Mayne’s drawings for Sixth Street House invoke architectural conventions only to surpass their limitations. By collapsing plan, elevation, and detail through juxtapositions of scale, oblique angles, projection, and rotation, Mayne challenges the historical view of drawing as a passive medium at the service of architecture. The design involves the insertion of eleven found machinery parts into the shell of a preexisting bungalow. Reworked as functional elements—staircase, fireplace, shower—these innovative elements embody an imagined prehistory or archeology of the site. The complex operations characteristic of this and other early works by Mayne resonate with deconstruction’s philosophical goals, destabilizing normative procedures and producing new interpretations of cultural objects. As Mayne has said, his decontextualization of these different parts affirms “the presence of an artistic intervention” just as it “distorts scale, subverts typological expectations, and asserts functional neologisms.” Ultimately, they create an awareness of architecture’s potential to shift our perception of reality—opening up the possibility for transformation.
Gallery label from 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design, September 12, 2012–March 25, 2013.