I have a weird relationship with corridors.
Architects will try to avoid the corridic space, which was once thought of as transformative, at all costs. I, however, feel a strong attachment, because I’ve been spending much time in them. I hold strong concern for the piece of un-architecture that they are.
The early 19th century introduced corridors on a grand scale in city halls, courthouses and state houses. By proposing a space between the public and the private, they would minimise awkward contact outside of one’s peerage. They would link the institution to the outside world both in real and symbolic terms. For many soviet thinkers and modernist architects, corridors promised to be a forum, a social place, a setting of collective functions and social exchanges. That somehow utopian moment ultimately waned. One key problem turned out to be: ventilation. A corridor is after all the intersection or the common ground between several different chambers, which might be lacking proper circulation of light, air, or critical thought.
Despite their dubious reputation, and much to my relief, corridors have made somewhat of a return in architecture — they live on in sewage outlets, back-room service shafts and fire exits. They are enshrined in the means of egress of buildings soon-to-be-built while lingering on in old buildings like schools, universities and courthouses. But they also keep spawning soulless enemies and hold all the terror of the military-industrial complex, so I guess this comes at a price.
- Ellen Garvens (Photo/Media)
- Rebecca Cummins (Photo/Media)
- Flint Jamison (Photo/Media)
Read the interview with Siegmund Skalar by Hagere Selam “shimby” Zegeye-Gebrehiwot
Siegmund Skalar has an infatuation with socialist housing and failed utopias. His interdisciplinary practice currently engages the medium of furniture, inspired by how spaces such as corridors are affectively activated and the late designer Charlotte Perriand. Skalar’s objects borrow an inconspicuousness from the materials he uses like MDF boards. He replicates a sense of institutional ubiquity with the placement of the custom built, IKEA-like objects, camouflaging them in muted tones. His furniture plays with subversiveness when installed just outside of the gallery. I think of the stools/bookshelves he’s designed and built as unassuming aberrations. Skalar’s aim: disrupt aesthetic notions of high-end, commodifiable art objects while dreaming of corridors as the new commons.
— Hagere Selam “shimby” Zegeye-Gebrehiwot
- Master of Fine Arts, University of Washington, Seattle, 2021
- Bachelor of Fine Arts, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna