Texture Tectonics

2015, Taubman College Liberty Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Texture Tectonics presents a new conception of architectural texture, artificially produced and radically scaled. Here, texture is no longer tied to material specificity or the two-dimensional; it is synthetic and spatial as it transforms into large-scale building blocks. Historically, texture has been an important aspect of building culture, but not one that has informed the way buildings are constructed. As a property of building surfaces, texture has been bound by the units of construction. With the introduction of CNC fabrication into architecture, texture became artificial, a product of machining rather than a quality inherent to materials. Despite this fundamental shift toward the synthetic, architecture has failed to generate novel conceptions of texture; it has remained a matter of surface.

Texture Tectonics offers a new approach to texture by focusing on two untapped potentials: texture becoming volumetric and tectonic. Families of objects derived from specific qualities, such as lumpy, wrinkly, or bumpy, are drastically scaled to produce formal ambiguity. What appears in one instance as bumps on a surface shows up in another as stand-alone bumps, blurring the distinction between an underlying form and a surface-based texture. Further, texture informs the way objects aggregate as adjacent textures nest together in a series of loose fits. Four multi-media drawings explore the dual nature of the objects as pure texture, rendered in tone, and eidetic form, drawn in profile.

Texture Tectonics amplifies and activates texture, enabling this persistent aspect of building to do new architectural work.

Funded by a Research Through Making grant, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Project Team: Adam Fure, Ellie Abrons (EADO), Alex Bernetich, Jamie Colburn, Cody Glen, Yu-Yang Huang, Tyler Smith, Maria Sturchio, Nathan Wesseldyk

Photos: Adam Smith