STUDIO: top fuel filters workshop
SUPPORT: frank barkow (principal, barkow leibinger), thomas auer (transsolar engineering)
TEAM: evan shieh, dylan wood, kiana dolat

YEAR: four (4)
DATE: march, 2011
DESIGN LENGTH: two (2) weeks

PROJECT SITE: harris hall courtyard, school of architecture, usc
Unlike late modernism’s drive to reduce a facade to the least of all possible means (a curtain wall consisting of a single layer of glass), contemporary architecture begins to demand more performative & reactionary systems out its building facades. As a result, this two-week intensive workshop seeks to investigate the façade as a thickened, layered, and occluded condition in the service of performance (light, sound, climate, and structural control), spatial (occupiable), and aesthetic goals.

Our design-build full-scale mock-up titled Tubular Flex proposes an integration of the performative functions of a basic radiator system, into the building skin itself. 3/16” diameter PVC tubes are wound in a closed loop system around an aluminum frame, connected to a liquid-circulating pump. During the day, circulating water through the exposed façade absorbs heat from the sun, acting as thermal mass for the interior space and cooling interior building temperatures. At night, the heated water that is stored during the day is re-circulated back through the façade system, re-radiating solar heat to the cool interior spaces.

At the same time, these closed linear loops are grouped and patterned in clusters with zip-ties in order to provide density and opacity where needed (to maximize solar gain), but also transparency at heights where views into and out of the building are important. As an architectural expression of such, this parametrically generated cross-hatch weaving pattern can begin to adapt to the very specific site conditions each portion of the building that is skinned by this façade demands. Visually, colored water & air bubbles are also integrated within the circulating system in order to aesthetically express the circulating function of this performative skin façade.

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