In order to emphasize the client’s goal for the pavilion to act as a vibrant beacon and extension of its stationary location in Santa Barbara, Runaway emphasizes a saturated visual environment that aims to architecturalize the aesthetic quality of air of the region. The aesthetic qualities of the air in Santa Barbara is often very powerful and visible – a beautiful blur caused by heat (heat shimmer or mirage) and beach fog (June gloom). Runaway privileges this visual and atmospheric effect and in so doing, acts as a beautiful spectacle and object of urban decor for the communities of Santa Barbara.
The three objects of Runaway are simple self-similar geometries and have a number of different possible orientations. In some orientations the matrix object acts as a dappled-shade structure, while in other orientations, the matrix can act as a wall, a loungescape, a bench, or a performance stage. The project will be moved to a number of different sites in several different neighborhoods during its life-span in Santa Barbara. The composition and display of the collection is intended to be different at each site, allowing for a variety of programs to be supported by the pavilion, while also establishing a renewed existence at each new site. As a whole, the project is envisioned as a collection of urban décor objects that decorate the landscape of Santa Barbara while at the same time dissolving into its air. As the objects move from site to site, their display will be different, their program will be different, the visual experience of the blurry material overlap will be different – bringing a unique identity to the different neighborhoods.
While the fully “interior” space of the pavilion is limited – prioritizing instead an open spatial composition – the tall matrix structures cast shadows at most times of the day that provide a patterned (dappled) partial-shade in the spaces between the structures. In this way, the project provides a variety of shading conditions that allow for greater engagement and expanded use. Once finished with a series of brightly-colored paints (cyan, magenta, yellow), the thousands of linear elements within each of the objects emphasizes a thick and saturated haze.
The three objects of Runaway are constructed of ¼” metal extrusions – pre-fabricated wire mesh sheets (6”x6” density) in one direction that are shop cross-welded with individual metal extrusions in the other direction to produce overall matrix. In coordination with the designers, the metal fabricator constructed a custom jig to allow for the thousands of linear elements remain true to the geometry of the matrix (90 degree angles), and weld joints to be structurally sound. Upon completion of form, each of the objects was powdercoated with a series of bright colors (magenta, cyan, yellow). Each of the three objects is 13′-0″ x 13′-0″ x 8′-6″.
Since the project was conceived as a mobile pavilion, the transportation, installation and deinstallation was understood as another opportunity to reinforce the spectacle of the project. Each metal matrix structure was constructed as one piece, and together the three structures fit on the back trailer of the maximum freight vehicle allowed by Santa Barbara code. The image of the three blurry objects on a trailer cruising through the city enhanced the awareness of the project – despite its small size, it has had a big visual impact.
Upon crane installation on any new site, each matrix structure is situated in one of four positions and anchored with custom anchor system depending on ground condition (steel ground screws for softscape sites, alternate anchor systems for pier and hardscape sites)
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