JAMES DELLA VALLE 2019-20 YEAR 3
Between The Frame
First Class Honours
Environmental Design Prize
A photography gallery laments the death of timber construction in the post-fire-raged city of Chicago, slowly rotting like the ‘vinegar syndrome’ of the negatives it displays. The architecture left standing offers a shrine to Chicago’s industrial past and broadcasts a call to arms for a low-carbon future. Defying the city’s contemporary building ordinance, the gallery stands as the first timber building to be built in Chicago for more than 120 years.
Drawing upon modern cinematic and staging techniques, the gallery embeds the forgotten negatives of Chicago’s history within its walls. Espousing high-resolution milling and reviving the low-resolution lost forestry techniques of lumber felling, the building is an experiment in novel mass timber construction. Mirroring the inevitable degradation of the negatives it houses, the architecture slowly rots and splits through the seasonal channelling of snowmelt. All that remains, in defiance of the rot, is the darkroom. It gradually becomes re-embedded into the fabric of the ever-growing city, forever occupying the brief slice of time between the recent past and the near next, developing images of and by the city ad infinitum.
Tutors: Greg Storrar, Farlie Reynolds