Architrave Issue 21 â€˘ 2013 - 2014
Architrave is a non-profit publication that is funded in parts by the University of Florida Student Government through the Architecture College Council, the UF School of Architecture, and various sponsors and donors.
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Rafael Valim “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’”
George Bernard Shaw
DE TAI ...Architecture is frozen music. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
KNOW MORE FROM LESS
From the Editors This publication presents the design projects, writings, methods, and processes of the students of the University of Florida. This edition is not a rote recapitulation of the body of student work produced by the school during the year—it is an unordered, ‘infinite’ scroll of moments within the program and, most importantly, within the minds of its students. This publication does not try to treat every project with the comprehensiveness or intensity that would be expected of a presentation or a portfolio. Rather, our intent is to celebrate the detail, craft, and intensity of the individual fragments of a student’s work. The result is a visually dense, high-resolution exploration of drawings, models, renderings, and text that essentializes student projects into the artifacts of their work. We want to explore projects in a series of layers—the first, the printed layer, will exist in Architrave and will hold the spirit and ethos of the project. The digital Architrave takes this ‘icon’ of a project and expands and describes it in more traditional terms—plans, sections, renderings, sketches, photographs, details, and notes. We believe this format is a challenge and an opportunity, a chance to capture the essence of a project at once and then delaminate its constituent parts to examine the detail. Architrave seeks to enter the global architectural discussion and contextualize the work of the students of the University of Florida within this evolving conversation.
Terrestrial Research Vessel John Fechtel . Fall 2013 . Willliam Tilson The Amelia Island Marine Research Center site is located on the extreme north end of Amelia Island. At present the site is blighted and underutilized. My analysis process derived from the rich diagrammatic information on the site. The natural landscape has overtaken the decaying built elements of the site, making those elements a part of the landscape. Using the intensity of the contextual information as a guide, I divided the program for the research center into two main wings; the public education and office wing, and the private research and residential wing. These wings form as opposing U-shapes which overlap and interlock, with the public wing skewed 5 degrees to provide programmatic clarity. The building spans the width of the upland portion of the peninsula, and the land is cut into, allowing water to naturally invade portions of the site. Ecologically, the building strives to minimize impact on the ecological cycles of the site by lifting off of the ground to allow free movement of air, water, plant, and animal life. The north and south sides of the island will be reclaimed (with a few exceptions) as an upland sand oak forest similar to the ecology of neighboring Fort Clinch. A research garden pushes outward from the structure to the north, and to the south and east, paths and boardwalks extend, reaching out into the unconstructed landscape.
Blurred Space Mitch Clarke . Summer 2013 . Albertus Wang Hong Kong’s public transportation system has become one of the most developed networks in the world, with a usage by 90 percent of the urban population, allowing for simple transition from one division of the city to the next. This system then interweaves with the spatial condition that forms underneath and onto the public streets. A notable example of this particular movement stitched into the street is the success of the Central Mid-Line escalator that not only increased the socioeconomic status of its location, but also became a catalyst for mixed commercial and cultural programs to occur along this artery, thus it creates one of Hong Kong’s important urban element. Ideally, the movement from the street into the building doesn’t become pinpointed, nor the movement inside-out be narrowed down. Instead, there again exists this “blur” where the public and private spatial conditions fuse together to create its own exceptional form. “The street itself does not develop into the axis of the movement, but almost becomes a void that is only penetrable at certain focal points (intersections, crosswalks, elevated paths, etc.). This particular scale of spatial movement holds a direct and indirect relationship with the street.”
Manipulating Urban Surface J. Danison + R. Valim . Fall 2013 . Nancy Clark The Artistâ€™s Innovation Exchange intends to bring a vibrant artist community to the Chelsea District by utilizing Chelseaâ€™s creative culture and combining it with living spaces, constantly exposing its residents to new ingenuity. The actual Innovation Exchange itself is a covered outdoor arcade which invites local artists to publicly display their pieces along walkways adjacent to their studios and apartments. Spanning the entire block, the exchange is enticing to residents as well as the surrounding community because of its constant transmission of ideas and evolving atmosphere. Above the open arcade is a transparent covering, allowing those who dwell in the upper levels to visually access what is occurring in the actual space. The exchange ends to the west in an outdoor garden. Residents and the public meet to relax and mingle in the creative atmosphere. To the east, it meets an engagement with the Highline before it ends on the bottom level of the hotel tower, creating a formal entrance to the entire volume. The Highline is activated when it contacts the Innovation Exchange by a small public amphitheater. The roof of the artists display is manipulated into performance seating. The smooth geometries maintain cohesive circulation while developing interconnections between the artists, residents, and the public.
Structural Expansion Omayra Diaz . Fall 2013 . Stephen Belton The idea of the design derived from the testing of plywood, first, with stretching the wood and then testing is material quality. The question was asked : How can stressing plywood work as a structural component and provide some sort of comfort to the chair? The test quickly moved to question how the pieces such as the back can work in tension and compression. When the pieces are stretched to its limit it can function as a structural component. When compressed its can provide stability to the piece. Overall the question of the material durability were pushed to the limit. The process of assembling the final chair was as simple as connecting and locking into the joints created. The possibly to product a number of these chair is plausible because the material was used in an efficient manner. While creating the design of the chair the CNC Mill bit size was one constraint I encountered. This constraint lead to establishing a limitation to the size of the striation of the chair. The bit size used was 1/4â€?. Another process prior to stretching the ply wood was the soaking of the back. Without the soaking the striation of the chair will not give enough to make a noticeable impression of stretching. The back become the piece that would bring together the ideas of stressing the limits of the material.
27th & 28th Street C. Chan + T. Crawford . Fall 2013 . Alfonso Perez Towers of housing and a base of offices sit as pods above a solid movement of glass. This tripartite construction expresses the different qualities of the programs that find themselves within this city block. These different qualities are stitched together through an inner glass core that exposes itself through both the retail sector and the entertainment hub. The core is held by a lanternlike column construction that are connected by beams that bend inward, expressing the segmentation of the base itself. The behavior of these systems inform the relationship between the public, the semi-private, and the private, while exposing the difference between the overall programs. Within the said unifying system are a series of pods constructed with concrete shells. The pods divide the “neighborhoods” into vertical “cul-de-sacs”. This construction forces the offices and housing to break away from the overarching system, creating static volumes. Though, the act of these pods in construction appear dynamic against the solid movement of glass. This dynamic quality is caused by the repetitious behaviour of the pods themselves, which are musical against the formal gestures of the glass core.
Ribbed Interface Michelle Hook . Fall 2013 . Michael Kuenstle The Maritime Chapel is located in the meditation zone of the site, and has direct access to the beach zone with a pavilion, and the surrounding nature and conservation zone. The idea for the design of the sacred space began with the prominent concrete wall located on the North side. The primary purpose of the wall is the block views of the local nuclear power plant. The shape bends and moves with the waves of the ocean, and projects upward and outward towards the water, allowing those to view the ocean and the setting sun and for inspiration to those who inhabit it. It uses glass in between the ribbed structure to frame views to the ocean and surrounding areas, as well as let in an abundant of natural light. Those who want more light and less privacy can situate themselves within the chapel against the South side. Outside of the enclosed chapel space is a terrace area with chairs that can be moved around unlike the fixed pews of the chapel. This third area allows for group meditation, informal gatherings, and a closer interaction with the environment. However, interaction with the environment goes beyond the sight of the ocean and the feel of the water. Oneâ€™s sense of sound can also be evoked when inside the chapel. A small channel runs alongside the thick walls, which allows for the waves to crash up against the concrete and create a soothing sound without being seen.
Spatial Interplay Kirsten Evans . Spring 2012 . Mark McGlothin The Object Drawing project served to show how to see things exactly as they are, to make no assumptions. It is about analyzing the way things are and the way they move within themselves and in the space around it. One must analyze the familiar to view it in a multitude of different ways; including the functions, the object, the usage. An equatorial telescope mount is more than it initially reads to be with many intricate functions. Discovering those functions through analysis allowed for development of a multilayered representation.
Spatial Interplay Adiel Benitez . Fall 2012 . Lisa Huang The generative ideas for the cube project included the definition of space, as well as the varying characteristics of space and spatial moments that exist. Throughout an iterative process various approaches and variables were explored, in conjunction with the development of an understanding of spatial ideas and their portrayal. My intent when approaching the final iteration of the cube project was to portray how a densely compressed space can be manipulated and expand, simultaneously growing in both volume and permeability, as a result of the flow with, and interaction between, adjacent spaces.
Architecture, Humanity, Responsibility All architecture is morally relevant in terms of its context. No intervention is a neutral—it is either an improvement on a site, a city, a landscape, or it is a wound. Architecture is entrusted with a great responsibility, the burden to leave a context in a more successful state than it was found before construction. If a city, a better-functioning city; if a landscape, a more biologically sound and diverse landscape. “In architecture, there’s always an underlying need. I think of the utilization: is what I do valuable? Do I like it? And what does it lack? I try to think and feel together the needs of function, use, and the peculiarity of the place. In the place physical appearance, when it’s observed, there is the whole history, because history shows in the world’s body, much more than in books. [He laughs] Also in books, certainly, but history, the memory, becomes narrative to be studied in university, where they need the book’s narration. But the true history, our families’ history, our people’s history, is here, and here, and there, and once again here, isn’t it? [He indicates some points in the room and in the garden]. So this is my work: to observe, and to understand what I see…or to try to understand.”
Architects occupy a precarious position within society—they are in a very real sense the property of the rich and powerful, heavily reliant on lucrative contracts for the next museum or luxury condominium tower. But at the same time, rapid urbanization has ensured that every work of architecture necessarily has a public component. The responsibility architects have to context extends far beyond real, physical places and into the slippery socio-cultural realm of relationships, occupant-city interactions, politics, poverty, and opportunity. How do architects survive the knife’sedge balance of their very real tension between the demands of the client and the community?
Architecture, Humanity, Kanye No one stumbles into architecture: there is no simple process. The barriers to entry into the field are daunting—a minimum of four to six years of intense schooling, several rounds of internships that may or may not reinforce this education, and then 10 licensure exams. One must accomplish all of these tasks before he or she can legally be addressed as an Architect. Yet through all of these processes, we are still designers. Our shared and varying tastes still drive us towards the ideas and designs we love and create, and it is this initial spark, this romance, that keeps our minds content through it all. Plenty of architecture students will wear their sleepless nights proudly, while others will express such habits through a collective grogginess; we are hard workers because our passion pushes us to keep pursuing a design or an idea long past the initial spark.
Not every architect is a designer, and not every designer is an architect, but one can greatly influence the other. Architecture, industrial design, urban design, graphic design, engineering, or any other creatively driven field, have all crossed each other’s boundaries, rewriting the dialogue of each field to draw from each other and push for a more multi faceted approach. Enter Kanye West. Rapper, producer, aficionado, provocateur—of such titles, Architect does not seem to be among them. So what? not everyone
can be an architect. But why is such vitriol being cast onto a fellow creator of sorts? Mr. West has taken what’s being billed as a ‘backdoor’ approach in publicizing his recent interest in Architecture— giving an impromptu lecture to the Harvard GSD, hiring Rem Koolhaas and OMA to design a performance pavillion, crafting an elaborately landscaped stage for his concert tour, citing Le Corbusier’s design principles and architecture as a whole as an influence on the abstraction and minimalism of his most recent studio album, and at one point claiming he was working with five different architects at a time on various design projects. This has angered many of the scholarly, starchitect elite that dominate the headlines of the field, an act perceived as a slap in the face to the established trajectory of an architecture education, or just a gimmick. Critics of Mr. West’s foray into appreciating design will point out his flubbed line of how ‘everything needs to be architected’ - when the odd grammar is overlooked, the line resonates in the common drive we share as designers, to create solutions to spatial challenges; beautiful solutions, effective solutions, or both. Mr. West’s enthusiasm for the design field and an iterative take on creation has the potential to propel architecture into a new realm of awareness. The countless number of teens and fans of Kanye’s music could put their headphones down and pick up the drafting pen, in place of looking up lyrics, they would search for the best architecture in their neighborhoods, or perhaps they’d look to all the aspects of their life that are an effect of careful design and echo Kanye’s excitement. Before we throw Kanye into the fires of critical scorn, we have turn the mirror back on ourselves as
architects. Yes it is hard to believe, but at one point in our lives we were not the LeCorbusier quoting, spatially predisposed bunch we are today. There was a point or several points in the early days of our respective educations when design began to speak to something greater, and our own interests started to move beyond checking out all of the library’s offerings on Architecture. The field of architecture in its present state is in a difficult place. A complex, thorough design can be derided for seeming too out of context or difficult to visually comprehend, yet the most groundbreaking architectural projects are out of the public’s reach. We cherish the responsibility to create a better world through design,but this can’t be done if such a world is observed as inaccessible. “Oh the pain…..the PAIN. But, again he’s making a point—architects should create all the time. No matter if it’s sketching, drafting, folding paper or making spit balls. Use your hands and create SOMETHING. As architects we deal with every piece of a building and site: exterior walls, windows, landscaping, hardscaping, parking, roads, curbs, gutters, drywall, paint, lighting, hvac duct-work, trim, furniture….the list goes on. In order to best understand something we have to pick it up, turn it, play with it, break it, taste it . We need to experience all of the pieces and parts of a building in order to best understand how use them in building. If architects would do more of these two things, DESIGN and CREATE , than perhaps more people would again begin to value our profession.”
Is Kanye a force for good? Is he a force undermining the very fabric of Architecture? Perhaps he’s neither, but what is certain is that he is a force. His perceived status as an outsider trying to break into the field has already begun to move the needle. It has forced
established and aspiring architects to reflect on their own interests in architecture, design and creation.
The information age made media of all kinds ubiquitous, roughly in order of the ease by which it could be transmitted digitally. First music became universally, if illegally, accessible, then movies and computer programs, books and magazines. Now design and architecture, driven by fabrication technologies and the expanding capability of manufacturing, is much more easily transmittable. What does this democratization of the raw materials of design mean for the design profession? In one famous example, a building by the architect Zaha Hadid found itself copied and pasted into a city in China, and in another, a facsimile of an Austrian village, enabled by digital imaging technology, was constructed in China. What is the problem with this?
It is instructive to look across creative industries to determine what will happen to architecture should it become as easily torrented as the latest top-40. The music industry has seen a colossal boom in both the diversity of music available and the accessibility of that music. The wide promulgation of music and movies has revived interest in old, obscure, and fading genres and artists, giving the ultimate platform to an industry traditionally dominated by record label gatekeepers. The same is true of architecture. Potentially the slowest of all the arts, architecture has been a hallowed profession into which it is difficult to break. While it possible to download a rare B-side from a band across the world within seconds, it could take thousands of dollars and many days to experience a building you have heard about but never been to. The experience of visiting an Austrian village is now far more open to 1.1 billion of the world’s population. How is that not a good thing?
