MATr Project winning sculpture erected behind Lake


“Embrace,” the new sculpture behind Lake Hall and winning design in the 2012 MATr Project. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Kirsten Bowers

A 10-foot tall silver spiral of geometric triangles has taken up residence behind Lake Hall for the next year.

“Embrace,” the new sculpture with a laser-cut design and a steel frame, is the winning design in the 2012 MATr Project.

The MATr Project, which is in its second consecutive year, is an in-house architecture competition in Kent’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Kent State alumna Siaraa Abulhamayel and graduate student Zachary Hoyt won the MATr Project and were able to see their design constructed and installed on campus. Abulhamayel and Hoyt almost didn’t submit a design into the competition.

“Last year, I leaned on Siaraa until she wrote the proposal,” said Frederick Lucak, Abulhamayel and Hoyt’s adviser for the project. “It was pure diligence.”

Abulhamayel and Hoyt had already had the basic concept for their design years ago, when they partnered up in their computer advance course in their third-year studio.

“We actually came up with the concept together. We had it in our portfolios, and we really loved it,” Abulhamayel said. “[Lucak] suggested exploring that thing and exploring other materials and this how we came about to start ‘Embrace.’”

Embrace, the $3,200 sculpture, which Hoyt said took him and Abulhamayel around 60 hours to complete (not including design time) is meant to look like an abstract of a woman embracing the world.

“There is sort of like a head on the top that’s folded down, and it’s got its arm that’s coming out and swooping,” Hoyt said. “It’s meant to be an embrace, but sort of this womanly curve on the outside.”

Abulhamayel said they wanted the materials they used to show the differences between hard and soft, as well as masculine and feminine.

In the original design, Hoyt said, there was supposed to be a male and a female embracing each other, but they changed it to just the female.

“It evolved into this woman figure and then the other figure that it’s embracing is really the people that come inside it to look at it,” Hoyt said. “They become part of the structure.”

Hoyt said his favorite part of the process was seeing people coming up, taking pictures and trying to figure out the design.

“We [architecture students] don’t get to display a lot of our work in public, so it’s really exciting for us to have something in public and to have people interact with it,” Hoyt said. “That always makes me feel good.”

Abulhamayel, on the other hand, said her favorite part was working together as a team. She said the duo will continue to do so.

Thanks to the success of their project, Abulhamayel and Hoyt have created a business called Grid Dynamics.

The new company will focus on architectural work and product design, but it will also use the computer coding they created for “Embrace” to help them piece together new designs.

“Most architect students might just think about design, and they don’t really think about the endgame other than working for a firm or something like that,” Hoyt said. “But the fact that you can make more stuff and make money off of doing fun stuff like this, it’s kind of cool.”

There will be another MATr in this year, but until then, Embrace will remain up for the rest of the year.

“Afterwards, we don’t want it to go to waste,” Hoyt said. “There’s talk that it’s going to go to the Akron Art Museum, or it’s going to be saved for the new architecture building or we’re just going to take it.”

Contact Kirsten Bowers at [email protected].