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Adrian Bonaventura Timeless


Timeless By Adrian Bonaventura 360141 Book design by Adrian Bonaventura Published by Twenty-first Century Architecture Melbourne School of Design (MSD), University of Melbourne ABPL90117 Š 2013 Adrian Bonaventura All rights reserved. First Printing, November 2013 Printed in Melbourne, Australia by Same Day Printing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in written form from the author.


ADRIAN BONAVENTURA TIMELESS MANIFESTO


“For architectural endeavours to inherently become timeless, architecture must fully engage and acknowledge the emotional and phenomenological experiences of the human psyche.�


INTRODUCTION

The current direction of architectural discourse fails to incorporate a deeper understanding of the human senses and experience of place. With the proliferation of digital techniques and technologies assisting in developing new methods of architectural form derivation, a disconnect occurs between the contextual factors influencing computational methods, and the ability of architecture to enhance and strengthen our sense of self. For architectural endeavours to inherently become timeless – forever associated with experiential qualities that stimulate our senses, regardless of the consequence of time – architecture must fully engage and acknowledge the emotional and phenomenological experiences of the human psyche. Through the precise arrangement and control of architectural elements, such as; time, materiality, light and sound, the architect’s responsibility is to create space which deeply reaffirms our existential significance, reminding us of the inherent sensual qualities associated with place. By appreciating the mental invigoration induced by engaging all the senses simultaneously – and the simultaneous activation of memory and subconscious desire, the architect needs to approach design with the intent to evoke an indelible experience. This concept of enhancing our experience within a

Quietness, stillness engulfs the individual, lost in thought, gazing out to nowhere. Dromana, Victoria

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INTRODUCTION

space truly manifests itself through the craft of architectural detailing – the careful consideration of material intersections; and how, in a subtle, delicate manner, we are invited to engage and experience the qualities associated with place.

Visually ambiguous, contradictory to place, nonplace reaffirms our sense of individuality. Healesville, Victoria

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“Designing space with phenomenological engagement thoroughly considered,

architects will ensure that their creations remain indelibly cemented in the continuum of time.�


TIMELESSNESS

While the continual injection of evolutionary technologies in architectural discourse is indeed inevitable, both current and future architects possess the inherent responsibility to produce spatial outcomes which are appropriately sensitive toward psychological engagement. This attention to ‘crafting’ architecture as experience consequently manifests itself into timeless architecture. While digital technology will continue to develop and influence architectural paradigms and the nature of contemporary practice, the power of space to continuously evoke deeply resonating psychological encounters is indeed uninhibited by time. SHoP Architects, in their monograph ‘Out of Practice,’ argue that a building’s ‘performance’ is in steady decline ‘from the moment construction…is complete,’ suggesting that architecture should continuously evolve and ‘upgrade’ based on real-time data feedback loops.1 This suggestion, however, fails to acknowledge the experience of the building, from a user’s perspective. If designed thoughtfully, the experience of space will not require consistent, economically detrimental, ‘upgrades’ to enhance our psychological perception – by designing space with phenomenological engagement thoroughly considered, architects will ensure that their creations remain

An agglomeration of spatial dimension; depth, distance and hierarchy blurred. Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square

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TIMELESSNESS

indelibly cemented in the continuum of time. An example of embedded sensory experience proliferated in timeless architecture is indeed the Pantheon in Rome, constructed in 126AD. Steven Holl’s experience of the Pantheon in 1970 recalls ‘the passion, the forceful capacity, of architecture to engage all the senses.’2 Holl visited the Pantheon consistently while participating in a study abroad program at University – reflecting on the powerful phenomenological presence, and stimulation of an encompassing culmination between materiality, light, and sound. Similarly in Kyoto, Japan, the Zen Gardens of the Ryoanji Temple possess the incessant ability to conjure ‘mesmerising and uplifting’ experiences by embracing the multitude of senses in a poetic agglomeration of simplicity and delicacy, with respect to ancient composition and materiality.3 For the architect to successfully craft a meaningful experience, the recognition and precise engagement of all the senses, complementing the visual, is required.