“But here, as with the latest case, it's hard to see what the problem is. Nobody is mistaking these pirated versions for the originals: the use of photographs in the case of Hallstatt, and "digital files or renderings" in the case of the Wangjing SOHO, means that the results will only be approximate copies, lacking many key details that make the originals artistically notable. If anything, their existence will encourage visitors to seek out the real thing to find out what inspired this massive effort. After all, if somebody goes to the trouble of constructing copies of entire buildings in this way, they must think pretty highly of the original. What's significant here is that this building piracy can be seen as part of a new trend—the rise of a high-speed cutand-paste approach to urban design based around architectural mashups[...]”
“Zaha Hadid said she has a philosophical stance on the replication of her designs: If future generations of these cloned buildings display innovative mutations, "that could be quite exciting." An entire generation of new-millennium Chinese architects has been tracking, and been inspired by, Hadid's architectural advances, said Beijing-based Ohashi. He also predicted a rise of a new class of pirate architects with a sophisticated focus on the globe's leading experimental buildings: "If someone really likes Zaha, we will probably see more of her designs across China," he says. And the ability to bounce images, renderings, and even leading-edge 3D models of architectural designs around the globe at the speed of light via the Internet will aid not only avantgarde architecture teams from Beijing to London working together on joint projects, but also pirate
Architecture, Humanity, Piracy
architects who aim to build skyscrapers or even cities at a lightning pace.”
Architecture, Humanity, Howard Roark “Dear architects, You’re outdated. I know this because I once was one of you. But now I’ve moved on. I moved on because despite your love of a great curve, and your experimentation with form, you don’t understand people. I correct myself. You don’t listen to people.”
In legal terms, an architect is the all seeing, all knowing, building professional. You are liable for anything that goes wrong with a building but if someone just hates the spaces you design? If someone feels uncomfortable, or cold, or scared? Well there’s no lawsuit for that. One of the commonest critiques of the modern architect is that he is out of touch with the needs of the society in which he builds, too arrogant to compromise or take the advice of anyone else, and too inwardly-focused to build anything whose usefulness transcends self-aggrandizement. The most visible fictionalization of the Architect
as an archetype was written in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Howard Roark, the glamorized idealization of Objectivism, independence, rationality, and strength, has endured in the public consciousness – first as an object of admiration, but more recently as one of ridicule. This fictional character lives on in critiques of architectural process. “Last month, after Rafael Viñoly’s “fry-scraper” began reflecting enough heat to cook cars and eggs on the sidewalk in London, New York magazine ran a review of other recent disasters, “When Buildings Attack.” Mishaps are so frequent, the magazine offered a graphic key to distinguish between five kinds of architecturally induced ailments: burning, glare, ice, sway, and death. Evidently, F*heads are dangerous.” “After the London incident, Viñoly passed the buck by blaming a “superabundance of consultants” he says he didn’t want: “Architects aren’t architects anymore,” he whined. “You need consultants for everything. In this country there’s a specialist to tell you if something reflects.” He didn’t explain how the same thing happened in Las Vegas a few years ago, when his Vdara hotel was scorching sunbathers.” “Martyr complexes are common among the F*heads,
who complain about loss of control. In a recent lecture, Rem Koolhaas reportedly lamented about the architect’s waning power, the draining certainty that “things will be as you want them.” And Gehry gripes, “I don't know why people hire architects and then tell them what to do.” “The creator, announces Roark, “needs no other men.” But architects really do “need consultants for everything” because no single person or profession knows everything, and listening to the rest of the team might help avoid, say, unwittingly roasting the neighbors.”
This begs two related questions in sequence: first, is this harsh critique of the practice true, and if so, what can be done to alter both the public perception and private reality of architecture’s disconnectedness?
Architecture, Humanity, Relevance But no matter how many times architectural practice is pronounced dead, the need for design in a globalized world has only increased. It is incumbent upon architects to realize that they are not the architects of the twentieth century, able to hold out for the most prestigious projects and court
the favor of the patrons of industry and the arts. The opportunistic designer is the designer of the twenty-first century. Nothing is beneath him, no delusions of grandeur prevent his adoption of any project which comes his way. Any design challenge is enough design for him. “When faced with a poorly considered, dehumanizing product—be it a dingy women’s center, a mountain of unnecessary bureaucracy or assembly instructions for a new product that make you feel inept—it is a failure of design. The bad news is that no country, rich or poor, is immune to bad design; the good news is that we can all learn from one another. But we have to advocate for it and many of us, until now, simply haven’t realized that we deserve better. We couldn’t imagine the alternative. But once you see what good design can do, once you experience it, you can’t unsee it or unexperience it. It becomes a part of your possible. The public-interest design movement is counting on it.”
Architecture becomes relevant once again the moment that it drops all pretentions to special knowledge and engages fully with the design challenges and the people of a globalizing world.
Campus Rainworks Challenge Fall 2013 . Glenn Acomb . Competition A site plan was identified for a master plan of stormwater interventions on our University campus. The plan was produced for a portion of campus which could potentially treat the majority of stormwater runoff from a 67.6 acre watershed, in the event of a 100-year storm event. Water is intercepted and daylighted from existing underground pipe infrastructure into an artful treatment matrix which utilizes different methods of green infrastructure. A chain of bio-swales are linked to a bio-detention facility, working in unison to treat stormwater runoff before it is released to its natural watershed. The artful design will attract attention to the water feature and improve the aesthetic and function of campus. Our teamâ€™s chosen mission is to expose water issues on campus by tracing the journey of water from a specified source to sink. By revealing the journey of stormwater across a significant portion of campus, we hope to increase public awareness of how human development impacts watersheds, and draw attention to the infrastructure used to convey and treat runoff. To this end, we wanted to enlist some of the most inspiring and informed water professionals available to aid us in our project. Throughout this process the underlying goal remains to foster and develop a societal water ethic, not simply through discourse, but an interactive, sensory experience. Contributors: Adam S. McCollister, Stephanie Z. Bou-Ghannam, Johan A. Bueno, Kristina G. Bunyi, Adrienne Campbell, Viviana Castro, Craig J. Handley, Jr., Mark A.E. Koenig, Kyle J. Passeneau, Joshua D. Roedell, Laura M. Snider, Jessica A. Soleyn, Christopher R. Stidham, Claudia F. Visconti, Theresa G. Wymer, Jordan S. Young.
SanFire J. Fechtel + A. Camacho . Summer 2013 . Competition San Franciscoâ€™s storied fire department lacks a nexus around which to organize the Departmentâ€™s expansive operations, bold mission, and accomplished personnel. This program called for a comprehensive programmatic approach, first, as a home base and control point for firefighting across San Francisco; second, as a temporary place of residence for San Franciscoâ€™s public servants, and finally, as a robust public space with the intent of drawing spontaneous gatherings and event to the new grassy hills outside the headquarters. Ribbons of earth cut back across the pier, piling upward and burrowing downward to reveal the main thrust of the building breaking from these dueling planes. The building is organized along a central singleloaded corridor which runs the width of the site and branches every program element from it. The living component of the program brings the temporary residents at the compound together in a series of adjacent dining halls, lounges, and the gymnasium. A tall practice tower dominates the skyline as one looks out over the water. In the top floor of the concrete vault, three pieces of weather steel jut down into the space, documenting around its length the history of the fire department in San Francisco. A practice tower skin system hugs the far side of the tower, allowing it to be used not only for observation of the city or for social events, but as an innovative way to test new technologies and strategies of firefighting.
Miami Herald Resorts Dominic Feng . Fall 2013 . Lee-Su Huang The site is a forgotten land in the heart of traffic routes and the previous light-manufacturing district. At first stage, our team decided to make a waterfront resort center, the mission is to bring the Miami spirit back to this site â€“ and to imagine an architecture and urban space responsive to the climate and culture of Miami. This idea further came to create an urban fabric of paths and plazas, parks and gardens that forms an urban oasis throughout the site. By doing this, the street-scape will become a walkable urban space with a friendly human scaled environment under the cool shade. With a network of urban life, transportation and undulated green spaces, the 22 acres mixed-use development will accommodate a new cultural center, a market complex, a hotel & residential tower and a fashion school, also will create a new connection across the entire city. The market complex brings toÂgether a carefully chosen mix of Miami qualities: beach life and big business, cultures and fashion. For this part, the complexity of the commercial entity breaks down to three green landscape stripes that echo the tropical scenery. The stripes define a sandwiching structure of public and private program which shapes the street-scape into a human scaled environment. Since the structure gradually rises eight levels as it flows through three blocks, the intensive green roof offers a sloping park, meanwhile open-air urban canyons reinforce the connection with nature while forming the primary circulation pattern.
The Playful City Justin Fong . Fall 2012 . Jairo Vives The site is currently a greenfield located on the corner of W. Amelia Street and Garland Street in Downtown Orlando. It is wedged between Interstate 4 to the west and the train tracks to the east. Its adjacencies to the Lynxx Bus Terminal, Central Station for the Sunrail, the Creative Village, as well as Orange County Courthouse make the site particularly viable as location for a cultural amenity. In keeping with the ideas developed in Phase I, playfulness and amusement are key concepts in the proposal for a civic center. One of the primary objectives was to study and develop a set of programs that would work harmoniously with each other to foster a playful environment while also addressing contextual needs of the city and the localized fabric of the district. As a project that is in part public, it was necessary to consider the ground as a democratic entity. The design of the ground and plinth should be inclusive and invite use from all people. The ground is envisioned as a dynamic terraced construction that is gradually built up in layers. The layers form a sloped gesture that rises gradually and eventually subsume the entire building. On one side of the site, the terraces slope down towards the street as an invitational gesture to the public. Formally, the contours of the terraced layers become the language in which the buildingâ€™s skin is expressed. This method serves to blur the distinctions between earth, building, and sky.
Body + Mind Gabrielle Heffernan . Summer 2013 . Martin Gundersen Utilizing the building analysis of Bernard Tschumi’s New Acropolis Museum, a circulation focus was placed within a design school program. For the more vertical moment, the isolated studio spaces connect directly and indirectly to the public gallery spaces. The gallery program explores a stacking of different viewing experiences linked as they branch from a central spatial core. This movement focused, “body” associated moment then adopted a counterpart “mind” moment. The way in which the two interventions interact with the ground further establishes the relationship between body and mind. “Body” and “mind” both emerge from the context’s elevation change, yet “body” dominantly interrupts the ground while appearing to grasp onto it. “Mind” partially submerges into the ground and repurposes the ground as an overhead condition rather than interrupting it. Body and mind maintain a discreet relationship in the necessity of their interworking. However, the connection is never completely conspicuous due to the innate yin/yang qualities between the two. The “mind” intervention possesses an aromatherapy garden program and explores a sensory spatial experience where the spaces are characterized by specific plants’ scents and their sensory consequence such as mint and relaxation, lavender and sleep, etc.
[Re]thinking [Re]development ASLA Design Awards . Spring 2013 . Kevin Thompson Establishing an economically vibrant downtown, through the use of the newly grounded Sun Rail station, is paramount for Longwood to grow into a destination. This project approaches redevelopment in a linear form by taking landuse in the city core and redistributing it to service more of the cityâ€™s current residents. The linear redevelopment is intended to establish a solid framework of services and spaces that will allow Longwood to develop more naturally. Contributors: Stephanie Bou-Ghannam, Johan Andres Bueno, Kristina Gayle Bunyi, Viviana Castro, Craig Handley Jr., Laura Snider
Transition to Resolve Kayla Ford . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith The Prairie Creek Conservation Cemeteryâ€™s objective is to create a sustainable burial site using biodegradable materials. This allows the landscape and the program to exist simultaneously. With these ideals in mind, natural materials were chosen that would not interfere with the environment. The non- invasive pavilion/chapel construct would need to touch the site delicately to avoid disrupting the grounds. The chapel, situated along two main axes of movement through the grounds, intervened as a course within the procession to the burial site. The form was established to collect visitors and transfer them through an expansive ceremony space for one-hundred as well as allowing the opportunity for a place or reflection to be visited. The procession would then pass outward through the chapel and back along the path. Upon entry, a heavy slate stone wall grounds the elevated structure. Situated on the south east facing wall as a guide for the burial party into the chapel, the wall shifts slightly creating an aperture. This allows light to filter into the space from above further highlighting the vertical connection to the sky. The space for reflection it elevated four feet above the chapel and removed from the datum of the construct. Visitors are compressed and redirected through a threshold into a small space for few. It is a space that needs to be explored on an individual scale. Vertical ribs create apertures that look out on the north lawn of the burial grounds allowing visitors a removed space for quiet contemplation that is reflective of the landscape in the horizontal direction.
Parametrics As Historical Precedent “The form of the house is not amorphous, not a free for all form. On the contrary, its construction has strict boundaries according to the scale of your living. Its shape and form are determined by inherent life processes.”—Frederick Kiesler
With the information age came a new tool for the architect to utilize as a design aid. Parametric design is a way of creating generative geometric shapes based around a certain set of algorithmic parameters, which can be altered in real time to give a different result. This is not to say, however, that parametric design is a new idea. Humans have been creating structures based upon certain factors such as climate, technology, use, character, setting, culture, and mood, using simple shapes like rectangular prisms over and over again to create a structurally sound system of elements. The difference between the primitive design of ancient times and the futuristic and formally complex structures of today is the computer. Computer modeling has allowed the creation of these algorithmically derived forms. The computer has abilities far beyond human capability to quickly generate, test, and modify forms created by algorithmic design. The information age has prompted entirely new questions of architectural form, theory, and function, huge upheavals of style not seen since Modernism.
Parametrics As a Crutch Is parametrics nothing more than a crutch used by designers to take a shortcut to an interesting form, as some architects claim? Is it merely easy glamour? The iterative process is one that architects have used for many years as a way to develop design concepts and ideas using a variety of representational media. Ever-evolving models and drawings are constructed over and over, moving slowly closer to the final result. Parametric design can reduce the importance of this iterative process, if each iteration involves only the manipulation of a set of number inputs. The design process then becomes nothing more than the experimental addition of algorithmic modules. “Not everyone, however, is enamored by computer design or the promises of parametric systems. At the same conference at the BAC in 1965, Christopher Alexander, then an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, warned that architects might “fatally distort the nature of design by restating design problems solely for the purpose of using the computer.” He did not believe that there were design problems—environmental or architectural—so complex that they required a computer to solve, and he was not convinced that architects would not oversimplify design complexity to meet the limited input and operational capacities of their computers. The computer could not keep pace with the facility of human intuition for inventing architectural forms and deriving design solutions for complex problems.”
The result is that some use a mixed approach to design where both digital renderings and physical models are created, as well as hand drawing techniques and sketches all come together to contribute to the final form. Using this process, architects get a well-rounded view of the project, which allows for a better overall result. The minute you begin to focus only on the digitally rendered versions is when this tool can be considered a crutch.
Design as Algorithm
Parametrics As Fad “…the algorithms that underlie parametric modeling are altered seemingly at will, and can rapidly churn out a variety of forms from among which the designer can choose. Perhaps that’s why parametric design is so popular with students. Renzo Piano, Hon. FAIA, once told Architectural Record, ‘You know, computers are getting so clever that they seem a bit like those pianos where you push a button and it plays the chacha and then a rumba. You may play very badly, but you feel like a great pianist.’ Even in experienced hands, parametric programs can produce alarmingly undisciplined results. The 2010 Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid, Hon. FAIA, is a poster child for the caulking industry. The Harvard University historian Antoine Picon, author of Digital Culture in Architecture, observes that ‘the capacity of the computer to transform almost every formal choice into a viable constructive assemblage reinforces the possibilities offered to the architect to play with forms without worrying about their structural implications too much.’ The disadvantage of this play, which he also points out, apart from elevated construction costs—and caulking issues—is that the morphological forms produced are oblivious to the past. This gives parametrically designed buildings an up-to-theminute quality. Although they look sci-fi futuristic, they are also curiously one-dimensional, for nothing ages faster than yesterday’s vision of the future. Just ask Jules Verne.”
