Lumifoil is a temporary roof canopy at the Florida International University Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture. Our goal was to introduce a new “intrusion” at the heart of what FIU Architect Bernard Tschumi coined the “red generator,” thereby heeding his call for provocation in the form of an architectural intervention.
This proposal responds to Tschumi’s discourse and the building itself might apply to the parametric digital project. Rather than design a canopy that is entirely emergent – a bottom up strategy in which the whole is the sum of its parts, and be definition, disconnected from its environment – we began with an overall form that is derived via a series of projected geometries generated directly from the cut out’s in the building’s envelope. These invisible forms intersect inside the empty container, providing a framework for generating a new surface.
One of Tschumi’s core polemics is the use of the frame as a tool to “derive significance [and] establish memory.” In this way, our project attempts to weave into the existing fabric of the space by exposing one potentially architectural event established by the form of the building itself, and though stylistically different, our project finds conceptual common ground by generating a new generator within the generator. Lumifoil is a project of excess that fits securely in the gap space provided by the existing context, while revealing intensities that already exist.
In Advertisements for Architecture, Tschumi makes the point: when architecture is carried “to excess…it will reveal both the traces of reason and the experience of space.” In Architecture and Disjunction he calls this in-between space “the rotten point, the very point that taboos and culture have always rejected.”
Our design lies somewhere near the rotten point. It is parametric in its fabrication agency, but formal in its design conception. It forms a wall to sequester quasi-separate event spaces, and is an event in and of itself. It is uncomfortable and provides comfort.
Tschumi continues that “any relationship between a building and its users is one of violence, for any use means the intrusion of a human body into a given space, the intrusion of one order into another.” Our design, in this sense, can be seen then as the first intrusion. The body, and in this case, a group of bodies, becomes the third. By increasing the order of magnitude by one, our project aims to expand the potential for the space exponentially.
In the Manhattan transcripts, Tschumi laid out a “tripartite mode of notation.” Architecture, according to Tschumi, should offer “a new understanding of experience through event, movement and space.” Though primarily a canopy, our project is firmly rooted on the ground of the terrace. At the ground, the surface forms a perforated wall, dividing the terrace into two flexible event spaces. However, the event spaces are not fully enclosed and remain open to the larger third event space near the entry. Activity in the front zone can be viewed from both of the newly formed zones, increasing the number of potential uses for the terrace significantly.
Lumifoil is a collaboration between OTA+ and Studio Modo.