Cheng Gong

Cheng Gong

Los Angeles, CA, US


Squished & Embedded Skin

SCI-Arc Applied Study Seminar Spring 2013

instructor: Tom Wiscombe, Brandon Kruysman, Jonathan Proto


Conventional 20th century assemblies, characterized by adjacency of systems and mineral-based hardware, will be questioned in this seminar, in favor of polymer-based meta-assemblies produced through squishing, sedimenting, embedding, and inlaying. Underwriting this desire is the idea of multi-materiality, where the homogeneity of digital surfaces is replaced with complex depth, sectional, and compositional effects. The goal will be to create building skins from a patchwork of materials as heterogeneous as a calico cat or a Korean seafood pancake. Materials will include primarily polymers such as ABS, PETG, and acrylic in lieu of actual composite materials for reasons of time and control. Additional materials will be cast or squished-in liquid rubbers or resins, embedded hard or semi-rigid 3D prints, and possibly simulated or real lowprofile technology such as electroluminescent film, thin-film solar, or micro-capillary networks. CNC foam and wood milling, including multi-step machining processes-- such as the use of ‘subtools’-- will be used for tool making. Squishing will be done with the shop vacu-formers, robotic ‘panini-making’, and possibly vacuum-bagging. All projects will be required to have undercut features where squishing becomes a three-dimensional approach rather than reduced to auniform z-direction pull.
Ultimately, the focus will be to create mysterious and alien assemblies which do not resemble known tectonic systems. Projects will avoid all types of hardware, expression of technology (although they may in fact contain it), the dogmas of frames and panels, and other 20th century forms of reductive subdivision. Instead, the free form and figural potentials of polymer and composite construction will be exploited in search of new aesthetic and performative territories.

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Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
My Role: design team member
Additional Credits: Alberto Alfonso, Al Ataide, Brian Harms, Haejun Jung