Could parametrics fade in popularity as quickly as it has stormed into view? If it could, it would be because of its almost instant quality. The lack of stylistic history or structural background results in a quality that will not last; a large instant impact without any lasting repercussions. Is this new design method just a way to create interesting forms rather than truly spatial relationships, giving a sense of an elemental focus in some of the less developed structures? Does this innovation fly in the face of the truly remarkable work done by famous designers of the past? Some attribute this to a lack of depth in the knowledge of what computers are able to accomplish, and others attribute it to the graphic quality that the design often focuses on. “All the swoopy, curvilinear, geometrically perverse gestures that we associate with the world’s most famous, most audacious architects—those are now embedded in, and enabled by, commercial software: Rem in a box. Crumpled, folded, rounded show-off ‘wow’ buildings will become increasingly commonplace—but they’ll no longer be designed by the stars. The only true stars will be the guys who design the parametric software.”
Parametrics and the Sublime Though some see parametrics as a passing fad, there is no denying the tremendous visual impression a first sight of these buildings create. Architects like
Frank Gehry and their firms use this type of design in order to create forms some say is beautiful and others say is grotesque, like the Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles, California. What do these buildings qualify as? A classic definition of the grotesque in the context of architecture is a fanciful mural or sculptural decoration involving mixed animal, human, and plant forms. Though this more applies to the stylistic ideals of Gothic or Romanesque historical architecture, when it is applied to generative architecture it is more related to an overly stylized form, something overwhelming in its complexity. But is it innate within humans to respond to this architecture positively? Some psychological studies have shown that people respond more positively to curved forms than rectilinear forms. Generative design usually results in non-orthogonal geometry, both because of the ease of creating this type of geometry and the implication that orthogonal geometry belongs to the architects of the past. The popularity of buildings which heavily utilize curvilinear form can be explained in part by the natural psychological response to these forms. “Curves are in general felt to be more beautiful than straight lines. They are more graceful and pliable, and avoid the harshness of some straight lines.”
Perhaps a better word for design of this nature is sublime – architecture which is, at its best, both
grotesque and beautiful, horrifying and aweinducing.
Parametrics and Efficiency The rational arguments for parametrics center around the efficiency with which parametrics can accomplish spatial goals. In a world dominated by rectilinear architecture, it is typical to associate this geometry with rationalism and efficiency, given the cleanness and minimalism of these constructions. But the bread and butter of parametrics lies within finding mathematically efficient adjacencies. For instance, in a complex and contradictory urban environment, parametrics has great potential to find the most mathematically precise geometrical arrangement that will minimize or maximize the distance between different nodes (as specified by the program), the relationship of one type of node to other nodes, and the density or emptiness of the structure as it coalesces around, between, over, or under these nodes. “Within modernism such subsidiary styles as functionalism, rationalism, and organicism adhere to the basic design principles of modernism: separation and repetition, i.e. separation between specialized subsystems and repetition within each subsystem. Postmodernism and deconstructivism rejected the order of separation and repetition by posing
Design as Algorithm
historical diversity and then diversity via collage and interpenetration, albeit without establishing a new order. Parametricism is able to recuperate and enhance the deconstructivist moves within a new capacity to create diversity within a coherent, complex order. Thus it supplants separation and repetition with continuous differentiation within systems and intensive correlation across systems. As a conceptual definition of parametricism one might offer the following formula: Parametricism implies that all architectural elements are parametrically malleable. This implies a fundamental ontological shift. Instead of the classical and modern reliance on ideal, hermetic, or rigid geometrical figures—straight lines, rectangles, cylinders, etc.—the new primitives of parametricism are animate, dynamic, and interactive entities— splines, nurbs, and subdivs—that act as building blocks for dynamic systems like “hair,” “cloth,” “blobs,” and “metaballs” that can be made to resonate with each other via scripts. In principle every property of every element or complex is subject to parametric variation. The key technique for handling this variability is the scripting of functions that establish associations between the properties of the various elements. The goal is to intensify both the internal interdependencies within an architectural design as well as the external
affiliations and continuities within complex urban contexts.”
Parametrics and Culture “Mathematical parametric and algorithmic procedures most often have proven far too rigid to productively engage the complex cultural, societal, economic, and political projects facing architects today. Designing buildings and cities using parametric and scripting design tools may often appear visually stunning, but for the most part these designs tend to incorporate far too many blind assumptions to be able to respond with nuance to real world situations.”
Parametric design and CAD have met very hard resistance from those concerned about the relation of design to cultural, environmental and social context. Many see it as a simple way to appeal to aesthetics without taking into consideration other features within its context. Parametric design is often used as an easy route to create a quick, appealing sculptural form and place it in any context it is needed, without regard for the particularities of sun, wind, flora, fauna, sociology, or place. But others see parametric design as a way to reconnect
architecture with the organic nuances of nature, making it an extension of natural processes and form. “Nature had long since developed structural systems of nuanced complexity that architects and designers had applied to structure building shapes and urban organizational patterns. Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Sir Patrick Geddes, and others, were influenced by the morphological writings of Goethe (Metamorphosis of Plants, 1790), E.S. Russell (Form and Function, 1916), and R.H. Francé (Plants as Inventors, 1920). Yet, despite important analytical advances made in D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form of 1917 (revised 1942), alongside subsequent mathematical models for shaping biological patterns developed by Alan Turing in 1952 and Aristid Lindenmayer in 1968, morphology had become a sleepy science throughout the mid-twentieth-century. As with Kiesler’s flowing forms, it had proven too difficult to measure and draw with detailed accuracy the evolving structures and intricate patterns of organic life. But between Benoit Mandelbrot’s 1982 study in The Fractal Geometry of Nature and K. J. Falconer’s 1990 developments in fractal theory, the computer emerged as a tool for simulating the generation of
biological forms (morphogenesis). Coral, sponges, and other simple marine and plant life developing and performing in response to a limited set of measurable criteria—light, ocean current, nutrition, etc.—could be analyzed and reconstructed using parametric design models in the computer. Applying similar morphological simulations in architecture, designers in the late 1980s to mid-1990s began to use the computer alongside software developed for aerospace and the moving picture industry to ‘animate form.”
The natural forms that are created by generative design hark back to the unconstructed wildness that is so appealing to humanity, but even the product of these algorithms remain efficient because their form has been optimized for a program already. Algorithms can help replicate efficient processes found within natural cycles and put them within the reach of designers and builders for the first time. Generative design leaves designers with both a promise and a warning—the potential for tremendous innovation, and the chance of creating something grotesque where something beautiful should be.
Design as Algorithm
Matrix Jamie Marchini . Fall 2012 . Jairo Vives A matrix demonstrates how space moves and is part of a larger whole. It contains smaller information that is connected to the larger movement. Nodal moments emerge from this smaller scale and are organized along a datum. My love for hiking became the concept for my matrix. A primary trail acts as a datum as it guides the movement of hikers along a mountainside. Smaller paths breakaway from the main trail and reconnect elsewhere. These secondary paths can become nodal moments as a hiker experiences a moment of pause to look at the view. When I decided to change the direction of my matrix with a horizontal datum, I thought of a path when an obstacle forced the hiker to change direction. The exploratory section cuts are derived from the process matrix. They set up opportunities to start extending linears and planars to form new connections. This allowed me to control the movement of the matrix and establish order in my design. The layered drawings illustrate a language of operational terms and organization patterns.
Charleston, SC Mason Ip . Spring 2014 ďťż
Nested Amalgamation Casey Juby . Stephen Bender . Fall 2013 In my interpretation of Darren Aronofskyâ€™s The Fountain, I analyzed the use of light and the effects it had on the main characterâ€™s journey. I created a nested moment to represent the intersection but transitioned to an open space in the final model. Light filters throughout the model in this space as the journey reaches the summit. The itinerary circulates around this space, and one is able to see glimpses of the light but cannot be fully submerged in it until the journey is complete. There is a central moment at the top where one is immersed in light as a result of the disconnection between the main character and his wife as they are separated by death, which is symbolized by death. Light is a recurring symbol throughout the film that signifies the transition as the main character searches for an answer to immortality to his acceptance of death. Once the journey is complete, the main character is able to be reunited with his wife through death. This transition into light and acceptance is not the product of a simple journey; rather, it is reached along an itinerary where I created options to move towards the light or down towards the dark.
Double Kerfing + Hidden Joints Melissa Cortes . Fall 2013 . Stephen Belton What initially is an obsession with the language of the elevation later becomes the generator of the design concept. Using the standard measurements of a chair as a starting point, the first exploration is on the implied connections between each intersection. These implied connections suggest the possibility of different relationships between the individual pieces of a chair, so the concept transforms into having two gestures [one formed by the front legs and the seat and the other by the back legs and the back piece], which in elevation interlock at one focal point. Interlocking becomes the technique to join one piece to another, so the focal point turns into an intricate joint between five separate pieces. In addition, an interest in bending wood brings an exploration in kerfing techniques. These involve the use of a series of deep dado cuts to remove material and to allow the wood to bend in a segmented form. Plywood, specifically Baltic birch, is the chosen material and tool for exploring the design concepts. The stacked layers of perpendicular grains of wood allow for the possibility of pushing the kerfing without the constraint of easily breaking the wood. In addition, exposing the zebra pattern of the plywood turns into an additional design tool. The moments where the pattern is exposed or changed reveal moments of interlocking between the pieces.
Angular Ascension Andres Camacho . Spring 2013 . Martin Gundersen The concept of the skyscraper as a vertical city gives rise to the exploration of the city grid. Examining the city grids of Washington D.C. and Miami produces a mixed language of urban environments. Washington D.C. is made up of prominent nodes that act as centralized forces of movement. In comparison to Miami, where the detachment of South Beach produces a node in a similar sense that seeks to interact within the larger grid, but at the same time pulls itself away and becomes a self-sustaining region of its own. When brought together, these languages begin to formulate a vertical datum giving rise to an infrastructure that works both within and around the boundaries of the grid. These two grids define the angular changes that take place as the space ascends. The external node gives rise to a skin that begins to talk about light and puts emphasis on certain moments, as well as adds to the directionality of the itinerary. This adds on to the monumentality and object like quality of this vertical datum. The datum breaks in three moments, each reacting to the skin and to the central node. Together they begin creating secondary space and a more developed itinerary, exploring the idea of shifting planes and movement.
Fold, Collect, Lift Katie Fisher . Spring 2013 . Mark McGlothin Spacial cues suggest rhythms that quicken pace and accelerate occupants across the larger territory of transition. Entering the more charged space, occupants feel a sense of arrival from the hard edges and exteriors that create boundaries with direct movement towards the visual cues within the field. The collage explores relationships between pieces apart and between apertures within the courtyard.
Pelicula F. Hernandez + M. Fernandez . Fall 2013 . Donna Cohen Located in West Manhattan, the community of Tribeca has transformed into a trendy neighborhood filled of excitement. Historically a rundown industrial sector of the island of New York, has been conquered by Performers, Directors, Writers, and has evolved to New Yorkâ€™s center of media and film. As the community continues to flourish, a need to create urban nodes; which tailors to a film orientated DISTRICT, is necessary to mature. Pelicula seeks to response to this social hunger for urban development. The connection to Canal Park is created to house multiple PERSONALS for the industry of films. Along the edge of Hudson River a living cinematography dwells in the form of a building. The architecture is built of living moments which translate to a film of transition, which slow down the velocity of Canal Street and West Avenue. Emotions, habits, and rhythms, sociologically respond to the architecture which plays a sequences of scenes captured by time. Through tactics of over layering motion; the occupant becomes the actor which appears and disappears through literal and phenomenal motion, which is experienced by observer from the exterior. Moments recorded interiorly are shared with external by passers. The architecture is meant to establish gathering of the community to form a living film in its own logic.
Culture Ring M. Clarke + K. Knotts . Fall 2013 . Nancy Clark The overall gesture of the site in West Chelsea responds to the programmatic diversity of the community. The inclusion of the Chelsea Symphony and Chelsea Opera provided anchoring institutions for the project that then acts as a driving force for the base. The link between the future Hudson Yard Projectâ€™s Culture Shed provides an alternative, as an encompassment of culture (the Culture Ring). Lined with galleries and retail, the street front provides a transparent glimpse into the promenades that link the different institutions and events. The connection of the High Line provides an anchoring point (with an entrance on the southern side of the site) as well as a datum connecting the Culture Ring and Culture Shed. The activator for the project in addition to the culture ring becomes the promenade on the ground level and a series of terraces and gardens on the upper levels. These publically owned private spaces (POPS) act as both a social datum and a buffer to the noise of the city, providing different levels of occupation (large plazas, terraces, small gardens, etc.). The terraces/gardens then act as a connection between the galleries and retail spaces, and with the housing (both vertical and horizontal). Two different sets of housing begin to take form in the project, with four towers that protrude vertically, and a series of micro-apartments that act as a connector between two towers.
Membrana Algorithmica Adrian Aranda . Fall 2013 . John Maze To be familiarized with the development of the project, a site analysis and research related to Phenomenology were done. By applying the architectural language obtained from these previous studies and understanding how light and compression shape the site, a bath house originate with the objective of engaging the site and breaking the boundaries between the inside and the outside. Emerging from the ground, a series of structural elements announce the arrived to the bath house and created a connection between public and private space. Continuing through the intervention, specific moments are defined by the articulation of the roof and the compression and decompression of the spaces. The tectonic of the space and the complexity of the walls allows light, wind, water, and sound to penetrate the intervention designing a harmony between the surrounding and the architecture.
Hemispheres Lincoln Antonio . Fall 2013 . Mick Richmond This project focuses on balancing the needs of a rigid program with the aesthetics of a structure built with nested spaces. It is divided into two main hemispheres, the public, or visitor area, and the residential area. The largest space is a performance & lecture area, although the central circulation grounds, which serve as a transitional space, are meant to be the focal point of the project. Residential and administrative spaces are paired together, while the theater, library, and classrooms connect. In addition, the living spaces are more compact and introverted while the public spaces have higher ceilings and larger window openings.
Diversion Andres Camacho . Spring 2013 . Martin Gundersen The concept for this project emerged from the need for isolation from society. That stems from the ability to break away from materialism in order to concentrate on yourself and your environment. In order to create an environment that allows for such isolation, many factors must be taken into consideration. The analytical diagrams explore the shift occurring within the ground condition of the horizontal datum. In experimenting with key moments and their reactions, ideas about specific sets of information begin to emerge from the context. Ultimately, the concept behind Desert is centered on emerging from the horizontal datum. Not only does that movement begin to break the information into segments, it plays with the idea of a vertical shift between them. By shifting the densities of specific segments, a relationship begins to form with the surrounding ground conditions, this degree of activation breaks away from the main datum relating to a specific region and its characteristics. Different experiences are created when the linear movements begin to break away from the main datum, promoting a diversity of spaces through an upward shift.
Oscillating Shroud Stephan Hernandez . Fall 2013 . Bradley Walters Environmental fragments work cohesively to form a symbiotic relationship between ground and canopy as the decomposition of a past component works to breed the growth of another. Through analysis of the context an individual is enveloped within a larger mass which is composed of parcels of information that are experienced through the canopy registering the immersed shrouds within the landscape. Expanding into the program the analysis of the burial grounds serve to compose the itinerary of the program which fosters a biological datum. Analyzing the burial stages in relationship to program led to create an undulating diagram, in reflection to the itinerary the initial experience creates an exoskeletal-like structure which begins to nestle within the landscape. As the program progresses it forms an incision that houses both the primary gathering space and meditation space which are stitched through a pilgrimage. The final component of the structure was considering the assemblage of the overhead condition in relation to the canopy, creating multiple layers that become interactive through movement allowing the occupant to experience the incisions within the composition of the layers.
Learning Exclusivity The over-worn critique of the contemporary architect is that he or she is out of touch with the world outside. It is selectively reinforced every time a large, public work of architecture fails, leaks, goes over budget, looks nothing like its renderings, is fraught with legal trouble, or is simply a controversial building, whether formally, politically, or socially. Architects are seen as the ultimate selfabsorbed profession, with their own set of incomprehensible jargon, inaccessible standards of successful and unsuccessful, and their alltoo-familiar disdain for the opinions of outsiders to the profession. The wide gulf between the public and the architect begins in the architecture schools. “My concern about schools is that I hate when there’s time wasted on thinking about a new project—let’s imagine the perfect museum. Come on! Don’t imagine it, just open the newspaper and look at what is going on. So if we want you guys to react and be proactive and reactive and really tackle real problems, then you shouldn’t be doing imaginary projects. [For the f]irst semesters, it’s understandable to teach the fundamental basics of how to draw, but there comes a point in the career that you guys should be mixed with a lot of other disciplines. It’s rare that today we sit down at a table to have a conversation with just architects. Lawyers, sociologists, engineers, financiers, geologists. Due to the politics and the way law has begun playing an important role in design, lawyers now sit through creative meetings. I invite lawyers to try to get them to rethink how zoning could change or think about the regulations we have in cities that prevent them from growing. I’ve always wanted to have a more disrupted school, but I think it also has a lot to do with each individual. How much effort and time to do you take into seeing what is happening around you? You’re in your university but you need to be curious about what is happening outside of these four walls. What is the government planning, how is society changing? If you don’t understand these conditions then there’s no room to play. To do a project in an isolated way with ideal conditions is unrealistic.”
This isolation arises from the rigorous professional indoctrination undergone by all architecture students. It is known that schools of architecture pride themselves on the rigor of their curriculum and it is typical for students to pick up on this hard-work ethos quickly and brag—or complain—to their ‘non-architecture friends’ about the long hours they spent in studio or the three consecutive days and nights they spent working on a final project. This kind of psychological pressure has its benefits. It drives students together, to work collaboratively and to support each other, to manage time well and see the truly important moments of a project through the clutter of possibility. Once a student has been ‘in the trenches’ with another student, the bond they form is strong and lasting. It certainly contributes to the quantity of work each student churns out. But does this intense experience produce well-rounded, thoughtful, educated humanists whose expertise upon graduating goes beyond simply being able to design beautiful projects that would be successful in a studio environment?
Learning From More Than a Studio
Pedagogy Teaching Design
“Unlike liberal arts programs, architecture schools allow students only very limited power in designing their studies. Almost all courses are required or core courses, particularly in the early years of training. Thus, the canon is present not only in the specification of materials within courses, but also in the specification of the curriculum as a whole. Time management as a pedagogical principle is central to the entire training
regime. Each student is given, through the curriculum framework, a bank account: four weeks for this, two weeks for that. Time must be efficiently managed; if it is squandered, “failure” will result. The studio program, which generally carries two to three times the credit weight of service units like architectural history, is the top priority. The other areas fall in descending order according to their relative credit weighting. This tends to structure the curriculum in a satellite formation in which clusters of specialized knowledge hover around the centrality of the studio regime. Although the clusters (professional practice, structures, history, and theory) tend toward the transmission model, they are also clearly demarcated as peripheral to the centrality of the design studio.”
The architect of the 21st century must be a humanitarian, a politician, an engineer, a historian, a sociologist, and a designer. But the students of the 21st century are, at best, designers. The modernist model of architectural education, passed on through generations of architects to their students, falls
short of its responsibilities to the profession and to those whom the profession serves.
Learning To Be the Same “Architectural education is a lengthy process that, under special instructional conditions, creates exchange values and makes them the property of individuals. Before professional services are sold, “homogenized years of schooling and standardized credentials provide a ‘universal equivalent’ into which exchange values can be translated and which they can be measured.” The monopoly of instruction and credentialing is the structural condition for the creation of professional exchange value. Because it is organized around imparting a standard set of skills that defines what it means to be an architect, architectural education is strongly biased toward what has been called the “transmission model” of pedagogy. This form of schooling sees students as a unitary body removed from ideological and material
forces and thus “the same underneath it all”—blank screens ready to receive unmediated transmissions of skills and information as delineated by experts. The conception of an undifferentiated mass is central to architectural education because its primary goal is to produce a standardized product: a professional armed with a corpus of marketable skills.”
The uncharacteristic rigidity of architectural education presumes to define architecture’s good and bad according to a prescribed set of characteristics enforced by the studio professors and confirmed by the work of its students and the degree to which the instructor celebrates those students’ successes. The professor assigns work and then selects work that meets his criteria for good architecture. The rest of the class takes note—this student has found what “architecture” is for this professor, and it is up to those students to catch up and find it, too. The public nature of the studio ensures that the successful student’s work is accessible, and that her
techniques and inclinations begin finding their way into the studio’s work. This is the extended reach of the transmission method of teaching discussed above. Whether indirectly or directly, intentionally or unintentionally, the stylistic preferences of the instructor are made clear. Scholarships, accolades, and spots in gallery exhibits or magazines populate the database of successful work for future students to reference and take inspiration from.
Learning To Be Different Is this rigidity possible? The implosion of modernism fractured the notion of what is good and bad in architecture and paved the way for alternatives, many of which have yet to find their way into the schools. Where contradictory schools of thought do find their ways into school, the faculty are at a crisis. The aura of authority which accompanies the professor’s aesthetic judgment is fragmented
when an equally authoritative voice says otherwise in another semester or another review. Instead of handling the debate with open minds and giving agency to students, especially older students, to resolve (or not resolve) the debate, the school allows the cognitive dissonance to pull students and faculty into warring camps and produce needless conflict, the echoes of which are felt in the professional world.
Learning and Practice Is the school the proper environment for debates about the very meaning of architecture to occur, or does this competition of ideas, influences, and market forces confuse the educational process? The influence of invisible market forces felt on students is profound, though that pressure does not always come from educators. Students are constantly told that what they are learning in school will not necessarily prepare them to find and hold a job in the workforce. What kind of education can boast of the same disconnect, the same dreary prognostication from its alumni? To many students, the attitude of the working professional is one of contempt for the education the student is receiving and disbelief at the student’s claims to marketable skills. There is a real shame a student feels when her projects are viewed by the skeptical market-driven professional. Her worst fears, that ‘the project would never work in real life,’ that ‘this side of the building would certainly collapse,’ or ‘this is pure architectural
fantasy and will not help you in the real world’ are confirmed with any interaction with the jaded professional, eager to share his own horror stories about his education, his difficulty in the real world, and the incredibly depressing, hopelessly technical professional world she can look forward to. What must the architectural educator do in this situation? “In much the same way that the school regards students as empty vessels, it is itself caught between competing forces, ranging from the demands of the profession and the market, to the internal bureaucracy of the university and the state educational apparatus. This “inbetweenness” grows out of the contradictory position of architectural education, both within the university and outside it. Its primary purpose is to produce graduates with marketable skills, but at the same time, by locating schools in universities, training is effectively removed from the marketplace. The actual connection to the marketplace is surrounded by the complex mediation of the university system, producing resistance to market ideology and, at the same time, requiring constant intervention by the profession to prevent undue slippage. The contradiction has resulted in the production of a whole class of bureaucratic supervisors who specialize in overseeing the production of producers.”
Learning From Architrave What legacy does the transparency of the school of architecture create? Most academic disciplines are very opaque. Most students’ classwork is read
only by their instructor, themselves, and perhaps a trusted friend. Architecture students see their fellow classmates’ work at all stages of completion, no matter how incomplete or how imperfect. To an extent, Architrave is complicit in the propagation of student work, albeit with consent. Regular gallery exhibits, a student portfolio on school websites, and professors who bring in example projects from past studios all contribute to a legacy of work that is difficult to overcome for new students looking for expectations to fulfill. Architrave: “The role of Architrave in this school is I think both positive and negative. Negative in the sense that I walk through D1 studios and I see it on the desks and people flip through it to find out what a matrix is supposed to look like. So what can be done to help students not find those expectations?” Mark McGlothlin: “I think that’s a perfectly valid question and it is a hard one to answer. Lisa [Huang] and I with the freshman studios are trying even with baby steps to move in that direction. The students with this matrix were frankly really frustrated because we handed them a curveball on Wednesday. They couldn’t get their heads around what we had just asked them to do, and then a couple of them said, ‘Do you have one, can you just show us what one is supposed to look like, because we can do it if we know what it’s supposed to look like.’ And we said ‘No, we don’t have one to show you, and you should feel comfortable with the fact that we don’t have one.’ And so I think that saying Architrave is a sort of vehicle or resource for students on the one hand is great, because I think they
understand that they are part of a bigger group. There is a sort of consistency and a richness to the things that are in there, and I’d hate for it to disappear or be taken away because we’re afraid there is going to be some mimicry. I shouldn’t say mimicry, because we’re afraid that they’re going to borrow too closely from it. At the same time, if we know there are students, and we know this has started to happen where they are using it as a resource, whether to try and predict what a particular project wants to look like or what a particular professor prefers their things to look like, and we begin to track that something looks like this here and you can begin to find it at other places in the school at certain moments, there is some concern with that. To me, I think it’s a moment not so much for the students to figure out or try to figure out how to work with that as a resource but more I think for the faculty to say should we change things a little more radically semester to semester or project to project so that there is a clear understanding that we are taking as many risks as you are. And I think we’re at a tipping point in that sense, where there are some things that have perhaps been repeated beyond their usefulness, that projects are known by titles as opposed to objectives, upper-division studios are based off of where you’re going as opposed to why you’re going there, and so there’s an awful lot of that sense that students moving forward already know what they’re going to do and I think it’s interesting to say ‘What happens if you don’t, what happens if you’re unsure of how to do it?’ There’s more risk in there—we can have disasters—but that’s okay. I think at some moment there is more to be learned from that than just borrowing and sort of repeating what we already know to be successful. And
that’s why I say it comes back to a certain degree of contentment, that I think we can find new territory if we’re willing to go there.”
Radical Learning Is there something curricular that can be done to upset expectations placed on students? Certain projects have become as important to the curriculum as the structure of the curriculum itself. Now, students learn quickly what is expected of them and look to resources like Architrave, the Internet, gallery exhibits, and other students to find out exactly what the deliverables are per studio, and sometimes per professor. Does this discourage innovation, encourage excellence, or both? This pedagogical conservatism has effectively neutered architectural education and does not prepare
students to meet the challenges faced by a rapidly evolving, 21st century world. “With a typically short lifespan, these diverse experiments often found one of the following ends: abandonment or dissolution; assimilation into a generic mainstream education; or termination due to financial and/or political constraints. Many radical pedagogies trace an arc typical to avant-garde practices, from radicality to conventionality, from subversion to institutionalisation. And yet much of the discipline’s strength came from these experiments. They affected the institutions that swallowed them up and they lie within the discipline, waiting to be reawakened by another generation, like a dormant virus or a monster in a horror film. Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that
they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self-imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but itâ€™s all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.â€?
Thoughtful educators have reason to be careful. They are tasked with passing on a body of difficult knowledge but, more importantly, imbuing students with the ability to answer questions and tackle problems on their own, away from the security and predictability of the studio environment. It is easier
and safer to rely on tested, familiar curriculum, especially when there is an expectation by students to be educated in a certain way, with familiar projects, and in a regulated order. Educators certainly do not want to bait-and-switch students; the act of attending a university implies a trust by students of teachers to educate them with the same or higher standard as the students who went before them. The onus lies on those teachers to maintain those higher standards while making new demands on curriculum to morph and adapt to new needs. Testing student trust is a frightening but necessary prospect. The reform of architectural education should be risky, but its success can be ensured by educators brave and committed enough to see it through.
Paris, France Dany Izquierdo . Spring 2014 ďťż
Recognition in the Horizon Felipe Hernandez . Spring 2013 . Thomas Smith The building transitions in an east to west axis, stitching its fragmentation of spaces together while itâ€™s massing and orientation responds metaphorically to the history of Charleston/South Carolina. Scale and articulation of the layout defines the experience, allowing the occupant to move through the entire building in any time of the day. The idea is for a person to view different moments of the historical city. The building has a transition point that emphasizes the private and public in the surrounding context. The building is an experience of the transition of time, direction and history which has divided the private and public. The concept is applied in the interior as well in the exterior. The program for the art institute was developed through a series of explorations that relate to how students learn and how they move through school. It was important to think about lighting, the adjacent buildings and egress of the building. The ultimate goal was to create a continuous circulation from east to west and to have good lighting in the spaces within.
Tectonic + Spatial Framework Katie Fisher . Spring 2013 . Mark McGlothlin Within the church, vertical directionality nests occupants within the spaceâ€™s public realm, for the plans question the shifts between the levels and the elements that divide the public and private spaces. The baths explore the joints between the sources of light in the vessel: window, ceiling reveals. As a source of organization for deforming of pace and axial linkages between thresholds, light acts as the a source of anticipation and breath within primary and secondary intersections of space. The hybrid model analyzes the relationships between the baths and church, as intersecting plan and section evinces an armature that ensconces the larger â€“scaled space, like how the primary shift in directionality around the central baths organize program.
Leverage of Efficiency John Breske . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith The redesign of the UF boathouse on the shores of Lake Newnan provided a unique opportunity to reassess the needs of both the crew team as well as their equipment on a level more developed than just storage. With an analysis of the Florida landscape influencing the project, a study of the motion of the crew boats took precedent. From this study, two main generators, ‘leverage’ and ‘efficiency’, surfaced as the heart of not only the motion of the crew boats, but also the actions of the team members. This idea of leverage was expressed through a “positional advantage” in terms of program and eventually translated to inspire the form of the building. The efficiency of the sport was characterized by the idea of doing the most with the least which resonated most strongly with the structure of the boathouse.
