The intersection of fashion and architecture is explored through the creation of wearable architecture by UB architecture students, showcased at an international exhibition in Hong Kong.
In a recent exhibition held in Hong Kong, students from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo (UB) showcased their innovative creations of wearable architecture. These structural apparel pieces, including headgear, limb bands, and shirt-skirt combinations called “sh/kirts,” were developed as part of a graduate architecture media seminar that aimed to explore the intersection of fashion and architecture.
The exhibition, titled “Archi-texture,” was installed at the Hong Kong Design Center’s Design Spectrum as part of a larger exhibition called “The Full Gamut,” curated by Robert Wu and Vivienne Yu. The exhibition aimed to push the boundaries of fashion design and featured installations by graphic designers, textile artists, and product and spatial designers.
Led by architecture faculty members Gregory Serweta and Maia Peck, the seminar used the body as a site of investigation for core principles in architectural media. Students participated in hands-on workshops where they explored the history of graphic representation of the human body and learned various skills, including 3D modeling and printing, rendering, illustration, post-processing, animation, and CNC milling.
One of the key materials used by the students in their creations was paper. By working with paper, the students were able to understand the relationship between two-dimensional planes and three-dimensional modeling. They explored the potential of paper through techniques such as folding, pleating, and creasing, which allowed them to create intricate and unique forms.
For example, the headgear designs began with a flat plane that was transformed into a three-dimensional form as it interacted with gravity and the human body. The limb bands, on the other hand, involved advanced curvilinear and surface geometries, with students producing patterned 3D-printed bands sized to their own bodies. The creation of the “sh/kirts” required a combination of 3D printing, 2D template generation, and complex methods of paper manipulation.
The “Archi-texture” course culminated in a fashion show last April, where students showcased their wearable architecture designs alongside CNC-milled foam seatscapes and projected animations. The exhibition in Hong Kong served as an expansion of the “Archi-texture” exhibit, with Serweta and Peck organizing a workshop for children to assemble “headwear” using pre-prepared, laser-cut paper templates.
The exploration of wearable architecture by UB architecture students not only showcases the creativity and innovation within the field but also highlights the potential for fashion and architecture to intersect and inspire each other. By using materials such as paper and incorporating techniques from both disciplines, the students were able to create unique and visually stunning wearable structures.
This exhibition serves as a reminder that ornamentation of the body and objects has been a driving force in the arts throughout history. Humans have always sought to adorn themselves and their surroundings as a form of self-expression, power, or simply for the joy of embellishment. The fusion of fashion and architecture in wearable architecture allows for the exploration of new possibilities and challenges traditional definitions of fashion.
Overall, the exhibition of wearable architecture by UB architecture students at the international exhibition in Hong Kong not only showcases their talent and creativity but also highlights the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations between fashion and architecture. By pushing the boundaries of design and exploring new materials and techniques, these students are contributing to the expanding definitions of fashion and opening up new possibilities for sustainable and innovative design.