Chrysalis is the most recent installation of a series of inflatable architectural structures that uses robotics and innovative technology. Chico MacMurtrie and Amorphic Robot Works (ARW) have pioneered the use of inflatable high tensile Tedlar fabric “skeletons,” whose engineering allows the rigid, inflated structures to approximate the qualities of muscle and bone.Chrysalis starts out as a lifeless, organic form suspended from the ceiling. As air enters into the fabric, the material begins to inflate, accompanied by the syncopated respiration of the air blower. As the organic form expands, it reveals its geometric pattern analogous to those found in molecular architecture. The audience witnesses the growing process of this inflatable architecture during its descent. Chrysalis eventually touches ground, encapsulating the audience in a 50 x 35 x 10 network of inflated tubes. Its final shape resembles a giant molecular growth that visually and physically transforms both the architecture of the building and the audience’s sense of the space. For several minutes, Chrysalis stays in a defined shape, allowing the audience to experience its architectural body from inside and outside before starting its ascent back into the ceiling. Chrysalis poetically raises questions about the invisible structure that underlies all of life and ultimately the analogies between man, machine and architecture.
Chico MacMurtrie Essay