Room + Garden Adiel Benitez . Fall 2012 . Lisa Huang The Room and Garden took into account the concepts of spatial definition, systematic relationships, interaction of spatial moments within fields, ideas explored in Cube and Matrix, and built upon them. In addition to these spatial ideas, the ideas of human occupation, and how people are circulated through a space were taken into account. The issues of human scale, threshold moments and generative programs came about in conjunction with the previous spatial concepts. How people circulate through a space, and the itinerary between several spaces became a prominent issue throughout the design process. The idea of dance/performance served as a generative program for the creation of a series of differing spaces. Spaces for different purposes for different numbers of occupants were planned. The idea of a moment of entry, rehearsal, and the culmination of the two, in an area of performance, were used. Public versus private became an underlying characteristic of the spaces that were created, as was the itinerary between the spaces themselves.
Orchestrated Integration Casey Juby . Fall 2012 . Jairo Vives For my dance, I chose a Waltz-Tap Dance combination. The dance partners mirrored each other in their movements. To incorporate my dance into my model, I used a push-pull concept. The major elements in the model have an opposite reaction. After passing through the entrance, there is a path to the performance area that is more open and looks down on an area such as a courtyard. After traveling in one direction, the path turns as a reaction to the former route. The path turns again and now has a low overheard. This compression of space moves the audience through the space quickly and towards the performance area. The compressed space breaks off into two directions, another reaction to the push-pull concept, and leads the audience to an area for viewing above the stage. The audience is on either side of the stage and raised above it. This is because the audience is detached from the performance area because there is no direct interaction between the audience and performers. The practice area is situated under and behind the performance area. This creates a more private space located out of the publicâ€™s path and allows the performers to have direct access to the performance area.
Sharpener Analysis Rob Karcher . Spring 2012 . Mark McGlothlin The approach of the object analysis was to understand a particular object and surmise the objectâ€™s function. Our class was split into groups and was assigned selected objects. My focus was to analyze the function and understand the concept of a manual pencil sharpener. My intention of the analysis was primarily focused on the relationship between the blade, the sharpener, and its motion. In my analysis, I was able to calculate the ratio between the blades rotation per one complete revolution. While the sharpener is in motion, the mechanics of every piece creates geometric figures from vigorous rotations. In further analysis, I discovered that when turning the sharpenerâ€™s handle clockwise, the blades are rotating counterclockwise. In relation to blade movement, the gears behind the blades create a star-shaped figure from every rotation. The overlay of the two large circles and change of line thickness along the edge express the opposite rotation. The exploded diagram shows the complete mechanical assembly of the pencil sharpener. The enlarged drawing shows the blade rotation while the Pencil sharpener is in motion.
Engagements of Public Space J. Klink + B. Sosa . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith Chelsea is well known for its wide variety of boutiques, foods and the diversity in the people. A key character of Chelsea in the art culture. The site interlocks with the Highline, which is a major public project that kints the community together. Taking from this, the program of the block that was chosen is inspired by Experimental Art throughout New York that will continue the knitting of this area. This particular program is intended to engage the community with one another and with art by exploring all the senses. Each sense is emphasized in a unique way with galleries and restaurants. There is a large public square that creates a threshold between the two sides of the block and a place for pause throughout the transitional spaces inside.
Architrave 20 Launch Corina Ocanto . Spring 2013
Urban Exploration Jamie Marchini . Fall 2013 . Albertus Wang The wall becomes an armature that dictates the overall composition of the fragments and site. It is anchored into an orthogonal and dynamic grid system to give order and measure to the design. Two primary armatures extend from moments and shift to formulate a courtyard between the two fragments The library space is manifested by the term ‘scar’, interfering, yet fusing the old to the new. The public and private spaces of the library adopt this interfering relationship through the intersecting of architectural elements and voids. The public area is a larger volume of space with higher overhead conditions to give hierarchy. It is also interrupted with lower overhead conditions in order to maintain human scale. The private space is an area enclosed by linear elements and planar transparencies for individuals or small congregations of people. Scab shields exposed interiors, becoming the driver of the reflection space. I explored the idea of ‘release’ through the compression and expansion between meditation spaces. This allowed for private areas of security and isolation, while the more expansive spaces became an area to observe and reflect. The courtyard became an exploration of injection; a space within a space. This reaction space connects the moments and functions as a place to dwell. It is enclosed on one side by a secondary armature and is also formulated by the overlapping of a second meditation space. Conceptually, this ground condition is where the journey begins.
Mechanical Gardens F. Hernandez + M. Fernandez . Fall 2013 . Donna Cohen While the components of historical and cultural identity exist, the community of West Chelsea lacks a developed visual architectural expression. Gentrification speculates about this visual absence, with the High Line, the abandoned elevated railroad infrastructure that was used historically as a form of transportation of goods within the meat packing districts, being the most prominent rendition. Now, it has evolved into a living thread of botanical gardens in West Chelsea. Which capture the essence of the High Line, a visual language can be abstracted and translated into architectural tectonics, plus a strategy for the organization of space. Overall of the block extends to the high line and reaches out to surrounding neighborhood. The Mechanical Gardens is an interactive location where one can live, work, learn, reflect, and plant. Industrial area of the meat market is now introduced to an architecture which hides and its industry underground, and flourishes as vertical gardens.
Sequential Space Zhu Mengjie . Fall 2013 . John Maze This project focus on exploring different ways architects can derive their design thoughts. From a variety types of music pieces to a movie which tells a story happened on the exact city of the project site and the site’s geometrical and historical research. All the inspirations and actions work like a bunch of forces breaking the boundary of the object of “Door Window Stairs” in different orientations, which concreting and presenting themselves in an amazing self-adaptive way in the final model. Each of the steps is separately focused while continuous efforts can be seen taken throughout the whole project. These including the analyzing drawing of Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 Prelude, Layer model, Ribbon model, blue foam model, analytical plan drawing of old Savannah city and a series of draft models. While the previous drawings offer a sequence of particular volume of space, the organizations of these space are determined in a second version cut and pasted on mylars. After the layer model, several process model are made with the research of Savannah city and the movie named “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” which is a dramatic story took place in Savannah. In these process, a new more defined spacial relationship are determined and the concept of Door Window Stairs are introduced into the model.
Rome, Italy Sam Miller . Spring 2014
Contrapposto Core Alyssa White . Spring 2013 . Stephen Bender My core is inspired by the broken, but balanced, form portrayed in the contrapposto position. I compared and a vertical datum to a personâ€™s body, one being straight and perpendicular, at a 90 degree angle, while the other uneven, shifting, and relaxed. While trying to combine these into one core-like structure, I thought about types of movements that embody both of these characteristics. What came to my mind is dance. The art of dance is made of precision, balance, and strength; but also oozes fluidity, flexibility, and the concept of contrapposto movement. With immense amounts of movements and energy, dance embodies an inner, balanced core that allows one to stand in such awkward positions, creating a balanced distribution of weight and gravity. I start to imagine my core with this same stature. Taking these ideas into a constructed thing, this created a fluid movement with structural characteristics, leaving you to wonder if the core is truly holding the space, or if the spaces are holding the core.
Architecture United Lucas Najle . Fall 2013 . Frank Bosworth Architecture United is a proposed facility that would house Orlando’s unique 2+2+2 architecture program: a partnership between UF CityLab, UCF, and Valencia College. The design of the building is a reflection of the interactive experience which the 2+2+2 program has at its core. The studios are the heart of the project and, to maximize the interaction of the studios, a tiered layout was selected. This allows students of varying levels of experience to see each other’s studios and encourage them to interact with each other. This layout also accommodates areas which bridge across studios to offer “collaboration zones” where students can meet and work on projects together. The building has an adaptive skin system constructed of folded perforated metal panels and color changing LED lights, which allows for views outside while shading the interior from the harsh Florida sun. In response to the wide range of commuters, different intensities and patterns happen based on whether these people are inside the building, driving on I-4, riding on the bike trail, on foot, or on the commuter SunRail Train. Located on the first floor is a satellite AIA Orlando office which gives local architects a dedicated space to interact with students and collaborate on projects. This kind of interaction helps bridge the gap between students of architecture, and young professionals, a goal which any architecture school would be proud of.
Sacred Threshold Zachary Wignall . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith The site located on a green burial ground offers a program for a pavilion that can create communication between life and death, a space that allows for the passing of life. The procession from the lodge is wooded and filtered with indirect light, once emerging from the tree canopy, light floods the horizon and offers no shelter from the elements. The idea of a threshold emerges as an understanding of both the site and rituals of death are researched. The site calls for a space to inhabit after the procession, and before the burial. Through understanding the burial process and the human interaction with the transition from life and death, this spatial threshold becomes a sacred space that allows for the programmatic function of a chapel to develop.
Cinematic Block Identity C. Ocanto + E. Magari . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith This block is about the essence of the community the Highline has created in Chelsea: it has brought a new population to the surrounding areas and revitalized a part of Manhattan completely. We organized the block both visually and programmatically to embody by taking that essence of destination and having an inclusive attitude toward inhabitants and visitors alike, starting with giving the block an identity of a ﬁlm school, that makes up 25% of the square feet. It turns the block into a unique piece of land while adhering to the Chelsea-esque connection to the arts. The residential program that makes up 60% of the total area is divided into segments that exist in various areas of the block. They are organized along the edges to happen above commercial zones, different buildings of the ﬁlm school, and civic spaces like the library and galleries. Additionally there are three residential bridges that create communal areas where they meet towers on either side. All apartments face the exterior of the block, while all of the circulation is moved to the interior so that moments of community are located in the courtyard and turn it into a destination. The ground ﬂoor was turned into an open plan that promotes transparency at the ground level of each program as well as movement throughout and within the block. The interior courtyard is the culmination of the community; programmatically it dissects the Highline and spreads it laterally while also incorporating elements of the ﬁlm school in the residential end of the block. Four different kinds of skin typologies exist at different programs: The ﬁn type skin system is used throughout the residential areas of the block to give each apartment control over its privacy and sunlight. Another creates an offset boundary between the street and the inhabitants inside the lower residential levels. The combination of frosted and clear panels alternating creates a slightly more private condition in areas where it is needed and less direct sunlight is desired. Exposed trusses are used throughout the school and similar areas where circulation yearns for plenty of light and large modulations.
Fragmented Views Zachary Wignall . Fall 2013 . Thomas Smith The positions of rowing are catch [initial placement of row in water], drive [the forceful pull that pushes the boat], the recovery [oars out of the water], and the finish [movement back towards the catch]. The resultant form is a linear progression from south to north, entering the main lobby, clubhouse on the lower flower, beneath the workout room on the upper floor [allowing access to filtered views of the water]. The program continues north towards the locker rooms, and into an outdoor threshold that separates the boathouse. The boathouse is organized on an east-west grid that allows direct access into the water. The material considerations are concrete, wood, glass, and steel. Board formed concrete will be used on load bearing walls to begin to accentuate the linear aspect of the site and the sport as a whole. The wood will act as a spatial warmer and will be implemented on the interior partition walls and specific floors to begin to relate to the old rowing boats construction. Glass storefront walls will be used in the clubhouse to allow openness to the adjacent courtyard as well as views from the lake. Glass storefront walls will be implemented along the main axis at certain moments to begin to bring the views of the lake into each space. Steel columns and beams will be used in specific moments to allow glass curtain walls and cantilevered concrete construction.
Sketching Corina Ocanto . Spring 2013
Vertical Anticipation Nicholas Warnet . Spring 2013 . Martin Gundersen The armature for the vertical datum was created by manipulating the city grid of Chicago. Figureground relationships began to arise as city blocks were removed, added, and rearranged. The rhythmic, orthogonal nature of Chicagoâ€™s city grid translates to each of the three unique interventions. These interventions each house groups of spaces that relate to a different aspect of Cirque du Soleil. The lower node emphasizes enclosure and connectivity as it enables performers to interact, relax, and de-stress before or after a performance. The node near the middle of the vertical datum contains practice, rehearsal, and living spaces. The upper node is strictly for performances and stresses the ascension and anticipation of both the performers and the spectators prior to a show.
Venice, Italy Corina Ocanto . Spring 2014
Snapshots of Space Marissa Volk . Fall 2012 . John Maze As the subject approaches, he can perceive all of the ascents that await him, but cannot see how they are connected. The lowest level is hidden from view, carved deep into the landscape. The first set of stairs forces the occupant into a depressed and dramatically elongated space in which pause is encouraged. The massive walls that surround the subject provide a feeling of security and envelopment, yet the enormous scale of the verticality allows for openness and honesty with his surroundings. Moving forward, the subjectâ€™s eye is caught by the play of light underneath the main ascent. Tiny slits between the steps reveal other occupantsâ€™ feet as they progress to the next level. The subject then travels into a tight entry that releases him to the stairs, and soon he is level with the landscape and makes the main ascent. Walls encase him and the focus is on the light at the next landing. Surprisingly, partway up the stairs he is confronted again by the elongated space. Moving on, he winds up the next set of stairs, first in the open and then switching back behind a frosted glass wall. On the final landing, he is dared to walk out upon mere glass floor and directly experience the vertical space below him, reminding him of where he began.
Image Is Not the End, It Is Only the Beginning “In its final, constructed form, architecture has its place in the concrete world. This is where it exists. This is where it makes its statement. Portrayals of as yet unrealized architectural works represent an attempt to give a voice to something which has not yet founds its place in the concrete world for which it is meant. Architectural drawings try to express as accurately as possible the aura of the building in its intended place. But precisely the effort of the portrayal often serves to underline the absence of the actual object, and what then emerges is an awareness of the inadequacy of any kind of portrayal, curiosity about the reality it promises, and perhaps—if the promise has the power to move us—a longing for its presence.”
Images fail when they try to resolve themselves fully. They fail when they try to answer every question that can be asked of them. Their purpose is not to capture the resolution of a project but to describe its essence in as fragmented, incomplete or even bad a way as possible.
Image is a Vessel For Our Habitation “The work’s createdness, however, can obviously be grasped only in terms of the process of creation. Thus, constrained by the matter at issue, we must consent after all to go into the activity of the artist in order to arrive at the origin of the work of art. The attempt to define the work-being of the work purely in terms of the work itself proves to be unfeasible.”
The image becomes most compelling when it is experienced by following the path set by the artist or architect and inhabiting the drawing and image ourselves. It is in the realization of the artist’s intent that the occupation of a drawn space can occur. “The best buildings and spaces are those that cannot be represented in a single image, but rather require numerous drawings and/or physical models to approximate. And like the line drawing, architecture requires our inhabitation to become complete. As we move through it, we continually make and unmake space with our bodies and minds.”
Vessels do not come with their own occupation. One does not buy a pre-packed suitcase or a pre-filled coffee mug. The creation of a vessel implies the creation of a thing with a cavity, with incompleteness, with a space that begs intervention and use. The architectural image is no exception—it must leave room for the occupant—not just for the viewer’s eyes but for his mind and imagination, as well. “If the naturalism and graphic virtuosity of architectural portrayals are too great, if they lack “open patches” where our imagination and curiosity about the reality of the drawing can penetrate the image, the portrayal itself becomes the object of our desire, and our longing for the reality wanes because there is little or nothing in the representation that points to the intended reality beyond it. The portrayal no longer holds a promise. It refers only to itself.”
The finished image is good for something, but only on its own. The broken, incomplete, occupiable image-as-vessel entices the viewer to imagine that it existed and experience it as profoundly as if she were there.
