University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
critics: Adam FURE
In architecture today, the discourse surrounding materiality is problematically unimaginative. . . .
Dominating both practice and academia are concerns of performance—the quantifiable aspects of materials such as structural, thermal, and acoustic that can be listed in catalogues or programmed into high-tech fabrication processes. On the other hand, architects seeking to focus on the qualitative aspects of materials—the physical characteristics that shape architectural experience—fall back on well-established, yet drastically outdated, discussions on material essence, presence, and place. Material Worlds flies in the face of these hackneyed debates, radically expanding the qualitative and projective potentials of materiality. In this course, material experimentation generates novel aesthetic and haptic qualities and non-optimal diagrams of form. Following a linear path of sizing up, students compose abstract “flat” objects by degrading and altering their material stocks. Next, they design three-dimensional, proto-architectural objects that lead to iterative formal and representational studies, which help develop Material Worlds’ ultimate ambition: a contemporary theory of speculative architectural materiality based in nonstandard aesthetic, disciplinary, and experiential criteria.
Our object making is grounded in a hunch: in the near future, models of material economy may very well change from those that assume endless natural resources to ones that consider the massive amounts of society’s waste as their starting point. For us, converting useless matter into something new trumps typical models of architectural making, i.e. immaterial digital models post-rationalized by fabrication protocols and material constraints. Our objects are born out of speculative acts of deformation, estranging materials from any conventional reading. Steering far clear from anything like an essence, we set matter up for a Bataille-inspired slip, a downward movement that unlocks unforeseen traits. To avoid unintended cynical postures, such as demonstrating matter’s inherent propensity to fall into disarray, we look for glittering detours that enfold ulterior physical qualities and unexpected associations.
This seminar was taught at University of Michigan Taubman College. The following student’s work is shown: Joseph PALMER, Victoria RICE, Olivia TUIG, Adam WELLS, and Tim YANG.