Spilled Parts

Small parts accumulate to create large impact. Making parts brings together architecture as a social project and a material project.

Spilled Parts is an experimental renovation toolkit for renovating existing buildings (or constructing new ones). Spilled Parts not only contribute to the structural rehabilitation of a building by bringing material forces in reciprocity, but also suggest at social force transfers – doubling as spatial connectors, dividers, and frameworks.

Perfectly Imperfect

Inspired by the column caps, bases, and connectors of early twentieth century heavy timber factory buildings, Spilled Parts treat architecture as a choreography of structure and space. The “spill” in each part extends the functional role of the connector into playful spatial organizers. An overflowing column base shapes the spaces radiating outward from it. A misbehaving column cap throws columns and beams in non-orthogonal directions.

Making is Building

Evoking the beauty and efficiency of their predecessors, each Spilled Part is cast as a single solid metal piece. To fabricate the parts, we worked with Detroit-based 555 Arts to design custom sand molds that allowed each metal pour to retain a hard-edged “controlled” portion and a soft-edged “overflow” portion, playing with the idea of introducing differences within standardization. Making is a process of building.

Plywood boxes were sized to each piece and made into open-faced sand molds.

Poured aluminum first fills the form buried within each sand mold, then spills over into the open face mold to create a unique  geometry.

The sand molds are then broken up to reveal the aluminum pieces buried within.

The mold-making and metal pour was a collaboration with artists from 555 Arts in Detroit.

Spilled Parts advocates for the architect’s orientation of agency from form to toolkit. The scope of operation expands from a single building to its relationships with larger social, economic, and historic forces, negotiated through different scales of building parts. 

Project Team: De Peter Yi, Linda Lee, Maksim Drapey
555 Arts Team: Jay Elias, Amanda Nordin, Gabrielle Finn Egnater, Carl Goines

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