ACCUMULUS is a site-specific installation by graduate architecture students in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. On view Friday, June 5, through the fall, the installation is the result of a semester-long design process by the university’s architectural digital fabrication design studio, taught by lecturers Jason Butz and Lavender Tessmer. Composed of thousands of lightweight, interlocking wire and plastic panels, the work is positioned within the cantilevered space above CAM’s entryway. Its clear, reflective, and semi-opaque materials in varying shapes interact with changing sunlight throughout the day, dappling the sidewalk and walls below with shadows and prismatic effects.

Hidden within the entryway cantilever, ACCUMULUS can only be seen directly as visitors enter the building, while the play of light and shadow it creates are noticeable from a distance. With its accumulation of numerous small forms and textures, the installation provides a light-filled contrast to the heavy and planar surfaces of the Museum building. Investigating geometric assemblies that produce structure as well as an intriguing interaction with light and material, students refined their design proposal from early conceptual experiments to the finalized installation. They hand-assembled each unit of plastic and wire, gradually building a monumental intervention that is as much about welcome and curiosity as it is about optics and perception.

About the Studio

ACCUMULUS was designed and fabricated by students Jay Bassett, Qian Huang, Boxun Hu, Jeffrey Lee, Chun Liu, Alex Melvin, John Patangan, Joseph Vizurraga, Lingfeng Zhang, and Yue Zhang. Washington University lecturer Jason Butz teaches courses in advanced scripting and parametric design. He has also worked at Cannon Design since 2012 as a lead project designer. His projects include the College of Business Administration for UMSL and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. Washington University lecturer Lavender Tessmer teaches courses in architectural representation and digital fabrication. Over the past four years, she has worked with Yogiaman Tracy Architects on a variety of installations and residential and commercial projects, most recently the TEX-FAB Digital Fabrication Alliance 2013 winning entry, Cast Thicket, installed in February 2013.

This exhibition was organized and made possible by the architectural digital fabrication design studio of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

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