In All This House

Three-dimensional house flattened into two-dimensions

photo / provided

In All This House presents — in a publication and exhibition — a series of architectural and narrative drawings about three houses. By combining drawing and creative writing, the project asks what it means for architecture to be represented as it is experienced — from the inside out, by the non-architect. Can the act of drawing encompass transcription, translation, and even construction?

This project draws its source material from the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans, specifically the chapter "Shelter," in which Agee describes three houses in Alabama as they are in the summer of 1936. Now subtitled The American Classic, in Words and Photographs, of Three Tenant Families in the Deep South, the book interrogates the relationship between the visual image and the written word, foregrounding the role of the subjective observer in the very act of description itself. Drawing on the tradition of paper architecture by John Hejduk and Bernard Tschumi, comics by architects Jimenez Lai and Wes Jones, and architectural comic books by artists Chris Ware and Richard McGuire, this exhibition is an attempt by the serious and the sacred to bring the ethical and critical realities of architecture to the fore, in spite — or more likely because — of being discussed in a world once removed.

In translating the written description of a physical, architectural artifact (the house) rife with psychological meaning (shelter, home, body) into drawing, In All This House explores the relationship between the written word and the architectural symbol, the book and the building, and the twin creative processes of drawing and writing.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the Cornell Council for the Arts and is an exhibition of new work by Charisse Foo (B.Arch. '17).

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