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Waist Tightening

December 2010

DeCours, AIA New Orleans, LA

Project Description

Fifteen artist/architects were selected to build interactive installations at various sites in the French Quarter for the annual Descours event sponsored by the AIA New Orleans. Once a year for ten days, private courtyards, gardens and shelters were opened to the public, volunteer docents recruited and the entire art/architecture community mingled. Number 14 in the tour, this piece was installed in a private garden on the East side of the French Quarter. Because materials were scarce, no material could be wasted. In order to eliminate waste in the laser-cutting process, the design of the tiles was limited to rectilinear shapes. And connections had to be made with alternative materials, in this case rivets and mylar strips. With the use of three small space heaters installed in the center of the cylindrical piece, the prototype demonstrated the capacity of the thermobimetal material to change with temperature. When the heaters were turn on high, each individual piece would curl, the openings would widen and the overall shape of the piece would change.  In other words, the waist would cinch as if it were a corset being tightened.   

Credits and Information

MATERIALS: Thermobimetal, aluminum, steel
DESIGN TEAM: Doris Sung, Julia Michalski, Dylan Wood, Brent Nishimoto, Joseph Sharaf, Peter Vu, Ross Jeffries


FUNDING: AIA New Orleans

Melissa Urcan, Director of AIA New Orleans, established an avant-garde tour of architectural installations in gardens in December 2007-2011. 15 architects were selected and partnered with private residents in the French Quarter. The popular event was open to the public in the evenings.