Lulu Speaker Series
The Lulu Series: Mark WestMark West
Soft and Wet: When Fabric Holds Concrete
Concrete is generally regarded as a cold, hard substance but a new method of construction that replaces rigid wood or steel moulds with flexible fabric sheets is transforming concrete into a "soft" and sensual material.
Mark West, the founding director of the CAST Laboratory/Studio at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and a key figure in the development of these new techniques, will present discoveries from over 20 years of his experiments, research, and construction using these radically new, yet profoundly simple, formwork materials and techniques. His work merges architectural, engineering, and artistic practice with simple and economical construction methods and sustainable design practice.
When a flexible fabric sheet is used to contain wet concrete, the pressures and forces created between them shape the cast in structurally efficient and beautiful ways - each material responding to the other as they find the three-dimensional form that provides their equilibrium. The results bear an uncanny resemblance to "natural" forms found in plants, animals, and clothing, suggesting an entirely new kind of architectural and structural "language". The natural efficiency of some of these shapes allows the simple production of structures that consume far less material than conventional cast concrete architecture.
This talk will be preceded by a short performance by Thomas Jones presenting an excerpt from his recent highly-acclaimed solo show, Woody Sed, about the life and times of Woody Guthrie. Thomas has a background in mask, puppetry and improv and has created or co-created new shows in those disciplines. He has performed with a variety of organizations including Boca del Lupo, Axis Theatre, Vancouver Opera, Electric Company Theatre, CBC’s The Nature of Things, The Only Animal, Caravan Farm Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse and Western Canada Theatre.