ann arbor MICHIGAN
University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
advisors: Ellie ABRONS & Ben SMITH
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Dorimar del RÍO VÉLEZ: FLATend challenges preconceptions of the architectural volume and its representation through the use of graphics applied and manipulated at different scales. Graphics—defined here as the flat composition of shapes and forms that construct figures and patterns— formally detached from architectural conventions but based upon cultural constructs of meaning and form through legibility.
FLATend takes on ideas of both graphic legibility and illegibility as a way to pursue new formal, material, and superficial articulations.
This idea of a graphic architecture is explored through the lens of a group of four fictional clients: the Waterman, the Newlyweds, the Extrovert, and the Twins; and tested with one building type: a house. In order to achieve this, graphics are categorized and manipulated at the level of plan (figural and cartoon graphic), of enclosure (indexical patterning), and surface (Supergraphics). Each graphic is extensively used in different scales as a reminder of the nature of the graphic and its ability to perform spatially. The houses become pure interiors, as they do not rely on exterior conditions but fully depend on how each client’s requirements enable the graphic. Each graphic interior feeds off Aldo Van Eyck’s formal characteristics, which would act as the plan; off Frank Lloyd Wright’s obsessive repetition; which act as enclosure; and off Stanley Tigerman’s cartoonish representation, which is used as the main representation tool to highlight the graphical maneuvers in each house and bring a narrative quality to the project.
FLATend compresses the three dimensionality of space by compressing it with the two dimensionality of a graphic. Although flat, its graphical and architectural articulations produce new interiorities that generate a peculiar kind of depth—as the result of two dimensions coming together. Therefore, space is flattened through the graphic and depth is created through the flatness of the graphics, as they are manipulated in space and in scale. Each one of the four houses is tested and tried with the same formula and same procedure, producing four different results. Difference depends on the client, whose requirements will determine what type of graphic will be used and for what purpose, so the possibilities are infinite. The project proposes four houses; it can produce infinite worlds, each world is FLAT.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
DDRV: Academic influences: Ellie Abrons, Kyle Reynolds and John McMorrough.
Architectural Influences: Stanley Tigerman, Aldo Van Eyck, Herzog and de Meuron, SANAA, Jimenez Lai & is-office.
Representation Influence: Stanley Tigerman, Cartoons, Japanese comics, Marimekko patterns, Suppergraphics, Op Art.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
DDRV: Reading: “Blowing the Lid Off Paint” by John McMorrough; “Green Dots 101,” by Bob Somol; Patterns and Layering: Japanese Spatial Culture by Salvator-John Liotta; Kissing Architecture by Silvia Lavin; Stereographics: Graphics in new Dimensions by Viction:workshop; and Supermannerism: New Attitudes in Post-Modern Architecture by C. Ray Smith. Watching Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. And listening to Radiolab’s “Colors” episode.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
DDRV: Junya Ishigami’s drawings, Nadia Taylor’s illustrations, Herzog and de Meuron’s work, ARM Architecture’s use of graphics, and FAT Architecture.