Periscope / Matter Design

© Matter Design

For the Young Architects Forum Atlanta’s 10UP! National Architectue Competition, participants were challenged to create a temporary installation for Atlanta. The winning 45 ft tower, Periscope, designed by Brandon Clifford and Wes Mcgee of Matter Design Studio, is an “inhabitable installation with iconic implications to advocate bold architecture for the Atlanta community and young designers across the globe.” The designers felt the tower would create a strong marker for the city, “Through vertical expansion via the omission of a vertical restriction, this tower will engage a broader audience, inviting them to the event similar to search lights in the night sky.”

More about the tower, including lots of images and a video, after the break.

Assembled in only 6 hours with the aid of Tier son Boutte of Boutte Tree, the slanting tower is coated with expanded polystyrene which were formed by computerized cutting via robotic hot wire. Inside this layer, parts of “Porex” have been mounted on a wooden inner frame that are assembled and stabilized by the steel cable turnbuckles attached to the base, a wooden box concealing counterweight blocks.

© Matter Design

The tower’s exterior expression can be a little difficult to read for what appears as fabric stretched across compressive rods is quite the opposite – the foam is compressive and the rods are actually performing as tensile cables. “This rhetorical inversion invites spectators in for closer inspection to find the tower is not constructed of thin surfaces at all, but rather carved from solid blocks of EPS foam,” added the architects.

© Matter Design

The foam, by its nature, is inherently volumetric and light weight. Yet, the foam is also delicate and requires a great deal of precision to handle larger assemblies. “This proposal takes advantage of larger than life size build ing blocks to achieve a quickly constructed, and relatively large installation.”

© Matter Design

Often times, in digitally fabricated projects, too much waste can be generated; however, the designers were aware of this and sought a way to eliminate the excess waste. “Beyond the efficiency of unit nesting, the methods of fabrication (robotic hotwire) produces no kerf waste and the minimal waste produced in starting and stopping a stock block produce 100% recyclable material. The research and development behind the means and methods of fabrication speak to our approach to design – reciprocity between drawing and making,” added the architects.

year: 2010 design team: bran don clif ford, wes mcgee, dave pigram struc tural: matthew john son build team: bran don clif ford, wes mcgee, maciej kaczyn ski, johanna lob dell, deniz mcgee, kris wal ters rig ging: tier son boutte fab ri ca tion: uni ver sity of michi gan taub man col lege of archi tec ture and urban plan ning client: mod ern atlanta 10up competition

Source: blob.bellostes

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Periscope / Matter Design" 15 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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