Automatic / Revisited

From January 19 to February 16, 2013, I installed Automatic / Revisited at Latitude 44 Gallery. This exhibition is part of Toronto Design Offsite, Toronto's annual festival of design. Automatic / Revisited summarized two bodies of work created in collaboration with Luke Stern.

Automatic / Revisited Left Side (2013)

Automatic / Revisited Right Side (2013)

Automatic / Revisited is an ongoing exploration of the physical creation and philosophical implications of experimental unit-based construction systems.

The first part of the installation, Automatic, deconstructs and reconstructs the assembly of concrete blocks used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in a series of 1950s family homes. With these homes, Wright demonstrated how a system of modular architectural units could be designed in advance of the building in which they were to be used, and how these units could produce not just one but a remarkable variety of compelling buildings.

The second part of the installation, Revisited, reinterprets Wright’s intentions and forms. Just as Wright responded to design imperatives of his time, this evolution responds to contemporary desires. By employing the logic of an existing computer graphics algorithm, a new system of concrete units was developed with greater creative freedom and environmental performance than Wright’s original conception. Again, the system does not anticipate any specific building, instead suggesting a variety of possible end results—or even multiple end results, as the new system is designed for disassembly and reassembly.

These construction systems each permit buildings that are responsive to specific sites and programs. Similarly, the installation responds to the gallery’s dimensions and the location of the audience: the repeated symmetries and opposing placement of the Automatic and Revisited systems creates a dialogue between two progressive ideas in architecture, past and future.

Toronto Design Offsite documented the opening of the exhibition here. Many thanks to Tori Foster, Roderick Grant, Gene Mastrangeli, Genevieve Scott, Geoffrey Turnbull and Nancy Wilson for their assistance with the installation.

A set of slides about this body of work can be viewed here.

A paper about this body of work was presented at ACADIA 2012.