Savannah College of Art and Design

Arch. Studio III: Spring 2013 

Critic: Jean Jaminet

Designers: David Harrop and Francesca Carney


This project explores the philosophical ideas of the grotesque and the horrific.  Focusing on the original grotesque philosophies of the twentieth century and the ideas explored under this name, such as distortedness, bizarreness, and metamorphosis.  We looked towards the undeniable presence of excessive textures mixed with organic orifices in the artwork of the grotesque.  Looking again at the work of H.R. Giger as it relates to the grotesque,  we studied the ideas of repetitive and excessive textured field mingling with flesh and biologic forms.  The mediating representation between the textured field and the biologic is the opening of flesh, or in other words the penetration of orifices.

The argument then logically stems from this excessiveness of texture as an exploration of the grotesque  and the  horrific as a means of architecturally expressing ornamentation rather than through excessive form. This we argue is not only closer to the philosophical and artistic ideas of the grotesque, but also  closer to the idea of architectural ornamentation.

As we understand it, through our research, the sublime and the grotesque are closely related.  Victor Hugoa’s definition of the sublime: “a combination of the grotesque and beautiful as opposed to the classical ideal of perfection.” Speaking of the grotesque object Paul de Man writes “it knows of no limits or borders, yet it has to appear as a determined totality; in a philosophical sense, it is something of a monster”  With this idea we argue that the monstrous grotesque is still aesthetically significant because it can continue to delight the imagination at least with the strange, if not the great or sublime.