PORTFOLIO WEIS FELD
CONTENTS the work contained in this portfolio is a collection of my architectural pursuits. throughout my study i have only just begun to realize the responsibility designers have and their role in society. the power of design is significant in shaping a community, a city, and a culture. this realization has led me to seek out different ways of organizing space, articulating volume, and using material purposefully. each project in this body of work explores new territory in my perception of societal improvement. the bredth of work spans material, use, connection, development, and the power of an idea and that ideaâ€™s capability. i believe that there are better ways to build the world, and architecture as more than a service is a start.
5th year comprehensive studio
SAMPLING 4th year topic studio
3rd year comprehensive studio
IN-BETWEEN URBANISM 4th year east asia abroad studio
5th year degree project
TIMBER as a concept, TIMBER is an experiment in material as a means for societal benefit. the project is an office highrise designed with heavy timber stretching eight stories above dtlaâ€™s arts district. natural materials are used instead of typical concrete and steel as a push for sustainable building with innovative form. TIMBER is completely constructed from wood. CLT panels create the floorplates and structural core, while prefabricated sections of glulam and pre-charred dimensional lumber make up the exoskeleton and envelope. TIMBER is primarily private leasable office space, but contains continuous public access which any passersby can explore during regular operation.
3rd and traction
public circulation form
facade and exoskeleton section study
unrolled public circulation section
leasable floor area
SAMPLING SAMPLING is designed from a highly conceptual process. i was set on develenclosed oping a generator for form which satisfies the spatial requirements for functional architecture as well as new formal organization.
the studio explored musical sampling techniques (cutting, rearranging, remixing, shuffling, etc.) and applied them to the design process. form, program, exposed interaction, and ultimately purpose, is derived from sampling a catalog of forms and modifications. SAMPLING is a live-work community protected communal which provides space for artisan bicycle builders who design, build, and sell their bicycles. a continuous conveyor belt spatial types moves through the building to transport and showcase finished bicycles.
ob servator y
public / landscape samples
o ffi c e s a m p l e s
s e c t i on a
se c t io n b
1/8” = 1’ - 0 ”
1 /8 ” = 1 ’ - 0 ”
E. FIRST S T. J U D G E J O H N A I S O S T.
floor plan L11 observation tower
floor plan L07 residential block
floor plan L05 residential and communal
floor plan G01 cafe and bicycle store
floor plan B01 factory and loading
sample iteration A
view from city hall
sample iteration B
view from parking lot
view from street
view from back alley
CALA, A+D CALA, A+D is a museum, public gathering space, and an access point between two disconnected los angeles communities: boyle heights and the arts district. the project is sited over the los angeles river beside the historic first street bridge and provides an opporunity to relink these zones. my process focused on the reconnecting potential by joining the bridge, CALA, the A+D museum, arts district, boyle heights, and the los angeles river together. the proposal includes a gold line metro stop on the bridge and extensive public space for all communities. the project opens up and circulates around a center atrium to the river below, furthering the connection to the los angeles river redevelopment project.
