Mind & Matter


Reassessing Surface

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OSWall by HouMinn Practice at Envelopes, Pratt Manhattan Gallery.


Last week marked the opening of “Envelopes,” an exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery featuring new perspectives on sustainable architectural surfaces and biological skins. Guest curated by Rice University professor Christopher Hight, "Envelopes" was inspired by 20th century biologist Jacob von Uexküll and his research about living organisms and environmental perception. According to Hight, the concept originated “from parallels between the envelope of a building and the envelope of human skin; the building envelope repeats the metaphor of the building as a body and as a prosthetic second skin that allows human beings to exist within a hostile environment.”

"Envelopes" features designs by experimental firms !ndie Architecture; HouMinn Practice; MEC design studios, Permaculture Design, LLC and Carlise Vandervoort; OCEAN Design Research; Future Cities Lab; Philippe Rahm; servo; and Weathers. The exhibition will be on display until May 5, 2010.




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.