Learning from Houston’s Row Houses
During the fall of 2014, Jesús Vassallo, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kajima (the latter two from Atelier Bow Wow) conducted a joint research seminar at Rice University. Shotgun is a site-specific installation displaying the research conducted into the local vernacular typology of Shotgun Houses. It is built by the students with exactly the same materials that shotguns are built with – the readily available, lowest grade, timber industrial products found in lumber yards across the country. In addition to their material properties, these elements also bring with them a series of standard dimensions, spacings and joint details, the basic vocabulary of a contemporary American vernacular. This was fertile ground for the group to experiment with subtle displacements of familiar elements and conventions, in an attempt to bring a playful and creative attitude into the normative world of construction. This experiment allowed the group to think about the many layers through which we understand materials and to engage the disparities or nuances between their economic and cultural values, as well as to understand how the architect has the agency to reassign these values through the careful consideration of how constructive elements come together.
Project authors: Jesús Vassallo, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, with students of the Rice School of Architecture.
Photography: Nash Baker
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