The Autonomous Facade

University of Pennsylvania School of Design   l   Arch 602   l   Spring 2014

Critic: Kutan Ayata

In collaboration with Jingxian Xu

Studio project published in Pressing Matters 3


What if we blow the core?

What if we situate all there is typically in a core within the developing thickness of the envelope?

What if all the structure, utility, services, egress, and vertical circulation gravitate towards the crust of the tower?

What if we integrate all systems to constitute a structurally deep skin?

The ramifications would be critical and full of potential. The disciplines of efficiency must fully integrate with the disciplines of aesthetics, as all aspects of utility are now openly visible, potentially expressive, and ornamental. Performance can no longer be validated by numerical measures alone, but also by the aesthetics of the deep skin assembly. What could be interesting in this quest is not the efficient solution for a problem, the beauty of its form, or even the immediate relevancy for a particular social condition it might transform. Instead, it is about the ways in which this architectural object can be estranged from its own typology.