If you were the number pi, 3.14159…, where would you live? I asked myself that question when given an assignment to design a dwelling for an imaginary creature, any creature. Since I have spent a few years playing with numbers in graduate school, the thing that stuck in my mind was imaginary numbers. Wouldn’t it be cool if numbers had homes. Anyway, pi being one of the most famous numbers out there, I picked that one.
Online I found an image showing a bitmap that had been done taking 266144 digits of the number pi and mapping each number to a color value between 0 (black) and 1 (white). Running it through an edge detector and increasing contrast the image became this sort of metallic spaghetti. I looked at it and realized, wow it looks just like those cleaning pads used for washing dishes. So if pi had a physical form, that’s what it is, a sphere made of hundreds of tightly wound metallic threads.
From there, the rest came easy. Being famous, he’s got a big ego but prefers to hide his real appearance to the world. We only know pi in the form he allows us to see, 3.14159… The design: a dwelling shaped as a spiral- like the number it has a beginning and no end, reflective materials to prevent anyone from seeing anything but his reflection, a structure with a vague greek influence to recall the origin of his name, and a spherical chamber where he can comfortably sit with its infinity of digits bundled up into a perfect tri-dimensional geometry. This project won an award at the UCLA Architecture & Interior Design program.