Two potential clients presented two unrelated propositions. The world’s second-largest manufacturer of office cubicles asked University of Houston architecture and design faculty to consider a use for the 22 billion pounds of metal from discarded office systems that enter the waste stream. They proposed disaster relief housing. Secondly, a major urban park requested an art venue to house work by a local artist in celebration of the park’s centennial.
Reframe x Frame emerged with the strategy of combining the two concepts. Architecture and design faculty challenged the students to design a micro pavilion constructed out of steel office framing that could house an art installation. The construction method demonstrates the potential use of office framing for disaster relief housing. Its installation at a prominent point at the park meant thousands of people were made aware of the issue of the steel framing as waste and the potential solution.
The Reframe x Frame micro-pavilion is a dual-sided covered passageway entered from the north or south. Graphics at the south entrance introduce the work of the sound artist. As visitors walk through the space, motion sensors activate the sound art. The steel frame is skinned in white Coroplast, laser cut with cascading fragments to echo the quality of light that glows through the structure. From across the lake, the pavilion serves as a beacon and lantern.
Graphics at the north entrance describe the dual nature of the pavilion. The construction as disaster relief housing is depicted through a timeline structure of information graphics. The Coroplast skin is partially removed to expose the steel framing inside. Brightly colored vinyl text and iconography on the framing provide facts and statistics related to steel furniture waste and disaster relief housing.
“This project represents an intriguing solution to two design challenges at once: the need for placemaking and for an intelligent re-use of existing materials. The resulting pavilion represents a visually attractive overall solution.”
“This project succeeds on many levels. The repurposed material makes a strong environmental and social statement while at the same time providing a space for a temporary art installation. The Coroplast skin is well employed to house information and graphics. At night that same skin when lit internally appears as a dynamic lantern, the die-cuts adding a variability to the glow.”
Faculty direction: Patrick Peters (College of Architecture); Jason Logan (LOJA Architecture); Cheryl Beckett (Graphic Design, School of Art); Minor Design (creative director)
Students, College of Architecture: Brandon Berry, David Craig, Jessica Deaver, Dijana Handanovic, Dana Moore, Andy Okonkwo, Nick Prejean, Yuan Wen
Students, School of Art, Graphic Design: Seth Lapeyrouse, Linh O’Briant, Tom So, Jason Wheeler, Rhonda Wolverton
AllSteel (steel supplier), Christoph Spieler, Morris Architects (structural engineering); University of Houston Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (load testing); Shah Smith (electrical engineering); Zeki Tolunay, Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Inc. (geotechnical engineering); United Galvanizing, Inc. (galvanizing); Kevin Conlin, Sun-Stop LLC (solar system); US LED Ltd. (lighting); George Kingsley III (fabrication consultant); Pointsmith (large- format prints); Abinadi Meza (artist, Vein of Sky interactive sound installation); University of Houston Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center (CNC cutting of graphic panels)
College of Architecture students