Constructed Hallucinations

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Architecture and Urban Planning Building 170

“Constructed Hallucinations” presentation by Michael Hughes, Associate Professor and Department Head, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

For more information about this speaker’s visit, contact Associate Professor Karl Wallick.

Bio: Educated at the University of Virginia and Princeton University Michael Hughes is now Head of the Department of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah and co-principal, with Selma Catovic Hughes, in the firm Catovic Hughes Design. The work of Catovic Hughes Design combines formal and tectonic exploration with an ongoing study of vernacular traditions. Catovic Hughes Design has been recognized with 4 state AIA Design Awards, two Gulf States Region AIA Design Awards and the ACSA Faculty Design Award. Their work has been published in Architecture Record, Metropolitan Home, and Dwell magazine. In the academic realm Professor Hughes is the director of the Tectonic Landscapes Initiative. This work combines community outreach and material exploration in a series of projects that focus on small, unremarkable, and often forgotten places adjacent to the lives of underserved people. Located in the boundary between architecture and landscape these projects seek to create experiential delight out of small-scale design opportunities. Through the adaptive re-use and recycling of leftover urban space the projects augment and enhance existing building infrastructures with new, primarily outdoor, spaces that provide pragmatic functions, promote play, and exhibit a social and environmental conscience. Projects completed through the Tectonic Landscapes Initiative have been recognized with numerous state and regional AIA Design Awards, four Collaborative Practice Awards from the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture and featured in journals such as Architectural Record and Dwell.

Lecture Summary: Michael Hughes will present a collection of projects, both professional and academic, Constructed Hallucinations. This rather odd, if not contradictory combination of terms serves as a manifesto of sorts, a way of looking at the world and more specifically a way of engaging architecture that attempts to bridge the gap between speculative fantasy and tectonic resistance. Contrasting much of our built reality, this work encourages imagination and celebrates the abnormality associated with mental instability in search of a delusional optimism.