Credit: Karim Attoui/Courtesy of SCI-Arc

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) ranks easily among the most-recognized design firms in the world. Along with its founder’s recent entrée into damehood and countless other honors and award-winning projects, ZHA is known for the expressive, organic geometries that its buildings, furniture, and design objects assume. The firm is also a practitioner of parametricism, which uses advanced parametric design and computation methods to derive form. Pleated Shell Structures, at the SCI-Art Gallery, is a temporary, site-specific installation by ZHA that serves as a prototype for how digital parametric design can be realized as a tangible object.

Form-finding through physical models is a well-documented technique that Antonio Gaudi, Frei Otto, and Felix Candela employed using objects such as hanging chains, suspended cloth, and soap films. This installation brings the form-finding process into the 21st century and explores how the complex and often far-out forms generated through digital programming can be realized through the delivery methods available today. Through a design/build exercise, the installation will test the relationship between architectural intent, engineering logistics, and fabrication constraints as well as continue ZHA’s reseach in self-supporting, curved-surface geometries. • Through Dec. 2. sciarc.edu