The “Whiteout” project, an experiment in the notion of “soft structure,” reacts to the energies of weather and conversation. Whether in response to the wind and rain or debate and discussion, the pavilion flexes and reflexes, changing shape to reflect these shifting energies. A collaboration between MODU and the University of Technology, Sydney (with William Feuerman), Whiteout creates an impromptu public space to host presentations and debate. Its “soft structure” flexes with the wind, its form constantly shifting. The structural bases on rollers, which also serve as moving seats, changes the structure’s appearance at it plays host to different kinds of conversations—closer together for “speaking softly” and further apart for public debate. Conversations are between two or three people, each capable of positioning their own chair in relation to the other(s). A whiteout condition, in which order or hierarchy between the presenters is never possible, is reflected in the movements of the shade structure overhead as it adapts to the wind and rain.
“Whiteout” is primarily constructed from two materials—carbon fiber and Tyvek. The combination of an advanced structural material with common building wrap creates new opportunities for a “soft structure.” Structural systems are traditionally designed to be “hard” enough to counteract dynamic weather forces. The entire structure flexes and shifts with the wind—not only the structural fabric Tyvek enclosure but also the carbon fiber parabolic arches. The unique properties of the two materials combine to create a structure that is not based on separate roles of structure and envelope but instead synthesizes their individual capacities to adapt to weather. The Tyvek surface is embedded with thousands of fiber rods that allow the surface to compress and expand—the carbon fiber arches similarly can be flexed and stretched. The uncontrollable forces of weather find its expression in this “soft structure,” as the unpredictability of events within “Whiteout” gives form to formlessness.
Click here to view a video of the project. You can also find a digital copy of the Whiteout book here.
Proudly presented by: Michelle Beck, Natasha Bonney, Zoey Chen, Tran Tuan Anh Dang, Prudence Duncan, Zoe Horn, Altaf Khan, Connor Mackenzie, Jake Paraskaeva, James Quinn, Shaun Ramodien, Jean-Claude Saliba, Raymond Shalala, Olivier Solente, Michael Stewart, Jeffrey Tighe, Jessica Tse, Michelle Vassiliou, Dane Vooderhake