suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Juan DE MARCO: Usually by default, sometimes through differentiation, the inevitability of the icon has often been valued on merits of scale but less so on architectural qualities. This reading has always been true of towers, which tend to get noticed because of their verticality. Contemporary work is still subject to this modernist legacy.
The Conflicted Icon thus investigates a series of architectural mechanisms for high-rise typologies by which the iconic status of the tower is appropriated and internalized in conflict with its own vertical nature. Rather than embracing verticality as the source of architectural value, the project investigates a definition for vertical iconicity as it crashes into the ground. The architectural qualities of “crash-landing” are evaluated for stress points of iconic failure, re-configuring its posture and mode of perception at the level of architectural object, urban component, and cultural artifact.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
JDM: Alejandro Zaera-Polo’s “Politics of the Envelope,” Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, and Ben Nicholson’s The World: Who Wants It?.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
JDM: Reading: Paul Frankl, Principles of Architectural History; Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Listening to Johnny Cash gospel songs.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
JDM: Towers by Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas, towers going up in Manhattan.
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