Adaptive System: Haus Mobile

Precedent_Geoffrey Bawa (selected projects), Cedric Price (selected projects)

Reference_Refrigeration Systems

“Haus mobile” is a steel house designed to move. Situated in Santa Monica, the house adapts to the mild but different seasons with a flexibility to shift half of its spaces. At first its design premise may seem to demand a structure too advanced for a single family home, but through design thinking the proposal largely adapted common construction systems.


There are two construction systems. One hosting the mobile spaces; the other hosting the static spaces. The Static is a light steel frame structure clad with dry walls and sits on a shallow foundation; the Mobile are container boxes clad with refrigerator panels, these boxes move along the rails of a deep steel crane that sits on a pile foundation.



The container boxes shift within constrained distances three times a year (Spring, Autumn and Summer). Accordingly, these different mass configurations open up or close down semi-outdoor vestibules to ventilate or insulate the interior spaces. Each of these seasonal “celebrations” with take a few hours, reducing the motors down to the size of a microwave-oven.

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Prototyping: Aluminium Wall Section

Collaborated with_Chinh Nguyen, Dan Opera

Precedent_Chuck Close

This studio was intended to unite the focused material and fabrication aspects of wall section design through an extended and in depth investigation of a composite material system that embodies a range of performance types, material expressions and technical interface.

We were interested in building intelligence into pixel construction through different performative layers to create visual ambiguities from both exterior and interior. The site is currently active as a Jewish community center along Olympic Blvd LA, we replaced the North and West facade with our design, which appears as two bands of changing hue at day time and two lurking bands of light at night.


A primary intention of the project was to synthesis the conventional discreet set of performative layers in wall section, such that equal emphasis is placed on the investigation and exploitation of these layers. And the construction of a half-scale prototype at the end testified the organization of the material, geometric, technical and structural ingredient that combined to form a building envelope with synthesized and demonstrated effect.



Inspiration was sought from other disciplines, especially works of painter Chuck Close, which embeds pixels within pixels, in terms of space, reflectiveness and color. We juxtaposed different hues assigned to each pixel layer to create an aura with painterly coloring strategy.


Color choices were limited down to five, and broken down into spray-painting templates to apply colors layer by layer, similar to screen printing technique. From a distance, there are obvious shifts in hue, but if one stands at the underside of the pixels, there is an explosion of vibrant and juicy colors which contrast each other.


These 4’ by 4’ panels are milled from aluminium sheets. The two layers of metal pixels are each rotated to a different degree (inner pixel: 90deg, outer pixel 45deg), spatially revealing the performative layers behind the metal panels.


The interior reading was filtered through the flat double interior panels with hexagonal cut-out and shifted gradient, adding visual ambiguities to the color explosion from the back side of exterior aluminium panels.


In terms of the overall pattern, the pixels are placed within a field generated by simple attractor curves, but when the inner pixel geometries juxtapose with the outer pixel geometries, bands of unpredictable shades and gradients are produced.


Fifty percent of the facade has 4‘by8’ glazing between the interior and exterior panels, the other fifty has milled 4‘by8’ foam insulation protruding from between the panels, through interior panels to indoor. The designed pattern and thickness gradient can be seen and touched form indoor.




Analysis: 298 Mulberry Street

Collaborated with_David Vuong

Reference_298 Mulberry Street | SHoP Architects

Analysis of the facade fabrication technique and performance in relation to the overall fenestration system through half scale modelling and drawings representations.

The fabrication technique of this rippled, non-load bearing brick-concrete panels was studied by constructing a half-scale physical model. Each of the casting, milling and assembly processes were simulated by commonly available shop tools. Material limits, tooling tolerances and half-scale translation errors didn’t merely affect the time-frame of each process, but determined the overall attributes and weather performance of the decorative brickwork. The drawings were intended to articulate the comprehension of the facade at two scales: performance and construction of the actual wall section and the tectonics of the mock up fabrication. The analysis explains the driving reasons, possibilities and impact of the fenestration design.





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The full video of the fabrication process is here.

Iterative Design: Bent Space

Precedent_Eames Leg Splint

Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.

–Charles Eames

This project started with the case study of the Eames Leg Splint and proceeded as a pursuit of rigorously modular order in a carefully plannedspace designed by Richard Meyer. The formal and plastic properties of the Leg Splint Sculpture were investigated, because the sculpture was is a cut-out which bears minimum bending stress, it serves as a control piece on the curvature and opening of the web piece. A “clean up” process took place, which reduce the piece to its minimal and most operable unit.



Then aggregation methodology and connection were then experimented under the 4‘by10’ plywood size limit. When it was placed on the site, the gridded box of Meyer was divided by his  6‘by6’ invisible planned cubes, into chambers based on circulation, which is the two perpendicular access between the four sides of the site , and also the spins and turns that people make in the cafeteria. The piece starts from one corner of the box, and bifurcate as much as they can. One of the four modules are picked as the piece grow, according to the assigned nature of the particular chamber.


The drawing is a combined axometric and machine assembly representation: the axometric shows how the aggregation behave in different chambers and the machine assembly drawing is exploded according to the aggregation and proposed construction order. It explains the layering order and how the curvature and its control points of the formwork is translated to the plywood sheets.