On the elevator to MoMA’s 6th floor gallery, I made small talk with a nice couple who turned out to be from Philly. Hey, me too! “Oh, then you must be here to see the Cellophane House,” they said, brimming with pride as we chatted about our hometown architecture heroes, KieranTimberlake Associates. The firm’s design did not disappoint; the five-story, two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot building was the show’s largest. And the most tactilely nuanced, with an evanescent glow that comes courtesy of see-through plastic walls embedded with photovoltaics, a translucent 3Form floor lit from below, and acrylic stair treads embedded with LEDs—all of which attach, sans hardware, to an aluminum frame. Below, James Timberlake sheds light on the luminous design—and its bright future:
You designed Cellophane to be adaptable to numerous climatic conditions. Is there a location—the Alaskan tundra, beachside in Rio—where you’d love to see it permanently installed?
Actually, we designed Cellophane as siteless, meaning that the approach for MoMA works for New York City conditions—but would have to be studied for other locales. It is mass customizable, given the scaffold frame, to allow for a variety of adaptations. We would enjoy seeing Cellophane in all the locales you have suggested and have had inquiries from dozens of others.