Clark Thenhaus inhabits the poché in Some Walls From Unbuilt Houses

Enter the Void

Clark Thenhaus inhabits the poché in Some Walls From Unbuilt Houses

Dichromatic vinyl has been sliced through to reveal the underlying structure. (Kyle Troyer)

Some Walls From Unbuilt Houses opened earlier this month at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design Armstrong Gallery. The installation consists of a collection of framed spaces surfaced with a millennial’s dream material palette: Faux pink-and-blue fur, dichromatic vinyl, raw plywood, glitter embellished wood shingles, and monochromatic felt and leather. While these textured walls entice visitors to snap a selfie or two, it’s what lies behind the surface that matters most.

A triptych of gallery installation shots
Different arrangements of walls, or occupiable pochés, slice through their surface materials. (Kyle Troyer)

The installation is a collection of fragments extracted from plan drawings for various houses designed by Endemic Architecture (Clark Thenhaus). Their intersecting recomposition in the gallery creates an enfilade of unfolding spaces, moving between highly articulated surfaces and low-fi unfinished stud walls. The experience gives real meaning to the phrase, “inhabit the poché,” as one must circulate simultaneously through exposed interior wall cavities and finished rooms. To top it all off, the gallery’s large glass exterior wall is activated in one ceremonious section cut through the installation, further revealing interiors full of artifacts from the construction process. The layered, overlapping and assembled qualities of the space, combined with remnants of paint samples, Walmart receipts, and scattered floor plans are suspended in a state of constant negotiation, enticing visitors, as Thenhaus states, “to look behind, through, and into the walls in search of more layers or spaces.”

View of a gallery show with various cuts and wall segments behind it
The entire frontage of the Armstrong Gallery becomes complicit with the work within, providing another slice. (Kyle Troyer)

As a corollary production to Thenhaus’s most recent publication, Unresolved Legibility in Residential Types, the installation asks visitors to pay attention to the in-between and the unresolved in domestic layouts. The forgotten closets, utility cavities, and leftover nooks often covered over with black poché in the architect’s drawing are revealed to become new spaces of discovery and inhabitation.

Installation view showing construction materials
Detail view of the areas behind the walls. (Danny Wills)

Some Walls From Unbuilt Houses is on display until March 6 at the CAED Armstrong Gallery, located at 132 S Lincoln St, Kent, Ohio 44240. Endemic Architecture would like to thank the following Kent State University students for their assistance: Aiden Crossey, Aileen Lin, Allison Baker, Branden Hudak, Feyza Mutlu, Jonathan Bonezzi, Kyle Troyer, Logan West, Mike Bonezzi, Ryan Lane, Yu-ting Chang.