How much can character and composition do? The project is developed through the combination of two previously distinct tropes: buildings with character and buildings as characters. Each trope draws upon an “early vector of architectural signification after modernism:” Robert Venturi’s complexity and contradiction and Hejduk’s zoomorphic figures respectively. The resulting ‘Conflicted Character’ buildings are siblings of the decorated figures in Somol's Green Dots. However, rather than eschewing “surrealist collage,” this project embraces it to create an object caught between a monument and a cartoon character.
The form started as Schlump, a slumped object that existed between recognizable shapes. I identified in the form two architectural elements—from the front, the arch, and from the side, the buttress. I used the site collage and site model to form an index of these elements that positioned Schlump in an intersection of the two types that calls attention to the differences and similarities between them. With the addition of program, I wanted to maintain that sense of ambiguity. I projected arch and buttress shapes through the object, such that inside Schlump, the interior space serves the museum, while what would be considered the poche of the arch and buttress becomes occupiable library space. Inside the museum, the art has been placed on shelves for perusal as if in a library, and the books have been displayed as though in a gallery. By tying the surface condition to the method of display—displayed like a book, or displayed like art—the formerly overlooked poche of the arch/buttress has become a space that requires constant reconsideration.