Image is Not a Product of Craft
But we are obsessed with image crispness, quality, and precision, the craft of image creation, the complete realization of all details. A blurry photograph is an embarrassing faux pas; a 72-DPI scan
is a careless oversight, too-thick lineweights look clumsy and heavy-handed. The cult of resolution invites an arms race that can never be won. Architecture is a highly professional, elitist group. The barriers to entry into architecture are numerous and difficult to overcome—five to seven years of education, five thousand eight hundred hours of internships, and a dauntingbattery of seven highly technical tests before one can even call themselves an architect. The professionalism of the industry extends to the visual information it produces and processes. It is difficult for a layperson to break into this profession or have a meaningful voice precisely because ‘bad images aren’t allowed,’ but certainly in more ways than just images. Many architects view the gulf between the professional architect and the layperson as insurmountable except through the process they themselves went through. The lay opinion of architecture is discounted precisely because it is unprofessional, but the trappings of that unprofessionalism are often couched in terms of the image. It’s easier to dismiss a lay opinion of
architecture if that opinion is delivered as a crude drawing only a step above a scribble, or a series of terrible photographs, or a piece of graph paper smudged by a stubby pencil. Why does it matter so much? The bad image allows resistance movements. The conservative establishment created the image norms we are held in thrall to now from day one of our education. Labeling a way of expression “bad” immediately shifts the debate from the merits of the proposal itself to the way in which the proposal was presented. It’s easy to reject something without thinking about it by poking fun at how clumsy, awkward, or unconventional its image is. This is bad for architecture because it blocks dissent if the counterpoints are not presented within the narrow norms of the community those counterpoints attempt to critique. It is tantamount to asking an advocate to deny her own advocacy just to be heard. “In this case the invisibility of the image was more or less voluntary and based on aesthetic premises. But it has a much more general equivalent based on the consequences of neoliberal policies. Twenty or
even thirty years ago, the neoliberal restructuring of media production began slowly obscuring noncommercial imagery, to the point where experimental and essayistic cinema became almost invisible. As it became prohibitively expensive to keep these works circulating in cinemas, so were they also deemed too marginal to be broadcast on television. Thus they slowly disappeared not just from cinemas, but from the public sphere as well. Video essays and experimental films remained for the most part unseen save for some rare screenings in metropolitan film museums or film clubs, projected in their original resolution before disappearing again into the darkness of the archive. This development was of course connected to the neoliberal radicalization of the concept of culture as commodity, to the commercialization of cinema, its dispersion into multiplexes, and the marginalization of independent filmmaking. It was also connected to the restructuring of global media industries and the establishment of monopolies over the audiovisual in certain countries or territories. In this way, resistant or non-conformist visual matter disappeared from the surface into an underground of alternative archives and collections, kept alive only by a network of
committed organizations and individuals, who would circulate bootlegged VHS copies amongst themselves. Sources for these were extremely rare—tapes moved from hand to hand, depending on word of mouth, within circles of friends and colleagues.”
The tools of image creation necessarily make the good image unattainable for the nonprofessional. Expensive still and video cameras and high-quality lenses, post-processing software like Photoshop and Illustrator, proprietary digital software like Maya, 3DSMax, AutoCAD, Vray and the powerful computing equipment needed to handle these serves as the gatekeeper for the well-to-do architect between the lay and the professional. Is there room for badness, incompleteness, decay, and ugliness in architecture? In a discussion after the Guggenheim Museum’s Berlin Lab, Christine McLaren said: “However, one of the panelists, Jürgen Krusche from the Institute for Contemporary Art Research, at the Zurich University of the Arts, brought to the table the argument that ugliness—a word he used to describe the sort of chaotic, patchwork wildness or messiness that a
city garners when it is left to fall apart slightly—is what enables vibrancy to happen. What’s more, he argued that that vibrancy is more important to quality of life than “beauty,” which is often defined by cleanliness and order. “Decay,” he said, “leaves gaps that allow for life to spread” and for people to self-build the urban fabric in accordance with their own dreams. That gives us a connection to our city, which makes us feel comfortable in it. But it also makes a city ugly, in the traditional city planner’s sense of the word, because it ultimately results in an uncontrolled aesthetic, which many associate with lack of safety and security.”
This romanticization of grittiness and incompleteness has equal application in the architectural image as it does architecture itself. The bad image is more realistic because it has no pretentions about its perfection. It is comfortable to admit its imperfection and compel appreciation all the same.
specific intent and hints at a resolution far beyond its flatness. Indiscriminate acceptance of the image—or even a fetishization of the clumsy artifacts of the bad image—is damaging to the project with which the image is associated. In the practice of architecture, as in many other pursuits, not all contributions are valid, and not all contributors are praiseworthy by virtue of being contributors. It may be that this philosophy has already gutted the art world, where art is infallibly art unless proven otherwise, a task made impossible by the indiscriminacy with which art critics accept art. “...a lack of skill and craft among artists is sucking the life and the gravitas out of the art world. There are, thank God, still some artists and designers who are bucking this trend and making gorgeous stuff. You won’t find it at trendy galleries or at Art Basel. You are more likely to find it among the potters and craftsmen on Etsy.”
Image Is a Communication of Intent
Image Is Deception
But there is a reason architects value good images. The image has an important and primary role in the work of an architect. The images associated with a work of architecture—perspectives, sectional studies, plan drawings, detailed building sections, and even construction details—are created in order to communicate the project, in one form or another. The accuracy and detail of that communication is vitally important because that is the only place the project exists until it is realized. In the partnership between the architect and the builder, the images serve as the medium, and the success and failure of the project will hinge on the clarity and firmness of that connection. Valuing images for image’s sake is dangerous when the image seeks to do more than be provocative or beautiful and tries to communicate
Rendered images are essential for selling design, but are utilized today as modes of deception rather than persuasion. They are portraying final products rather than representing future processes. Renderings promote the overall essence of a building, often dishonestly. Fantasized renderings remove architecture from reality, depriving clients of imperfections that will be present in the final product of a building. Whether it is the removal of air conditioning units or the insertion of an unrealistic landscape, this idealized portrayal of architecture is a result of architecture’s fixation with image, an image that has become almost entirely disconnected from reality. How much are you able to manipulate an image before it becomes fraudulent?
“One might argue that the production of hyperidealized images of architecture is itself a form of art and that nobody is harmed by it; but that is not the case. I fear that the proliferation of such photographs leads clients and the public at large to expect from architecture and architects a degree of quality—pe rfection—that is impossible to deliver in the real world.”
Architects utilize images to seduce and persuade clients and the public in a manner that takes away from the design, all for the sake of selling a building to the undisciplined eye. With this being the case, the actual design of a building is overpowered by a graphic. The design becomes as important as the landscape and the scale figures. But how else are architects supposed to sell design to people who are not designers? The objective of rendering should to be to portray the general concept of a project while leaving room for discussion and additional considerations. The final goal of the architect should not be to design the destination, but to design the path.
Image Is a Savage Fantasy Images that are intended to be viewed rather than built or sold are authenticities in architecture. Images can be fantasies and in fact are always all fantasies. This is good for architecture because it presents possibilities of what can be. Sant’Elia’s renderings are fantasies, but there is a quality of authenticity that is associated with his renderings when compared to the rendering of contemporary architects. The renderings that we see today are inauthentic, not because they are fantasies, but actually the opposite of that; because they are supposed to be real. There is a discrepancy that happens in our mind whenever we see these
renderings: we know that the rendering is a fantasy, and are angered because we know that it is a cheap advertising ploy. This is inauthentic. Sant’Elia was not trying to sell his renderings, they were just images, fantasies, they were pure because they were in and of themselves, art for the sake of art, images for the sake of images. Architecture is a necessity, a shelter, not an indulgence of visual hedonism. When architecture transcends whatever profit can be made from it, it can become authentic. “For me, something of the fantastic remains in the image. Any image retains something of the savage and fantastic. what i would like is that it retain that character. but today images have been aestheticized, they have become increasingly virtualized, they are no longer images. television is the opposite of the image: there are no images on television. yes I’m visually disappointed, and painting has the same effect on me. to me they’re digitally synthesized images, technically and mentally, but they’re no longer images. once again the possibility exists to re-create the primal scene, the original savagery of the image, but starting from nothing, any intuition, in the literal sense of the term, can re-create the image, for example, this punctum, this secret association of the image, I sometimes find it in photography. so we’re not desperate. but the disappointment in the contextual universe that surrounds us, with images bombarding us from every side, yes, I resent that.”
For centuries, the architectural image has been needlessly aestheticized. From the painstakingly drawn and illustrated elevation drawings of the great Renaissance architects to the slick, expensive renderings done in specialty graphics shops around the world in the 21st century, the obsession with beauty has overtaken the original purpose of the architectural image. Far from being an improvement on the field, the pre-occupation with images of
both the past and present dilutes architecture created today. Architects would produce far more noteworthy work if they asked themselves “is this compelling” as often as “is this beautiful? “I have the impression that the sense of something’s being “worthless, worthless, worthless” in architecture also exists! It is just as overwhelming but, paradoxically, perhaps for the opposite reason. that is to say, what characterizes this worthless architecture today, three-quarters of the time, is the “picturesque.” Or it’s the extension of a private model of meaning and sensibility. one of the current dramas in architecture is modeling, cloning. often we don’t know what to do; the context is hopeless. Not only the geographic, urban context, but the human context as well, the context of the commission, the financial context, everything is hopeless. and trained architects are forced to confront that reality. this reminds me of something [Donald ] Judd was saying, “ I looked in the El Paso phone book. There are twenty-five hundred
architects, and I’ve never seen any architecture in El Paso!” A great number of architects borrow a model that comes from a magazine, or a contractor or client. And at that moment, we have to identify a number of existing parameters that are reassuring, because if we do architecture, we want it to be seen, and at the same time we don’t want to make waves. However, the majority of architectures produced today aren’t based on those simple, clean, savage, radical rules that you talk about in your book on New York. Most of the time, they’re a collage of objects, the one that presents the fewest problems either for the one who’s designing it, or for the one who’s receiving it, or for the builder. And those for those three reasons, it’s worthless, worthless worthless. We’re looking for something else.”
Image Is Overstimulation “One of the big problems with architecture is that it must both exist and be quickly forgotten; that is, lived spaces
are not designed to be experienced continuously. The architect’s problem is that he is always in the process of analyzing the places he discovers, observing them, which isn’t a normal position.”
Images are not architecture, buildings are not architecture: there is only the mind. Are we architecture? Are people the missing key to architecture? So where does that leave architecture? Is it objects made by man, for mankind? If images and buildings are not architecture, and architecture is only our perception of built phenomena, then architecture is our apprehension of stimuli. It is our brain accepting, transferring, translating architecture in our mind until we can understand it. Architecture is stimuli because that is the only possible way humans can interface with architecture. To humans, all exists within our
realm of the senses. Architects are overstimulated by architecture. But what is important is that the average occupant is not overstimulated by architecture in the same way. There is a conscious effort made to perceive as much architecture as possible whenever someone enters a building for the first time, such as when we are waiting at the door or when the host of the home has left to get you a glass of water and you stare around the room. In this way, architecture is only an image, only something which comes into our mind, an image augmented by the ancillary senses—the feeling of the materials, the sound of noise propagating through a building, the smell of activity and wood and paint. And in this way, the image—the moving, ever-changing image— is the most important.
Dance Through Itinerary Andris Otisons . Fall 2012 . Lisa Huang In this project, dance and performance were taken as items for the design and for mine it was a street performance. The project focuses on three aspects: the itinerary, performance and practice space. The street performance intrigued me the most, due to the fact that their performance space is the itinerary â€“ the streets. So the design was made by creating a primary itinerary along the axis and armature and a secondary itinerary leading away from the axis, forming possibilities for a performance in larger scale spaces. Eventually the itinerary evolved to become the primary spaces, connecting different moments of performance. Due to performances being in public spaces, the practice space is designed in a smaller scale secluded from the main open spaces and the primary itinerary.
Privacy + Exposure D. Milenov + T. Weisman . Fall 2013 . Alfonso Perez Located at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Central Park South, this hotel embodies the experience of New York City through framing the most contrasting aspects of its context: the dense activity of Midtown and the release provided by Central Park. The promenade through the hotel pulls from the dense grid of Midtown into the public spaces of the hotel with a sequence of turning back to face Central Park. The hotel begins to filter the overwhelming stimuli of the city by inverting exposure to the city through the use of transparencies. The most public spaces are the most enclosed to create an internal experience provided by the hotel with specific framed views control the stimuli of the city. These public spaces create a core of stacked overlapping boxes that slide between two main private volumes. Once the guests have experienced gone through the progression of public spaces, they return to their rooms while offer the most exposed views of the city. The rooms are removed from the congestion of the city so the guests can become observers of Manhattan.
The Urban Academy Luis Ramirez . Fall 2013 . Alfonso Perez The project involves a private school and an underground market as two significant attractors for the city. These become the main focus within the use of the block. On a sociological aspect these destinations create a high level of public activity, therefore the integration of housing, retail and offices for both student and private residences was necessary. The design of public space within the block was also considered on distinct levels of intensities. There is a pergola that activates the underground market being used as a shelter, but also as a connection with the highly active linear park the â€œHigh Lineâ€?. On a distinct level the block encloses a small park enclosed by the library and Bike shop, as an area for daily outdoor activities.
Interview: Michel Rojkind Dany Izquierdo . Fall 2013
Catharsis Sam Sidersky . Spring 2013 . Albertus Wang Inspiration for the tower project was derived from reworking of the plot of the science fiction film The Fifth Element. Rather than following the hero formula, the protagonist failed his mission to save the earth from destruction. He must rise from the ashes to a dystopia thousands of years later. The types of spaces that suggest the emotional burden of such a shortcoming moves from isolation and self-reflection to catharsis and empowerment, then finally confidence and exhibition. Four masses anchor the structure of the tower, representing the four elements of nature. Spaces are then carved into these masses, and held within the interstitial. Low ceilings, sparse openings and heavy, constructed masses carry the feeling of isolation, held close to the ground, as the protagonist must work his way back into being. Ascending up the tower, the protagonist is exposed to more light and air. His view becomes greater and his guilt erodes. The highest space is open to the skies, a platform with views oriented out onto the rehabilitated earth as a reminder that all past lapses can be remedied.
Rome, Italy Sam Miller . Spring 2014
Paradoxical Connection Patrick Weber . Fall 2013 . Albertus Wang The objective of this project was to design three urban fragments, a chapel, a library and a courtyard that are connected with an armature system and itinerary. The design process started with the observation of the work of Lebbeus Woods. Many of his paintings and drawings convey the idea of a conventional environment or structure being interrupted by a radical and dynamic intervention. That idea inspired a conventional library and chapel to be interrupted by a dynamically enclosed courtyard. Due to its placement between the chapel and the library, the role of the courtyard becomes a paradoxical: the courtyard serves as the interruption and yet as the connection between the two moments.
