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February 2, 2010
by Glenda Reed Center for Architecture Foundation

Arnold & Sheila Aronson Gallery.


Glenda Reed, Operations Manager at the Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF), spoke with Alice Min Soo Chun, 2008 Brunner Grant Recipient, about the high-tech architectural fabric she is developing with her partner, Laura Briggs:

Glenda Reed: Briefly describe your 2008 Brunner Grant project.
Alice Min Soo Chun: The “3rd Skin” is an adaptable building system that both saves and generates energy. Each “3rd Skin” structure functions as an accessory to existing buildings. The profile and form is calibrated to optimally shade the building and reduce energy load during “over-heating” periods while maintaining view-shed access. The skin is also shaped to simultaneously harvest solar energy to provide electricity to the urban streetscape. The project taps into the emerging flux of clean-technology and interactive sensory experience by engaging the burgeoning field of technical textiles and thin film photovoltaics. We are using high-strength fabric as sub-straight, and fashioning methods to create this lightweight structure that will be easily manufactured. The system could play an important role in building retrofits.

GR: What has receiving the Brunner Grant meant to you personally and professionally?
Laura Briggs and I were honored and excited to receive the Brunner Grant. We have been extremely motivated by our project. It has enabled us to further our ongoing academic research into ecologically sound building practices and new forms of renewable energy. Through the grant we have been able to engage many talented members of the professional design and manufacturing communities. We have used the funding towards the development of an operable prototype that was exhibited in January at the Aronson Gallery at Parsons The New School for Design. The acknowledgment from the Center for Architecture has provided a critical stepping-stone for our creative development and our ability to pursue more significant support for the project’s next phase of development.

The 2010 deadline for the Arnold W Brunner Grant has passed. There is still time, however, to apply for Center for Architecture student scholarships. The Eleanor Allwork Scholarship, the Center for Architecture Design Scholarship, and the Fontainebleau Prize are due Monday, 03.15.10. Visit for more information about the Center’s scholarships and grants program.


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