University of Michigan
critic: Matias DEL CAMPO.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Stefan KLECHESKI, Yingjing MA, & Siwei REN: How specific can we get about the “cute”? Aren’t architects always pursuing an aesthetics of the “interesting,” “complex,” “beautiful,” “refined”? And do these sell as well as the “cute”? How can cuteness be deployed in architecture?
Is there a relationship between the uncanny and the cute? And what about that cutie, Mies? 😉 We investigate these questions through the design of an Uncannily Cute Seagram Building. The Seagram Building, the emblem par excellence of high-modernist architecture, embodies key aspects of the movement: purity of form; a replicable aesthetic, material and construction system; expression of function and structure; embrace of technological advancement in the service of social progress; and construction made possible by corporate interests. All of these factors produce an aesthetic of elegance and refinement. The Uncannily Cute Seagram Building questions and upturns these traits of high-modernism, opening a space for less commonly explored architectural aesthetics. 😮
sP: What or who influenced this project?
SK, YM, & SR: Sianne Ngai; Pokémon; Mies van der Rohe; Sandra Manninger; Matias Del Campo; PC Music; Greg Lynn; and Candy Crush.╭(◔ ◡ ◔)/
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
SK, YM, & SR: Reading Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories; Daniel Harris, Cute, Quaint, Hungry, and Romantic; and Stephen Jay Gould. Listening to Soundcloud feeds. Watching Wikipedia. . . . ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
SK, YM, & SR: SCI-Arc Students, Sanrio, Andrew Duncan Worthington.
Additional credits and links:
Thanks to Dustin Brugman and Asa Peller at the Taubman College FabLab. Also thanks to Matias Del Campo, and all the professors who had input as the project developed—Adam Fure, Ellie Abrons, Sandra Manninger, TN Ng, and others. Also, shoutout to Marc Fornes and his dedication to properly acknowledging architectural lineages.