SUTD Open House
Exhibition Platform | Singapore
The design provides an exhibition platform for the department of Architecture and Sustainable Design at the gallery of the main lobby of the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). It was unveiled for the SUTD Open House in early March 2015. The neutrality of the white and open space of the gallery and lobby is counteracted by the physical presence of the exhibition platform that is generated by its size and materiality: an 18m long and up to 4 wide gridded platform out of 2×4 stud of pine. The gridded structure further enhances the presence of the platform through its rigidity and precision that differentiates the geometry of the exhibition from the fluidity and openness of the gallery space. The grid of the platform is slightly angled to allow for a more dynamic expression of the exhibition and an easier adaptation to the spatial conditions of the gallery. The contrast between the geometry of the exhibition platform and the gallery space is further smoothed out by dissolving of the rigid grid to the edge. This blurring of the boundary allows visitors to move in parts deep into the platform this way enabling a closer look at some of the exhibited pieces.
The wooden grid consists of 200 studs of 1 m length. For the construction of the platform, the studs were pre-assembled into a modular system of four centrally connected studs. This windmill-like configuration ensures tight connection of each module with the neighboring one and leads to a stiff gridded surface that can cantilever over several meters without much deflection. Because of this, only a light supporting structure is needed that primarily has to take care of the vertical load. Three types of tripods out of oxidized reinforcement bars of 1 cm diameter have been designed that vary in spacing from 20 cm up to 140 cm. The steel bars are point-welded and tied together at one end with a tension cable this way ensuring the compensation of any horizontal forces within the tripod and thus avoiding any slipping of the support system. The relatively high self-weight of the platform of around 350 kg guarantees high pressure at the three supporting points of each of the tripods. A physical connection, therefore, is not necessary. The platform rest firmly on the supporting tripods. Only as precaution measure, small clips have been added which avoid any movement of the tripods and potential slipping out of position. All in all, the supporting structure consists of 16 tripods. This number exceeds by far the amount necessary to support the platform. The amount and location of the various tripods rather follows a design intention that plays with variation of density and directionality of the support system at different areas of the exhibition platform.
The exhibition platform is a simple but effective design that performs well. The final structure is the result of very constraint time frame of less than three weeks from the initiation of the design to the finished assembly. The gridded structure as well as the supporting system could easily be varied more extensively within a parametric design approach. But this would result in an increased planning time especially for fabrication and assembly, something that could be afforded within the given setup. Because of this, variation has been introduced into the design through the combination of the basic modules and the blurred edge condition as well as the through variation of the location and density of the tripod.
Design: Carlos Bañón & Toni Kotnik