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  • Massive Relief

    Botio KUO & Austin ANDERSON, "Massive Relief."
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    SCI-Arc
    critic: Darin JOHNSTONE.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Botio KUO & Austin ANDERSON: Buildings become monolithic when the scale of its members become small enough or ubiquitous enough to be erased by the presence of the whole object.

    Architecture, currently fascinated with the status of the object, has become expert in devising totalizing envelopes. Minimizing seams and manipulating platonic solids, architects design plans that are subservient to form, second to objects.

    This proposal subverts the architect’s dedication to formalism. It rejects the conception of objects as already existing. Here, the organizing grid and the tectonic frame that dictate the formal games of modernism and postmodernism are inflated and aggregated to absurdity. At a point of critical mass, the jumbled frame can only be read as relief.

    The envelope here is not used as a device of iconicity nor banal anonymity, but instead is a haptic expression of a new complex ordering of spatial affect. Deep reliefs and long overhangs tell only a partial story of the spiraling gallery space and compressed archival storage. It is a return to the rustication and ornamentation of antiquity stripped of the formal signifiers that would tell us it is so.

    A monument to a groundbreaking presidency, the library brings a subdued yet highly articulate presence to the Southside of Chicago.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    AA: Jussieu Library by OMA, the Seagram Building, and Mark Bradford.
    BK: Fuck Yeah Brutalism, Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier, and Batman and Superman.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    AA: Listening to Fela Kuti and watching Rick and Morty, lectures by Jeff Kipnis.
    BK: Listening to “Hello” by Adele and watching Minions, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    BK: Amorphis; Atelier Manferdini; First Office; Oyler Wu Collaborative; and Snøhetta.
    AA: P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S; Productora; Adjaye Associates, MOS; and Au Au.

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