Thursday, June 20, 2013

One of Doug Garofalo’s futuristic designs: the “Camouflage House” display model from 1991

Douglas Garofalo (American, 1958–2011)
David Leary (American, born 1956)
Camouflage House, Burr Ridge, Illinois, Model. 1991
The width is approximately 24 inches 
Mixed Media
Photograph by versluis 2013

Chicago architect Doug Garofalo’s display model for Camouflage House is one of the beautiful pieces in the Art Institute of Chicago’s enjoyable exhibition called, Sharing Space: Creative Intersections in Architecture and Design now on display until August 18, 2013 in Galleries 283–285. Pictured above is Garofalo’s piece as it is shown in the exhibition—wall-mounted in a Plexiglas case. This vantage point emphasizes the graphic flatness of the patterns that reveal and conceal the proposed structure in its built environment.

The exhibition didactics related to this work state, “From the powerful effect of color to the rigor of geometry, this exhibition presents architecture and design works that reveal common concepts and strategies across these interwoven fields. Douglas Garofalo’s Camouflage House model produces patterns of color that [disguise] the contours of the building and redefine its relationship to the site.” In addition, “Vivid hues that function to create ambiguity about the structure and boundaries of the object when viewed from different angles.”

Here’s an interesting review of the exhibition by Paul Preissner. Also, Garofalo’s model reminded me of Roy R. Behrens’s fascinating research about many aspects of camouflage—check out Roy’s Camoupedia blog.

This is a promotional image with an elevational perspective for the exhibition: Sharing Space. (1)

To elaborate further about this piece the exhibition curator writes:

Douglas Garofalo’s Camouflage House proposes a new kind of site-specificity for a sloped suburban lot. Rather than approaching the landscape as an idealized natural form, Garofalo translated the topography of the site into a complex network of lines that determine the contours and the surface of the structure. In this model for the project, the intersecting lines are filled in with vibrant color, creating an elaborate field and cladding for the building that both defines and obscures the shape of the structure. Here the idea of camouflage—a concept that drew the attention of many modern artists in the early 20th century—has a double sense, as the shape of long, ramp-like volume of the house was designed as an extension and distortion of the neighborhood’s typical suburban driveways.
  1. Garofalo, Douglas, and David Leary. Camouflage House. 1991. Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Douglas Garofalo, Chicago. Web. 18 June 2013.

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