Los Angeles, CA
February, 2014

amphibianArc’s partial building model, Cocoon, was featured in Los Angeles’ annual architecture, art and technology event, SKYLINE 2014. The installation is a full-scale model of an actual part extracted from one of the two buildings designed by amphibianArc. Cocoon first debuted in Beijing at the “Digital Infiltration” Exhibition in November, 2013. Its sustainable features were then proven and studied by Professor Guo Jinsheng from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. With a journey of more than 20 days, Cocoon made its way across the Pacific Ocean from Beijing to Los Angeles towards the audience of SKYLINE 2014.

Cocoon demonstrates the feasibility of amphibianArc-designed Yichang Museum and Yichang Planning Exhibition Center in the historic Chinese city of Yichang. The design of these buildings drew inspiration from the shape and structure of silkworm cocoon, as a tribute to the Yichang-native Leizu, a legendary Chinese empress who invented and passed on the technique of silk production. While the installation, as a partial model of the real building, resembles the enlarged internal structure of cocoon.

This installation is an in-depth exploration in the field of parametric design. With an avant-garde parametric design approach, the team successfully managed to associate the project's local cultural element with the broader Chinese history. The Parametric design was done in Grasshopper, a plug-in of Rhino, to generate the desired cocoon form. Meanwhile, the project’s structural Engineer BIAD adjusted the script to ensure that the model is structurally proven. With the help of parametric design, the team was able to rationalize the construction method by identifying the primary and secondary structure, and dividing the entire model into sequential layers, all of which was done in a completely parametric environment. The installation as a whole is not only an innovative, eye-catching architecture piece but also an accurate reference for future construction.

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