The UB Art Gallery to Present Architecture in Motion

By Sandra Firmin

Release Date: January 27, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, will present Reflexive Architecture Machines, an exhibition featuring architectural prototypes that explore how conventional materials can become more responsive to environmental and human interactions. The exhibition will open on Feb. 11 with a public reception at 5 p.m.

UB Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call 716-645-6913.

This exhibition in the UB Art Gallery's Second Floor Gallery will present faculty and student research in responsive materials conducted at the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies at the UB School of Architecture and Urban Planning. It will display the products of the design lab, presented through drawings, models, tools, material studies and working prototypes that demonstrate the process by which projects are conceived, researched and developed.

Reflexive Architecture Machines envision architecture that is self-organizing, capable of transforming itself in response to changes in its environment or use. It re-imagines how we shape and assemble conventional materials, like rubber, plastic and wood through a combination of material and computational processes to develop more complex relations between parts and wholes. This fundamentally challenges the static nature of conventional building materials and sensitizes them to the ephemeral and dynamic qualities of environmental conditions like heat, moisture, air chemistry and gravity.

Projects on view will include Allotropic Systems designed by Nicholas Bruscia, which uses flexible rubber molds to produce self-similar plastic casts. By reusing the same mold to produce one plastic sibling after another, both plastic's and rubber's mutability is exploited to yield a considerable amount of formal variety. Matthew T. Hume's Warped offers experiments in plywood construction featuring a set of walls and arches composed from mechanically joined wood plys that change their shape in response to atmospheric moisture by twisting and bending between open and closed conditions. Omar Khan's Gravity Screens and Open Columns explore the possibilities offered by elastomers for developing an organically kinetic architecture. They use the unique quality of this material to build collapsible and expandable structures that move similar to plants and respond to information gathered by electronic sensors.

As part of the exhibition, there will be an offsite installation on view at the Buffalo Arts Studio Feb. 9-22. Omar Khan's installation of Open Columns, a responsive environment composed of nonstructural columns made from flexible composite urethane elastomers that descend and ascend based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the given space. The project responds to crowds of people that alter the CO2 chemistry of the air. Both live and prerecorded video feed will be transmitted to the UB Art Gallery from the Buffalo Arts Studio.

Buffalo Arts Studio (BAS) is located in the Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., Suite 500, in Buffalo. BAS hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 716-833-4450.

The UB Art Gallery is funded by the UB College of Arts Sciences, the Visual Arts Building Fund, the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Arts Fund and the Fine Arts Center Endowment.