David K. Ross
Architectural mock-ups: a significant yet ephemeral aspect of contemporary construction, seen by Canadian artist David K. Ross
1st edition, 2021
120 pages, 39 color and 51 b/w illustrations
21 x 28 cm
A publication by Standpunkte, Basel
Archetypes features a recent series by Canadian artist David K. Ross, who works at the interface of photography, film, and installation. His images of architectural mock-ups, staged at night with dramatic lighting that isolates structures from their surroundings, demonstrate how these objects have become a charged form of proto-architecture. They also change how we view the practice of architecture by documenting and framing unseen aspects of its emergence. Built at full scale, these architectural fragments—to be removed from construction sites as buildings near completion—ensure that a project can be executed exactly to design, and they provide clients with a simulation of a building that leaves little space for speculation. The task of mock-up documentation is usually left to architects and contractors, who take quick snapshots for their reference during site visits.
Archetypes is the first-ever photographic compilation of this type, reaching beyond a mere artistic record of building technologies and typologies. Instead, the book offers an effective platform to consider what it means to pre-construct fragments of buildings in all their complexity. Published alongside Ross’s images are four essays framing the historical, technological, and civic significance of the mock-up. Archetypes offers an intellectual and aesthetic reference for a wide range of audiences from professionals in architecture to anyone interested in or fascinated by arcane aspects of photography and art.
David K. Ross is a Canadian artist who uses film and installation to research and document fragmentary and ephemeral aspects of civil and cultural infrastructures.
Reto Geiser is a designer and scholar of modern architecture, and an associate professor at Rice University’s School of Architecture in Houston, Texas.