University of Illinois at Chicago
critic: Paul PREISSNER.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Borislav ANGELOV: The studio in which this project was design was called “Big Dumb Objects” which explored different ways of combining things in an absurd way and looking for an architectural expression which seems inappropriate for architecture.
The project aims to create a different feeling of urbanity by inserting sloppy and chunky forms, which collapse on each other, in the urban environment. The usual feelings evoked by collapsing buildings are replaced by the friendly and humorous
associations the approachable forms create. The project explores strangeness and economy of form rather than making deep architectural criticism. It aims through unconventionality and sloppiness to produce architectural space which is able to function the same way as “ordinary” buildings in the city. The humorous effect is amplified by a sense of sadness—the form’s failing ambitions to stand straight.
The three differently programmed towers collapse on each other to create a larger singular shape with new programmatic relationships and unusual floor plans. At ground level a new public plaza with a hybrid condition between interior/exterior is formed. To add to the casual sensibility and the unpretentious of the building a mesh is hung from the glazing, giving the illusion of constant movement. At the end the building appears to be an inappropriately scaled small object which is important in how indismissible it is.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
BA: Studying the work of artists like Ken Price, Jeff Koons and Leigh Wells and also looking for silly objects and forms in daily life. At the end, the wicky-wacky inflatable tube man was my main inspiration because of its floppiness and constant tube diameter which really simplified its formal expression. Carefully studying its ability to collapse on itself generated the idea of buildings collapsing unapologetically in the urban environment, creating new conditions and sensibilities.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
BA: Reading: Jeffrey Kipnis, “Towards a New Architecture.” Listening to: Fedde le Grand; Mark Knight; Finnebassen; Lara Fabian; and classical music.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
BA: Paul Preissner; SPORTS Collaborative; Greg Lynn; Andrew Holder; William O’Brien Jr.; Thom Mayne; UNStudio; and Design with Company (Stewart Hicks & Allison Newmeyer).