Through an invitation from world renowned performance artist Stelarc, Minimaforms was asked to develop a gateway structure for Brunel University outside the Wilfred Brown Administration Building. The pavilion structure is one of a family of architectural interventions that are proposed as part of a university campus works project. The brief was to develop a system that would correlate these interventions and identify critical sites as a means to restructure the public space of a university that has expanded rapidly in recent years beyond its original campus design.
Our strategy was to use the public sculpture initiative as a means to construct a series of inhabitable architectural instruments that would perform as canopy structures. The aim was to address the lack of covered outdoor environments while conceptually constructing ‘architectures’ of instrumentation that could operate as analogue interfaces optically restructuring their respective environments. Brunel Gateway is the first of our seeing machines.
Our Gateway proposal conceives a threshold space suspended above an existing reflection pool as an exterior room and sanctuary. This structure is an open-cell system that operates as a perceptual framing device. Deployed through an open-cell network are a series of operable convex and concave lenses, amplifying and collapsing the experiential relationships between users and their context. Developed through a parametrically controlled cellular deployment system, these lenses are distributed with both optical and structural parameters at play. The underbellies of these lenses extend as part of a three-dimensional fibre-field in which structural fibres and optic hairs are set out. The access plane hovering over the water surface of the reflection pool is constructed as a series of walkable lily pads that enable users to experience a complete sensorial displacement as one moves through this architecture of interface.