December 7, 2008

Subversion: Immersion, Cranbrook Version

This is an example of some great mockitecture. It is a project by a student for the Campus of Cranbrook Academy. There are many layers to the project, the most obvious being a floating brick in the sky. Bricks are very heavy, so to loft a brick up on the air and have it float there is subversive to start with. Usually, heavier elements are thought to be placed in the ground. Much like the work of Sverre Fehn, the giant brick in the sky breaks with expected convention, a kind of second glance architecture. It is about architecture, but it also utilizes everyday shapes (bricks) to make ironic gestures which can be interpreted on some level by non-architects.

The next ironic gesture is that of a truss in the ground. Many would say that is absurdism. (not as a compliment) The truss is just the image. The sloped columns that make up the image of the truss in the ground are completely structurally rational. The fact that a huge truss is sitting in the ground would be quite a sight.

When you strip away the heavy-feeling materials from the brick, we realize that the structure makes sense. The treatments and detailing are meant to subvert this inherit structural logic.

Truss in ground, brick in sky. Makes sense to me.

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