The AIA’s Small Project Practitioners (SPP) Knowledge Community’s Advisory Group launched the Small Project Awards program in 2005 to provide a formal venue for recognizing small projects completed on small budgets. Over the years, project size grew and the ban on professional photography was lifted, but the resourcefulness, skill, and talent of small project practitioners remained a constant.
This publication covers ten years of the AIA Small Project Awards program. Enough time has passed to meaningfully revisit and showcase previous award winning work, and to provide a record for us to take stock of the evolution of the Small Project Awards program as a whole. Organized into four chapters—Objects and Pavilions, Houses, Details, and Adaptive Reuse/Interiors—this book reveals that small projects have properties, uses, foci, and contexts that are distinct from architecture that operates at larger scales.
This book asks the question, are there unique and defining qualities to small projects? With the contributing authors’ insightful chapter introductions, along with the formatting and sequencing of work within each chapter, there exists a means to compare award-winning projects and arrive at one’s own conclusion. One theme throughout is clear, though, that the smallness of the work is perhaps the biggest advantage for the small project practitioner. For this reason, the Small Project Awards program will continue to celebrate work whose creativity and impact are Out of Scale.
Fashion[ING] Objects | Notes of Interest
FASHION[ING] OBJECTS is an instrument for space, light, and threshold that creates maximal impact with minimal means by arranging and reconfiguring everyday objects in an unexpected and extraordinary way. It is an original backdrop installation piece designed and fabricated for an the annual premier fashion event in Austin, Texas held in September 2012. Beginning with the simple idea of an Erwin Hauer inspired screen, the intention for the backdrop was to veil the models as they emerged from backstage, to dapple light as well as to convey a sense of depth and movement beyond. Approaching the topic of "context" from an atypical angle, the design process was spawned by the wire clothes hanger. This object, although simple, is truly extraordinary when arrayed by the thousands. It also plays off of themes in the fashion industry, in its direct association with clothing and thus the human body, especially as a surrogate for the rigid structure of the human shoulder. When arrayed, the hanger itself falls away in favor of an ethereal collective whole. Upon closer inspection, however, there remains the mundane everyday structural component of the fashion industry: the wire hanger.
The backdrop was built for a $3-per-square-foot in two sections in order to allow an 8’-0” opening for the runway models, and is suspended from a scaffolding structure behind. The dimensions are 11’ x 2’ x 9’ for the left portion, and 23’ x 2’ x 9’ on the right for a total of 306 square feet of backdrop surface. It weighs approximately 15 pounds per linear foot, and comprises of approximately 5,000 paper-covered clothes hangers. The design of the runway backdrop incorporates both rigid and fluid layers, establishing a tension between a grid system and an amorphous organic form. These two systems are known as “feathers” and “diamonds,” respectively, and at times, the diamonds erode to reveal the organic feathery beast beyond. The wall as a whole is then backlit to yield a confounding yet intriguing organism, utterly removed from any association with its simple modular unit, yet impossible without it. With this in mind, even the plainest of objects can be celebrated; the quotidian coat hanger transcends to create a powerful, theatrical, and meaningful public spatial experience.