Archive for the ‘Fabrication’ Category

Making: James Turrell’s Three Saros

Video by SITU Studio

SITU Fabrication was brought on as a specialty consultant and contractor to engineer and oversee the construction of an installation for artist James Turrell which serves as the centerpiece of a new, midtown corporate office designed by Shelton Mindel & Associates and Architecture+Information. Working closely with James Turrell’s design team and the project architects, a number of formal and material iterations were evaluated prior to arriving at a 24′ tall, 2-story volume with a seamless GFRG interior and a polished solid surface exterior.

Three Saros

Photograph: Michael Moran/OTTO

SITU assembled a team consisting of Laufs Engineering Design for structural design and Art in Construction for GFRG fabrication to develop the means and methods for the construction. SITU worked with a 3D model to coordinate the variety of trades that had to fit within the doubly curved 14″ wall construction, including structural steel, light gauge framing, lighting, electrical, mechanical, and sprinklers. In addition to serving as lead coordinator, SITU also fabricated the thermoformed solid surface exterior cladding, all the molds for GFRG production, and any templates and precision mounting brackets.

Three Saros

Photograph: Michael Moran/OTTO

From the earliest phases of the project, SITU saw an opportunity to document the design and fabrication process as its own act of making. As with many of the artist’s large room-size installations the completed Three Saros project envelops the viewer in an immersive environment – free of surfaces, edges, light sources and vanishing points – capable of evoking a ganzfeld experience where information is subtracted from the visual field. Therefore, in the completed project, much of the architectural environment is only legible from sculpture’s exterior – as an object within the lobby volume. Over the course of the project SITU captured time-lapse, still and video content to both document and preserve the work that is, in the end, veiled by the beauty of the art.

Three Saros

Photograph: Michael Moran/OTTO

To learn more about Three Saros please visit our project page here.

SITU teams up with Brooklyn Solar Works to create Solar Canopy

SITU Studio has teamed up with Brooklyn Solar Works to develop the residential Solar Canopy – a modular rooftop structure that incorporates PV solar panels affixed to a lightweight, adjustable aluminum frame. Solar Canopy offers significant cost savings for homeowners — from federal and state tax credits, to an NYC tax abatement — Gaelen McKee President of BSW believes “now is the absolute best time to go solar.” According to US Green Buildings Council, buildings and homes in the US currently account for 60% of our country’s total electricity usage.  Switching to solar provides alternative power sources that decrease our dependency on fossil fuels and increase our use of renewable energy.

15_0607_brooklyn solar works_rendering_rk_forblogRendering of Solar Canopy

The Solar Canopy project is an exciting opportunity for us to work closely with our friends at Brooklyn Solar Works in the design and fabrication of the first prototype. Solar Canopy has the potential to be both replicable and customizable depending on roof size and structure as well as the particular solar capacities of the location. Ben Duarte, project manager at SITU Fabrication will walk us through the design process.

The first step is to survey the existing rooftop. In our collaboration with BSW we’re looking at applications at residential properties in existing Brooklyn neighborhoods and therefore must account for adjacent structures, foliage, roof penetrations and roof access – all of which play a role in the location and size of Solar Canopy. In addition, the Department of Buildings (DOB) requires a 6’ wide path of travel to the nearest stairway in compliance with the fire code, as well as a 9’ firefighter clearance height. We like to think of this as a 6’ wide x 9’ high volume that provides the minimum height and width for occupiable space beneath the canopy.

Elevation drawing showing the minimum 9′ height requirement

The second design factor and major consideration is the material size and shape of the structure. Attachment to an existing roof structure presents certain limitations and unknown variables, so careful attention must be paid to the location of anchor points and any perforations into the existing building envelope. With these factors in mind, SITU set about designing a canopy that contains both fixed – replicable, standard components – while also offering site specific adjustments. Aluminum was chosen for its lightweight properties, a revision from the original proposal of using steel tubes and speedrail fittings.

Exploded axonometric of one pre-fabricated truss and rails.

Pre-fabricated aluminum metal trusses serve as beams to support the rails upon which the solar panels are attached, offering maximum ease of maintenance. The feet sleeve into the legs allowing height adjustability – up to 18 inches. The feet also have a cleft end with a central pivot hole that can be attached anywhere on the roofing rails. The panels come in standard sizes which determined the overall size and shape of the Solar Canopy structure – roof applications vary from 15 to 35 PV panels per canopy and have the capacity to supply most typical household electricity usage.

