Plastic Effects

While advances in digital technology have made many designs look sleeker, there is a continued desire to move “off the screen.” With this in mind, the marriage of materials with production has come to the forefront of design. For many architects, including Austin-based Igor Siddiqui, materials are capable of great transformation and should be considered early in the stages of the design process. Siddiqui, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and principal of ISSSStudio, is drawn to specific materials, such as rubber and bioplastics, that are flexible, pliable, and allow themselves to be…

Re-Flex by RTKL Associates

Re-Flex uses parametric design and digital fabrication to create a responsive modular system focused on filtering light. Designed by a team of designers at RTKL Associates, the concept is inspired by the human eye and the way the pupil responds to light. Each module is composed of four identical flat-cut pieces, which are folded and connected at the corners to form a square. As pressure is applied to the corners, the aperture at the center expands or contracts. The surface deformation not only controls the amount of light that is diffused by the system but also determines the ultimate volume…

Wilderness Tamed

Louis Kahn was a great talker as well as a great architect, famed for giving mesmerizing lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dispensed his mystical pronouncements like gumballs. All that talking and ruminating on the nature of things is probably one reason it took him almost eight years to complete the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The result was well worth the wait. Opened in 1972, the rippling series of concrete-and-travertine vaults stands today as his masterpiece and one of the finest museums of the 20th century. After all these years, the gentle, celestial light that tumbles…