The concept of weathering challenges the notion that aging is repulsive, but rather, that there is a certain beauty that arises when a structure reacts to its environment. Rather than rejecting this natural progression, weathering can be used to our advantage to design structures that evolve over time. Many people tend to believe that a building at its moment of completion is at the peak of its existence; however, this mindset would lead to more demolished structures after only several years of existing. This is not only impractical and detrimental to the environment, but it also avoids the entire topic of aging, even though it is a natural and inevitable process. The use of weathered steel encourages the additive cladding to change alongside its environment, but the aging is specifically directed with ridges and panels. The existing structure has been shifted slightly to allow water to be directed even further, following the more organized sheets of metal near the roof, and slowly dissolving as the water flows downward. To reflect the process of weathering, the steel sheets themselves seen to disintegrate in its form until it is left hanging above the added seating areas, imitating how the water would drip off of the structure itself. The cladding system is formed in a way that allows part of the existing building to protrude, which in turn creates an area where people can eat and gather, separated from the constant traffic of students rushing through the entrances and towards the food court. This area will be built with a steel frame and sheathed in glass to allow viewers from within the building to see the hanging sheets of metal from the exterior. The cladding system will contrast dramatically to the original facade of brick and concrete, which will age in a very different way. Below the steel structure sits a narrow pool that collects the rainwater that flows off of the cladding system. This protruding pool, meant to be made of concrete, will have a dual function as a water collection area in the fall and winter seasons, but also as a seating area during the warmer months. To further emphasize where the rainwater is directed, an overhang hovers above this pool and it also serves to provide shade during the summer months. This outdoor seating area opens up more space for students to gather in stillness, juxtaposing the constant flow of traffic throughout the building and the busy lifestyle of most students.
Throughout this semester, I definitely struggled with deciding which aspects of my artist’s work into my own concepts. At times, it seemed like simply one connection was enough, but with Project V, I strived to reach deeper into Vermibus’ work and provide a much more well-rounded view of what he wanted to portray. With the five projects we did, I was able to experiment more with materials and artistic styles that were outside of my comfort zone and I believe that it has not only made me a stronger architecture student, but also a deeper thinker. Social and political issues are always a part of our existence, whether or not we choose to acknowledge them. However, I do believe that a willingness to understand these ideologies are what defines us as thinking human beings and it also gives us a deeper grasp on the values of life. Vermibus has used a shocking artistic display intended to force the pubic to acknowledge that there are issues with how we view humanity and beauty. Even if it is not possible to change such a large worldview, I do believe that projects such as these are helping to create a world that is more accepting and understanding in humanity’s diversity. In some way, artists and architects have this duty to humankind to acknowledge and proclaim these issues, either by shocking the world or transforming them into something beautiful because of the natural imperfects of the world.