Urbana’ s projects always intend to operate at various scales within the built environment; they explore new materials and formal approaches to develop environments that respond to human experiences. This project “May- September” features a field of 7,000 angled multi-colour metal panels constructed onto the façade of the new Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
The project began when he started wondering about the typical notion of the parking structure. Often these huge concrete constructions are unappreciated and ignored by passers-by. Ley posed himself a challenge to turn it into a dynamic system that would interact with the viewers as they pass it by.
As Urbana describes:
“This project began with an interest in challenging the typical notion of the parking structure as an unappreciated infrastructural typology by transforming the new Eskenazi Hospital parking structure into a binary, synthetic terrain. During the design process, an interest in camouflage evolved into an approach that would create a very large dynamic, interactive element for the City. Rather than an actively kinetic approach, with all of the inevitable maintenance and longevity concerns that accompany those types of project, we were instead working towards an approach that capitalizes on the fact that most viewers would, themselves, be moving on bicycles or in automobiles. Thus, the design ultimately became something that offers a degree a variability of colour and form as one passes by the project. The awareness of this, interestingly enough, occurs whether someone is directly watching or even just seeing it out of their periphery of vision.
The effect of a field of 7,000 angled metal panels in conjunction with an articulated east/west colour strategy creates a dynamic façade system that offers observers a unique visual experience depending on their vantage point and the pace at which they are moving through the site. In this way, pedestrians and slow moving vehicles within close proximity to the hospital will experience a noticeable, dappled shift in colour and transparency as they move across the hospital grounds, while motorists driving along W. Michigan Street will experience a faster, gradient colour shift which changes depending on their direction of travel.
To facilitate the effect, a total of 18 different panel sizes/angles are used throughout. They range from 300mm tall x 600mm long to 300mm tall x 1m long. There approximately 7,000 of these panels. The colour scheme is quite simple as the west side received a deep blue colour, while the east side receives a golden yellow colour. The angles, alone, create the illusion of different hues. (18.5m H x 75m W x 1.5m D)”
Photographs: Serge Hoeltschi