We are currently fabricating and assembling a large-scale installation for the upcoming Centennial celebration at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. The project grew out of a Catalyst studio taught by Adam Marcus (with Nathan Miller of CASE) in March, 2013, which looked at ways of using computational design tools to generate formal and spatial constructions using large quantities of data—in this case, information collected over the 100-year history of UMN's architecture school. This project is part of a larger interest in what we call data spatialization: ways of developing compelling models for data-driven design in architecture that meld conventional methods of data visualization/infographics with practices gleaned from installation art and advanced fabrication technologies.
The project consists of 100 CNC-routed plywood ribs, joined together with 8080 colored #2 pencils. The curvature of the ribs expresses major historical eras and periods of the School—the tenures of its leadership, the buildings it has occupied, etc.—while the color of the pencils reflects the changing composition of the School's degree programs over the past century. The piece will occupy the central courtyard of Ralph Rapson Hall (the School's home for the last fifty years) during the Centennial kickoff cocktail party on Friday, October 25; the following night, it will reappear in disassembled form as 100 centerpieces for the black-tie Centennial gala planned for the Depot in downtown Minneapolis. At the end of the weekend, the installation becomes dispersed as alumni and friends of the School take the pencils with them as souvenirs of the celebration.
Some process images: