String Theory is a monumental shade canopy based on algorithmic computation and string figuring for Pomona College’s annual commencement ceremony designed by Didier Hess in collaboration with Emily White.
When asked to design the shade canopy for Pomona College’s commencement ceremony, we wanted to create a canopy which provided the maximum physical presence with the least wind resistence; one which could also be easily de-installed and then redeployed in the coming years. In order to do so, we created a network of vertical rip stop nylon streamers hung from woven truck strap webbing, supported by a self raising rock truss roof. The rock truss roof was populated by a diagrid weave whose streamers varied in length according to their proximity to the stage. The area between the diagrid sections was fit with a volunteer woven clown’s collar design, also populated by streamers of varying lengths. The clown’s collar was woven as volunteers square danced across the site and its shape was reminiscent of the rose window on the auditorium flanking the ceremony.
The canopy spanned the length of the Marston Quad providing a reprieve from the hot southern california May sun for over 600. Aligned along the axis shared by two prominent campus buildings and position right up to the edge of the tree line canopy, the project allowed for maximum visual access to the commencement ceremony from anywhere on campus while maintaining a geometric relationship to the layout of the site.
Design Team: Didier Hess in collaboration with Emily White
Position Held: Project Manager/Lead Fabricator
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US