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Polypod

Fayetteville, AR

 

The polypod is a simple outbuilding with a multitude of possible uses. The project consists of a polycarbonate shell and an exposed wooden frame. The roof, floor, and wall “fold” to establish the vertical limits of all other materials and methods. The white translucent polycarbonate panels emit enough light to the interior while giving a hint of the structural logic from the outside. The building is an agent of light and shadow and takes advantage of the temporal quality of daylight.

The client had a very simple brief for the project. “I need a place to store some things, I have $5,000.00 and the building has to be beautiful.” There are no (permanent) systems (HVAC, water, electrical) so the building was free to be a pure expression of architecture. The structure is made with a series of 2 x 4 continuous rectangular bent frames at 1’- 0” on center. Diagonal bracing is the most ubiquitous method of lateral bracing in stick frame construction, but in the polypod it is also in service to the scale and proportion of the space and building as a whole. The structure, set against the thin translucency of the skin, conveys the primary drama of the building, a relationship of light and shadow. There is also a rather complex relationship of the flatness of the panels (when frontally lit by sunlight) and conversely the reading of depth created by sunlight cast through the space (from the side opposite the viewer). These are the natural reciprocities and ambiguities granted by the translucency of the polycarbonate material that the project honors and promotes.