A temporal juxtaposition, staged at the sudden amalgamation of light and shadow. Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne

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“Architects are at risk of losing the ability to directly engage with the design

process, subsequently reduced to partial bystanders, tweaking the digital frameworks in a more moderative role with limited influence over the generative outcomes.�

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CRITIQUE

Despite the inevitable development of digital technologies ‘enhancing’ an architect’s ability to design and deliver buildings, the human influence on design needs to absolutely be maintained in order to ensure an inherent connection of the architectural outcome, to human nature’s ability to simultaneously experience all the senses. Contemporary systems of architectural form derivation, and building design processes, influenced by rapid advances in computational technologies, are beginning to shift the direction of modern architectural discourse. In particular, the establishment of Morphogenetic frameworks to derive iterative architectural outcomes; which facilitate evolutionary growth processes influenced by environmental simulations, manufacturing techniques and embedded material assembly logic. As opposed to a ‘top-down’ approach to architectural form-finding, where external processes are imposed on the design process with known outcomes, a ‘bottom-up,’ evolutionary approach to design is gaining influence, grounded in frameworks simulating the behaviour of biological organisms and their direct adaption to the environment; as argued by both Achim Menges and Michael Weinstock. However, by establishing these emergent frameworks for which design is iteratively

Hubristic symmetry; a sensitivity computationally unimaginable. Hanover Street, Fitzroy

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CRITIQUE

developed via evolutionary processes, architects are at risk of losing the ability to directly engage with the design process, subsequently reduced to partial bystanders, tweaking the digital frameworks in a more moderative role with limited influence over the generative outcomes.4 While currently exceeding the scope and intent of emergent computational design systems, the lack of sensitive human intervention on the design process will prevent architects from designing space which simultaneously responds and interacts with our senses. This interaction and proliferation of experiential qualities are indeed essential in the creation of timeless architecture. The future role of the architect should not be reduced to simply selecting the most ‘suitable’ outcome from a myriad of generative mutations, but rather, the architect’s mandate is to craft space which is truly meaningful, formulating an intimate relationship with the human psyche – characteristics which generative form finding processes cannot accurately replicate.

Ubiquity enhanced by humanistic intervention, evidence of authority flouted. Southbank, Melbourne

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“Exploration into the temporal qualities of materials is essential in existentially grounding us in the continuum of time.�

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HAPTICITY

The use of materiality in architecture is indeed experiencing its own paradigm shift, corresponding with advancements in digital fabrication methods. Emphasis is increasingly allocated to the performative characteristics and properties of materials, as evidenced by current studies conducted by Achim Menges, as well as previous research by Branko Kolarevic.5 Menges’ interest in utilising technology to algorithmically embed material logic within timber, in order to create complex architectural outcomes from un-complex materials; while also genetically enhancing timber’s properties to actively respond to humidity in the environment6, for instance – fundamentally lacks engagement of the haptic realm associated with natural materials – how they sensitively respond to feel and touch, and how, over time, by inherently expressing signs of age, materials can intensify our sensory experience by engaging psychological dimensions associated with memory, and even nostalgia. Exploration into the temporal qualities of materials is essential in existentially grounding us in the continuum of time.7 While aspects of Menges’ research engages with natural materials in a primary instance, the inherent properties of these materials to reflect age and time are completely revoked as the cellular and

Deterioration, expressive of endless seasons. Healesville, Victoria

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HAPTICITY

genetic structures are deeply modified – with similar respect to their haptic properties. This direction of architectural discourse, favouring performance over experience, culminates in a greater emphasis on the visual – with materialisation of the additional senses neglected due to the resulting over-manipulation of the natural material’s inherent qualities. It is indeed through the ‘craft’ of architectural detailing, the careful consideration of material qualities and their intersections, that a physical connection to the haptic realm of architecture is thoroughly established. Architectural detailing needs to possess a degree of specificity in evoking a deeper connection to our experience and memory of place. For us to truly experience the phenomenological effects of architecture in a deeply intimate environment, architects must thoughtfully consider the intersections of both materiality and space. It is indeed the role of the architect to lead us on an experiential journey by subtlety encouraging consistent engagement with detail. A deep association with hapticity is evoked as intricate architectural detailing manifests itself in the broader context of creating a sensually unifying architectural experience, which simultaneously embraces the psychological benefits present in the temporal, and physical qualities of materials.

Coarse, delicate, texturising the mundane, traces of temporality undoubtedly palpable. Yarra Valley, Victoria

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“Imparted to the world of shadows that formed…a quality of mystery and depth superior to that of any wall painting or ornament.” Junichiro Tanizaki

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SHADOW

For architects to successfully engage with the human experience as an influencing force in the crafting of space, the subtleties of light, as well as shadow must be appreciated. While light, both natural and artificial, is inherently inspirational in dictating the design of space, the experiential qualities associated with shadows and darkness lack necessary acknowledgement and appreciation in current architectural discourse. A heightened sense of tactility, a greater misunderstanding of the qualities of space (visual ambiguity), and a more thorough acknowledgement of peripheral vision are all activated through the proliferation of shadows and darkness in architectural space. The identification and suitable application of these qualities in current practice needs to be heightened and further explored. Junichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese writer, places immense importance on the qualities of shadows, especially in reference to traditional Japanese architecture. He suggested that by selectively eliminating sources of light, his ancestors “imparted to the world of shadows that formed…a quality of mystery and depth superior to that of any wall painting or ornament.”8 Overemphasis on bright light stifles an individual’s understanding of the mysteries of space, and the haptic qualities inherent in

