Spring 2020 Design Excellence Nominee

W// Maarten Janssens

Torre is a conceptual residential high rise developed after a trip to Mexico City, where upon returning home we were immediately put into self isolation due to the Covid Pandemic. It is an exploration of the experiences and diverse conditions we admired in Mexico City, a collaborative project focused on the architectural plan. We created a neutral frame, built out from the geometries of an abandoned warehouse block, to fill with these established diverse conditions. We tried as many conditions as we could go through, theorizing that individuals living in this “exquisite corpse” would potentially design and build each floor to whatever situations they needed.

Starting with a list of architectural situations and 35mm photographs we took on our trip, we experimented and explored these theories through an architectural language. Sometimes one partner would start a plan and the other would finish; sometimes one partner would take up half of a floor and identify where the other could begin with their interpretation of a theory (or a symbiotic theory), implying a reaction to what had already been designed; and sometimes a mixed authorship would evolve from one partner responding to continuous on-screen annotation by the other. Occasionally the plans were playful, other times the plans were serious, speaking to our dynamic reactions to the situation. The result is an exploration of isolated collaboration, a building that is grounded by our experiences in Mexico City, and elevated by our desire to find again the energy of studio through a remote process.