The fabrication techniques of drag have numerous conceptual implications for those of architecture. Borrowing from tricks of theater costume, the looks of drag deploy fast fixes to materialize a show. Lo-fi means of joining, with hot glue or bobby pins, allow the queen to achieve maximum effect on the cheap, to re-fashion garments and accessories. Tenuous adhesives and assemblies also afford the incorporation of undoing and reveal central to a drag show. How do we make decisions about the grain of detail of architectural dress? By what means do we modulate architectural illusion and visual effect with respect to proximity and vantage? How do emergent tools in digital fabrication prompt us to question the hold of efficiency on assembly? Do these developments raise conceptual challenges to the dichotomy between structure and skin? How might structural systems participate in constructing the character of buildings? When is it permissible for architecture to script its undressing?
The first entry in this body of research will look specifically at the play between padding and insulation as drag and architectural means of selectively expanding the buffer between an interior and its publicity.
Team: Stratton Coffman
The project will unfold by following the parallel histories of padding and insulation, with special attention to theorizing moments of their intersection, whether realized or latent. Each stage of research will involve gathering and analyzing any relevant images, drawings, and video material, reading primary and historical texts, and writing a critical synopsis.
Stage 1: November 6 - 20
Conduct research on the historical origins of insulation and padding.
Stage 2: November 21 - December 4
Conduct research on contemporary practices of building insulation, including the science of their materiality, the manufacture process.
Stage 3: December 5 - 18
Conduct research on padding in drag, as well as its associated domains of use, including in medicine (wound dressing and cosmetic surgeries), theater and stage performance, and fashion.
Stage 4: December 19 - January 14
Synthesize the preceding research and write a polemical projection on possible adulterations of both insulation and padding.
The setback has recently figured as the contested threshold between civic protest and private commercial quarters. First ushered into urban terrain as a means of ensuring access to daylight near the city floor, it now is reproduced by regimes of urban planning as a function of public health and safety as well as by regimes of development as a desirable commodity package of private exterior space, sweeping vista terraces, and fresh air. With the ascension of our provisional ‘developer-in-chief,’ a builder and owner of setbacks, this nexus of civic life and private capital is now an alien and charged space of protest, its natural status upended. This investigation of the setback, both its historical emergence and its present reanimation, asks: How does the regulation of high-rise buildings, such as those of the Trump Tower brand, delimit and shape both public goods (as resource) and the sanctity of private land (as capital)? How has the neutral setback become the stage of political standoff?
Team: Stratton Coffman
Each chapter of research involves gathering and analyzing any relevant images or drawings, reading primary and historical texts, and writing a critical synopsis.
Chapter 1: November 6 - 20
Conduct research on the historical origins of the setback, including its pre-history in reformist projects of public hygiene.
Chapter 2: November 21 - December 4
Conduct research on recent commodification of setback, its marketing in promotional materials for new development.
Chapter 3: December 5 - 18
Conduct research on public protest aimed at particular buildings, including the history of such urban protest, police response tactics, and how it figures in urban planning methods.
Chapter 4: December 19 - January 14
Synthesize the preceding research and write a polemical projection on the near-future deformations of the setback.