• The Grotto: Urban Multi-Family Housing

    Kayleen KULESZA, "The Grotto: Urban Multi-Family Housing." Corner rendering.
    philadelphia PENNSYLVANIA

    University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
    critic: Matias del CAMPO.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Kayleen KULESZA: The project asked the student to design an apartment building in combination with a Kaffeehaus and nightclub. . . .

    This investigation studies the colonizing behaviors of barnacles with specific regard to how their aggregation generates mass and void. The project considers the Mannerist tradition of the interplay of parts to generate interiors defined by mass.

    The project studies the part to whole relationship with specific regard to how a component can be aggregated to form spatial enclosures that are expressions of, and leave impressions and traces behind, from the very manner in which they were assembled. These traces are evidenced in an assembling and carving operation, allowing for the interiority-generating mass as an opposition to the Mannerist tradition of interiority-defining mass, informed by the study of the organic aggregation of barnacle colonies.

    The manifestation of the interior-generating mass, one that manipulates volumetric enclosure, solid mass, and open void, plays on this opposition of natural and artificial. It deliberately rejects the organic structure of the barnacle colony, mimicking grotto-like qualities, through a faceted assembly. It further emphasizes this artificiality by breaking from the site, lifting off the ground, and from its original form, redefining itself as a new, panelized, asymmetrical whole generated from a structured, family of symmetrical components.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    KK: Matias del Campo, Manuel DeLanda, Mannerist tradition, and Neptune Fountain, Vienna.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    KK: Reading: Lars Spuybroek, The Sympathy of Things. Listening to: The XX and deadmau5. Watching: Breaking Bad.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    KK: Mario Carpo, OMA.

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  • WP_Modern_Notepad
    • Jessica Says:

      I think this a throughly interesting look at how form can be generated and inspired by something such as a barnacle. This form generation process reminds me of Aranda/Lasch’s installation ‘Grotto Concept,’ which I look at in my blog. I would have enjoyed reading more about how this design was arrived upon in terms of the investigations conducted into what a grotto is. Either way this investigation into contemporary grotto-like architecture is something I am keenly interested in and hope to see more of in future. If you would like to follow my research into whether the grotto can be reincorporated into contemporary design please follow the link below.

      I would love any input on the direction my research is taking.