Building on a theme of abstracted nature, the patterning of the masonry of Lanxi Curtilage is derived from water. Disrupting the surface of water creates a pattern of ripples that roll across the surface. Archi-Union captured images of ripples in water and then developed “an algorithm that mimicked the transient behavior of water, which could be frozen in time allowing a literal architectural expression of its transient behavior.”[1] After the translation of the imagery, the process continued with the introduction of materiality; the program merged the water patterning with the physical realities of the masonry, creating a staggered joint pattern that plays with light, shadow, and transparency.[2]

The cladding system is reflective of Semper’s ideas of the translation of cloth into more durable materials. Here, the masonry is treated as a fabric inspired by the movement of water. The material is ‘draped’ across masonry piers to not only enclose space, but to bring to it its character and essence. Masonry is at once a stable structural core (Semper’s original framework) and a flowing cladding system that dramatizes the structure.

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Image | © Chad Schwartz

[1] Quotation taken from a project narrative provided by Archi-Union.

[2] Taken from a project narrative provided by Archi-Union.