Stormglass Research + Orchid House

Stormglass Research + Orchid House

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Architecture’s weather is by and large invisible, yet can still be explored spatially. Similarly, glass is commonly deployed in the architectural assemblage as the absence of material – it is the void against the solid in the architectural mask of building enclosure. However, this work attempts to strike a balance between the material affect with the environmental interactions it simultaneously mediates and indexes. It aims to leverage one invisible condition against the other to elicit physical material properties that register and effect spatial visibilities.

The Storm Glass project attempts to forgo the architect’s obsessive desire for pure transparency. Here glass is used to produce spatial effects based on modulating the magnitude and type of opacity. Currently, modulating the opacity of glass is an exercise aimed at thermal opacity, reflecting solar energy while remaining visually transparent and conceptually invisible (a reflection of the sky or a view of it). By contrast, the glass tube modulates the visual transparency of glass to produce spatial effects that results from tis shape, the local weather conditions, and interior lighting. Modulation comes from altering the form and position of the glass instead of augmenting glass with film or tints.

Project Details

Project Location | Ann Arbor, Michigan
Status | Complete, 2011
Principal in Charge | Craig Borum, FAIA
Project Team | Julie Simpson, Wiltrud Simbuerger, Sara Dean, Ross Hoekstra, Alex Timmer, Lizzie Yarina, Natasha Mauskapf, Jessica Mattson, Chris Bennette, Jason Prasad
Supports & Grants | University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Research Through Making Grant, and Office of the Vice President for Research, Faculty Grants and Awards Program
Client of Orchid House & Storm Glass House | Kathy Bernreuter, Michael Downing

Related Works

Orchid House
Stormglass House