Sam Jacob presented the lecture “Ground Xerox” at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

He focused his lecture on the idea of a “copy,” which provided the substance and support for much of his explanation of his work to follow.  To “Copy” was presented as a tactic,  a productive threat, as the copy both provides a starting point while also creating a sense of “uneasiness,” a questioning of identity.   In terms of architecture, he compared the Glass House with the Farnsworth House, and explained Mie’s uneasiness with the duplicate.  Adolf Loos would promote an architecture that would,  “Repeat ourselves again, ” emphasizing the importance of copying over original production.

Jacob’s interest in the copy and representation is made visible in his architecture projects within the firm FAT.   In many ways, his unique concept of architecture as a machine for telling stories – made manifest through the techniques of copy and representation – makes his architectural unclassifiable and much his own, similarly to Frank Gehry’s untouchable niche signature.  This in some ways makes it less legitimate.  But I believe this is mostly because the firm has been designing exterior treatments rather than spaces.  With more substantial “spatial” work, the firm will probably be able to engage in a larger conversation of the copy that can make manifest the “duck that swallowed the shed,” as Jacob remarked.

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