Simons Center for Geometry & Physics at Stony Brook
Simons Center is new building on the Stony Brook campus which features a glass and metal kinetic art wall manufactured by Zahner. Designed by the architects at Perkins Eastman, the new facility brings a world-class mathematics and physical sciences building to the Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York. The building’s most intriguing feature is the animated stainless steel kinetic surface.
The kinetic panel system first began early development in 2008, when Zahner began working on a series of projects with the renowned kinetic artist and designer, Chuck Hoberman. Hoberman foresaw a future where kinetic surfaces could respond to environmental changes (such as temperature, moisture, and light) by opening or closing an aperture on the surface of the building itself. Today these systems are now possible, and the new Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook provides an early prototype.
Over the early 1990's, patterned usage of perforated metal began to appear. At the time, the pattern were limited by programming. It wasn't until the early two-thousands, when Herzog & de Meuron designed the de Young Museum, that perforated metal would truly enter into its own.
Several patterns designed by Hoberman Associates are featured on the interior of the new Stony Brook Facility, serving as both the building’s artistic centerpiece as well as a functional shading system. The floor-to-ceiling metal surface is made by layering four panels manufactured in perforated stainless steel. Three of the layers are motorized to open and close based on temperature requirements.
Each of the motorized panels revolve around one another on an engineered track defined by the designed components. The visual effect is like that of a flower, blossoming into a burst of patterns – hexagons, circles, squares and triangles. At one point in the cycle, the perforated patterns all are aligned, allowing the maximum open space. At the other end of the cycle, the pattern becomes an opaque mesh.
The kinetic surface spans 124 square meters and imbues the building with the functional capacity to dynamically change its opacity and sculpt the quality of light within.