Hernan Diaz Alonso
American, born Argentina, 1969
Sur, Long Island City, New York, 2005
Acrylic and nylon
7.62 x 60.96 x 33.02 cm (3 x 24 x 13 in.)
Department of Architecture and Design Purchase Fund, 2006.311
Xefirotarch is one of the leading digitally based architecture studios in the world. Principal Hernan Díaz Alonso combines his wide-ranging influences with digital manipulation and distortion to explore the limits of beauty and scale. His monstrous constructions hover tantalizingly between the grotesque and the sublime, reintroducing an experimental notion of figuration into the discipline of architecture. The model for Sur, Díaz Alonso’s winning entry for the Museum of Modern Art/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, is made of an acrylic-nylon composite material threedimensionally printed from a computer program. The actual pavilion was constructed for a three-month period in P.S.1’s courtyard in Long Island City, New York.
— Permanent collection label
Since its inception in the early 1990s, digital architecture has moved into widening frontiers, fusing with other disciplines to enable unexpected formal explorations and generate new typologies that are changing the way in which structures are aestheticized and fabricated. As the field has matured, Hernan Díaz Alonso, principal architect of the Los Angeles firm Xefirotarch, has emerged as a significant figure; his studio’s grotesque, animal-like forms exemplify just how far digital practice has evolved. Shown here is the model for Sur, the firm’s winning entry for the Museum of Modern Art/P.S.1 Young Architects Program. The piece is composed of an acrylic surface that supports three-dimensional forms printed from nylon composite. The actual pavilion was constructed of bent aluminum tubing clad with reflective fabric sheathing and fiberglass benches and platforms painted Ferrari red. The title Sur, taken from a popular Argentine tango, refers to the rhythmic forms of the work. While Díaz Alonso draws freely from a wide range of visual-arts disciplines—especially film and video—he combines these influences with digital manipulation and distortion to explore the limits of beauty and scale. His constructions reintroduce an experimental notion of figuration to the pedagogy and practice of digital architecture.
— Entry, Essential Guide, 2009, p. 77.