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A ruin is omniscient, transcendent of time. It is a record of history, recalling different modes of life. This place links us to generations before and generations after. by treading the same paths, feeling the same stones. It ignites memories, incites nostalgia, and invites sentimentality. This contact is involuntary and its experience is humbling. A ruin remains curious always mysterious, mystical, magical. The paths of San Domingos de Bonaval Park guide visitors back and forth across the site. The constant motion of turning around marks arrival and provides a moment to take in this new place. Tucked away under a canopy of trees are the horse stables of the old monastery’s estate. It is left untouched, to be discovered by wanderers. By those inclined, it can be entered and explored closely. Respecting the fragility of the site and its ruins, the building becomes equally unobtrusive. From inside, the building falls away, as if one has never left the garden, Offering a place of rest and reflection.

Reusing a ruin RESTAURANT Santiago de Compostela, SP

Creating variation within individual units URBAN INFILL HOUSING San Francisco, CA, US

Massing and lighting studies (right) during summer and winter solstice URBAN INFILL HOUSING San Francisco, CA, US

Using facade as continuous element CAFE Providence, RI, US

Diagramming to plan (from top) enclosure, entry, served/services CIVIC CENTER Providence, RI, US

congruencies. I identify vernacular as unselfconsciousness and, alternatively, regionalism as selfconsciousness. I will explore the ideas of unselfconscious and selfconscious and ways in which they have appeared in other writings on the subject. To begin dissecting these two terms, vernacular and regionalism, first find what sets them apart. It is important to understand that these terms are not synonymous. Frampton highlights these differences in his first of his Ten Points on an Architecture of Regionalism: Regionalism should not be sentimentally identified with the vernacular. By definition, critical regionalism is a recuperative, critical endeavor, and nothing can be further from the vernacular in the initial sense of the term. Adolf Loos surely had the last aphoristic word in this regard more than 70 years ago when he wrote: “The peasant builds a roof. Is it a beautiful roof or an ugly roof? He doesn’t know—it is the roof. It is the roof as his the roofgrandfather and henceand thegreat vernacular lies had beyond kind before of evaluation terms of father, grandfather built any the roof him.” In in other words, bourgeois aesthetics. (Frampton 1987, 378)

1 The example of the roof perfectly describes the condition of vernacular. It is not about aesthetics, but the purpose that the roof serves. It is the practicality, function, and unquestionable necessity of that roof. It is an unaware, yet imperative tradition that has been passed on through generations.

Figure 1: (left) typical roof of the Portuguese vernacular compared to (right) the roof of Alvaro Siza’s Boa Nova Restaurant in Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, 1963

The vernacular is an unselfconscious phenomenon. It is something that grows over time, from the land and its people. It is not a style to be canonized. It is unassuming

in Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, 1996

Consciousness has more than one definition in the Oxford American Dictionary. It is described as “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings” or “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself in the world.” In relationship to architecture and regionalism, unselfconsciousness is described by the former definition and selfconsciousness is best described by the latter. In addition to responding to take results. I see no other way outto butitstosurrounding, seek to seek a regionalism living traditionbegins by reverting to on thatother pointFirst in our architectural at which was genuine,with and new to build on that. challenges. and foremost history is balancing thestyle old sensibility selfconsciousness (Morrison 1940, 286)

of modernity. The defining principal of modernity, is that it is ceaslessly changing to keep In the same regards, Giedion argues that this “international” movement should not even up with constantly changing time. The way people interact, relate to each other, use space be associated with the word “style.” is always changing. And their environment needs to accommodate these changes. All this is involved in the reason why we today abstain from labeling the contemporary movement with the word “style.” It is no “style” in the 19th century meaning of form


characterization. It is an approach to life that slumbers unconsciously within our contemporaries. The word “style” when used for contemporary architecture is often combined with another password label. This is the epithet “international.” (Giedion 1954, 312)

This is where balance needs to be found between modernity and tradition, formal and vernacular, selfconscious and unselfconscious. Or we will be left with an architecture without any foundation. Instead of using general, universal solutions we need to find specific and local responses. Vernacular is a part of regionalism as movements are a part of history—the two Defining regional as selfconsiousness and vernacular as unselfconsciousness RESEARCH PAPER Regionalism as Selfconsciousness

cannot be separated in order to build a cohesive future. Although an important question becomes, to what degree does the unselfconscious vernacular become part of regionalism’s evolution? And at what point does regionalism become vernacular?

Such sweet decorum and such gentle graces a t t e n d m y l a d y ’s g r e e t i n g a s s h e w a l k s that every tongue is stammering then mute and eyes dare not to gaze at such a site She moves benignly in humilty untouched by all the praise along her way and seems to come from heaven to earth a miracle manifest in reality So charming she appears to human sight her sweetness through the eyes reaches the heart who has not felt this cannot understand And from her lips it seems there moves a spirit so gentle and so loving that it glides into the souls of men and whispers: Sigh -Dante Alighieri, Vita Nova, XXVI

Tanto g entile e tanto onesta pare la donna mia quand’ella altrui saluta ch’ogne lingua deven tremando muta e li occhi no l’ardiscon di guardare

Be inspired like Dante

Ella si va, sentendosi laudare benignamente d’umiltà vestuta e par che sia una cosa venuta da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare Mostrasi sì piacente a chi la mira che dà per li occhi una dolcezza al core che ’ntender no la può chi no la prova

and admired like Beatrice.

e par che de la sua labbia si mova un spirito soave pien d’amore che va dicendo a l’anima: Sospira

May love find you today a n d e v e r y d a y.





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