images have consumed architecture culture and design methodology. while architects continue to produce drawings as their primary instruments of service, we increasingly work in software with raster-logics. designers rely on images to perpetuate disciplinary conversations and to communicate to clients and consultants. the speed and tempo of architectural production has been tuned to the trending ‘instagram’ feed. now more than ever, we live in a house of images — the pixel is the new brick.


the conditions room is an immense occupiable camera

 

 

US based design practice EXTENTS‘ ‘image matters’ explores the potential role of the matter of architecture in contemporary image culture. the project recovers the materially-rich early photographic processes of the tintype or ferrotype. this labor-intensive process entails the use of metallic substrates to host layers of chemical and physical reactions, eventually producing a direct-positive photographic image. the resulting prints have unique visual qualities. to contemporary audiences, they might appear strangely familiar. they are unmistakably photographic, sufficiently distinct from the types of images most commonly circulated today to interrupt habitual consumption.


it opens to become an exhibition space

 

 

tintypes also have unique physical properties. their texture, depth, and thickness give them heightened material presence, vastly exceeding that of the typical 5 x 7 snapshot or the ephemeral digital pic. tintypes are image-objects that evince familiar photographic effects, while obstinately refusing to cede their object-quality to the realm of mere appearances. EXTENTS’ tintypes have been produced within an enormous occupiable camera named the conditions room, a fully-functional sliding-box camera with a variable focal length.


the project recovers the materially-rich early photographic processes of the tintype

 

 

the conditions room is itself a study of the material and spatial consequences of image-making. built from dimensional lumber and clad in closed-cell neoprene foam paneling, particular attention was paid to the design and fabrication of the paneling details. these details are deliberately over-articulated — entailing double-folds and redundancy to elevate the functional necessity of maintaining the precise light qualities required for EXTENTS’ imaging process to the level of architectural expression.


inside an exhibition chamber in the conditions room

 

 

aluminum reproductions of these details serve as the substrates for the final products of this first phase of EXTENTS’ ‘image matters’ project. these substrates have been photo-sensitized through the tintype process, producing three-dimensional pieces displaying photographic impressions of digitally manipulated material textures. in these pieces, novel relationships emerge between the digital patterns imaged and the material consequences of the tintype process. in one sense, the pieces are ‘instagram’ ready — designed to insert themselves within the deluge of image circulation that sets the tempo of contemporary architectural production. in another sense, EXTENTS’ pieces are meant to resist habitual consumption. they confuse the flat and the thick; the 2D and 3D; the digital and archaic, all in order to check, disrupt, redirect or slow-down image circulation to secure moments of rare attention.


aluminum reproductions of these details serve as the substrates for the final products of ‘image matters’


a tintype is produced in the conditions room


it displays photographic impressions of digitally manipulated material textures


novel relationships emerge between digital patterns imaged and material consequences of the tintype process


EXTENTS’ pieces are meant to resist habitual consumption


the conditions room — fully compressed


the conditions room — in exhibition mode


capturing an image in the conditions room

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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