RESEARCH + DESIGN

Gypsum is one of the most commonly used building materials today. However, despite its ubiquitous appropriation in architecture and construction, few domains of research and fabrication seek to provide opportunistic design approaches for its application. Outside of typical wall board, contemporary production of architectural elements range from cornices to column covers, which use Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) products to pick up the intricacies of ornament. In industry the production of these parts come with a catalog of options allowing for multiple casts using the same mold, not unlike the application of complex formal molds for automobile production. Drawing from these existing processes, the Sound Pavilion project explores innovative alternatives to the use of GFRG, while also developing design methods which allow for repetitive use of molds by aggregating similar panels in three-dimensional space with variable relationships between them.

Similar to gypsum based spray on popcorn ceilings which absorb sound and enhance acoustical properties of a space, the exterior patterned texture on the pavilion panels enhance sound quality. Sound designer, Ricky Young, composed various corresponding tracks played from different speakers embedded in key geometrically amplifying sound panels to generate a unique musical experience based on the guests' proximity in and around the pavilion.

The fabrication procedures for each panel involve the production of a CNC routed foam positives which are then used to produce negative molds with a two part silicon and fiberglass support shell. The silicon aids in capturing texture on the panel and allows for easy demolding, while the fiberglass shell maps the overall panel geometry. These shells are also supported by a set of plywood ribs that allow them to maintain their form during the casting process.

Project Team: Alexander Cabral, Drake Cecil, Hana Maleki, Margaret Martin, Jarrod Norris, Robert Sachs, and Hunter Sigmon