Posts Tagged ‘materiality’
April 15th, 2011 | Richard Almond
An unexpected yet welcome discovery made whist experimenting with metal mesh and water was the material’s ability to hold the liquid within itself. As water washes over the finer grades of mesh, droplets are temporarily captured, before slowly filtering downward under gravity. The effect is rather mesmerising, an abstract, pixelated, almost digital cascade of luminous squares provide animation. In reality a mesh facade sitting into sea water would be continuously lapped by incoming waves, creating an evolving, moving facade.
April 14th, 2011 | Richard Almond
Thinking about the material quality of the academy, I began to experiment with a range of metals. Click here for more images.
In relation to previous posts, facade treatment will use areas of mesh to allow visitors to experience the elements whilst retaining a sense of enclosure. The materials above are ultra-fine stainless steel mesh, fine copper mesh, medium brass mesh and a coarse steel mesh. I also experimented with some sheet brass. Taking inspiration from the Reykjavik vernacular, I have extracted a number of key elements common to many of 101′s buildings, and used them to devise a treatment I feel is both respectful to a unique city and practical for a floating building.
Light and Transparency
One of the qualities of mesh is its seemingly multi-dimensionality. Viewed front-on, a mesh may appear almost completely transparent, yet when viewed from an acute angle, the same mesh may appear as an almost solid object. The way in which light reflects from a mesh facade is similarly dynamic, as seen from the comparative images below, the angle from which the sunlight hits the material has a dramatic effect upon its appearance and how it is read.
The building’s facade will of course be constantly exposed to sea water and rain. The perforated nature of mesh means it may hold droplets of water. A very fine mesh acts in a way similar to a piece of cloth, allowing light to penetrate through whilst water simply runs off (left image below). A more coarse gauge of mesh (right image below) will retain much of the water within its perforations. Over-laying differing gauges of mesh creates further unique interactions between facade and water.
Erosion and Weathering
The prospect of metal cladding being in constant contact with sea water poses both a problem and an opportunity. The static components of the building will see Reykjavik’s huge 5m tidal range engulf much of the facade, the movement of salt water across the surface of the metal is likely to cause some chemical response, generating a prominent band of effected material. The floating elements of the building will still encounter constant lapping from the sea, the winds will drive spray through mesh facades and across decks. Although renowned for being one of the cleanest cities in Europe, acid rain does exist in Reykjavik, and this is something that would have a definite effect upon a metal facade. Below are examples of brass sheets exposed to acid, which can very quickly strip the sheen from the material. The left image has been pre-treated with wax in sections to mask the acid, creating an attractive aesthetic.