Styling or: Applicant’s Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Summer 2020

Group show with Aleksandr Delev and
Andrew Copolov
CK_Offspace, Leipzig (DE)
07. 2020 - 08. 2020  

Highly Value Engineered



Berlin / Los Angeles

The collection of objects in Highly Value Engineered occupy the space between architecture, sculpture, and decoration. The project emerged from an obsession over a failed lobby remodel overburdened by value engineering (VE), the formal term for "cost-cutting" in the AEC industry. In construing cheapness to include mass-produced construction readymades, the project speculates on the viability of architecture within an arena of frugality and minimal means. These estranged readymades undergo dissident procedures that override technical use-value in place of seeking an elusive beauty and other immaterial peculiarities they may possess.

HVE has been generously supported by Chalfant-Obo Bettermann Group and Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc.

Shower Curtain Wall

Proposal: Installation / Performance



Shower Curtain Wall speculates on the cultural and disciplinary space between the shower curtain and the curtain wall, and the oppositional spheres they occupy: keeping water in versus keeping it out, soft vs hard, private vs public, interior vs exterior, etc. This phenomenal opposition between the surfaces has its parallel in the immaterial domain of disciplinary (architecture) discourse, i.e. the degree to which they attract scholarly investigation. Additionally, this pairing of opposites illuminates the boundaries of the discipline, with the curtain wall firmly confined within its limits, and the shower curtain - with its quotidian associations, “a fleeting object of study” 1 - at its fringes, wallowing away in the laxness of discursive obscurity. In projecting modernist virtues of bureaucratic transparency via the material transparency of glass, the former attains the status of a disciplinary project, invariably becoming a tad too disciplined. If the identification of a medium is an act of institutional reification 2, then the curtain wall presents as modernism’s medium par excellence. The research culminates in an exhibition proposal that stages a caress of opposites, of the shower curtain’s surface against that of the curtain wall. In seeking moments of approximation within a spectrum of institutionally assigned value, the project unpacks this messy notion of disciplinary proximity.

Surface Rituals  Surface Rituals Surface Rituals                  

The project adapts performance to mediate binaries: the requirement for maintenance and cleaning shared by both surfaces plays out as a cleansing ritual, a performance of suggestive gestures. Conflating the public and domestic realm, this ritual extends beyond the cleansing of inanimate surfaces to engage the subject surface (the corpus) as is the case with the cleansing of oneself (showering). Staged in the interstitial space between the curtain wall and shower curtain, the ritual is refracted as a spectacle that coopts the curtain wall’s transparency in service of screening modes of  occupancy that oscillate between the strange and the routine . In positing performance as a medium for the production of architecture, the project teases the disciplines' plasticity, extending the range of contents that perforate its discourse, while allowing others circulate out into a broader field of cultural consumption and evaluation. 

1    Sylvia Lavin, “Critique passionnée or a folie à trois,” in Flash in the Pan (London:                         Architectural Association, 2014), 7.
2    Waled Beshty, “Aesthetics and Distribution Case (1): Preliminary Notes on Art’s Ability to       Radicalize Academia,” in 33 Texts: 93,614 Words: 581,035 Characters (Zurich : JRP | Ringier, 2016), 213.

Images: Elevation and axonometric fabric print studies depicting the curtail wall of the Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters by Natalie de Blois & Gordon Bunshaft of SOM.

Design Research  
While the physical research component of the proposal is directed towards the design and fabrication of custom fabrics and curtain track systems, the staging and design of these objects is an attempt to mine ephemeral and immaterial outcomes of the aforementioned caress. The research attempts to corrupt staid notions of the shower curtain as pre-modern and curtain wall as thoroughly modern. Via ornamentation and decorative patterning, the former retains its affiliation to a pre-modernity whose erasure led to the realization of the latter. Albeit conflicting, this shared link to ornamentation is activated as an area for research that seeks to transpose the application of ornament upon the respective surfaces.

Methodologies: Curtain wall (as readymade)
The staging of the exhibition requires the procurement of a space whose curtain wall or storefront is subsumed into the project as a readymade object that is at once object and site of inquiry. In the space of the exhibition, the curtain wall undergoes an estrangement, its use-value subverted to engage the temporal contingencies of an event that entices its participation. This estrangement seemingly dissolves the curtain wall's rigidity to permit extant modes of disciplinarity and inquiry to occur.


Residential Addition 


Los Angeles

The project is a remodel of an existing private residence designed in the Cape Cod style. A previously proposed design for the remodel specified the use of a Shou Sugi Ban charred finish over the exterior, an enlargement of the 1st and 2nd-floor areas, and the addition of a large basement (an oddity in Los Angeles). This proposal could be summed up as an on-trend styling of the building’s exterior1 and a life-styling of its interior: via the addition of floor area that prioritizes resale value over the value of lived experience. With the addition of a loggia-like structure that moderately enlarges the main living area, the current design pairs down the scale of the previous proposal while preserving the charm of the original structure.

The arbitrariness of imported (Japanese) cladding over a vernacular New England volume becomes the point of departure for a project that seeks not to reconcile the relationship between parts, but instead, tolerates the discordance between acontextual materiality and style. Seemingly random in material, color, and form, the loggia becomes a fleeting complement to the existing house - a threshold between the house and its surrounding landscape. Its color refers not to the house, but its vegetation. This vegetation is then projected as a rippled interior landscape over corrugated surfaces that separate the loggia from the study.

1    Fortini, Amanda. “The Latest Design Trend: Black and Burned Wood.” Sept. 19, 2017.