FOME: Broadening Chemical Architecture
Key, Scott Austin
Master of Architecture
In his essay, Chemical Architecture (Log 23), Greg Lynn writes that “[t]here is a sea change going on in the world of construction: the shift from assemblage to fusion. In material terms this translates into a shift from mechanical to chemical attachments. More simply, things are built without bolts, screws, nails, or pegs; instead, they are glued." Lynn's positing centers around composites and panels, however, such materials mimic in many ways the assemblages they replace and stops short of a truly chemical architecture. My project explores the implications of expanding foams in light of Lynn and broadens Chemical Architecture. It is a material that ignores the stick and sheet mentality. It is "not a chase toward new materials but toward a new aesthetic sensibility that has material, formal, typological, and spatial implications." Foam has a number of attributes that make it beneficial for this exploration. Foam sticks to itself, it sticks to other things, it expands into place and represents a form of pure poche. Foam, much like concrete is a material in need of formwork. Unlike concrete which needs to be supported on 5 sides, is incredibly heavy, and requires a high level of skill to work successfully, foam's light weight and adhesive nature allows for a large exploration of "formwork" types. My project utilizes pneumatics for formwork. The combination of pneumatic formwork and expanding foam allows for an architecture without seams, without orthogonality, without assemblages or composites.