Musique Concrète Adam Mahardy . Spring 2013 . Stephen Belton The facility will satisfy the spatial requirements needed by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra of Charleston, SC. Nearly doubling in size over the past five years, the orchestra needs a permanent performance venue and facilities to train, practice and execute their expertise. The Facility will double as an institution of higher education, mentoring students in the arts of music. The Space will also facilitate a communal joint in the existing Fabric of Charleston. It will provide citizens with a public garden and enrich the cultural persona. Light will be worked into the building through voids placed in between the existing city and the new structure. This is a concern because direct and indirect lighting are not balanced on the site due to the existing obstructions. How can we funnel sunlight down into first and second story spaces of a building when it shares a face with a three story building? Air/Circulation is a major part of any architect’s or urban planner’s agenda. For a planner air circulation at the scale of an entire city is important to bring fresh “healthy” air to regenerate and invigorate the inside tunnels of an urban environment. The building form should influence and negotiate the existing circulation diagram the city currently has in place.
Sacred and Profane Agustína Sklar . Fall 2013 . William Tilson The design of the intervention was catalyzed by the wind forces of nature. By being a peninsula, Florida’s constant wind flow perpetually purifies the atmosphere. This phenomenon of blowing out the old for the new is analogous to the unavoidable circle of life. It is in the Prairie Creek Preservation Cemetery, where ‘green burial’ ceremonies for the deceased take place and where the intervention could be found. While on site, the presence of wind flow and direction became instantly noticeable. The way in which the wind and air was felt heightened my senses to the site and its surrounding, therefore making the vegetation of the site, as it directed the wind, and the trees distilling its path a keen part of the experience. By carefully manipulating the ground and tree placement, wind flow and wind direction could be properly directed to the intervention. Trees and land elevation have a direct impact on the forces of the wind. Trees surround the ceremonial space in order to direct air through the tectonics of the walls. While constructing the intervention, the tectonics required to become susceptible to wind flow, for they needed to allow the space to be ventilated from all cardinal directions.
Dynamic Transformation Graham Nichols . Fall 2013 . Albertus Wang My Door Window Stair was generated from studying two of Le Corbusierâ€™s paintings: Ubu Totem and Lignes de la Main. By diagramming these paintings, two verbs were revealed: binding and transforming. I created an amalgamated diagram to emphasize and explore these verbs further. From there I made relief models to capture where theses verbs occurred and interacted in the combined diagram. I translated those into a model where the spaces I created revolve around how those verbs interacted with a set of three personalities: a chocolate addict, a photographer, and a detective. I then created a narrative of how those personalities experienced the construct, soon realizing from my design that those personalities all belonged to the same individual at different stages of life. The individual transforms in each space, starting as an ashamed addict, becoming a nostalgic photographer, then finally a vigilant detective. Certain volumes were dynamically enclosed to emphasis key moments in order to further the idea of an individual transforming, bound by a desire to change.
Koper Mooring Alvarez Mullert . Fall 2013 . Martha Kohen Presented with the challenge of designing a cruise terminal for the city of Koper, Slovenia, the project proposes a modular approach which can grow and expand in time depending on the port’s budget and needs. The modules are inspired by the moors found in ports as well as the mountains that surround the port. The buildings are elevated from the ground floor which creates open public spaces for residents and tourists alike. The height of the levels and the aerial connections permit the connection of the modules without blocking the visuals from the bay. The project is connected in two points to the city center in order to create interest and easy access to the city of Koper, which will in turn increase tourism and the town’s income. This proposal includes programmatic innovation such as extra retail space, which can be rented by locals to start their businesses; a conference room, which will bring more income to the city when the cruise ships aren’t there; a small museum/exhibition space, to present Slovenia’s history and points of interest as well as the open public space created beneath the buildings.
Theory Emily Dawson . Fall 2013 Emily DawsonFall 2013ďťż
Solution Ahn Tran . Fall 2013 . Stephen Bender “Gardens,” if embedded strategically, will provide “cushions” around the constructs of both fabric and object buildings. Thus, they will have less limitation in designing process. Their forms will not be considered secondary and remain their primacy. The appearance of gardens in the city will solve the contamination problem in which air and water quality will be enhanced. It’s also an appreciation for the beauty of nature. The density of Barcelona will be rationally redistributed preventing the overcrowding of the city. Agricultural, industrial, and residential areas will be merged as they were initially intended. It creates alternatives of commute for the working class as well as the upper class. The city will carry not only all the characteristics of an urban town with public services business centers but also the recreational features of a suburban town. Psychologically speaking, human behave more positively around plants and trees. Gardens will create another layer of shadow and diffused light to the city. Last but not least, the presence of gardens in the city will also reduce the noise made by the popularity of automobile later on in the mid 20th century.
Can We Design Ecology? It comes as no surprise that design, a field finely attuned to the pulse of the nation’s momentary obsessions, has embraced the green revolution. Though the origin of environmentally-based design can be traced back to the primitive hut, the advent of the information age has removed some of the most prominent barriers to deep responsiveness to environmental conditions that designers have faced in the previous centuries. With this new ability to quickly model and test design concepts in virtual environments before constructing them physically, many designers have begun experimenting with more fluid, organic shapes more easily morphed into maximally efficient forms. A common misconception about biomimicry in architecture is that the imitation of the natural world is limited to the form of the building. While this ‘biomorphic’ architecture has promise, many designers have found success learning from which flora or fauna have survived natural selection. This design method attempts to replicate the function, not just the form, of natural conditions. “Many current approaches to environmentally sustainable architecture are based on mitigation. The suggestion from the examples collected in this book is that it is possible to go further than this, and for some buildings to be regenerative... The intention is therefore to transcend the mimicking of natural forms and attempt to understand the principles that lie behind those forms and systems. […] We need a functional revolution of sorts if we are to really make progress on the sustainability revolution. There are three big challenges that we are going to have address over the coming decades. The first is achieving radical results in resource efficiency; achieving the same functions but with a fraction of the resources. The Second is to shift from a linear, wasteful, and polluting way of using resources, to a closed loop, in which all resources are kept within closed loop cycles. The third, and perhaps the most difficult is shifting from a fossil economy to a solar economy.” “Evolution has been successful because every organism has developed in context and honed its survival strategies based on its setting. Shouldn’t we ask the same of our buildings? From material efficiency, to energy efficiency, to occupant productivity and well-being, the more attuned designers are to local context, the better that system will run.”
Can We Recreate What Nature Does?
The Nature of Design
“As we all know, when old cheese gets moldy, the organisms have multiplied in it because they found a suitable environment that allows them to reproduce very fast. It is nowadays common to compare cities or organisms. Is this why cities have grown to contain more than half of the world’s population in about 3% of the world’s area? Possibly not, because cities have become a last-resort way out for impoverished peasants and bankrupt farmers, and –at the other end- a firstresort option for corporations, financial and else, which need highly specialized services, networks and personnel. Immigration into cities, for various reasons, has always contributed greatly to their growth. The other difference between cities and molded cheese is that mold grows at a fairly even rate according to temperature, humidity, and nutrient sources until it reaches a certain threshold where further growth is not possible, while human settlements are liable to be planned, contract, or expand, according to numerous factors and desires. Comparing cities to organisms does not help us as much as recognizing cities for what they truly are: permanent, highly-organized, man-made, complex, large, inter-related systems of settlement. These differences between organisms and cities must be seen as one level
of contrast between the human and the non-human. Another level can be detected: at least for the last few centuries, Science has been relied upon to speak of and for nonhumans (what is the matter?) and Politics has been relied upon to decide what is in people’s interests (does it matter?). It would be more productive, and more true-to-life, to blur this clear-cut division of domains and to demonstrate that ‘what matters’ is something that should be tackled by a joint collection of disciplines and stakeholders that will effectively pursue the understanding of the processes that underlie both the human and the non-human worlds. So, even if we are to develop an ‘ecological’ urbanism, it should incorporate both the natural science disciplines related to ecology, soils, and water, as well as social science insights and approaches (surveys, demographics, anthropology).
or survive? Which trees will prosper?), to studying the ecology “of” cities, where humans are considered to be fully integrated components of the urban ecosystem, capable of changing the environment as a whole. It follows, then, that we should raise our sights and look around, back into the past, and into the future assuming full responsibility for understanding the elements that make up the city, how they interact and can become the dynamic, equitable, sustainable, and surprising environment we all want it to be. It is most likely that it will entail the design of new institutions –at the adequate scale, at the public and private levelsto bring together the ecological and the social domains around concrete proposals and projects, whatever their scope –from its public spaces and gardens, squares, water bodies, bridges, to the subdivision, the buildings, to the city center.
Cities are understudied ecosystems where repeated human disturbance rarely allows ecological equilibriums to develop, and where the rules and paradigms found through the study of wild environments often don’t apply. The complex coupling of human and non-human activities in urban areas requires a transition from the traditional approaches used to study ecology “in” cities (which birds disappear
According to Frederick Steiner, “Landscape ecological urbanism suggests three possible research directions: an evolution of aesthetic understanding, a deeper understanding of human agency in ecology, and reflective learning through practice. In my view, the first direction pointed at is rather abstract, the second is taking place through increased research in urban situations, and the third should be
the one to emphasize at present. That is, we are in need of more ‘case studies’: well thought-out, sensible, sensitive interventions in the urban landscape that take into account the ecological and the social as matter-of-course. Steiner himself writes that “projects such as Freshkills Park [Staten Island, NY], the High Line and the Lower Don Lands [Toronto] provide helpful lessons about what works and what does not through actual experience.” And there many other examples throughout the developing and the developed world that can be studied, seen and discussed in order to develop a refined urban design theory.
and institutional re-development, building resilience, and working on urban design that can deal with fast-changing variables (unemployment, recessions, underfunding, chaotic transport systems, old/ inadequate infrastructure). Planning: cities as laboratories for change. As with our molded cheese above, we should ask ourselves: even with careful planning, can cities grow until they reach a threshold where more growth becomes impossible? How are we going to detect whether that threshold has been reached?”
And then, a reminder about the forgotten: research on eco-city projects needs to consider not only the hightech, new urban environments materialized as ecocities, but also the production and reproduction of large, often transient populations of low-paid workers who build eco-cities, or who end in cities, and try to eke out a living in some dark, poor, ugly, and normally unseen quarters. They form the ‘new urban poor’, who live on the edges of beautiful or rich city centers, sometimes on the edges of flagship sustainable urban projects worldwide.
Are Cities Really the Greenest Future?
In conclusion, the challenges are many and large: the promotion of active land-management alternatives
“Urban ecologies’ seems like a paradox. After all, cities are popularly held in opposition to nature, but this perception may shift over the next generation. New studies are exposing the positive impacts of urban spaces and human settlement behavior on the environment. Public perception of cities assumes that they are places of unchecked energy consumption and pollution, a place where imposing towers and traffic-jammed streets clog the arteries and minds of its citizens. While true at one point,
The Nature of Design
urban redevelopment to encourage walkability and well-connected public transit systems from the cities have significantly changed the reality. City dwellers, because of the relative efficiency of the urban fabric, impact the environment less per capita than their suburban or rural friends. “When most Americans think about environmentalism, they picture wild unspoiled landscape - the earth before it was transmogrified by human habitation. New York City is one of the most thoroughly altered landscapes imaginable, an almost wholly artificial environment in which the terrain’s primeval contours have long since been obliterated and most of the parts that resemble nature (the trees on side streets, rocks in central park) are essentially decorations. Ecologyminded discussions of New York have a hopeless tone, and focus on ways in which the city might be made to seem somewhat less oppressively man made. But most such changes would actually undermine the city’s extraordinary energy efficiency, which arises from the qualities that make it surreally synthetic.”
As with art, culture, and many other aspects of American life, New York is a place where new methods of preserving and reviving urban ecologies are tested and pioneered, whether it be through the adaptive reuse of the city’s high line railway, cleaning of industrial rivers and canals, or creation of new public spaces with nature sewn into every possible corner. Cities have a tendency to attract the ‘creatives’—a burgeoning class of designers, scientists, and innovators who desire an urban lifestyle and the ability to live a low-impact, high quality life . Some members of the creative class have championed environmentalism and sustainable development as a challenge worth tackling by
pioneering new forms of energy production and material conservation, ultimately integrating these innovations into a broader scope of green living. Millennials are flocking to the cities en masse, leaving behind the auto-dominated lifestyle of the suburbs for new experiences in the city. A mostly educated cohort, the city life appeals to the creative class through the large number of new startups and stimulating firms found in an urban context. The city offers new and exciting places for nature lovers and urban workers alike—mainly through conservation areas and well-crafted urban parks projects. The desirability of these urban environments increases with the designation and creation of such lands, thus the opportunities for jobs in sectors related to green urbanism also increase. Yet the study of urban ecologies in its present form looks to conservation areas for data collection. These areas are an essential aspect of a city’s urban fabric, but fail to properly reflect the ecology of an actual city. “Despite the indication of the geospatial analysis that many sites were located in urban areas, content analysis revealed that many of these were protected fragments situated in densely settled zones—in other words, many of these studies were not conducted for the explicit purpose of understanding the ecology of densely settled places.”
Global urbanization efforts will foster a necessity for more interconnected studies as the barriers between fields of study erode away. The paved surfaces and constructed surfaces of the urban fabric hold and absorb solar radiation, contributing to the heat island effect. This translates to substantially higher temperatures on summer nights in cities than in rural areas. A study of Red Oak growth in trees
from Central Park and Upstate New York compared the effect of the dissonance in temperatures. Oaks from the urban environment produced more foliage and girth than their rural counterparts, but also had high levels of nitrogen. The study ultimately concluded that the oaks were growing larger and broader in the city. Does this conclusion mean that all urban foliage is at an advantage to their rural, natural cohorts? Urban foliage and forests don’t have the range and natural transmission that rural and wooded areas are afforded, and are constantly at risk of destruction through development. Auto based urban pollutants aren’t always harmful to plants, but this doesn’t translate into a beneficial factor either, as toxic particulates ultimately degrade the air quality and health of an environment. The study gives credence to the need for urban forests and pockets of nature within an urban context. Michael Bloomberg’s ‘Million Tree Initiative’ to plant 6 digits worth of trees in New York City is an example of such undertakings in the slow reclamation of nature. In urban forests: “Businesses flourish, people linger and shop longer, apartments and office space rent quicker, tenants stay longer, property values increase, new business and industry is attracted.”
Urban forests compensate for the higher levels of auto emissions by removing carbon dioxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere through absorption. The shade provided by trees in an urban area offsets the heat island effect, and provides a social space. Cities across the world are capitalizing on the idea of urban forestry, with million tree initiatives being launched in London, Los Angeles,
Shanghai and Denver. Slowly but surely, cities are taking action to ameliorate environmental harm done in the past, and through such programs are making amends with the environment. The strength of cities is best exemplified in the collaborative effort and community driven movements from those who call the urban environment home. Our best and brightest minds are heading to the cities to see out their lives in a sustainable, suitable fashion. Ecology’s place in public life will flourish in the cities of today and tomorrow because the foundation is in place for new ideas to launch city life into the next epoch of urban delight.
