• Reef
    Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York
    Jun 03, 2009 to Sep 01, 2009
    Rob Ley & Joshua G. Stein

Installation views, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York City.

Reef investigates the role emerging material technology can play in the sensitive reprogramming of architectural and public space. Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs), a category of metals that change shape according to temperature, offer the possibility of efficient, fluid movement without the mechanized motion of earlier technologies. A field of sunflowers as they track the sun across the sky or a reef covered with sea anemones offer images of the type of responsive motion this technology affords. Its use in practical applications has been limited to the medical and aerospace fields as well as novelty toys—the super exclusive vs. the trite. Despite the potential of this technology, there have been few serious attempts to test its possibilities at the scale of architectural environments. Using this technology, Reef creates an interior condition which reacts according to an exterior streetscape, and reasserts an active, willful role in shaping that public space.

Rob Ley is the founding principal of Urbana, an architecture and design studio in Los Angeles. Urbana engages current material and formal technologies to develop environments that respond to human inhabitation and experience. He currently teaches graduate design studios and seminars at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). He holds an MArch from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a BS in architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Joshua G. Stein heads Radical Craft, a Los Angeles–based studio that investigates urban and material patterns while focusing on the intersection of traditional craft and contemporary fabrication techniques. He has taught design studios and seminars at Cornell University, SCI-Arc, Woodbury University, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and was a 2010–11 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture. He holds an March degree from UCLA.