schlump | conflicted character

project type: academic

UIC SOA Spring 2015 | Stewart Hicks + Julia Capomaggi

How much can character and composition do?

The studio explores new roles for architectural character through a series of formal exercises adapted from Robert Somol’s 5 Steps to do Green Dots. Each project develops 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 Green Dots. However, rather than eschewing “surrealist collage,” this studio embraces it. Multiple scales, overlap-ping ornamental compositions, misprojections, awkward proportions and stooping postures all contribute to a series of objects caught between a monument and a cartoon character.


My form started as Schlump, this 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 a gray area between types that calls attention to the differences and similarities between them. Moving into the program stage, I wanted to maintain that sense of ambiguity. I ran the form through a rigorous process to develop idiosyncrasies. Inside the form, the interior space serves the museum, while what would be considered the poche of the arch and buttress becomes occupiable library space. To resurrect the ambiguity, I projected my character’s original costume through the interior, where it reverses the surface of the arch. 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. Inside the projection, where the surface has been reversed, 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.

  • date completed - 2015