AA SUMMER SCHOOL_LONDON 2013 WATERWORLD
A MUSEUM OF RAIN Jeffrey Smith Doug Rice Robert Horton
A MUSEUM OF RAIN_PAGE ONE Jeffrey Smith Doug Rice Robert Horton
INTRODUCTION__________________________________________________________________________ Much of the world’s attention is now focused on the issue of global climate change, and London is not immune to the impact of these changes. In London's case, this appears to include increased annual rainfall, 15% above average in 2012. As Londoners come to grips with the impact of global climate change on their city, perhaps new site and new building programs can be created which explore the spatial, three dimensional, and aesthetic opportunities created by London’s new conditions, its “hydro-phenomena." This project asks: “How can a building meet water where it starts, in rain? And could a Museum of Rain be a model for economic and management solutions and at the same time a resource for creativity and innovation ?”
THREE WEEKS OF STUDY and EXPLORATION___________________________________________________ A MUSEUM OF RAIN The goal is a rich and evocative building program and design study focused on the subject and spatial experience of rain, explored in the context of London, its parks and gardens, its buildings, and its museums. Convenient to public transportation, Victoria Park in London’s East End will be the immediate context for the study. The unit will divide into several design teams. Each team will select a site in the park for their design and program study. Rain. It's all over the map: showering, spitting, drizzling, tiddling, teeming, bucketing, drumming and blattering; not to mention “cats and dogs” and “pitchforks.” And rain, though inherently transitory, is physical and often unforgettable. The effect of rain is just as varied. It can be cleaning and healing or threatening and destructive. It can be a stormwater nuisance and a threat to the city's mood, its fragile waterways, and eroding buildings. At the same time it can also be an environmental resource and a global commodity. Rain is needed and welcome; it washes away dirt, smog, guilt, and bad memories. In the country, rain is a saving grace; it brings the crops, continues the cycle of life, and maintains the economic and ecological system of planting and harvesting. Its sign, the rainbow, is the most beloved of images. Its sound can lull or alarm; every community must work out its relationship to rain. The thrust of the work for the three weeks will be the program development and project design of a new Museum of Rain. Students will work as a unit to develop the program in a preliminary way and will then work in smaller teams to refine the program, identify unique program features, and develop the project design in response to the particular site each team has chosen in Victoria Park. We imagine a large, shared overall site plan. This will be supported by models, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and photographs from each design team. The emphasis for student design presentations will be “the storyboard” of the place, the life and experience of the building and its grounds. Interpretive features such as simulators, video, and waterworks will be encouraged. IS IT TOO MUCH TO SAY THAT THERE IS AN ARCHITECTURE OF RAIN? Rain figures prominently in the accumulated wealth of cinematic experience. Filmmakers have long understood the potential of rain, its physical presence, its many moods, its capacity to become an integral part of the story and storytelling—its sheer beauty on screen. In its movie incarnations, rain is cleansing, rain is grace, rain is the birth of life; rain is also disaster, ruined hopes, and a projection of despair. Full feature screenings and thematic presentations throughout the three-week course will focus on the cinematic experience of rain created by filmmakers...the visual, aural, and tactile vocabulary of rain. ...from these and the unit discussions they engender we will broaden our understanding of rain.
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SUPPORTING PRESENTATIONS / ACTIVITIES____________________________________________________ In addition to mid-session and final reviews, regular in-studio project reviews, a series of lectures and field trips are planned. Below is a preliminary agenda for unit presentations and additional activities. SITE AND CONTEXT / BUILDINGS AND WATER / TRAVEL DRAWINGS / MUSEUMS 1_Victoria Park Overview. Prior to a site visit by the students, this talk will present the physical characteristics, features, dimensions, surrounding context, and history of the Victoria Park. 2_Buildings, Rain, and Water. Roofs, Overhangs, Gutters, Downspouts, Covered Walks, Pools 3_Museums and Museums of London. A survey of distinctive museums and museums in their particular contexts. 4_Travel Study and Drawing. In an age of digital cameras and laptops this rarely practiced craft nonetheless still has relevance to the inquisitive eye. Brief travel drawing exercises will focus on specific architectural and landscape issues, i.e.: the edge of a canal, the ceiling of a nave, a particular window.
