Pratt Institute of Art and Design

Brooklyn, New York, US - 2008

The Epithelium Studio offered a specialized design laboratory examining responsive architectural envelopes. Epithelium, a cellular boundary layer in organic physiology, was used as an analogy defining qualities of hybrid interactive building systems. A design method based on cycles of accretion and synthesis was used to organize the work of the term, moving from individual design explorations to collective production of a publication and gallery installation. The work focused on four key design products: lightweight structural scaffolds, functional devices providing environmental exchanges populating the structure; kinetic mechanisms that integrate physical movement within the system, and integrated control systems employing microprocessors, sensors and actuators. These elements were developed in pursuit of innovative responsive qualities that include basic life support functions, emotive and iconographic qualities for architecture.

A practical focus included the design and craft of flexible lightweight structural skeletons, membrane skin systems, and envelope component operators. A parallel cultural focus considered relational paradigms, attempting a synthesis of instrumental and iconographic qualities in contemporary architecture.