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2018 MCHAP.emerge


Augusto Roman

Lima, Peru

January 2017





commissioned by Rhode Island College and the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts through the Allocation for Art for Public Facilities Act


Payam Taheri


This project also significantly moves forward the research of the studio. The pavilion's aluminum structure assumes the geometry of a hyperbolic paraboloid, or hypar: a three-dimensional, double-ruled surface that can be described using infinite planar, linear elements to form a smooth surface. With reference to Felix Candela’s experiments with the hypar geometry in thin-shell concrete, our three-legged structure relies on its double-curvature for support. The surface morphology was developed through a series of experiments and prototypes. The addition of a pleated base lends additional resistance to lateral loads--an inherent weakness of the hypar’s flat sides. The ultra-thin aluminum shell merges skin and support to great atmospheric effect. Its lightness is further emphasized with porosity. Cuts in the shell are derived from simulated flows across the complex surfaces. These openings produce dynamic light conditions, which change the character of the space throughout the day and emit an unearthly glow at night.


Following a request for qualifications, the studio was selected to produce a piece of public art in collaboration with Rhode Island College and the State Council for the Arts. Based on the desire for a prominent signal to the campus and to a new building housing the fine arts program, we developed a spatial pavilion that people might not just move through or identify from afar, but linger in, meet up, and hang out. As point of attraction for students, faculty, and visitors alike, we developed an exuberant pavilion that could perform as a center of gravity for many kinds of interactions: social, intellectual and creative.


A hyperbolic surface thrusts itself into the air at the entrance to Rhode Island College’s Fine Arts Center, as a dramatic opening to the campus scene. In a burst of bright green curves, it enacts a threshold to creative practice and ushers studio-goers, college staff, and campus visitors alike toward inspiration and action. The College, a site of experimentation and discovery, makes an appropriate home for HYPARBOLE. The structure is itself a product of deliberate and focused research, several years in the making, and builds on the studio’s efforts to unify structure, form and experience into a coherent material system. Following a process of iterative development and prototyping, HYPARBOLE in its final form stands delicately and confidently at this focal point. Measuring an imposing 22' high, 25' wide, and 30' deep, it is a force majeure touching down on only three concrete bases.

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