f:t architecture (Peter Franck & Kathleen Triem): Model Space
PRESS RELEASE / SPRING-SUMMER 2006
Spatial, conceptual, and experiential disorientation—of the kind typically elicited by the miniature world monuments of Las Vegas, for example—drove f:t architecture's work for Black & White Gallery's outdoor project space. Principals Peter Franck and Kathleen Treim filled the entire courtyard with a 4:1 scale architect's model of a house that they had designed for a site in Saugerties, New York. Characterized by a smooth, white exterior, unusually angled walls, and site-specific landscaping elements, the model resembled a large museum exhibition set impossibly into the back of a commercial gallery. "The scale of the outdoor project space gave us contradictory messages," said Franck of the partners' decision to build the model. "It's not an expansive space, but at the same time, when you get into looking at the cubic volume, it's really quite large." The architects used every inch of it for their project, which could alternately be viewed as a very small house or a very large model. The project also crossed disciplines as easily as it confused spatial conventions. As an architectural experiment, the work allowed Franck and Treim to test a digital fabrication method essential to the house design. As an installation, the landscaping created an immersive experience. And as a curatorial venture—the architects are also curators of The Fields Sculpture Park in Ghent, New York—the whole exhibition was arranged to draw viewers in while throwing off their sense of scale. The biggest challenge for the architects, however, was adapting their practice to installation work. "We have an established methodology for developing architecture projects, but we didn't have anything in place for something like this," said Franck. "And we never go forward on a project unless we both agree." In the end, the recalibration of their collaborative relationship led to one of the most ambitious projects created for the gallery's outdoor project space.