The exhibition consists of 44 houses by 44 architecture offices. The house has an exhaustive history within architecture. As a protagonist of formalism throughout modernism and postmodernism, it has been a recurring problem for urbanism. And, simultaneously, it has been considered a solution for urbanism and a problem for formalism (Levittown). The house has been at the center of phenomenological questions (dwelling), a frequent site of the everyday vernacular, and the primary subject of the digital/virtual. In this particular exhibition, houses were chosen simply because there are a lot of them circulating around the Internet, available to gather. And because nowadays the house has seemingly become more and more of a desirable design object, an image, a stage set, a thing, a product both in how it is made and culturally understood. The house is a receptacle for identity and technology, similar to our phones.
The term ‘Low-resolution’ precedes ‘Houses’ in order to make the exhibition-goer think about houses through this double, technological and representational-aesthetic lens. All 44 houses exhibited fall into one or more of the following categories of ‘Low-resolution’: first, houses that vaguely resemble houses, using familiar elements like pitched roofs, etc.; second, houses that appear to be constructed, in that one can see the construction, joints, and materials (there is a sort of cheap, unfinished quality to the work); and third, houses that are composed of basic geometric primitives-squares, circles, triangles-arranged in a non-compositional or abstract manner. By these terms ‘Low-resolution’ is against high-resolution architectural sophistication, gestural complex curvature, and models of architecture focused on seamlessness. It should be noted that we made some obvious curatorial decisions. Each house is removed from its context, which is arguably a source of debate. (I would agree with critics who claim that to fully understand the specificity of each house, one should know the site, client, contractors, material, economics, ecology, etc.) For better or worse, each house is treated like an untethered object or image, which is how we experience most architecture anyway. All 44 projects have been re-represented in the same manner, at the same scale, and with the same orientation-north within the exhibition space is also north for each project presented. This was done so that we could compare the houses without comparing representations. Additionally, each architecture office has been asked to select a material sample, product, or building element to represent each house at full scale. The exhibition is staged as if everything is floating, on display.
The 44 houses were designed by 6a, Adamo-Faiden, Angela Deuber Architect, Atelier Barda, Atelier Bow-Wow, Besler & Sons, Brandlhuber+, Bruther, Bureau Spectacular, architecten de vylder vinck taillieu in collaboration with Joris Van Huychem, Edition Office, Ensamble Studio, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism in collaboration with Aixopluc, fala atelier, First Office, GAFPA in collaboration with Stabico Ingenieurs, OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Go Hasegawa and Associates, Hans Tursack, HHF and Ai Weiwei, Independent Architecture, Johannes Norlander Arkitektur, Johnston Marklee, The LADG, Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten, MAIO, Monadnock, MPdL Studio, MOS, New Affiliates, OFF-OFF, Outpost Office, PARA Project, Pascal Flammer, Paul Preissner Architects, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Point Supreme, PRODUCTORA, Stan Allen Architect, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, Tato Architects, T+E+A+M, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, and WORKac.
—Michael Meredith, Associate Professor, Princeton University School of Architecture
The exhibition is curated by Michael Meredith and designed by MOS, with graphic design by Studio Lin, and fashion design by Slow and Steady Wins the Race. The exhibition team includes Anna Renken, Alex Still, Steve Martinez, Adam Ainslie, Ryan Hughes, Yujun Mao, and Mark Acciari. Special thanks to SoA Dean Monica Ponce de Leon, Kira McDonald, and the SoA Staff.