University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
advisor: Ellie ABRONS
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Nick SAFLEY: Animal House proposes a series of above ground tornado shelters placed within suburban homes and figured as architectural characters. Normally these exist as generic steel or reinforced concrete boxes hidden within the wall cavity and possessing extreme material durability to resist extreme weather that might destroy the structure around it. Taking the suburban single-family house as site these hyper-durable cores are freed and given personas and postures that enrich the interior with implied subjectivity and vitality.
Through their various postures and personas the characters re-orient the existing framework of their containers while also containing a protected interior of their own, only large enough to protect that which is most precious during a storm. The durable core characters affect the existing framework of the architecture without destroying it entirely from within and exist as material things radiating an imbued vitality.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
NS: Growing up in Oklahoma, which has an extreme environment but a (prevailing) architecture that ignores this. Charles Moore’s aedicules and John Hejduk’s Masques. A solid line up of critics at Michigan: Andrew Holder, Thom Moran, McClain Clutter, Craig Borum, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
NS: Reading: D.J. Wadlie’s Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, Charles Moore’s The Place of Houses, Dalibor Vesely’s Architecture and the Conflict of Representation, Nicholas Le Camus de Mézières’s The Genius of Architecture, or the Analogy of that Art with our Sensations. Listening to: Danny Brown, Das Racist, Kool AD, El P, Caribou, Thee Oh Sees, Moondog, Daft Punk. . . . Oh man, I guess it was all over the place. . . . Watching: Animal Planet, Twister, Joe Dirt. . . . Just kidding. . . . But seriously, Joe Dirt.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
NS: MOS, Hirsuta, thing thing, Bittertang, Bureau Spectacular, and Frank Furness.