Artifacts – Seven Objects Since Rome January 4th, 2015
Artifacts- Seven Objects Since Rome
While living in Rome among architectures of the distant past, an architect’s contemporary culture is displaced by the powerful contrast of the storied city and its layered histories. Such an environment provides an experience, maybe temporary, perhaps permanent, that unsettles and destabilizes one’s outlook on the current status of the architectural discipline. The seven objects shown here, produced following the Rome Prize Fellowship in 2012-2013, are manifestations of the influences of old buildings in Rome. The objects reflect a preoccupation with anachronous methods of form-making, redeployed in a contemporary context in order to challenge, enrich, and diversify our own understanding of formal languages. These objects focus on the potential renewed relevance of old orders of cultural formality, such as mirroring, symmetry, axiality, and proportionality.
The two-dimensional representations of these objects operate in two ways. The first is at the level of their immediately accessible graphic identity. The second is at the level of that which makes them architectural: their grain, orientation, part-to-whole relationships, materiality. Three-dimensional representations aim to underscore the abstract genesis of each project as static, distilled, deadpan objects. The orthography of these objects describes them as architectures conceptualized as conflations of projections, giving primacy to their figuration.
Fortress is a large inflatable mirrored torus that safeguards a tree in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mask disguises a space of contemplation and memorial on a cliff along Cayuga Lake in Lansing Village, New York. Labyrinth and Non-Labyrinths are part of a series of formal experimentations in figuration and hierarchy. Dwelling houses three siblings and their families on the shore of Great Salt Pond on Block Island, Rhode Island. Church is a very tall translucent inflatable ovoid in Gurgaon, India. Hut is an illuminated shelter from the rain along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. Totems II represent a continuation of the rehearsal of forms of ornamentation and silhouettes.
William O’Brien Jr.
WOJR: William O’Brien Jr., John David Todd, Gabrielle Piazza Patawaran, Karine Szekeres, Dave Miranowski, Lina Karain, Eric Chin, Alison Malouf, Koharu Usui, Natthida Wiwatwicha, Francis Redman, Enas AlKhudairy
Fabrication: Michael J. Smith
Assembly Teams: Ansal University Sushant School of Art & Architecture, Gurgaon, India; Chulalongkorn University School of Architecture, Bangkok, Thailand; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro School of Architecture and Urbanism, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A very special thanks to the American Academy in Rome for providing generous support and an exceptional context for discovery.
photos on website taken by Jaitip Srisomburananont. Photos courtesy of Jai & Jai Gallery.