Auditorium Level Plan
Auditorium Level Plan
Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 60’-0”
Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 60’-0”
Auditorium Level Plan
Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 60’-0”
Exterior Event Space A
To CALA First Street Bridge Access Point
Exterior Event Space B
Back of House
Bridge Level Plan
Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 40’-0”
Bridge Level Plan
Scale: 1/16” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 40’-0”
Gallery Space Classroom B
Classroom C To Retail
To Retail Office Kitchen
CALA Level Plan
Scale: 1/16” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 25’-0”
Library / Book Store
LA River Access Point
Reception / Gift Shop LA River Bike Path
Side Entry Make Maker M ker Sp pace ce e To CALA Cafe Kitchen
LA River Vehicle Path
River Level Plan To CALA
Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” River Bank + 5’-0”
River Level Public Park Level
Scale: 1/16” = 1’ - 0” Courtyard Facing North
Scale: 1/16” = 1’ - 0” Auditorium Facing North
Public Outdoor Gathering
Library Auditorium Level
Public Park Level
Public Park Level
Section E1 Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0”
WaterEast Level Main Gallery Facing
Scale: 1/16” = 1’ - 0” Main Gallery Facing East
yle Heig ew - Bo
r Park Vi
Scale: 1/64” = 1’ - 0”
Auditorium Seating Stage
Mechanical Room Section A1 Scale: 1/32” = 1’ - 0” Auditorium Facing North
3/8” Plywood Reflectors Double Pane Heavy Glass Occupied Seating
Major - Steel Trusses Minor - Post and Beam Foundation - Concrete Caisons
NRC: 0.15 NRC: 0.05 NRC: 0.32
Reverberation Time: 1.74 seconds
Longest Span: 155’-0”
Circulation / Access
Gold Line Metro Stop Bridge Level Drop-off LA River Park Pathway
HVAC Plumbing Electrical
Facade Conditions North Faces East Faces South Faces West Faces
Open Glazing 12” Fins 12” Louvers 8” Fins
Estimated Unconditioned Temperature: 82°F
Proposed River Condition Bike Path Seating Community Gardens Consistant Water Level: 18’-0”
Proposed River Condition
Proposed River Condition
Work Learn Play
Bike Path Seating Community Gardens
Bike Path Seating Community Gardens
Total Occupiable Space: 36,890ft³
Consistant Water Level: 18’-0”
Consistant Water Level: 18’-0”
auditorium and gold line
view from arts district
INBETWEEN URBANISM during my semester abroad in east-asia i observed a number of peculiarities. chief among them was the intense utilization of any and all space in urban zones. this short essay is an identification of existing areas conducive to that spatial utilization and postulating how that can be used to positively change similar urban zones. areas i visited in japan, china, hong kong, and taiwan seemed to value leftover space more than in western urban areas. my findings suggest that fostering conditions for community occupied development builds a stronger communal bond with immediate economic results. the INBETWEEN is the community.
Terms In-between: The leftover space after major real-estate acquisitions and developments. Interstitial. Top-down: Large volume capital development; corporate investment; exported prots. Bottom-up: Small volume capital development; personal investment; community-retained prots. Urban Landscape: The structure of urban interactions, including but not limited to built form. Convenience Interaction: Contact between urban inhabitants on the grounds of ease. Destination Interaction: Contact between urban inhabitants on the grounds of interest. Ephemerality: Of or describing the temporary nature of something.
Much of the world’s urban landscape is already established. Its core is occupied, the footprints are set, and the land is occupied. Vacant property is unattainable—cost and opportunity restrict reasonable development. How can there be further growth in such conditions? Must there ﬁrst be removal of what exists before new opportunities can arise? Do new developments need to wait for vacancy before they can have their turn? How long do they have to wait? Through the Metabolist lens, the only way for growth to continue eﬃciently is by starting again from nothing—a clean slate allows society to accommodate all the opportunities which utter densiﬁcation requires. We know, however, that other more realistic possibilities exist. There are proximities within existing conditions that reveal usable spaces in even the tightest scenarios. In Western development there is threshold of space below which we are afraid to occupy—even when that means using more space than is necessary as shown in Figure 01. Things can only be so cozy before we begin to ﬁnd them claustrophobic—the threshold between coziness and claustrophobic being diﬀerent in Western and Eastern urban zones. In contrast to Western developmental ideologies, East Asian urban centers shows how functional and how critical the in-between spaces are in the development of community within the urban environment. The in-between urban condition is solely reserved for the community-driven, bottom-up.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA Figueroa Corridor, The Row Center
KOBE, JAPAN Kitanagasadori
TOKYO, JAPAN Ueno Station, Ameya Yokocho
TAIPEI, TAIWAN Da’an District, Alleyway Stalls
Figure 01: Diagrams highlighting an identical urban typology (neighborhood commerical) as it exists in diﬀerent urban zones. Drawing credit to author.
Certain of East Asia’s urban zones deal with space quite diﬀerently. This reﬂection will observe documented instances in Tokyo, Taipei, and Kobe. Every square meter in the urban core has more value (or more accurately put, more opportunity) than an equal dimension in a Western setting. Development in the Western world seeks to continue outwards and upwards only. Only on vacancy does Western development re-look inwards. We often forget about the in-between. There are critical precedents in East Asia where development seeks to occupy the in-between. This is not always an expression of eﬃciency, but rather of necessity. Pairing this with the extensive infrastructures and the volume of space that infrastructure would otherwise render ‘unusable’, the value of the in-between begins to be apparent. The in-between in the urban environment is a phenomenon capable of enhancing the everyday urban dweller’s experience, and is a condition that should be emulated and studied in parallel urban zones while conditions necessary for its natural growth are fostered.
