Bernard Tschumi famously said “architecture is about designing conditions, rather than conditioning designs,” and that it is about “identifying, and ultimately, releasing potentialities hidden in the site.” Through Weather Report, a collaborative, interdisciplinary project constructed for the Northern Spark Art Festival in Minneapolis, we aimed to design a condition driven by data, memories, and exchange. The project is an environment under continuous change; a light-filled, spatial experience in which architectural character is determined as much by those who experience the space and by streaming data feeds, as it is by the hands of the designers.
Challenging the idea that designers must remain in constant control of their work (and thereby suggesting, perhaps, that they never really had control), Weather Report represents a strategic and choreographed approach to design authorship. As its designers, a group of architects, landscape architects, and computer scientists, we developed a system in which we, as Tschumi puts it, “released the potentialities hidden” in a place and its people. This approach shifted design agency by emboldening users to participate in the conception of their environment and repositioning the designers to serve as, not willful artists, but rather as a strategic thinkers— ones who set up the conditions under which architecture is unpredictably and organically, but thoughtfully, grown out of influences external of their control.
Minn-Lab (members of Minn-Lab for this project were Ross Altheimer, Robert Hunter, Andrea Johnson, Daniel Keefe, Molly Reichert, Maura Rockcastle, Marc Swackhamer, and Aaron Wittkamper) and assistance from Deuk-Geun Hong, Seth JohnsonClient: Northern LightsAdditional funding: University of Minnesota Digital Design CenterPhotography: Marc Swackhamer, Liam Matteson, Chris Savage, Zheyang Yuan
Tags: Climate Change, Weather, Data, Installation, Public Art