Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

A school of architectural thinking

Los Angeles, CA

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Maison de Cartes

Fri, Apr 12 '246 PM  –  Sun, Jun 2 '246 PM
Los Angeles, CA, US | SCI-Arc Gallery

Wood has emerged as a more sustainable alternative to concrete and steel for the structure of buildings. Wood is renewable and through properly managed reforestation represents an endless resource. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees capture carbon dioxide and release oxygen which operate to counter climate change. While wood eventually needs to be transported and milled, its impacts during the growing and harvesting phase are relatively low compared with concrete and steel which are made from substances that must be mined and heated to extremely high temperatures. 

Maison de Cartes, or House of Cards, an exhibition by Gordon Kipping (M.Arch ’95) opening in the SCI-Arc Gallery on April 12, proposes a module of construction for the crisis of our time: climate change. This module of construction is in the spirit of Les Maisons Dom-ino, however, using mass timber as the structure or backbone for the construction. Instead of columns supporting slabs and a stair, Maison de Cartes proposes a stacking of cross-laminated timber walls and floor slabs in combination with glue-laminated columns and beams which support a ramp to ensure universal accessibility. 

For the exhibition, a fragment of the Maison de Cartes is constructed in the exhibition space, complete with the expression of fragility and impossible balance. Through the use of an augmented reality application available to your smartphone, the fragment is extended on your screen with wireframe linework to compose the whole. As one moves through the exhibition space with the augmented reality application, real-time/real-space perception of the fragment is augmented with the completion of a representation of the Maison de Cartes

To demonstrate its mutability, Maison de Cartes is taken through a geometric progression to become the Hocken House, a residential project currently under development by Gordon Kipping Architects in Toronto, Canada. The Maison de Cartes fragment is to have a second life and support another crisis. The mass timber fragment upon disassembly is reassembled into a cube which is redeployed to provide emergency transitional shelter on an encampment site of the unhoused.

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