Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Yucca Crater in Edmonton, Canada by Ball-Nogues Studio
July 23rd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Ball-Nogues Studio
Each fall High Desert Test Sites (http://www.highdeserttestsites.com) invites artists to create experimental projects adjacent to California’s Joshua Tree National Park. This year HDTS invited Ball Nogues Studio (http://www.ball-nogues.com) to create a structure in a remote region of the Mojave Desert. This presents a unique opportunity to draw upon an unfettered landscape at a grand scale. Expanding on theories developed by earthwork artists, our project, entitled Yucca Crater (working title),will re-imagine these concepts through new methods of production linked to our cross-disciplinary artistic, architectural, design and fabrication practice.
As an engineered oasis and climbing structure, Yucca Crater will stand 24 feet tall, towering above the desert plane. Positioned along the slopes of its interior shell, rock-climbing holds will make their way into and out of 8 feet of water. Heated with solar power and pumped through a wind powered turbine, the cavernous pool awaits climbers and weary desert travelers.
This elevated crater and its aquatic basin are a nod to the abandoned suburban swimming pools scattered across the Mojave. While the piece is decidedly man-made, it recalls the works of the land art movement by using materials at hand to construct the final product. By this, we mean that the massive structural formwork of Yucca Crater is the by-product of another Ball Nogues work: Talus Dome. Situated along the embankment of a freeway in Edmonton, Alberta, Talus Dome is an enormous mound constructed of stainless steel spheres. The elaborate formwork we will use to assemble Talus Dome is a feat of design and engineering in its own right. Our plan is to repurpose the formwork for High Desert Test Sites to become Yucca Crater.
This unique approach utilizes our artistic waste stream to create a public artwork in its own right. It is an important aspect of the project as it addresses a critical point in our understanding of the environment today— the need to eliminate waste and encourage re-use.
Upon completion of the Talus Dome in Edmonton this summer, the formwork will be transported to California’s high desert. There, we will invert the structure and transform it into Yucca Crater, an artificial aquatic land mass both incongruous to and reminiscent of the Mojave Desert.
We need the support of donors to make this project happen (www.unitedstatesartists.org/project/yucca_crater). Transporting and repurposing a structure of this scale will be a great undertaking. It will require support from those interested in enriching the California landscape with ecologically minded and imaginative architecture. Our goal is to maximize the use of material and to convert the solar and wind resources naturally available. Funds will provide transportation, delivery of water, liner materials, hand holds for climbing, assembly equipment, paint,lumber, water filtration, a Savonius (wind) Turbine and lighting (solar powered).
Yucca Crater materializes the surreal — echoing and contrasting the earth through architecture. Its dramatic silhouette reconfigures the landscape while welcoming physical interaction from viewers. Rather than passively observe the art, visitors will be encouraged to climb and descend the walls of Yucca Crater for a moment of respite in the cool, tranquil pool below. As a contributor to High Desert Test Sites, Ball Nogues Studio is eager to illuminate the California desert.
Ball-Nogues Studio is an integrated design and fabrication practice operating in the territory between architecture, art, and industrial design. Essential to each project is the “design” of the production process itself. We devise proprietary systems of construction, create new fabrication devices, develop custom digital tools, and invent materials with the aim of expanding the potential of the physically constructed world. We share an enthusiasm for the fabrication process as it relates to the built world both physically and poetically by letting the properties, limitations, and economic scenarios associated with a process guide a structure’s ultimate form while developing methods to extend the intertwined boundaries of aesthetics, physical performance and lifecycle.
Speculation and execution are inexorably linked in our work; each project demands that we maintain tight control over design and production. As young practitioners, this requires a do-it-yourself ethos. Consequently, we have “designed” our career so we can exploit opportunities to build that are outside the constraints of the conventional architectural milieu. Although our projects are experimental with respect to production, they are far more than prototypes; each directly addresses human occupation by enhancing and celebrating social interaction through sensation, spectacle and physical engagement.
The Studio has exhibited at major institutions throughout the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art; the Guggenheim Museum; PS1; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; arc en rêve centre d’architecture + Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux; the Venice Biennale, the Hong Kong | Shenzhen Biennale; and the Beijing Biennale. They have received numerous honors including three American Institute of Architects Design Awards, United States Artists Target Fellowships and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In 2007, the Studio was the winner of the Museum of Modern Art PS1 Young Architects Program Competition. Recently, their work became part of the permanent collection of MoMA. The partners have taught in the graduate architecture programs at the Southern California Institute of Architecture;the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. Their work has appeared in a variety of publications worldwide including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Architectural Record, Artforum, Icon, Log, Architectural Digest, and Sculpture.
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