Project Name: Quarantine
Location: Beijing, China
Scope: Installation in the National Art Museum of China, 2009
In commemoration of the Sichuan earthquake, the National Art Museum of China invited 12 offices to create an architectural response to an emergency scenario of their choosing. Our project looked at the SARS epidemic, its need for deployable quarantine units, with its implications of social estrangement, and alienation. This provided a study into fabric and transparency which provided some challenges as material system – the design of a taut, stretched membrane was done through an approximation of simulating cloth behaviour in scale models as well as digital models. In both methods accuracy of the final shape when stretched was dependent on textile choice, direction of weave, and limit of panels. Quarantine as a response strategy has never demonstrated sophistication in maintaining social and community ties. We proposed an environment in which the inside-outside, unwell-healthy separation was never easily understood as an enclosure. This led to the design of a single topology or manifold surface that could be understood as pure separation where there is ideally no object or figure of containment. For the final installation, the topology of a torus was used with a uniformly stretched surface that was pliant and translucent to allow for human touch.