Antoine Predock / Death Star / World Mammoth and Permafrost Museum.
Antoine Predock’s work and I go way back. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to meet after dark and play capture the flag in what most Davis locals refer to as the “Death Star,” formally known as Predock’s Social Sciences & Humanities Building (1994). Social Sciences & Humanities Building by day, Death Star by night. Long before I began to pursue architecture as a discipline, the Death Star was my fortress, a twisting, turning dreamscape, as if it was designed precisely for hiding, spying, sneaking, and climbing.
My playful reprogramming of Predock’s Death Star as it sits empty at night attests to the success of Predock’s practice in cultivating a distinctly American dreamscape. Predock’s aesthetic and spatial logic are rooted in the American sublime, a Baudrillardian mish-mash of sci-fi imagery, fetishized vista points, internalized circulation, and the application of light and shadow. Context is drawn out of a collective dream, a victory for innocent play over the drudgery of the everyday.
Though Predock would likely cite clay modeling, tectonic striation, motion studies, and the desert Southwest as primary sources, I can’t shake the Star Wars association, especially after seeing his recent competition entry for The World Mammoth and Permafrost Museum in Yakutsk, Russia. (On another note I think the world may have reached its museum limit. Check out Earth, the New Museum of Museums.)
more after hyperspace…