Memory CloudIN DIGIFAB and ART
METALAB has recently unveiled a public art project called Memory Cloud at the new student center on the campus of Texas A&M University. The project is described as:
… the winning commission awarded to RE:Site (Norman Lee and Shane Allbritton) and METALAB by Texas A&M University for the new Memorial Student Center 12th Man Hall. Through a competition, the team demonstrated the ability to harness the potential of programmable LEDs, remote sensing, parametric design and digital fabrication to create an open ended narrative of the story of the University through animated silhouette imagery of past and real-time present student life on the campus. Texas A&M, a place of deep traditions that are played out on the football field at every game and in the everyday lives of students will create the imagery that will be played within the layers of the LED matrix at different speeds and durations. Parametric design created a unique cloud form that creates a landscape within the student center where monumental and ephemeral figures will pass through the space, blurring the distinction between past and present.
For INSIGHT’s part, the firm was contracted to consult on the structural integrity of the sculpture’s canopy. We took a digital model generated by METALAB and reconstructed it according to our in-house modeling methods. The reason we reconstructed the model was to guarantee control over the shape and intersection of particular geometries. Once we had a clean planar mesh model with strategically located nodes, we analyzed the structure so that we could make material recommendations for the designers. In our model we included non-structural elements so that we could track the overall weight of the sculpture and produce material take-offs as needed. It was critical that the sculpture weigh less than 3000 pounds due to constraints imposed by the construction of the new MSC building. INSIGHT Structures made recommendations on the shape of the canopy and location of the hanging points so that stress in the canopy was ideally reduced, making way for a lighter and less expensive structure. This is a tremendously interesting project for us. We enjoy working with our friends at METALAB on projects that are inventive and challenging. By the time this post goes to press, Memory Cloud should be hung and operable. We can’t wait to visit the campus and see the results.