The objective of this project is to explore new possibilities of architectural skin through investigating the relationships between envelope and content and associated tectonic ap- plications, in analogy to the adaptation between human body and clothes in fashion, on the basis of study of cross-disciplinary connections between Architecture and Fashion in history.
The paradigms of fashion and textile design, included a number of properties like light- ness, movement, flow, flexibility and layering, are going to be converted to extend tra- ditional perceptions and operations in architectural design. Through studying connec- tions between Architecture and Fashion in the past, this project is going to develop an architectural skin system as well as methodologies in a dynamic, networked, multifunc- tional and communicative state, and be flexibly adopted to different content. Through the dramatic shift in scale, implying from the clothes on the body, consequently the massive skin is the continuous part of the clothes on the new body, interacting with both the psyche and material experience.
A location in China with thousand cliffside statues is selected to test the volumetric skin. Guangyuan Thousand Buddha Cliffside Statues in Sichuan Province are the largest group of rock caves in Sichuan province. Originally built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386–534) with more than 17,000 statues, they are carved on the cliff measuring about 200 meters long and 45 meters tall. After the long time of weathering process and natu- ral erosion, and the Sichuan-Shaanxi Highway construction in 1935, more than half of the statues were destroyed.
This testing project is going to generate a volumetric skin for the statues including in- ner layer and outer layer. This skin is a boundary, lining, partition of the 1500-year-old carved cliff and the external space, a shelter between the rapid changing environment and the statues with strategic concealment and revealment. This skin is going to house 2 main programs: a working platform for conservationist/historian and a covered visitor zone. The innermost layer is cut and fashioned in reference to the topology of the statues to provide protected working area. This is site specific work in the context of the statutes where emotions and identity are explored in an instant as the fabric appears and disap- pears, realized through the process of dressing and undressing.