The Gooey Enfilade was a team project developed for the "totalization" studio at Rice University. The totalization studios are intended to push students to focus in depth on a "single, fundamental, research topic engaging materials, techniques, technologies, elements, or markets... while coordinating the studio to "emphasize design's intrinsic relationship to other fields, ranging from finance to fabrication." (taken from the RSOA website, arch.rice.edu) The studio received professional consultations by Nat Oppenheimer, Robert Heintges, and others for the facades, structure, MEP and other project facets.
The studio investigated the the role of the envelope as a wrapper, and confronted methods to utilize topological models to develop form while integrating modern plastics in a contemporary facade. "Envelopes imply neutrality. They can be empty, abstract, immaterial. A Wrapper on the other hand isn't so... disinterested. The wrapper anticipates something inside as much as it fosters anticipation. A wrapper can equally conceal or embellish, protect or decorate. The wrapper evokes materiality while inviting the graphic. The wrapper is comfortable alone, but loves company. Wrappers are content to be superficial, even commercial." - Andrew Colopy, Quality Control.
To provide a framework for these explorations, the studio considered a R&D living hub for the Cornell NYCTech Campus which was under construction on Roosevelt Island. The building would house a rotating class of 12-15 graduate students who would develop a single collective project. Therefore the building must be part dormitory and part start-up. The program included housing; work, production, and meeting spaces; an auditorium, gallery, and cafe; in addition to the requisite service spaces for the building to function.
The gooey enfilade operates as its name implies. The traditional enfilade room condition is rendered "gooey" at the threshold between each room, and the door is extended into a stretched, curving connection. By simply stretching these spaces apart, pushing them together, adjusting scale and rotation of the rooms and placement of connectors, the gooey enfilade provides spaces with a clear sense of hierarchy through size and visual accessibility. In addition, grouping takes place through the number and placement of the connectors, relative location, and similar size.
As a strategy that can be executed in both plan and section, the gooey enfilade separates the traditional enfilade into a series of spaces containing "blocks" of program that hold relative value to adjacent spaces through their connectors. This allows some programs which benefit from a free plan to be provided with large, open spaces in the enfilade, while the more private programs may be compressed and stretched to emulate the privacy of a terminal room condition. Thus the gooey enfilade adopts and controls the strengths of both the terminal and free plan strategies.