Object Ecologies

Monday June 1, 2009 , All Day
Object Ecologies

Traditionally in architecture, potential disparities between descriptions of site and conceptions of building have been reconciled through, what can be considered a descriptive and conceptual equalizer, representation. For example, Modernism was witness to “landscape as tabula rasa”, reflecting an investment in buildings as synthetic, planar, structurally-gridded constructs. Appliqué, appropriated patterns, signs and symbols dictated an understanding of buildings during Post-Modernism, perpetuating a similarly artificial interpretation of ground. Contemporaneously, resonances between landscape and architecture are increasingly dependent on systems of organization—natural and synthetic—and their processes of formation.

Object Ecologies focused its research on the development of alternative reciprocities linking site and building. Temporarily eschewing common (albeit important), practice-oriented, site-defining elements—lot lines, setback requirements, zoning codes—Object Ecologies instead tested interpretations of site which highlight systemic attributes, life-cycles, time-based ecological processes, topological characteristics, etc. Likewise, Object Ecologies experimented with depictions of building as relationally-, conditionally- and tactically-conceived formations.

The program for the studio is a small Contemporary Land | Art Museum located outside of the town of Fredericksburg, Texas. The museum, consisting of approximately 40,000 square feet (not including exterior program) includes interior permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, public spaces, education amenities, and administrative spaces. The program also incorporates the design of a “framework” for future, commissioned works of land art, as well as the phasing and choreographing of its implementation. Strategically located on the western perimeter of central Texas, the Contemporary Land | Art Museum acts simultaneously as a gateway to the country’s seminal works of contemporary land art—Michael Heizer’s Double Negative and City in Nevada, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in Great Salt Lake, Utah, James Turrell’s Roden Crater in Arizona, Walter De Maria’s The Lighting Field in New Mexico, among others—and additionally, as a regional linking agent to the cultural arts oasis of Marfa.

Throughout the studio, students considered “composites.” They considered composites abstractly, conceptually, and in the context of contemporary architectural-landscape and architectural-discourse. Contemplating and exploring composites – conditions of two or more interrelated systems, each of which contribute to a new behavior/performance, but which remain identifiably discrete – provided a way into developing alternate resonances between site and building. There are many ways to conceptualize the relationship between landscape and architecture, by choosing composites as our initial filler, students privileged the potentials of interconnectivity and reciprocity, while acknowledging the distinction between constituent parts.

Curator: Zaneta Hong

Vertical Studio, Spring 2009
Adjunct Professor William O'Brien, Jr.
Bhujon Kang, Brian Rome, Aaron Sleator and Alexer Taganas