“Every work of art is an interpretation of the world, of what you are contemplating, a determination of the perception that creates and tries a different world. At the end of the day, a work of art is but a gift to the art.”
Félix Candela, Architect
“A long distance collaboration process can become a nightmare if not correctly managed”, that was my first concern when FABER Studio CEO Victor Ebergenyi and Partner Sergio Acosta first contacted me, which brought me to a couple of days of personal decision analysis. The promisse of meeting worldwide ideas and workflows added to my knowledge became a winning quote… no time left… clock was ticking and production had already been delayed since the conceptual idea couldn’t be embodied materialistically by the initial team conformation, since the project managers didn’t want to fall for the classical box design for the building something had to be processed as soon as possible .
The contest consisted on basically creating a new sports arena proposal that could substitute a longtime abandoned cylinder shapedlike arena in Uruguay.
I had never collaborated before with a previously stablished idea, and even more worrying, were we all going to be able to synthesize an allien idea?
Sketches were presented to me, as commonly seen on our work field the idea was accomplished with elegant design, but it stopped there… tools weren’t known to process a complex idea. As I learned among my student years (and basically the idea that this blog pursues) it’s not about how much technologies limit our ideas’ representation, the contemporary processes and technologies are out there and we must adapt ourselves to dominate the full workflow and processes to exploit their maximum capabilities. As my partners from Complex Geometry quote “Computers are efficient but stupid slaves, they will only do what you are able to communicate with them, and to communicate with them you must train yourself on their language”
After watching all sketches and drawings I felt really happy knowing how much I was going to be able to explore and fuse my own ideas with the team, I decided (without concern of allien opinions) to scribble from scratch, to synthesize a whole idea to make it beautiful, something we could all together agree with and most importantly, something that we could produce.
A “bean” shaped model was presented (amongst few others), basing itself on the hyperbolic paraboloid, which is conceptually a quadric doubly ruled surface shaped like a horse’s saddle, basing ourselves on the maximum and minimum allowed heights, the revolution curves were created, composing a Gaussian and a mean curvature extension (which are both always positive), having their maximum height values at the origin, becoming smaller as a point on the surface moves further away from the origin, and tend asymptotically to zero as the said point moves infinitely away from the origin, these points had the limit of low heights allowed as previously mentioned.
Oh my… we were quoting Felix Candela’s principles on a contemporary design, I couldn’t be more pleased since I’m a big fan of his architectural designs, his complexity based on geometrical principles help accomplish light weight surfaces of almost infinite covering area desires… as in infinite I obviously mean a well configurated and structured construction… even better, it all sounded so juicy for our 2,600 square meter arena proposal!!
Shape accomplished, missmatched opinions and facade proposals started raining all over the place. “This is impossible to built” – “Shape is a mess, let’s make a supportive massing structural facade” – “let’s go back to the box idea” (by the way that last one gave the design team a stomache ache) I left for the office with an angry frown on my face for hours… After dealing with the idea of resigning our one week work, I decided not to give up, after all this is the bollogne I hear everyday since I started my studies & remembered how much I promissed myself at school never to go back to traditional designing… now let’s convince the whole team THIS was our winning design, after all, it is all producible if the correct analysis process is set on the table. The design team and I came up with great ideas, the scripting made the structuring a light weight memory in our heads, so we were able to produce lots and lots of proposals, catching up with the current stream of conciousness and idea bubbling a beautiful facade idea came up…
The facade system works as a flag and pole structure, each of the 1,800 feathered shaped scales distributes their weight forces amongst the verticals touching the ground so the foundation piles can finally carry the weight in a uniform motion. With the capacity to be adapted to different climate conditions to optimize energy usage, the scales are an ergonomic, windflow allowance shape that doesn’t fight against the enviroment conditions and offered an outstanding raising volume from the plaza.
Concept was finally landed!!! With the great work of the sustainability team windflow diagrams, structure work conditions and module density production was accomplished; all plans, sections and facades previously worked and analyzed by the developing team were attached; diagrams, cut cake renderings, exploded axonometries were developed by our design team; and Visual architect and artist Raúl Soria was called for the final image rendering production process.
Guess what?? Besides the excelent and amazing final product achieved by finalists, boxes won the contest, with the argument of efficient production and cost reduction. I cannot oppose to simplicity, in fact, developers who haven’t been in the background of the processes and analysis of ideas tend to feed the wheels of traditional design development, the concept was presented as an equivalent of production and costs as high or low (your call) as the finalists, I can’t also hide the fact that the final presentation imagery they presented is absolutely amazing and astonishing. I would have loved seeing an amazingly shaped arena raising up in Uruguay, even if it wasn’t our proposal, there’s nothing as the amusement for senses when standing under monumental non basic shaped architecture.
I invite you, friendly reader, to explore your margin of possibilities when dreaming of a concept, you will never be limited by technology, your own knowledge and imagination are the limits of your achievements, it’s not a matter of mastering a computer, since you will never be able to approach your ideas without your own bases of conceptual design; explore boundaries, mix and fuse sciences, technologies and you will never feel underachieved.
It is true that design is limited to materilizing capabilities, which leads me to my original idea, everything is approacheable and reachable as long as you develop a proper technique and explain yourself enough for closed minds to hear you out.
Thank you for allowing me a chance to be heard by you.
See you soon,
Special thanks to Faber Studio and Partners, to Victor who has the awesome ability of great idea developing and sharing, to Sergio who kept being the mainframe of the working machine we called team, for allowing me a chance on developing such a beautiful concept idea with you guys, to the international development partners (which I only met via Skype) I’d like to congratulate you for the awesome work achieved by the team, I hope you all get to read this sometime; to Raúl my cool awesome friend and collaborator (which as all of you can see did an amazing job) thanks for the cool discussions and endless office moments we have shared.