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Carbon Institute

Carbon Institute


Research, Design, Architecture, Speculative, Course Work, Material Study

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This is a speculative design for an trans-disciplinary research institute that showcases the possibilities of carbon as a building material (specifically as carbon nanotube (CNT) composites) when captured in solid form through processes like methane pyrolysis (splitting CH4 into pure carbon and hydrogen, which is harvested for energy). This was produced during my 4th semester architecture studio lead by Prof. Mark Goulthorpe, whose own work is devoted to the realization of this type of carbon-based material ontology sponsored by the DOE and ARPA-e alongside industry collaborators in the energy sector, composites engineering, and material science.


The Carbon Institute is situated within a landscape of similarly carbon-built aeolian instruments which unfold across the Big Horn Basin that, played by the wind alone, generate an infinetly complex ambient soundscape. The institute is a vessel that contains numerous labs, each addressing specific challenges in relation to combating climate change, whether economic, cultural, or scientific, which exist for various duration. A CAD/CAM manufacturing logic allows for these labs to be highly customized in scale and form, while expressing the unique possibilities of an ultra-lightweight CNT-composite built architecture as isolated volumes. Rails of near invisible (and electrically conductive) CNT yarn support and power mobile circulatory platforms and the programmed volumes, and are reconfigurable as labs are replaced, reorganized and discarded over time. The commons of the institute becomes a space in which each of these unique volumes resonate in relation to eachother, opening the possibility for the necessarily complex solutions to climate change to emerge.

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