Moisturized Brutalism: A Softened Architecture
Does your building look cold and grey? Noticing fine lines and age? Then try this – a deep appliqué of ornament & visual delight.
People generally find Brutalism, once a darling of progressive architecture, tough to take; its legacy has not only been a legion of strong material works on the landscape, but the public’s significant resistance to all things “modern.” Current changes to US city development design guidelines reflect this in their goals to have designers avoid “long blank facades,” “large facade areas without glazing,” or “industrial materials like concrete.” Rather than deny the importance of their mass and power, this project seeks to lubricate it, to both appreciate the monolith’s command and fulfill contemporary planners’ desires for a sense of human scale, texture and visual connection.
The project proposal is to imbue the existing Perkins & Will designed CCRI Brutalist concrete building with newfound atmosphere and effects by using Sgraffito as technique to comb the existing exterior wall surfaces with a 6-axis articulated robot arm, outfit with a CNC mill end-of-arm-effector, for the direct application of new decorative and functional geometries. CAD-CAM robots will track over the vertical surfaces on semi-permanent, parapet mounted scaffolding, etching at shallow depths using responsively programmed CNC tool-paths to generate a delicate tracery for algae accumulation and mineral deposits with controlled water channelization. Additional select routed channels will provide for the controlled growth of creeper vines, to literally green the building, mating it with its greater natural context.