University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
critic: Ferda KOLATAN.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Andrea YOAS & Karen MARTIN: The Museum of Useless Things investigates the thinking of design parts as estranged objects within the context of the building.
Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this museum showcases both contaminated and radioactive objects to the public. On the exterior, the building reads as machinelike and inaccessible, with the facade composed of a continuous wall of aluminum extrusions. Due to its potentially destructive nature, the building structure is designed with springs as a part of a base-isolation foundation.
On the interior, visitors of the museum and curatorial objects are separated both physically, by suspending the gallery floor and enclosing it in thick protective glass, and experientially by materiality and lighting. The HVAC system must then filter and treat each zone of the building—populated, contaminated, and radioactive—individually. By designing this system in excess and applying a uniform materiality to both it and the curatorial objects, the line is blurred between functionality and uselessness, resulting in a means of estrangement. Users complete their experience on the accessible roof, where the massive and imposing HVAC system is realized through a field of chimney structures.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
AY & KM: Ferda Kolatan; Graham Harman; Rem Koolhaas; and Mies van der Rohe.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AY: Listening to: X Ambassadors; Jon Bellion; Matt and Kim; Coasts; Childish Gambino; and The Kooks. Watching House of Cards.
KM: Listening to: The Weeknd; Kid Ink; Jhene Aiko; Sam Hunt; Beyoncé. Watching Friends reruns on Netflix.
AY & KM: Reading Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects and Graham Harman, Weird Realism.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
AY & KM: Morphosis; SHoP; Tom Wiscombe; COOP Himmelb(l)au; Neil M. Denari Architects; Diller Scofidio + Renfro; UNStudio; and Snarkitecture.
Additional credits and links:
Jeroen Potjer—Structural Engineer, ARUP New York.
Drura Parrish—Founder of Parrish Production, Fabrication, Product Management Consultant.
Hart Marlow —Software/Digital Design Consultant.