14th International Architecture Exhibition – Fundamentals
Elements of Architecture, Wall Section
Barkow Leibinger: Kinetic Wall
The „Kinetic Wall“, a prototype created for the 14th International Architecture Biennale „Fundamentals“ in Venice, revisits the utopian dream of an architecture that can move, kinetically, first realized in the 20th century through modernism. This addition culminates an historical evolution of wall making (stone, brick, wood, glass partition etc.) in the context of the Wall Room at the „Elements of Architecture“ exhibition.
Surface (wall) movement is activated by a series of motorized points which extend and retract that transform an elastic (stretched) translucent synthetic fabric into a topographical section of peaks and valleys. This movement transforms the exhibition visitor’s corridor between the „Kinetic Wall” and the adjacent (glass) partition wall into a differentiated arch-like space. The limited and changing width of the passage ensures an immediate, intimate, and corporal relationship with the viewer/ visitor experientially. A digitally controlled choreography enables endless surface patterns, which emerge slowly then recede and change. This visual/ surface effect is further enhanced by the two layers of gridded fabric which when shifted over each other produce a moiré effect, a second scale of movement, that is translucent/ ephemeral.
This surface supported by a space frame containing a mechanical plenum produces a new kind of malleable poché – a material thickness. The lightweight laminated timber scaffolding (space frame) is an anchoring framework for the fabric and houses the mechanisms that activate the surface. The wall has an apparent front and back but one where both sides of the skin are visible simultaneously.
A „Kinetic Wall” offers an alternative future, an architecture that is materially and spatially dynamic of both natural and synthetic/recycled materials.