"A wall and a column...what they have in common is an interest in looking at the cultural agency of traditional building materials and their ability to speak."
In A Wall and A Column: 2 Projects from PechaKucha Buffalo Vol. 16, architect and University at Buffalo Peter Reyner Banham Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor Ang Li presents a pair of site specific installations that explore the cultural agency of vernacular building materials. Horror Vacui is an installation in Lisbon, Portugal that examines the ability of building facades to “speak” through the medium of the Portuguese “azulejo” - hand-painted ceramic tiles often depicting scenes from historic or civic events. The piece explores the narrative potential of bricks and mortar within contemporary image sharing and crowdsourcing platforms. No Frills is an installation in Buffalo, New York that stems out of an interest in the industrialized production of terracotta in the 19th century as a new kind of ornamental language. In a semi-abandoned Chevrolet Factory by the architect Albert Kahn, a 13-foot column interrupts the existing grid of the assembly floor, acting as a bridge between the vast scale of obsolete industry and the human scale of the architectural ornament.