of the space was developed through modification of an initial basic topological surface. Breaking and reforming of the topology as needed to maintain a uniform manifold and enclose the form of the building. The tectonic logic was developed as a weaving across this surface. Lines respond to one another based upon their density and orientation. The lines are expressed as a series of 32 different blocks that read as both line and block.
The organization of the building was developed using an agent based algorithm designed to generate emergent form using a positive feedback loop. Once the organization of the building was set, the topology of the enclosure was produced by wrapping a uniform surface around the organization diagram and then, based on local conditions, breaking and reforming where necessary. The result is a negotiation between the complex organization of the agent system and the simple uniform enclosure, generating new space for program to occupy. The material and the structure of the building were developed with a path algorithm that adjusted to spread out across the enclosure topology. The paths become dense and more surface like where necessary, such as on floors, and become sparse and more strand like on surfaces such as non structural walls to create apertures for light and views. The building is comprised of a set of 32 unique blocks which can be deployed in various combinations that follow the paths across the enclosure.