University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
critic: Matias del CAMPO.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Sydney BROWN, Ava FARAB, & Steven SCHARRER: Antumbra is a concept for a housing, divorced from the context of place. It is a moody object—a beast in a field we imagine coming to life through a combination of novel construction techniques, future materials, and nuance.
It should be noted that when we say “moody object”, we mean it more like “moodyobject”—in this instance it is a composite organism like lichen (fungus + cyanobacteria in symbiosis). The project is mood and object, architecture and atmosphere, space and affect. We wanted: to merge the ideal with the haptic; to explore relationships between light and shadow, and shadow and shadow; to merge the domestic and the alien; and to explore the relationship(s) between the sublime and the other.
Formally the building relies on computational design to create a grammar. Self-similar geometries are defined, then nested to form more complex geometries. The result is an intricacy and symmetry—in plan and section—both alien and baroque in appearance.
From the top down the building moves from having a coronal effect—that is, surrounded by light—into complete darkness. It transitions from nested luxury apartments into a data cave—nothingness surrounded by servers. From the mezzanine level one can look up to see light filtering through the outer shell, down and around bundles of apartments on columns. Looking down, one sees darkness and a billion blinking, red eyes.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
SB, AF, & SS: Piranesi, Vedute di Roma (1748); Fischer von Erlach, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul (1721); Renaissance “painterly” techniques, specifically sfumato and chiaroscuro; masks by Maison Martin Margiela; Tanizaki Jun’ichirō; and readings and discussions about the Baroque, phenomenology, ontology, and Otherness.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?:
SB, AF, & SS: Reading: AD, “Emergence: Morphogenetic Design Strategies”; Michael Hensel and Achim Menges, eds., Morpho-Ecologies: Towards Heterogeneous Space In Architecture Design; Sean Lally and Jessica Young, eds., Softspace: From a Representation of Form to a Simulation of Space; Steven Crowell, “Normativity and Phenomenology in Husserl and Heidegger”; Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing; and Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism. Watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 19992. Listening to: Kavinsky; Frank Sinatra; Max Richter; and Year of No Light.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
SB, AF, & SS: Connor Harrington, Chitose Abe / NIKELAB x sacai, and Atelier Olschinsky.