Surface Flux is an architecturally driven exhibit of spatial exploration through computationally designed and digitally fabricated surfaces. Each of the three surfaces have been inspired by a philosophical text that describes networks, objects or an individual’s relationship with their environment. The exhibit was created by Deborah Richards and Ken Marold and combines their unique and complimentary research and design interests.
Computational design is a specific process where algorithmic or step by step logic is used to generate a design. We see algorithms with feedback loops generating design all around us in nature – from snowflakes to trees to the swarming behavior of a flock of birds. Architects have been designing computationally for hundreds of years by allowing embedded characteristics of materials to perform calculations. For the past 30 years architects have primarily used computers and digital tools to generate computational designs that explore materials and structures that can address a variety of problems in the built environment or create new types environments.
Using computational processes and experimental 3D printing techniques, each surface in the exhibit Surface Flux engages the malleability of plastic and form, yielding artifacts that are both similar yet unique. Deborah and Ken experimented with computer code, the material characteristics of the plastic and the capabilities of the 3D printer to develop components that were light weight but structural, could fluctuate between aggregating as a surface or maintaining their identity as an object, and could play with light, shadow and projection. As the components aggregate together through specific rule sets, networks emerge as distinct surface conditions. These network patterns are further extended through a series of mapped projections that function as a dynamic overlay, an immersive network layer upon the physical surfaces.