Arts + Culture

'Notes on Micromultiplicity,' an Architecture Exhibition, on View at UCLA's Perloff Gallery Feb. 7-April 8


"Notes on Micromultiplicity," an exhibition of the work of Tom Wiscombe, principal of the Los-Angeles based architecturalfirm EMERGENT, will be on view from Feb. 7-April 8 in UCLA's Perloff Gallery (1318 PerloffHall). The exhibition, curated by the UCLA departmentof architecture and urban design, is free and open to the public. Gallery hoursare 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An opening reception will takeplace from 8–9 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 7. Parking costs $7 and is available in Lot2. (Enter the campus at Hilgard and Westholme avenues.) For further information, please call(310) 267-4704.

Established in 1999 by Wiscombe, EMERGENT is a network of designersand technicians dedicated to researching issues of globalism,technology and materiality through built form. EMERGENT is particularlyinterested in the logic of networks, patterns and swarms — how multiple spatialelements or systems, working in affiliation with one another, can createunexpected formal and functional possibilities in architecture.

This exhibition showcases five EMERGENT projects —built, speculative and competition entries created over the last three years —that explore how dynamic material relationships, rather than critical theory,can potentially break down formal hierarchies and categorical behaviors inarchitecture. The projects in the exhibition focus on the phenomena ofemergence — the ways that unexpected but coherent behaviors or organizations ina system arise through the interaction of small, simple parts. More than a wayto avoid reductionist tendencies in design, theapplication of emergence in these projects reveals the potential for generatingspatial effects and beauty in architecture.

Light-Wing: MoMA/P.S. 1 Urban Beach (2003) focuses on creating anatmosphere where various combinations of behaviors, both leisure and cultural,can occur simultaneously. Realized in the courtyard of the P.S. 1 Center forContemporary Art in Queens, New York, the design is distinguished by twoelements in a dynamic relationship: the Leisure Landscape and the Micromultiple Roof. Wiscombe wonthe Young Architects Program competition sponsored by MoMA/P.S.1 in 2003 to create a pavilion for visitors to the Museum of Modern Art'sSummer Music Festival "Warm Up." This project also received the 2004 New YorkEngineering Excellence Platinum Award.

The Radiant Hydronic House, LosAngeles (2002) creates feedback between various building systems in order tobreak down the seemingly conflicting realms of technology and atmosphere. Thehouse is organized by a hybrid central spine that transforms from mechanicalsystem to structural system to circulation pathway in a kind of engineeringecology.

The Tower Prototype project (2004) examines thepossibility of transformation in the dogmatic tower type. By exploring the"minor" forces of infrastructure, building systems, processes of distributionand the flow of capital, particles and force vectors become key. This projectavoids the traps and assumptions of "major" forces such as shape, compositionand representation.

Creating a destination landmark site that isneither a park nor an urban space, the Busan Platformcompetition in Busan, South Korea, in 2004 takes onthe vertical development of the city of Busan bygoing horizontal. The platform is structured by a pattern of tendrils on theunderside, generating structural depth where needed but also branching off andswitching behaviors to become circulation elements.

The MicroMultipleHouse, Los Angeles (2001) is based on a mass-produceablesystem implemented as an interconnected network of small, flexible bands. Thisspeculative house is organized through a system of adaptable steel trusses thatcan be shipped in standard containers. The interior space functions as alive/work loft and includes an indoor lake.

EMERGENT is the recipient of the ArchitecturalLeague of New York Young Architects Award for 2004. Its work was included in"Glamour: Fashion, Industrial Design, Architecture," a recent exhibition at SanFrancisco Museum of Modern Art. The firm's work has been exhibited at ArchiLAB 2001 and 2003 in Orlan,France, and is in the permanent collection of the CentreGeorges Pompidou/FRAC Center in Paris. The work of EMERGENT has been publishedextensively, most notably in *Surface, Vogue, Architectural Record,Architectural Digest, Praxis, Metropolis, A+U and The New York Times.

Wiscombemaintains an active partnership with Coop Himmelb(l)au,where he has been chief designer and project partner for 10 years. He is bestknown for his award-winning work in collaboration with principal Wolf Prix onthe Dresden UFA Cinema Palace project, completed in 1998, and on the Lyon Muse des Confluences, the Akron Art Museum, and the BMWWorld, Munich, all of which are currently under construction.

Educated at UCLA (M. Arch. '99) and Universityof California, Berkeley, Wiscombe has taught designand technology at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc);UCLA; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Applied Arts inVienna, Austria.

Inthe department of architecture and urbandesign there is a balance of internationally recognized practicingarchitectural designers, historians and theorists focusing on design,technology and critical studies. Students integrate rigorous cultural, socialand technological conditions into designs of formal persuasion, materialconviction and intellectual innovation.



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