Location: n/a // Prof. Grant Alford // Rice School of Architecture, Fall 2012

"Scalar Trials" is a collection of projects - ranging from the scale of a home to a city block - that investigate the potential and limitations of horizontal symmetry as a formal strategy. Specifically, the projects explore the possibilities in designing for the spatial experience versus the visual perception/recognition of symmetry. Our studio's collective findings on all formal strategies – corners, assemblage, circles, grids, holes and symmetry – were published here.


Situated partially underground, the pavilion uses the exterior ground plane as its internal reference plane of symmetry. Entrances are on the periphery and visitors descend into the space, to be taken to the privileged "path" connecting nodes of program. The path remains flat to maintain eye level on the plane of symmetry. A variety of controlled expansions (with respect to two variables - radius and amplitude) of the ground and ceiling planes produce different types of space inherently suited for different functions. In opposition to the programmatic expansions, structural moments occur as contractions. The ceiling and ground come together to form large super columns allowing for a large open plan across the pavilion, not unlike systems in use at Coop Himmelblau's BMW Welt and SANAA'S Rolex Learning Center.

Last Updated:  January 2019