April 3, 2007
by Canadian Architect
From May 18July 8, 2007, SCI-Arc presents an exhibition by George Yu Architects documenting the design process and completion of the new Honda Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California. The exhibition highlights the architects transformation of a 6,000-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of a historic building into design studios and conference rooms using the same design technology as the carmaker. Described by Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic of The Los Angeles Times as an architectural version of a concept car, a wall system composed of 99 acrylic panels in nine different shapes was designed and fabricated using the same digital rapid prototyping tools that the car designers use in the studio. The exhibition will include drawings and boards covering the process, photos of the finished interior, and a full-scale, 8 x 8 x 3 prototype mock-up of the wall panels.
Young architects are often accused of hyping technology, said Yu, but this project allowed us to fuse cutting-edge technology with the bricks and mortar of architecture. In the end, panels and joints are very important.
Despite the use of progressive digital tools, this molded acrylic panel wallreferred to by Yu as a cocoonwas a hands-on and labour-intensive project, requiring craftsmanship. In addition to providing a window into the design process of an architect at the vanguardwhose building is not open to the publicthe exhibition represents an extension of what Yu aims to teach his students at SCI-Arc: The assumption that what you draw is what you get is a fallacy.
George Yu has been on the design faculty at SCI-Arc since 1998 and has also taught at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture, University of Texas, Austin, and Florida International University. Yus work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and publications and has received many awards including the Canada Council’s most prestigious award in architecture, the Prix de Rome, in 2000. Established in Los Angeles in 1992, George Yu Architects is an innovative, award-winning practice with experience in a wide range of building types. Specializing in the integration of urban design, architecture, and technology issues, George Yu Architects has completed over 65 projects ranging in scale from 1,000-square-foot retail interiors to 1.5 million-square-foot shopping centres. Key projects include the headquarters for Nettwerk Records in Vancouver; creative workspaces for IBM e-Business in Chicago, New York, and Atlanta; the Daido Jusco Shopping Center in Nagoya; the prototypes and roll-out of over 50 fashion boutiques for Max Studio worldwide; the prototypes and roll-out of multiple fashion boutiques for Marciano worldwide; the design studios for the Sony Electronics Design Center in Santa Monica; and the Sensorium office building project in Tokyo.