This presentation will introduce the latest installation in Riverfront Park in Spokane, Stepwell, an installation designed by J. Meejin Yoon.
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Social Hour (No-Host Bar)
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Talk & Q&A
Stepwell is located on the former site of the 1974 World’s Fair – the first environmentally themed World’s Fair – which put Spokane at the forefront of the early environmental movement. Stepwell’s use of mass timber, a renewable building resource, recalls both the material history of the region but also asks us to consider how far environmental activism has come from the mid-1970s to today.
Where architecture is today when it comes to material use and embodied carbon: Stepwell is a public art piece, but it was born out of a deep curiosity about what architects can do with mass timber. As architects are looking for ways to address the embodied carbon in their projects, mass timber seems to be one way to do this. However, we are still in the early stages of exploring what can be built with mass timber and need to move beyond simply using it to replace the traditional role of steel and concrete which hide the qualities of this material. When they visit Stepwell, the public can touch and interact with this material in ways that aren’t possible with current mass timber buildings. Stepwell was created in part to get the public thinking about this materials and how it can transform our built environment.
Stepwell’s use of timber: Stepwell traces the long history and great body of knowledge on wood in the Pacific Northwest region and uses mass timber as its primary building material. Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC) is chosen because of its natural beauty in weathering from a beige wood color to a silver-gray color, and its natural durability with limited checking, better dimensional stability, and higher mold-resistant quality over other wood species. Mass timber has its own syntax – Stepwell is showing what else can be done with this material.
Digital Craft: Working precisely, these machines/robots can do things humans can’t (using machines to do something only machines can do), but humans need to fill in to do what they can’t. How do we apply robotic stone carving technique to robotic wood carving? Uniquely precise, sculptural pieces…building on a body of design research that builds on other work H+Y and Quarra have done – producing new knowledge by doing. What’s next for fabrication?
This event is free and open to the public.