An intersection of the familiar and the strange. Stevenson Lane, Melbourne

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SHADOW

natural materials. By actively embracing an understanding of shadows in the design of architectural space, architects can further stimulate our imagination and potential for dream, facilitating the creation of a uniquely existential experience.

Embedded in unanimous darkness, the dreamscape of unrelenting possibilities. Car Park, South Yarra

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“Space cannot be fully understood by solely relying on visual cues; it’s indeed the

omnidirectional nature of sound which allows us to fully comprehend the depth of space.”

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SOUND

The ability of sound to subconsciously affect the individual’s experience of place is an often neglected phenomenon. While practical advances in acoustic simulation technology allow acoustic engineers to accurately predict the behaviour of sound on material surfaces, these technologies are indeed limited in their sensitivity to the individual’s psychological experience. Similarly, current endeavours to further progress our understanding of material morphologies further isolates the importance of sound as a quality of architectural experience. Space cannot be fully understood by solely relying on visual cues; it’s indeed the omnidirectional nature of sound which allows us to fully comprehend the depth of space. The intersection between active ‘listening’ and passive ‘hearing’, explored in Paul Carter’s written research into ‘mishearing’ and its association with sonic ambiguity in a diversely lingual context, can indeed provide the architect with viable premise for establishing complex spatial relationships inherently linked to our willingness to perhaps preference ‘listening’ over ‘hearing.’9 The architect must therefore acknowledge that sonic experience does indeed possess the ability to indelibly affect an individual’s memory of place. Peter Zumthor’s Resonance Room at the Therme Vals in Switzerland (1996), for

Ephemerality vs. permanence, in sonic contemplation. The Olsen, South Yarra

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SOUND

instance, subtlety combines materiality with spatial proportions to sonically enhance the voices of its occupants, creating a pleasurable, uplifting phenomenological experience in which one’s own voice is reflected back with an enhanced aura.10 A sense of self is certainly intensified by the body’s ability to comprehensively perceive and absorb sound in its entirety – which Zumthor successfully proliferates by traversing the delicate sonic relationship between the proportionality of volume, and the resonant qualities of raw materials.

Dynamic ambiguity, the eye alienates while sound incorporates. Coolangatta, Queensland

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“It is indeed the proliferation of these existential qualities associated with the

crafting of experience which produces architecture that remains timeless�

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CONCLUSION

While architects will inevitably confront the propulsion of emergent form derivation processes within practice, the sensitivity of human intervention on design must absolutely be maintained. By cohesively engaging with the phenomenological senses, design focusing on the life-enhancing effects of positive psychological experience enables us to feel an ineradicable connection to place. It is indeed the proliferation of these existential qualities associated with the crafting of experience which produces architecture that remains timeless – culminating in multi-sensory encounters which indelibly resonate with us, evoking a sense of memory, awe, and rejuvenation – all psychological conditions which will continually manifest in the architecture, despite the effects of time. The idea of architecture cemented in the continuum of time continuously strengthens our sense of reality and being in the world. Precise, yet subtle architectural detailing absolutely reaffirms this relationship, inviting us to sequentially engage with the haptic realm of temporal materiality. It is indeed architecture’s powerful responsibility to psychologically influence and enhance the human condition through experience.

Solitude. Stevenson Lane, Melbourne

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Image Credits 4. © 2012 Adrian Bonaventura. Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne. Mamiya 645, Kodak Ektar 100, converted to Black & White. 6-7. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Wye River, Victoria. Mamiya 645, Kodak Ektar 100, converted to Black & White. 8. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Dromana, Victoria. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Fuji Pro 400H, converted to Black & White. 10. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Healesville, Victoria. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Kodak Portra 400NC, converted to Black & White. 12. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Ian Potter Museum, University of Melbourne, Melbourne. Leica M3, Kodak Portra 400, converted to Black & White. 14. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne. Mamiya 645, Kodak Tri-X 400. 16 © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne. Mamiya 645, Kodak Ektar 100, converted to Black & White. 18 © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Design Studio D: Studio 14 Physical Models, Melbourne. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Fuji FP-3000B Instant Film. 20 © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Hanover Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne. Leica M3, Kodak Portra 400, converted to Black & White. 22 © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Southbank, Melbourne. Leica M3, Kodak Portra 400, converted to Black & White. 24. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Ferdyduke Bar Lamp, Melbourne. Leica M3, Kodak Tri-X 400.


26. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Healesville, Victoria. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Portra 400NC, converted to Black & White. 28. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Yarra Valley, Victoria. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Portra 400NC, converted to Black & White. 30. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Stevenson Lane, Melbourne. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Illford Delta 3200. 32. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Stevenson Lane, Melbourne. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Illford Delta 3200. 34. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Car Park, South Yarra, Melbourne. Nikon F100, Illford Delta 3200. 36. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Car Park, South Yarra, Melbourne. Mamiya RZ67 Pro II, Illford Delta 3200. 38. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. The Olsen, South Yarra, Melbourne. Nikon F100, Illford Delta 3200. 40. © 2012 Adrian Bonaventura. Coolangatta, Queensland. Mamiya 645, Kodak Ektar 100, converted to Black & White. 42. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne. Mamiya 645, Kodak Tri-X 400. 44. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. Stevenson Lane, Melbourne. Nikon F100, Illford Delta 3200. 46-47. © 2013 Adrian Bonaventura. RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne. Leica M3, Kodak Portra 400, converted to Black & White. 54-55. © 2012 Adrian Bonaventura. La Casa Dei Nonni, Elsternwick, Melbourne. Mamiya 645, Kodak Portra 400, converted to Black & White. 48 | 49


References 1. Kimberly J. Holden, SHoP Architects : Out of Practice (London: Thames & Hudson, 2012), p. 307. 2. Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez-Gomez, Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture (San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006), p. 122. 3. Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture (San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006). 4. Achim Menges, “Integral Formation and Materialisation: Computational Form and Material Gestalt,” in Computational Design Thinking, ed. Achim Menges and Sean Ahlquist (United Kingdom: John Wiely & Sons Ltd, 2011). 5. Branko Kolarevic, “Towards the Performative in Architecture,” in Performative Architecture: Beyond Instrumentality, ed. Branko Kolarevic and Ali Malkawi (London: Spon Press, 2005). 6. Archim Menges, “Material (in)Formation,” (USC Architecture, 2012). 7. Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, Third ed. (United Kingdom: John Wiely & Sons Ltd, 2012). 8. Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, trans. Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker (London: Lette’s Books, 1977). 9. Pnina Avidar, Raviv Ganchrow, and Julia Kursell, “Immersed: Sound and Architecture”, OASE Journal for Architecture, no. 78 (2009). 10. Peter Zumthor, Therme Vals (Zurich: Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 2007), p. 92.


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Bibliography Auge, Marc. Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. Translated by John Howe. London: Verso, 1995. Avidar, Pnina, Raviv Ganchrow, and Julia Kursell. “Immersed: Sound and Architecture”, OASE Journal for Architecture, no. 78 (2009). Crewdson, Gregory. In a Lonely Place. New York: Abrams, 2011. Danuser, Hans, Kobi Gantenbein, and Philip Ursprung. Seeing Zumthor: Images by Hans Danuser. Zurich: Scheidegger & Spiess, 2009. Gronert, Stefan. The Dusseldorf School of Photography. New York: Aperture, 2009. Holden, Kimberly J. SHoP Architects : Out of Practice. London: Thames & Hudson, 2012. Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez-Gomez. Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture. San Francisco: William Stout Publishers, 2006. Kolarevic, Branko. “Towards the Performative in Architecture.” In Performative Architecture: Beyond Instrumentality, edited by Branko Kolarevic and Ali Malkawi. London: Spon Press, 2005. McCarter, Robert, and Juhani Pallasmaa. Understanding Architecture. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2012. Menges, Achim. “Integral Formation and Materialisation: Computational Form and Material Gestalt.” In Computational Design Thinking, edited by Achim Menges and Sean Ahlquist. United Kingdom: John Wiely & Sons Ltd, 2011.


Menges, Archim. “Material (in)Formation.” USC Architecture, 2012. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Third ed. United Kingdom: John Wiely & Sons Ltd, 2012. Tanizaki, Junichiro. In Praise of Shadows. Translated by Thomas J. Harper and Edward G. Seidensticker. London: Lette’s Books, 1977. Zumthor, Peter. Atmospheres. Switzerland: Birkhauser, 2006. Zumthor, Peter. Therme Vals. Zurich: Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 2007. Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. Switzerland: Birkhauser, 2010.

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Timeless