• Arête Space
    Zackery Belanger & Julie Flohr

Photograph of three printed physical models, unfolded.

The acoustic performance of architecture correlates with enclosure geometry at all scales, from the pores of materials to the largest spatial dimensions of a room. Unfortunately, acoustic design is often seen as a remedial discipline of additive surface treatments and localized shaping. Arête Space is highly informed by the behavior of sound, and yet is completely free of acoustic appliqué. Advanced geometric, computational, and physical models have been utilized on an interdisciplinary platform to determine the exact shape of its enclosure, which is neither limited by single-dimension curvature, nor simplified by tessellation. The result is an intricately derived, minimal space that confronts the deep relationship between enclosure and acoustic performance. Arête Space is designed to raise awareness of the potential for acoustic design, and to be experienced and enjoyed by all.

Zackery Belanger is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he conducts research on advanced concert hall enclosure geometries and designs using computational and mathematical methods. He led research and development efforts at acoustical consultant Kirkegaard Associates until 2010, where projects included a custom-woven Nomex reflector fabric for London's renovated Royal Festival Hall (Allies and Morrison) and numerically generated diffusive surfaces for RPI's Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (Grimshaw). He is motivated by the mathematical underpinnings of beautiful, functional design.

Julie Flohr is currently full-time faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Architecture. She is the founding principal of Oisse Architects, Inc. and is licensed in Illinois. Flohr's research has dealt with advanced modeling techniques within parametric environments, orchestrating sequences of geometries and patterns that are rule-based. Flohr's current focus is to layer formal possibilities of geometric models with disciplinary knowledge bases outside of the field of architecture, intellectually renewing yet revisiting the influences of these knowledge areas in contemporary terms. She makes use of the latest developments in parametric modeling, computing, mathematical, and material research. To this extent, she has taught several graduate level seminars, including Parametric Constructions: Informing Models and Models as Inquiry: The Underlying Models. Recently, she presented "Digital Templates: Diagrams of Associations" at ACADIA 2009 and Gehry Technologies awarded her Variable Infrastructure project in the "What's Your Problem?" competition with in-kind project consultation.