Designed for an existing and under-utilized five-story circulation/atrium space in the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, WTF? is a transformable object of ambiguous use comprised of five panels mounted on rolling frames that can be variously reconfigured.
The basis for the project’s intentional ambiguity is its aspiration to reinvigorate the space within which it has been installed by promoting imaginative and playful programmatic exploration rather than the stipulation of a single program. This five-story atrium space, which was constructed in 1987 to connect two existing campus buildings into a unified structure, serves as the link between the college’s administrative offices, housed in the original historic Architecture Hall, and its design studios, which are located in the old law library building—and it has therefore come to be matter-of-factly referred to as The Link. Its grand scale and central location suggest that it should serve as the heart of the college, but its interstitial nature, lack of program, and seeming inability to sponsor one make it a non-place that is rarely occupied except as a space of fleeting circulation. The goal of WTF? is therefore to introduce a device into The Link that will catalyze its full spatial and programmatic potential by encouraging the students and faculty of the college to continually create new uses and activities through a kind of ongoing play, which will in turn promote a greater experiential investment in this space.