A parking lot in the Arts District of Los Angeles was turned into a sweeping canopy earlier this month for SCI-Arc’s graduation ceremony. The airy pavilion, designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative and assembled with the help of students, was built of a steel truss, wrapped in a grid of rope and fabric. The rope was actually woven using an old-fashioned knitting technique on a giant scale - the students invented a process that involved using oversized pegs to replicate the action of knitting needles!
The beautiful canopy reached across the cloudless sky, spanning 60 x 110 feet. Oyler Wu enlisted aid from their students to help build the undulating structure, which sheltered the 900 friends and family members of graduates below. Working closely with the staff of the Oyler Wu firm, students began designing the pavilion in a graduate seminar, which ended with the welding and knitting the pieces of the structure in June. Large sheets of translucent nylon mesh fabric intertwined with knitted rope crisscrossed from each steel brace.
The students affixed the rope in a grid, letting the mesh fabric billow with the breeze like giant sails. The fabric was strategically angled to protect spectators below from the harsh angle of the setting sun.
The steel, fabric, and rope structure was a step outside of the box for Oyler Wu, which usually works with aluminum. Taking inspiration from the students’ graduation project, Oyler Wu plans to erect a residential tower in Taipei.