RAIN AND WATER TECHNICAL ISSUES / LANDSCAPE IDEAS AND ISSUES 1_Rain Happens. A brief explanation of the collection, conveyance, treatment and discharge of rainwater in the urban environment. 2_Environmental Psychology: An Introduction to Socio-Biology. The evolutionary argument as to why and how we take pleasure in built environments. 3_The Future of Water. A discussion of the future of water, its impact, economics, politics, sustainability, and equity in the context of global warming. 4_Gardens and Settings. We will explore the siting of a building and the space for its setting, looking carefully at the integration of architecture with the landscape. CINEMA AND RAIN 1_Introduction to the Cinema of Rain. We begin our close study of rain by looking at how it functions on film: rain as character, mood, theme, or abstract formal presenceâ€”and aural presence, too. We seek to see rain in an active way on film, the better to makes our senses alive to it. 2_Inundation. How communities deal with rising watersâ€”a subject of practical and mythical proportions. Among the examples: Jia Zhang-ke's Still Life looks at the Three Gorges Dam project and its displacement of lives, the Coen brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? stages a biblical flood with folkloric overtones, and Kevin Reynolds' post apocalyptic Waterworld finds humans adapting to a drenched planet. 3_The City and Rain. A look at how the city meets rain and how rain folds into the urban environment, defining buildings and people, in films such as Frank Capra's Meet John Doe, Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, Sam Mendes' Road to Perdition. 4_The Romance of Rain. "Only love can bring the rain/ That makes you yearn to the sky" (Pete Townshend). The enchantment of rain, seen in a series of love scenes sculpted by precipitation: Woody Allen's Manhattan, Jacques Demy's Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love, and others. 5_A Filmmaker and Rain: Akira Kurosawa. Tracing the vision of a single filmmaker, for whom rain is a signature of his film style. Japanese master Akira Kurosawa uses rain like a sensory paintbrush, in films such as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo.
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BOOKS WORTH REMEMBERING __________________________________________________________________ Thames Estuary 2100 Report The Environmental Agency Collage City Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter The Death and Life of Great American Cities Jane Jacobs On Photography Susan Sontag The Human Condition Hannah Arendt The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City Patrick Blanc Origins of Architectural Pleasure Grant Hildebrand Sculpting in Time Andrei Tarkovsky Something Like an Autobiography Akira Kurosawa
TUTORS____________________________________________________________________________________________ Hometown: Seattle, Washington. USA In the U.S., Seattle owns the national “Rain City” reputation. As such, it is clearly a Sister City to London in the context of rain. Jeffrey moved to the Pacific Northwest coast as a teenager and Doug and Robert, being Seattle natives, have grown up with Seattle’s infamous rain. What we know is that there is a good and a bad to all that goes along with our particular weather patterns and conditions: rain forests, mountain snow packs, glaciers, rivers, lakes, streams, flooding, leaking roofs, soggy yards, soaked shoes, tidal surges, rising sea levels, slow and dangerous traffic, storms, umbrellas, lush rain gardens, rainbows, and the occasional landslide. In this, we are experts. Jeffrey Smith Prior to graduation from the University of Oregon Jeffrey taught Architectural Theory and Architectural Design at the U of O. After graduation he taught Architectural Design at the University of Washington. Since that time he has worked as a senior project designer with several large corporate firms here in Seattle, traveled extensively, collected slide projectors, and studied art. He is currently painting and working independently on two residential projects. http://jeffreysmithworldphotography.com/ Doug Rice After a 15 year career in graphics, and advertising, Doug’s midlife degree in landscape architecture from the University of Washington brought him to work for King County’s Storm water Section to educate the general public about storm water control and water quality. He currently chairs the regional STORM coalition. Doug has a mastery of interpretive signage, Low Impact Development techniques, natural yard care methods, and has been teaching garden design independently for 18 years. Doug has a minor in environmental psychology and is a nationally recognized practitioner of Social Marketing. One of his programs has been featured in Social Marketing to Protect the Environment: What Works. Doug has a TV show called “Yard Talk” on the KCTV Network: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/stewardship/nw-yard-and-garden/yard-talk.aspx Robert Horton Robert is the film critic for KUOW (Seattle's National Public Radio station) and the Herald in Everett, Washington; he is also a longtime contributor to Film Comment magazine. He curates the Magic Lantern film-discussion program at the Frye Art Museum, is Adjunct Faculty in Film Studies at Seattle University, and is a guest speaker for Smithsonian Journeys and Humanities Washington, as well as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. His books include Billy Wilder: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi), the upcoming Frankenstein (Columbia University Press), and the zombie-Western graphic novel Rotten and its prose spin-off The Lost Diary of John J. Flynn, U.S. Agent (Moonstone Books). He blogs on movies at The Crop Duster (roberthorton.wordpress.com). In 2012 he curated the Museum of History and Industry's "Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies" exhibit. http://roberthorton.wordpress.com/