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MOCAPE - Complex solutions for complex problems

Coop Himmelb(l)au

MOCAPE - Complex solutions for complex problems
By Brunella Angeli -

Complex problems require complex solutions. For Wolf Prix, visionary founder and director of the Austrian practice Coop Himmelb(l)au, this is the attitude today’s architect must adopt if he/she is to master the technological revolution that will sweep away the traditional building methods used over the last 5,000 years. With their animated video “We start the future of construction”, the studio shows how Building Information Modeling (BIM), new modeling software and robotic construction can improve, speed up and reduce the costs of building, and also permit unprecedented formal experimentation. Robotics is certainly the overriding emblem of our secular post-modern era. During the 20th century, speed - the direct consequence of the development of the motorized machine - changed the concept of beauty from something in a “quiet” state to one imbued with a sense of “urgency and struggle”. Once, however, machines had become a customary asset after the Second World War with the advent of the Affluent Society, they became synonymous with a problem. Today the constraints of our mechanized systems seem to have been overcome by the robot, which, although raising concerns, just like the first production assembly lines, nonetheless promises to make us economically more efficient and ideologically more sustainable. For Prix, the pilot project exhibiting this new technology could well have been the Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition (MOCAPE) in Shenzhen (China), inaugurated in September 2016, the design for which was won by Coop Himmelb(l)au in 2007. This monolithic volume is enveloped in a multi-functional façade containing the programs of two institutions (MOCA + PE) under the same enormous roof. Occupying the eastern part of the Futian Cultural District - an area designated as Shenzhen’s new urban center - the main level of the structure containing lobbies, the vertical distribution systems and communal...

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