Materials & Applications presents Bloom, a collaboration between Los Angeles architects Doris Sung, Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter and structural engineer Matthew Melnyk. A 20 foot tall shiny metal ‘flower’ whose skin opens and closes with the heat of the sun, Bloom provides a unique and exciting experience for the thousands of visitors to this art laboratory.
Bloom furthers the evolution of projects in the M&A courtyard by utilizing a material that has kinetic potential without the need of a power source or any mechanical parts. The towering shade structure is supported by a self-organizing cellular panel system of laser cut custom fabricated sheet metal.
The design of the project, based on research by Sung and Wahlroos-Ritter, explores the possibilities of a thermally responsive metal surface which reacts to both the change in temperature and direct solar radiation. When the temperature of the metal is cool, the surface will appear as a solid object, but once the afternoon heat penetrates the metal, the panels of custom woven bimetal will adjust and fan out to allow air flow and increase shade potential. The thermo-bimetal alloys used in the project expand the notion of surface and structure in architecture.
Using experimental parametric techniques to develop the design, the team investigated the possible forms that the materials would allow whilst maintaining their conversation with broader issues of light, heat and urban space. The installation’s innovative monocoque structure of hypar panels is held aloft by an equally impressive foundation made of 1/2″ thick experimental slumped glass panels, which provide the necessary structural stability and weight for overall optimization.
Doris Sung is Principal of dO|Su Studio Architecture and an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California. Her current interest in design focuses on the development of building skins as self-ventilating, much like human skin.
Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter is Principal of WROAD and a Professor and Graduate Chair of Architecture at Woodbury University. She specializes in the building envelope and the experimental architectural use of glass.
Matthew Melnyk is the Engineering Director of Nous, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm based in London. He received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in and M.S. in Structural Engineering and Mechanics of Materials, both from UC Berkeley. He has worked for Thornton-Tomassetti Engineers and Buro Happold and is a licensed professional engineer.