University of Illinois Chicago (Matthew)

The Shape of Cool

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    Matthew Messner
    May 8, '12 4:08 PM EST

    In the flurry of final reviews in the last few weeks I was able to see some amazing work.  As the schools photographer I actually went to every single review, if only for a short time to document the work.

    One review that I was sure to spend and extended amount of time at was that of Jimenez Lai's Fourth Year Undergrad Studio.  The work produced for the class was on a level that was a trip to put it in so many words.

    The goal of the studio?  From the syllabus...

    "Enthrall. Enticement. Beguiled. Bewildered. We want to practice architecture with absolute optimism, joy,fun, and an irresistible sense of breathless excitement. We want to question conventions by being experts of them. We want to educate ourselves to stop being so serious about banality, and learn how to do this with the utmost seriousness."

    The site?

    "The site is a green field in the middle of nowhere. Or a barren land. Or a vast terrain, whatever. Some people insist architecture does not merely exist in a vacuum; it has to engage the city. I would like to counter this claim by citing the site conditions of Villa Savoye, Farnsworth House and Glass House. The immersive project is an autonomous one – what we push against is history, and our contexts are the librettos we write to imagine the houses."

    "This studio invites students to imagine worlds – relentlessly irreverent, courageously
    perverse, and yet deadly accurate about the formal, conceptual, and sensational staging of its implications. We will journey our worlds inwards, an introspective autonomy.

    The driving force for every project will be a libretto. We will review the meaning of this word and the possible output that this word inspires. Bottom line, this studio will urge students to refine their adroitness of architectural representation as we continue our paths towards being experts. In other words, students are to produce architectural drawings, including plans, sections, and elevations. As well, every house must have at least one high quality model"

    So what came of this...?

    An un-photographable 48' mural by Christina Stamatoukos.  

    Escher-esque drawings.  

    A series of mask houses.

    These things, supported by 100+ drawings.

    I will come back to this post to add some more appropriate credits to the work.  There are also a few animated/film pieces that accompanied some of the work that I hope to post soon.


    I wish I could speak a bit more about the work, but I think that the students may be better at that.  I will try and get some comments from them in the near future.

    Also remember that tonight Tuesday May 8th, Jimenez Lai will be talking at the Young Architects Forum at Rodan here in Chicago.  I am sure he would be happy to talk about the work more in person.

    • 1 Comment

    • johnnyclark

      These are bitching.  Can you post a bunch more of these Matt?

      May 9, 12 7:53 pm  · 

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