The Responsibility to Build Sustainably The primary function of a building is to provide shelter from the natural environment. Buildings are the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, accounting for 39% of all emissions from fossil fuels and 70% of electricity use. Building sustainably is vital in order to maintain the lifestyle and environment we are used to. Sustainable design has become an important aspect of architecture. “As three-dimensional problem solvers, architects are well suited to lead the change toward sustainability. That architects are three-dimensional problem solvers is central to the resolution of nonlinear, spatial problems. Most professions do not work this way, and most people do not think spatially. The three spheres of sustainability must like the three elements in Vitruvius’ Principles—firmness, commodity, and delight—must be solved simultaneously, and spatial thinkers are best at doing that. Since these spatial relationships are
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essential and connected parts of sustainable design, spatial thinkers are best equipped for the challenge, responsibility, and stewardship of multidimensional solutions.”
These exemplify the fundamental aspects of the architect’s role in society. This can be interpreted to include sustainable practice. Firmness in regards to both structural integrity and environmental sustainability, commodity in terms of the programmatic effectiveness of a building, and delight, which brings both aesthetic beauty and sense of place to an environment. “Durability will be assured when foundations are carried down to the solid ground and materials wisely and liberally selected; convenience, when the arrangement of the apartments is faultless and presents no hindrance to use, and when each class of building is assigned to its suitable and appropriate exposure; and beauty, when the appearance of the work is pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due proportion according to the correct principles of symmetry.”
Sustainable design embodies community, economy, and the environment, three interdependent elements
of society. Building sustainably requires a thorough comprehension of the larger context architecture inhabits, incorporating local and regional environments, suitable material and construction systems, and the cultural and economic aspects of an area. The improvement of building’s impact on environmental quality through ecologically conscious design requires a transformation of the field as a whole. This can be done by exploring reuse and redesign strategies before new construction takes place. “In any endeavor, good design resides in two principles. First, it changes the least number of elements to achieve the greatest result. Second, it removes stress from a system rather than adding it.”
Land-Use Planning “Spatial pattern matters. It is no longer appropriate to plan based on totals or averaged of prices, jobs, wages, parklands, bicycle paths, logging area, water floors and so forth. The arrangement of land uses and habitats is crucial to planning, conservation, design, management, and policy. Context is usually more important than content. The attributed
within a location are its usual descriptors. Yet the characteristics of the surrounding adjacent landuses, of the upstream-upwind-upslope area and of the downstream-downwind-downslope areas are usually more important descriptors of location. Sites are linked in a mosaic, where a change here affects many sites there. The landscape ecology principle used in landscape architecture and land-use planning are here to stay.”
the ecological health of a site and site occupant’s health, and has an ancient pedigree that dates back, at least to Vitruvius in the first century BCE. Ideally, buildings and landscapes would blend both but these are often warring concepts.”
Some people see land as a source of wealth, an investment to be bought and then sold, a subject of regulations and laws, an object subjected to tax policies, or just a piece of real estate. Others view land as a living system, a habitat containing living organisms, a site of history, culture, aesthetics, and inspiration. Which perspective motivates the most? Which perspective is a basis for optimism about the future of society and nature?
“The changes design professionals will make towards place making that began a sea change in the human presence on Earth. Collectively, this will represent a force rather like what we see in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century; but it will be a global change and much more pervasive. It will alter how we provision ourselves with shelter, food, energy, materials, and water. The design revolution they will see and perhaps take for granted will grow from disciplines that we call biomimicry, industrial ecology, natural-systems agriculture, and ecological engineering. Will it be nirvana? No, but it will be a world considerably more decent and durable than what lay in prospect in the early years of the twenty-first century.”
“The practice of architecture occurs on a continuum between form making and place making. The former is driven by the desire to create novelty or great art or to accommodate the styles and fashion of the period and has been, by far, the dominant trend in the making of buildings and landscapes. But the place making, which implies the careful attention to the effects of building on
The sea-change experienced in design practice in the early twentieth century is about to happen again—a resistance to decontextualized buildings, arcane debates about proper style, and obsession with form. The battle-ground of the new design revolution will happen in the places between buildings and cities.
The Nature of Design
Adaptable Luminaire Evan Vander Ploeg . Fall 2013 . Lucky Tsaih My bedroom is a place where the amount of light varies significantly. The room has three controllable artificial light sources: a fixture in the ceiling and two small table lights which do not provide light adequate for reading. My windows have blinds which are quite effective at blocking out the significant amount of ambient light at night, but allows a lot of sunlight to infiltrate during the day. At night, with the blinds open, it can get pretty bright. There are several street lights, neighboring apartments with light spilling out of them, and frequent cars. Considering all of these variables in my little bedroom, I wanted to create a light that could adapt as necessary. The lamp has a dual shade system, with interior and exterior shading elements. This allows the light to be filtered and the lamp to appear as if itâ€™s glowing.
Bleeding Desert Marissa Volk . Spring 2013 . Stephen Bender The dying travelers stumble upon the site as they search for civilization, and are led underground into the deep- est wound. At first entry, the travelers are granted drinking water, which drains from the roofing system into a channel. Around the corner, the water has another access point. The earth is exposed and the water mixes with it to form a clay source. Just ahead, a chimney extends upward through the floor of the sleeping rooms, which are located higher (at ground level). The chimney keeps the sleeping rooms warm at night. An outdoor kiln is next the the wall of beds, providing an additional heat source. Stairs lead into the gallery. The stairwell winds around the main drainage point for rainwater, so if the occupants happen to be climbing during a storm, a waterfall is created beside them, as well as through the center of the gallery space. The gallery acts as a central point for the program. The glaze lab connects to both studios; it is easily accessed from both studios for ease of Making. Just beyond the glaze lab, in the outdoor courtyard, is the main kiln. The courtyard is not enclosed, yet still shields from the sun because it is nestled within two other enclosed spaces that provide shade for this alleylike space during almost all hours of the day.
Nature Gateway Stephen Pettis . Fall 2013 . Mick Richmond An ecological center placed at the gateway to Payne’s Prairie creates the opportunity for increased knowledge and exploration of the natural environment through study and physical experience. The programmatic elements that include a library, research laboratories, scientist/ artist residences, and an auditorium are arranged so as to allow these facets of the educational process to exist in symbiosis. In becoming a mediator between civilization and the wild, the building’s central space provides both the focal point for communal interaction and views of the prairie that entice the occupant to move beyond observation and into the prairie itself. Located on an existing clearing and pathway, the construction attempts to address the ever-important question, “how do we respect the past while pursuing the future?”
Constructed Narrative Patrick Weber . Fall 2013 . Albertus Wang The process of building this model started with the Analysis of paintings by Mondrian. His masterpieces Trafalgar Square and Broadway Boogie Woogie were both mapped, diagramed and then overlaid. The overlay was then turned into sectional diagrams. The next step was to build relief models, which allowed the sectional diagram to have a sense of spatial hierarchy. Those models were then translated into three dimensional bug models and half-scale models. Each model became more developed and detailed. With the final implementation of constructed or implied thickness and dynamic enclosure, the final model was then constructed.
A Shared Experience Alyssa White . Fall 2013 . Bradley Walters The concept of the research center compares the experience between types of people in the program and juxtaposition between the first and second levels of the construct. I used the formality of the main foyer space as a guide for the movement through the space, highlighting the main points in the program. The main staircase serves as a transition point for these two levels and creates the axis for the construct. The separation and interaction of the floors create the overall concept of comparison of experience. The first floor is occupied by researchers and science personnel, while the second floor is for education and visitation. Occupants going to the classroom area must pass through the research and area; although this is the same space the researches occupy, they experience it differently at a difference level of the building.
To be continued ufarchitrave.com
Student Organizations established with a focus on design
As the Architecture College Council (ACC), it is our job to bring together organizations of the College of Design, Construction and Planning, as well as represent our college to the Student Government. We collaborate with the Board of College Councils (BOCC) to assist all student organizations within our reach with financial support and special funding. Together, we also collaborate with students of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and urban planning whenever financial issues come up or budgets need to be discussed. Our goal is to provide the resources necessary for student organizations to function, as well as to promote any event that takes place within the college.
The American Institute of Architecture Students has come together since 1956 with the goal of helping to shape our future practice environment by combining current education and the profession, giving students the opportunity to enhance their architectural education by mingling with other students across North America through conferences and events throughout the country. To organize students and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture, the AIAS represents the sole student voice in the decision making process of such organizations as The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
The UF ASID/IIDA Student Campus Center is a student organization dedicated to bridging the gap between education and the profession of interior design. The group is a joint student organization of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Members of UF ASID/IIDA have the opportunity to join either student organization and enjoy their respective benefits. On the national level, both ASID and IIDA offer mentoring opportunities, scholarships, competitions, publications and endless resources for students interested in interior design.
The Student Chapter of The American Society of Landscape Architects at the University of Florida is an organization set to unite interested graduate and undergraduate Landscape Architecture students for the purpose of developing an understanding of the importance of designing sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, and functional exterior environments. UF Student Chapter of ASLA provides students the opportunity to participate in organized activities outside the academic realm that improve skills and knowledge, and complement the curriculum at the University of Florida.
Alpha Rho Chi is a national, professional coed fraternity for the students of architecture and the allied arts. It was founded in 1914 to organize and unite in fellowship the architectural students in the universities and colleges of America so as to promote the artistic, scientific, and practical knowledge of the members of the profession. Alpha Rho Chi is a family with nationwide connections providing support and friendship through lifetime bonds. This brotherhood carries a history that is rich with tradition and whose values allow its members to grow individually and as an organization. Alpha Rho Chi accomplishes this through its activities which promote professionalism and service.
The Studio Culture Committee is a studentinitiated organization that seeks to promote respect, collaboration, engagement, and innovation among students, faculty, and staff of the School of Architecture at the University of Florida. Since the Spring of 2006, the Studio Culture Committee has worked to identify existing instruments within the School of Architecture that have a positive effect on Studio Culture. Our goal in identifying these instruments is to ensure the support and extension of their significance, reach, and visibility as opportunities within the school while also discussing critical lacks or problems. Our belief is that the construction of a strong and creative studio culture is primarily our responsibility, our right, and our privilege.
Fab Lab Club
DCP Ambassadors are students within the College of Design, Construction, and Planning who strive to generate interest about their college. They represent the College of DCP with professionalism and passion. This semester we have been focused on promoting unity between all the students of the College of DCP, finding new ways to reach out to potential students and strengthening the relations between the alumni of our college and the current student body. We have been working to help with a number of events and programs that include: The Research Showcase and Career Fair, an Alumni BBQ and creating a High School Presentation for our Ambassadors to present at their local high schools.
The Fab Lab Club is a digital fabrication lab at the University of Florida that offers the tools to mediate between digital and physical design and creation processes. The lab is open to all students within the University of Florida. The technology offered in the fabrication lab include laser cutters, 3D printers, a 3D scanner, and a 3-axis CNC router. The Fab Lab Club makes use of this equipment to work on projects that focus on the campus and the community. The goal of the Fab Lab Club is to explore new ways of thinking and making, and to allow a group of members to take on a larger, more technically difficult project than otherwise possible.
Outram, Christine. “What Starbucks Gets That Architects Don’t.” Medium. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.
Saieh, Nico. “Multiplicity and Memory: Talking About Architecture with Peter Zumthor.” ArchDaily. N.p., 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.
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“Can Kanye West save Architecture? Probably Not.” Weblog post. R One Studio Architecture. N.p., 19 Nov. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.
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Moody, Glen. “Pirated Buildings In China And The Rise Of Architectural Mashups.”Techdirt. N.p., 8 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.
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Evan Vander Ploeg . D5 . Mark McGlothlin
Katie Fisher . D3 . Stephen Bender Ahn Tran . D1 . Lisa Huang
Parametrics Text “Parametric Design: A Brief History.” Web log post. AIACC. American Institute of Architects California Council, 25 June 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Ibid. Rybczynski, Witold. “Lost Amid the Algorithms.” Editorial. Architect June 2013: n. pag.Architect Magazine. Architect, 11 July 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Jacobs, Karrie. “Off-the-Shelf Genius.” Editorial. Metropolis July 2009: n. pag.Metropolis Magazine. Metropolis. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Gordon, Kate. Esthetics. New York: Henry Holt and
Company, 1909. Print. Schumacher, Patrik. “The Parametricist Manifesto.” The Parametricist Manifesto. The Architects Newspaper, 10 June 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Supra note 1. Ibid.
Images Daniela Daswatta . D8 . Alfonso Perez Mitch Clarke . D6 . Lee-Su Huang Nicholas Warnet . D5 . Michael Kuenstle
Pedagogy Text Interview between Michel Rojkind Architrave staff. 23 September 2013. Crysler, C. Greig. “Critical Pedagogy and Architectural Education.” Journal of Architectural Education 48.4 (1995): 208-17. Web. Ibid. Ibid. Interview between Mark McGlothlin and Architrave staff. 12 October 2013.
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Colomina, Beatriz. “Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education.” The Architectural Review. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web.
Images Corina Ocanto + Elia Magari . D7 . Thomas Smith Mitch Clarke + Kaitlin Knotts . D7 . Nancy Clark Dijana Milenov . D7 . Alfonso Perez Mitch Clarke + Kaitlin Knotts . D7 . Nancy Clark
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Doonan, Simon. Why the Art World Is So Loathsome. Slate. Nov 2012. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/ doonan/2012/11/art_basel_why_i_m_not_going_ hint_it_s_because_the_modern_art_world_is_the. single.html Freeman, Belmont. Digital Deception. Design Observer. 13 May 2013. http://places.designobserver.com/ feature/digital-deception-architectural-photographyafter-photoshop/37838/ Baudrillard, Jean, Nouvel, Jean. The Singular Objects of Architecture. Trans. Robert Bononno. Minneapolis: Univ of Minnesota Press, 2005
Images Dijana Milenov . D7 . Alfonso Perez Dijana Milenov . D7 . Alfonso Perez Luis Ramirez . D7 . Alfonso Perez Felipe Hernandez + Martin Fernandez . D7 . Donna Cohen
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Supra note 7. Ibid.
Images Brittany Sosa + Jessica Klink . D7 . Thomas Smith Ignacio Porzecanski,. Molded cheese. Private correspondence. Received 11 November, 2013. Felipe Hernandez . D6 . Thomas Smith Kayla Ford . D5 . Thomas Smith
EDITORS / CONTRIBUTORS
Zachary Wignall - Senior Editor
Derrick Archer - Senior Editor Bre Rouse - Junior Editor
Creative Miguel Castañeda - Senior Editor
Marissa Volk - Junior Editor Alina Chevstov Katelynn Smith Lauralee Williams
Finance Antony Darce - Senior Editor Alyssa White - Junior Editor
Marketing Elizabeth Morales - Senior Editor Alex Fernandez Kevin Marblestone
Nicholas Warnet Patrick Weber Sam Sidersky
Script John Fechtel - Senior Editor Agustína Sklar Alex D’Haeseleer Allison Zuccaro Cami Cupples
Corina Ocanto - Senior Editor
Andres Camacho - Junior Editor
Bernie Dioguardi - Junior Editor
Laura Rodriguez - Junior Editor
Architrave would like to thank Martin Gold, Bradley Walters, Lee-Su Huang, Martha Kohen, Nancy Clark, Mark McGlothlin, Charlie Hailey, Donna Cohen and all the SoA faculty and staff for their continued support and assistance in the conception of this publication.
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