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eXo Model


05 January 2014 to 13 April 2014

Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Project Description

Thermobimetal is a lamination of two alloys of metals with different coefficients of expansion.  When heated, the “smart” material curls.  This natural behavior is beneficial during construction because it enables a person to assemble the project with minimal effort and danger.  With no mechanical force required, a single person can assemble the surface with a single hand.  Each individual piece is heated in a conventional oven to about 350˚ Farenheit, the point with optimal geometric curl, then simply held into position until it cools.  As the piece cools and returns to its flattened state, it is prematurely locked into place, forming a pre-tensioned bow-beam (imagine an archer’s bow).  When distributed in a field of bows on a cylindrical type of surface, the result is an extremely strong and lightweight shell, much like the exo-skeleton of a lobster or crustacean.  The surface is held in tension with no connection hardware.                                          

Credits and Information

MATERIALS: Thermobimetal, aluminum
PROJECT TEAM: Doris Sung, Dylan Wood, Hannah Woo, Evan Shieh, Jessica Chang, Dennis Chow, Carter Shaw
CONSULTING ENGINEER: Roel Schierbeek (Structural engineer, ARUP)


AWARDS: Architect Magazine R+D Award 2014 and ACSA Faculty Design Award 2015

FUNDING: This project was privately funded by MCA/SB and Neal Feay Co.
The exhibition is co-organized by MCASB Executive Director and Chief Curator Miki Garcia and Visiting Curator Brigitte Kouo After extensive interviews and research, six L.A.-based architects, “whose work embraces cross-fertilization, collaboration, and adaptation—thus creating new methodologies for research and implementation in the fields of architecture and beyond”, were asked to exhibit in the Almost Anything goes: Architecture and Inclusivity show. Other participants include: Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph of Design Bitches; Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio; Miles Kemp of Digital Physical / Variate Labs; Elena Manferdini of Atelier Manferdini; and Ramiro Diaz Granados of Amorphis with Matthew Au


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