IngenuityFest is an annual festival that showcases art and performances by Northeast Ohio’s creative community to over 20,000 visitors. Since 2016, this event has been hosted at the home of our office, the Hamilton Collaborative work complex. For IngenuityFest 2019, Architecture Office contributed Merge: an installation work that took advantage of a series of staircases hidden in the Collaborative's labyrinthine corridors.
Towards the center of this 500,000 ft² building lies three stories of egress staircases. Each sporting a dramatic 20 foot ascent, they have a powerful utilitarian switchback form enhanced by clear vertical views from the ground to third floor ceiling. We considered how an experiential condition could be created in this stairwell to take advantage of the space’s heavy industrial materials, harsh acoustical surfaces and confined, elongated forms.
Merge reimagines an existing condition whose spatial construct is derived entirely from utility. We installed two output lights — one at the top of the staircases and one at the bottom, and programmed them to respond to the bass and treble frequencies from music playing through the staircases. Though people move through Merge, there is no destination. Only a space woven with light and sound.