Bruce Gitlin, owner and CEO of MILGO BUFKIN, long desired to create
origami in metal. If a delicate bird could be created from a sheet
of paper, he wondered if a sheet of metal could be similarly folded
to yield elegant new forms.
Gitlin’s grandfather started MILGO/BUFKIN in 1916 as a truck
body shop, and his father expanded the company to bend metal for
architectural applications. Gitlin discontinued the truck work,
added the fabrication of sculpture, purchased state-of-the-art equipment,
and developed new technologies, growing the company exponentially.
For the past forty years, MILGO/BUFKIN has continually introduced
new materials, finishes, and technologies to support the innovations
of leading architects, designers and artists.
When Gitlin was searching for new approaches that would transform
architecture in the new millennium, he met Dr. Haresh Lalvani, a
prominent architect-morphologist, known for his use of higher dimensional
mathematics to create structures based on new geometries. Dr. Lalvani
has been a professor for the past thirty years at Pratt Institute,
the New York based, internationally acclaimed school of art, architecture
Their serendipitous meeting began a collaboration that enabled
Dr. Lalvani to combine decades of research and many patented inventions
with MILGO/BUFKIN’s cutting-edge fabrication technologies.
Their collaboration over four years of research and the filing of
several patents led to AlgoRhythm Technologies, a division of MILGO/BUFKIN
dedicated to the design, production, and marketing of a unique line
of architectural products with curvilinear surfaces.
The transformation of AlgoRhythm Technologies’ designs into
products was facilitated by the metal working expertise of Alex
Kveton, a sculptor with a fine arts and industrial design background.
Also key to the effort was the computer modeling of Neil Katz, a
former student of Lalvani’s and now an associate at Skidmore,
Owings & Merrill. Katz used advanced software to translate Dr.
Lalvani’s algorithmic concepts into computer models used to
manufacture the products and to generate some of the images used
in this brochure. The images were then computer-rendered by Mohamad
Al-Khayer and Ajmal Aqtash, former and current students respectively.
Dr. Lalvani’s new architectural forms can transform the design
field, for they facilitate the creation of endless variations of
integrated design environments with innovative, curvilinear surfaces.
For AlgoRhythm Technologies' potential economic impact and industry-leading
ideas, New York State recognized the project in 2008 with a coveted
NYSTAR (New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic
Research) grant in affiliation with Pratt Institute.
Bruce Gitlin and Dr. Haresh Lalvani have created a new architectural
language grounded in nature and higher mathematics. They have gone
far beyond their initial search for origami in metal.