Gradated Field

Gradated Field
By Kyle Coburn, Karina Silvester and Yihyun Lim, graduate students in the Department of Architecture
May 2011
Walker Memorial Lawn

Wander through a field of enticing white plaster mounds located along the river. Poured into thin latex molds, the plaster is used to “freeze” the concave and convex curves formed by latex under tensile stresses.  By relying on gravity and the weight of the plaster to create each curvature, structural catenary and parabolic curves are achieved (allowing for lighter shell forms). The smoothness of the latex sheet forms a slick and touchable surface. The variety of small, medium and large mounds creates a landscape that ramps up to direct visitors toward the Charles River and/or MIT’s campus. Ultimately, passersby are drawn to explore and inhabit this field. Some will merely meander among the mounds, while others will relax, sit or lounge against the smooth plaster shapes.

Funded in part by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.