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  • WALLFLOWERS

    Alex BERNETICH, Jamie COLBURN, & Maria STURCHIO, "WALLFLOWERS." Smoke Detector House, plan; section.
    ann arbor MICHIGAN

    University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
    advisors: Ellie ABRONS & Adam FURE.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Alex BERNETICH, Jamie COLBURN, & Maria STURCHIO: WALLFLOWERS examines the formal specificity, scalar opportunities, and spatial consequences of the everyday domestic wall object. . . .

    1 wallflower: (noun)
    1. a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.
    2. any person, organization, etc., that remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of any activity.

    WALLFLOWERS examines the formal specificity, scalar opportunities, and spatial consequences of the everyday domestic wall object. Specifically, this thesis investigates how the additive elements typically tacked onto a house’s interior – a telephone, a kitchen cabinet, a lighting fixture – relate to one another and have architectural influence on the spaces where they are used. As everyday objects are estranged, scaled, and inhabited, they surpass their original use-values and become things that define interior space.

    The site for WALLFLOWERS is a space for living, reinterpreted. The formal characteristics of wall objects are projected onto a domestic interior as a series of intermingled deformations. The resultant space retains hints of familiarity while producing an overall atmosphere of estrangement. Occupants are caught between the memory of an original and the presence of a distorted copy. WALLFLOWERS breathes new life into old objects by making them spatial, calling into question the architectural condition itself.

    WALLFLOWERS recognizes the architectural qualities present in everyday objects. The practice of self-portraiture, understood as an exaggerated portrayal of a subject, becomes an architectural device to distort object identity. The positioning of the object portraitures situates the viewer in a spatial diptych between original and portrait, object and thing. WALLFLOWERS spatializes the representational practice of portraiture to turn everyday objects into peculiar and engaging things.

    1 wallflower: (noun) an object who, because of functional rigidity, unpopularity, or lack of aesthetic, remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of a design process

    sP: What or who influenced this project?:
    AB, JC, & MS: Kristina Estell, As You Were; Jesse Reiser & Nanako Umemoto, “Matter”; Erin Besler, “The Problem with the Corner Problem”; Matthew Simmonds, Hidden Landscape; Rachel Whiteread; Sears catalog homes of the mid-twentieth century; Francesco Borromini; and Roman Baroque architecture.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    AB, JC, & MS: Reading: Claire Bishop, “Activated Spectatorship”; Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to be a Thing; Vitruvius, Ten Books on Architecture; Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, Atlas of Novel Tectonics; Thomas Kelley, “Five Self-Portraits”; and Log 31. Listening to: Sylvan Esso, FKA Twigs, Grimes, Chet Faker, and Taylor Swift.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    AB, JC, & MS: Andrew B. Myers; Young & Ayata; SIFT Studio; EADO; and Snarkitecture.

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