FreelandBuck Digitally Fabricates Historic Ceilings at Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery

Parallax Gap by FreelandBuck is installed at the Renwick Gallery in Washington through February 11. Photography by Rae Giard.

The Renwick Gallery in Washington is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft collection. So, it’s fitting that its inaugural large-scale commission combines digital fabrication with purely U.S. references. Parallax Gap by architecture firm interprets nine ceilings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries from such structures as Minneapolis City Hall and Cincinnati Union Terminal into a puzzle of planes hung from steel aircraft cable from the gallery’s ceiling. “They’re generally contemporaneous with the Renwick, so they enhance its already rich architectural history,” partner David Freeland says of the selection. To execute the installation, up through February 11, latticed drawings were created in Rhinoceros and Grasshopper software, printed on polypropylene panels, then cut and attached to aluminum frames.


Polypropylene cut by a computer-controlled oscillating knife. Photography by Rae Giard.
Powder-coated tubular aluminum frames illuminated by LED strips. Photography by Libby Wiler.

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