Invited Distinguished Professor:
Gabriel Esquivel, Studio Professor
Texas A&M University
Team: Madison Green, Finn Rattana, Ray Gonzalez, Lauren Miller.
Our project is an investigation into the use of interlock as an estrangement technique, that when implemented across Ground, Material, Surface, Line, and Volume, creates ambiguity from their overlap that seeks to operate outside digital tropes, producing objects that confound the boundaries between these conditions.
Interlock is an operation that fuses objects together while creating an edge. It is a characteristic inherent of objects created in the physical world, connecting parts by gluing, welding, joining, sewing, riveting, among others depending on the material in use, and is frequently moved to the background of our consciousness. The building seeks to implement vaguely similar qualities of interlock to inject a sense of familiarity, and misuse these qualities as Surface, Material, Ground, Line, and Volume, extracting the functional preconceptions of their traditional use from their now estranged figuration.
Interlock operates as Volume via implied geometric articulations of separate parts. Interlocked parts suggest an unfixed disposition, puzzle pieces that were assembled, or perhaps are intending to move or shift. At times parts may match seamlessly and at other moments are misfit, forced together against their geometric will to create a difficult interlocked whole, and the scale and inhabitability of these volumetric interlocks serve to further displace our preconception of their traditional use.
The Site specifically influences our conception of alignment and misalignment, with vegetation jumping across roads and paths, or ignoring these boundaries altogether, or embedding unnatural geometric figuration with the vegetation itself.
Interlock serves to diminish any hierarchy between Building and Ground, and creates ambiguity in differentiating which of the two categories parts belong to. Ground serves as a way of displacing inside and outside conditions across the site by giving enhanced interior qualities to the non centralized points of the complex and enhanced exterior qualities to the most central point of the building’s mass. Ground and Site begin to operate as Volume, Surface, and Line with the top layer of the land separating from it’s vertical edges, or becoming tensile volumetric lines interacting with the building. These moments are expanded upon with Material and Texture.
Texture is derived from familiar architectural and geological sources and maintain their traditional scale, but are subtly distorted to become unfamiliar via Color and Materiality. The misalignment of textures to aforementioned fluctuating typologies results in a hybridized materiality, relying on a different system of interlock that is mildly aware of the system of geometric interlock the project establishes volumetrically. At times Textures align to these underlying moments, but also smear across the implied division of parts, producing new conditions of discontinuous interlock that operate between Volume, Surface, Line, and Material.
Hybridization is critical to our interpretation of the project’s program as an addition to the Crop and Soil Sciences Department in the College of Agriculture, to which we have assigned a mixed use as Plant Hybridization Facility and Soil Analysis Center. The Building and Site catalyze this program to produce strange architectural qualities, specifically in the large plant volume in which vegetation begins to behave as dynamic poche growing between the layers of the double shelled metal mesh, in the seed vault with pods for containing each generation of seeds the facility produces through experiments in selective breeding and genetic manipulation, in the site’s pits that monumentally reveal the underlying sediment of the site to visitors, and in the central soft serve space which displays a gallery like array of soil samples currently contained in the college.
These moments disrupt the edges between the work produced in the Crop and Soil Sciences Department and the access to that work, and reinforce the overlapping hybridized interlock and material conditions produced by the project.