Photos by Natasha Morehouse.

One of the most important ideals behind Assistant Professor of Architecture Jeffery Nesbit’s latest work, ‘Tensional Topography,’ spawns from the words of theorist and experimental architect Lebbeus Woods in 2004:

“The traditional role of architecture has been one of reassuring us that things are under control, that is, stable and static. But it is quite another thing to think of all architecture ‘in tension’.”

Guided, and subsequently propelled, by Woods’ words, Nesbit has created what he deems “an exploration of unpredictable design morphology” in the latest exhibit on display at the Storrs Gallery. In collaboration not only with Woods and his concepts of transformational architecture, but also graduate design assistant Andrew Beres, Jeffery Nesbit creates what I see as one of the most interesting and speculative exhibits I’ve seen on campus.

So just what makes this exhibit so appealing? Like many exhibits brought to the School of Architecture, they often appeal to both the academic and creative side of the students and faculty. That is, anyone can appreciate the work in some way or another. With Nesbit’s work, his mostly abstract constructions of digitally and physically fabricated models present much to the eye of both an average student and an experienced scholar. In essence, Nesbit’s bold collaboration with the past, present and future of architecture and design allows the everyman to experience the work as a complex yet simplified relationship between one person and another.

The more technical appeal of the exhibit is of course its fascinating progression. Beginning with the concepts of Woods and investigating the ideas of tension and transformation in architecture, Nesbit is able to create a landscape — or rather topography — of his process. Beginning by looking at how external and internal forces impact the transformation of the built environment, Nesbit then proceeds to break down those concepts in order to develop more abstract interactions of space and order. Going from simple lines on a map to constructing radically unpredictable creations of foam, canvas and ink, Nesbit’s process encourages, and somewhat challenges, the viewer to call upon their own interpretations of the work.

A complex and striking relationship collaboration between one creative mind and another, Jeffery Nesbit and Andrew Beres’ fascinating exhibit of experimentation and transformation offers more than meets the eye. While much of it might appear to be random lines and geometries tossed into a blender, it very well might be just that, but with an added veil of discovery waiting to be uncovered. Sophisticated, crude, methodical,and tension-filled, the latest exhibit from the School of Arts and Architecture at UNC Charlotte is definitely one to see.

‘Tensional Topography’ is on display at the Storrs Gallery through April 22.