After nearly a year in development, the engineers of record calculated the weight of the structure on the roof, including maximum wind and snow loads. The canopy structure was approved and sent off to the DOB where it is currently waiting on city approval.

The first installation is set to be completed in a few weeks– check back for a project update!

Rethinking Brooklyn Museum’s Entry Experience

In January, SITU Studio was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum to re-envision its entry sequence – incorporating flexible, modular interventions in the Glass Pavilion and Lobby space as part of a larger Bloomberg Connects initiative – a project that seeks to imagine new roles for technology to enhance visitor experience.

Working closely with the Museum, SITU has developed a collection comprised of individual components – from interactive hubs and ticket bars, to benches, security desks and improved signage, banners and stanchions (in collaboration with graphic design firm MTWTF) – that combine in inventive ways to offer optimal program support within Brooklyn Museum’s public lobby area.

mockupMock-up of power benches

The design of the suite incorporates a high degree of flexibility that allows for continuous reconfiguration. Casters facilitate smooth transport and storage while outlets embedded in benches provide power to charge mobile devices such as phones, cameras and tablets. One of the primary goals of the Museum’s Bloomberg Connects initiative is to cultivate increased engagement between Museum staff and visitors. The components of the suite play a key role in reinforcing and facilitating this goal but none more so than the “hub” which serves as a resource and a platform – both digital and physical — shared between museum staff and visitors sparking inquiry and conversation. The translation of the admission booth to ticket bar – opening up and welcoming in visitors upon arrival reinforces this initiative. Designed to aggregate and disaggregate the bar transforms rapidly depending on programmatic use.

2015 03 20 hub2 (1)Hub plan, section and elevations

SITU partnered with MTWTF to find ways for the architecture and graphic design to complement one another, as well as with Arup Transportation who further identified and underscored the relationship between furniture and graphic layout.

image 3Glass Pavilion and Lobby plan

The greatest ambition of this project is the transformation of Brooklyn Museum’s entry into a well-used, highly trafficked and truly successful public space. Over the coming weeks we will be fabricating the suite in our Brooklyn Navy Yards facility and posting progress frequently on Instagram and Facebook. Check back weekly to see progress as Bloomberg Connects comes to life.

_IMG_9131_sMockup of power bench for onsite testing

NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial – Installation

This week we installed the exhibition environment for NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial, an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design that spotlights creative communities thriving across the five boroughs.  The concrete canvas structures will serve as a means to display a diversity of works of the 100 artisans, artists, and designers featured in the NYC Makers Biennial.


Spatial constraints required us to move the environment onto the site in 12 pieces, which were then assembled to form 6 units.  Together they create a continuous and fluid landscape that will hold each object in a unique and custom-tailored location.


The gallery exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs that will allow visitors to attend events related to acts of making in New York City. Programs include natural textile dyeing workshops, presentations of rare and never before seen 35mm films and discussions on the integral role of artists, designers, and artisans in our community. A complete calendar of events is available here.

NYC Makers opens at the Museum of Arts and Design on July 1st and will run until October 12th, 2014. For more information about the exhibition visit the museum’s website.

NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial – Fabrication Preview

We are currently fabricating a concrete canvas installation we designed for NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial at the Museum of Arts and Design. The exhibition will open on July 1st and will showcase the work of 100 NYC based makers, from furniture designers to pyrotechnists and candy manufacturers.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

Canvas impregnated with dry concrete is draped over wooden armatures to create the desired form, and is then hosed down to fix the fabric in place.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The resulting installation of surfaces will organically wrap around the exhibition space and support the exhibition objects. This atypical application of an industrial canvas material contributes both conceptually and aesthetically to the exhibition’s focus on local making practices in design and manufacturing.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit The Museum of Art and Design’s exhibition website.

Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing – Install

Making it in NYC: The Era of New Manufacturing, an exhibition about the resurgence of local manufacturing in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, opens this Friday, May 16th, at Gallery92 in BLDG92, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center. We are currently installing our exhibition design that displays objects representing the work of 30 local makers and businesses.

