Sabin Opens THE BEACON at DesignPhiladelphia 2016
Jenny Sabin and her long-time collaborator Peter Lloyd Jones opened their installation, THE BEACON, at the DesignPhiladelphia 2016 festival last night.
Sabin, who is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor of Architecture and director of graduate studies at AAP, and Jones, associate dean of emergent design and creative technologies at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the executive director at MEDstudio@JEFF, created THE BEACON to function as both a public meeting place for the larger DesignPhiladelphia event and as an experimental design that demonstrates drone technology, responsive textiles, and advanced digital fabrication's contribution to architecture, design, and the medical field. THE BEACON features knitted and woven lightweight, high-performing, formfitting and adaptive materials structured and held in tension with nonstandard stitched laser cut steel modules.
Located on the campus of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) in downtown Philadelphia, THE BEACON is a progressive work: Every evening for the next 10 days, two drones will wind around a 20-foot-tall structure that Sabin and her team designed in collaboration with Jones and his team at MEDstudio@JEFF, and during that time a second woven skin of photoluminescent micro-cord will emerge.
According to the press release, THE BEACON is "an experiment in generative architecture, and functions to stimulate new ideas between medicine and design." In addition to being the design lead for the project, Jenny Sabin Studio, in collaboration with MEDstudio, has been overseeing the data-driven drone component. The drones' flight pattern will respond to health-related questions posed to the public through THE BEACON app, in addition to turgidity data gathered from plants on the Rail Park, a neighboring urban park that shares a common mission of improving the health and wellness of all Philadelphians through design.
"This is one of the first examples of large-scale material construction by drones in architecture — the exterior skin of THE BEACON will emerge as the drones wind and weave in response to human engagement with THE BEACON app," says Sabin. "Through the integration of health, wellness, technology, and design, THE BEACON generates spatial transformations of light that in turn, empower and inspire collective levity, engagement, and play in and around Philadelphia."
"Design dictates how well we live and die, which is surely one definition of healthcare," adds Jones, "and if that is broken, which it clearly is, then we must fix it — through the design of processes, products, and behavior. At MEDstudio, we believe that by listening to everyone involved in healthcare, but most of all the patient, design can extend the time and quality of life in health and wellness, thereby decreasing chronic illnesses, even changing the way in which we die. THE BEACON is MEDstudio's messenger."
After the public debut of THE BEACON on October 6, Sabin and Jones will join Pulitzer prize–winning architectural critic Inga Saffron on Friday, October 7 at Connelly Auditorium at TJU for an in-depth discussion of their collaborative work. Public events held at THE BEACON during its 10-day creation will include meetings with architects who are actively working to redesign hospitals, pick-up volleyball games, and a mindfulness movement class.
The Cornell design team that worked on THE BEACON includes Andrew Moorman (B.Arch. '16), Jingyang Liu (M.Arch. '15, M.S. '20), Bennett Norman '18, Danny Salamoun (M.Arch. '14), Jordan Berta (M.Arch. '16), Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19), Dillon Pranger (M.Arch. '15), and David Rosenwasser (B.Arch. '18). MEDstudio's design team includes Trudy Watt, architectural designer; and Mike Koerner, clinical design engineer, with additional support from Provost Mark Tykocinski and Elsevier. Design engineering was provided by Arup, and the drones were generously donated by Autel Robotics.
By Edith Fikes