HYPARBOLE is the elegant outcome of focused research, countless models, and sometimes multiple prototypes. The College, a site of experimentation and discovery, makes an appropriate home for HYPARBOLE. This structure builds on several years of research and further develops the studio’s efforts to unify structure, form and experience into coherent material systems. In a burst of green curves, HYPARBOLE stands delicately and confidently as a gateway to creative practice.
At the entrance to the Fine Arts Center, the pavilion ushers studio-goers, faculty and campus visitors alike toward inspiration and action. Its oculus ascends to an imposing height of 22′ at this focal point, making it a force majeure touching down on only three concrete bases. To rise to this height under parameters that minimize fabrication costs and assembly time, MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY designed a surface topology based on an efficient geometric reference.
In the gravity-defying presence of Felix Candela’s monumental concrete shells, we proceed from his premise that a hyperbolic geometry could be designed to perform structurally, aesthetically, and economically. Our treatment would exchange his reinforced concrete for our signature single-surface in aluminum, disbanding with an abundance of material in the process. Through development, we reinforce the idea that designing for this kind of fabrication would compromise neither structure, form, nor efficiency.
The Hypar Surface
A hypar, or hyperbolic paraboloid, is a 3-dimensional, double-ruled surface which can be described using infinite planar, linear elements which form a smooth, continuous surface. Felix Candela’s use of the hypar geometry in his own design of structural concrete shells (up to 4cm thin) proved that the material economy in linear construction formwork had its advantages. Even though these elements are unique, they can be efficiently nested onto a sheet of flat material for a more economical process of fabrication.
Introducing Structural Depth Through Pleats Hyparbole
Structural pleating, as developed by MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY over a number of projects, poses a creative design solution to make the hypar hyper-thin. A combination of 582 1/8″ body stripes, 1/4″ anchor stripes, and 1/2″ anchor plates were cut from flat sheets of aluminum and fastened to adjacent parts using 10,082 rivets. Compound curvature was achieved over the entirety of the 3,037 sq ft structure through overlapping aluminum elements that work together as a unified structural system.
Deriving Porosity from Computational Flows
The porosity of HYPARBOLE adds a level of intricacy to the structure, creating definition and lightness. Computational skinning of the surface carefully negotiated between constraints and characteristic playfulness. Patterned cuts in the hypar surface follow simulated force flows. Scripted agents intuitively crawl along these lines and eat away at the aluminum, like caterpillars to a leaf.
The atmosphere of light filtering through this filigree constantly changes the quality of the piece: it will strike you differently depending on the time of day, your orientation, trajectory, height, and speed. This play of light not only makes for a dynamically changing surface but an engaging and interactive space, and a highly charged focal point for the public plaza.
The project takes on several roles: an art piece, an iconic structure, and a visual identity for Rhode Island College. With qualities elicited from its several stages of development, the completed HYPARBOLE celebrates the notions of place, perception, and innovation. In the end, its unfamiliar form draws different comparisons: a genie’s magic lamp, a sea creature, a pleated skirt. Its whimsical nature is one of THEVERYMANY mischievous ways we keep you guessing. Source by THEVERYMANY.
- Location: Providence, Rhode Island, USA
- Architect: THEVERYMANY
- Commissioned: Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts through the Allocation for Art for Public Facilities Act
- Dimensions: 22′ H x 25′ W x 30′ D
- Number of Parts: 582
- Completion Date: Fall 2017
- Photographs: Courtesy of THEVERYMANY