DSCN0001 (20)_edit_blogsize DSCN0001 (65)_edit_blogsize

More than 70 interlocking, perforated and folded panels made from aluminum composite function as 3D pegboards that encourage visitors to pick up and test the products on display.


The gallery exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public programs that will enhance the hands-on experience of the exhibition with factory tours, demonstrations of craftsmanship and production processes, as well as panel discussions on maker related topics.


The exhibition runs until the end of the year. For more information visit BLDG92’s website, browse their event calendar, and check out this video starring some of the makers featured  in the exhibition:

Design Lab: Treehouse Install

We have begun installing Treehouse, the fifth and last of the workshop spaces we are creating in The New York Hall of Science’s Central Pavilion.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The Treehouse is composed of a series of curving vertical ribs constructed from baltic birch plywood. Each rib is shipped in sections, and assembled on site before being hoisted into place.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

After the vertical ribs are erected, a second system of horizontal shelves is inserted to create a rigid grid structure. Lastly, the timber joists and plywood subfloor are installed to create the upper platform of the Treehouse.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

Expanding over two levels and located at the center of the pavilion, Treehouse will serve as an observation point at the heart of Design Lab. Its elevated vantage point will also allow Design Lab visitors to learn about gravity and air resistance, for example by inventing and building “flying” contraptions, dropping them from a height, and observing their flight characteristics.


Design Lab: Backstage Install

With the installation of the Backstage, the fourth out of five distinct learning environments that will make up the NYSCI Design Lab, we are making another big leap forward towards the completion of the project in June 2014.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The defining architectural feature of the backstage is a cantilevered welded steel truss with a bent perforated metal mesh skin. Mobile furniture, made of aluminum pipe and standard pipe fittings, allow the open floor area to be easily reconfigured.


Fabricator Lars Christensen installing on-site. Photo by Patrick Mandeville.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

© Andrew Kelly, NYSCI

© Andrew Kelly, NYSCI

Once finished, kids will use the Backstage to experiment with all the behind-the-scenes ingredients that go into a theatrical production – from rigging to lighting to costume design. It will be a flexible space that can be transformed to accommodate a variety of activities and group sizes.
We are looking forward to seeing the little makers at NYSCI getting creative in the Backstage!


Emerging Voices 2014

This year,  we are fortunate to be among eight groups of practitioners in architecture, landscape design and urbanism honored by The Architectural League of New York as Emerging Voices in their discipline. This invited, juried portfolio competition recognizes potentially influential firms and individuals based in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

All eight winning teams have been giving lectures in New York throughout March, and on the fourth and final evening of the lecture series on March 27, we had the pleasure of giving a presentation on our practice alongside Guadalajara-based Estudio Macías Peredo at the Scholastic Auditorium in Manhattan.

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Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas from Estudio Macías Peredo
share recent design and construction work.

IMG_8652_EV lecture_Aleksey_blogsize

SITU partner Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny shares images of Heartwalk installed in Times Square last year.

A shared interest among both Estudio Macías Peredo and SITU is making. The material experimentation and fabrication processes in our work, as well as the celebrated role of local masons, blacksmiths and craftspeople in the building process were highlighted in both presentations.

A warm thank you to The Architectural League of New York for this opportunity. We are honored  to be in the company of so many talented designers in receiving this award.

Exhibition Design – Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art

For the past few months we have been experimenting with new materials for our exhibition design with the American Folk Art Museum. The exhibition, Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art, showcases original ensembles from thirteen designers inspired by objects from the museum’s permanent collection. The results will be displayed alongside the original folk art objects; exploring the boundless relationship between inspiration and creation.

-Process 2

Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

We sought to find a flexible material to create a system that could be customized to respond to different objects while providing  tactile and visual continuity to the show. Inspired by the draping of a dress form, we chose to work with concrete impregnated fabric to create a series of custom pedestals specifically crafted for the garment or object it holds.


Photo by Patrick Mandeville.

The process of constructing the pedestals involved building a series of simple armatures from which the concrete canvas was suspended upside-down and saturated with water.

Pedestal sm

Once cured, the result is a series of light-weight, structurally sufficient, modified-catenary forms that appear to float and billow upwards, grounded only by the weight of the objects they support.

Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art will be on display from January 21st- April 23rd, 2014 at the American Folk Art Museum.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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