Totems: Silhouettes and Iconographic Pluralism

Zoellner Arts Center, 2011-2012

Video of fabrication, and exhibition catalogue

Totems—a series of vertically-oriented, proto-architectural models—represents a reconsideration of anachronous mechanisms of architectural form-making in a contemporary context defined by relational-modeling processes and robotic-fabrication techniques. In an effort to diversify the formal vocabulary of contemporary architectures allied with digital processes, Totems recasts formal mechanisms such as mirroring, symmetry, axes, perspective, anamorphism, and principles informed by Palladianism. The attributes that are often associated with such archaic formalisms—hierarchical, figural, ornamental, highly-articulated—seem novel once again in the context of formalisms born of digital processes; those which are generally non-hierarchical, field-like, surfacial, and thin. This study aims to appropriate instances of anachronous formalisms that are ripe for reconsideration with the intention of sponsoring strange, vaguely familiar, and nuanced formal languages.

A comprehensive description and more images coming soon….

Project Team:
Iman Fayyad
Carl Lostritto
Alan Lu

Matthew Trimble, Jared Steinmark & Esko Heilner, Radlab

Book Design:
Geoff Halber & Kyle Blue, Everything Type Company

Essay Contributors:

Alexander D’Hooghe, Director, Organization for Permanent Modernity & Associate Professor in Architecture and Urbanism, MIT Architecture

Sarah Hirschman, Director of Publications and Exhibitions, MIT Architecture

Filip Tejchman, Principal, Untitled Office & Visiting Lecturer in Architecture, MIT Architecture

Coming Soon - Totems