University of Pensylvania, PennDesign
critics: Tom WISCOMBE & Nate HUME
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Andreas KOSTOPOULOS & Avra TOMARA: How can we reinvent the “sectional object”? The “box-within-a-box” architecture serves as an alternative to the homogeneous Modern free plan and section. The inner “box” or figure, incongruent with its envelope, creates complex interstitial spaces which deny homogeneity. “Blankness,” the resistance of the mass to external referents such as ornamentation or formal recognition is of high importance. External surface and internal programs are loose and non-linearly correlated, the skin is definitely a loose-fit envelope.
Part-to-whole theory and object oriented ontology can be a place to start in order to create new relationships of object to object, objects inside of other objects, and grounds as objects. “Rather than undermining objects by dissolving them downward into some component element, we can dissolve them upward or “overmine” them, to coin a new English term.
Sometimes, the figures are starkly visible through apertures in the skin and others remain mysteriously hidden. Different degrees of looseness or tightness of the outer skin around figures creates void spaces. “The entire issue of spatial heterogeneity rests in the aesthetics of the form and in the opposition between unprogrammed event and function.”
The skin negotiates the correlation of surface features with underlying formal features and explores deviations from this alignment towards freeform figuration and dissonance. Apertures are woven into patterns in order to either dissolve skin or allow views of internal cavities. In this way, skin articulation become an active participant in the readability of figure vs. sack. “Their union will not be quite perfect and not quite in sync. Their kiss will produce a rapturous event, a perceptual swerve in the middle of nowhere.”
sP: What or who influenced this project?
AK & AT: Bart Hess, Constantin Brancusi, Graham Harman’s “The Road to Objects.”
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AK & AT: Reading Jeffrey Kipnis, “Towards a New Architecure”; Sylvia Lavin, Kissing Architecture; Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight; Konstantinos Chatzopoulos, “Simple Manners”; The New Yorker. Listening to Maya Jane Coles; Sub Focus; Maxology; Trust; Daft Punk; Grimes. Watching Cloud Atlas (dir. Tom Tykwer) and Pina (dir. Wim Wenders).
sP: Whose work is curently on your radar?
AK & AT: Matt Johnson, Andreas Lolis, Tino Sehgal, Ryan McGinley, Sara VanDerBeek, Phoebe Philio, Olivier Rustein, Miuccia Prada, and Raf Simons.