Figure 02: A zakkyo building with 34 diﬀerent businesses in Tokyo, Japan. Photo credit to author.
The in-between extends across many typologies; it can be dining, fruit stalls, local markets, drug stores, tourist trinkets, snacks, clothing stores, laundromats, currency exchanges, massage parlors, bookstores, karaoke, creative oﬃces, manufacturing, speciﬁc retail, pet grooming, bars, counterfeit goods, and even sleeping accommodations. They are found in various zones within the urban environment, including residential streets, alleys (especially around tourism zones), subway stations, beneath train tracks, and in repurposed buildings as with Tokyo’s common zakkyo buildings, shown in Figure 02. In much of Japan, especially Tokyo, the in-between is most apparent around transportation infrastructure. Figure 03 shows that infrastructural inﬁll is not ‘clutter’ or unappealing, but can serve as a showcase for infrastructural monumentality. The spaces which are undesirable to certain top-down developments leave lots of nooks and crannies for the bottom-up to grow. While top-down does ﬁnd itself in close proximity to transport infrastructure, it is typically found at the destination—the area around a station or the station itself. It is more common to ﬁnd bottom-up developments along and under the endless stretches of top-down infrastructure. It is in this developmental climate that allows for the rich variety of businesses, which in other circumstances may not have a chance, to experiment and thrive. This ties into the next important factor in urban environments: speed. 4
Development, renovation, redevelopment. The urban is rapidly and constantly changing. It is growing, decaying, revitalizing, and simply existing—at all times. The inhabitants follow a similar rhythm. How long does it take to get somewhere? where can I go from there? has that area improved? can I make it before my meeting at 2:30PM? The current urban climate is catering toward a culture of convenience. The eﬀort-to-satisfaction ratio is something which these types of spaces can easily accommodate. The in-between in Japan does respect its cultural context. Privacy and independence are a big issues in the culture, and the in-between can support those needs on the micro-interaction level. Personal space is still attainable despite tight physical limitations shown in Figure 04. Join convenience and independence and it is clear how the in-between is so prevalent in Japan—it is a supplement to the cultural practices which its occupants participate in.
Figure 03: Bicycle storage underneath a highway overpass near Uguisudani Station in Tokyo, Japan. Photo credit to author.
Figure 04: An ‘Ichiran’ ramen restaurant with optional individual booths for privacy in Tokyo, Japan. Photo credit to author.
Figure 05: The Kitanagasadori directly underneath train infrastructure in Kobe, Japan. Photo credit to author.
A speciﬁc example in Japan which expresses several types of in-between would be Kobe’s Kitanagasadori, visible in Figure 01. In this area there is a continuous stretch of small shops, restaurants, arcades, and karaoke bars located underneath the Tokaido Main Line. This area hosts three storefront faces, one facing the street from underneath the elevated rail tracks, and two others facing each other in an enclosed under-track corridor. This corridor is where the bottom-up thrives. Identical ecosystems exists in Tokyo’s Yurakucho station, Ueno station, Tokyo station, Kanda station, and essentially every station on the Yamanote line (Figure 06). Japan does an excellent and intentional job incubating this type of urban space. The existence of these spaces provide enough opportunity for business owners to occupy only the space they need—an eﬃciency 5
not possible in much of the Western developmental mindset. They are however, just one of several societies which realize the potential of the in-between. Taipei, Taiwan. A city of night markets. Here the in-between grows diﬀerently, and perhaps with less control. Street markets are abundant across the city, and these examples are in-between in time as much as they are in space. Most operate between 5:00PM and 12:00AM, leaving certain urban areas less active for much of the day. Take Shilin Night Market for example; this market (among others) is a mix of micro to medium scale businesses and temporary street stalls carts which sell food, clothing, souvenirs, alcohol, and even oﬀer carnival games (Figure 07). The ephemerality of much of the market (the carts and stalls which disappear from the area during nonbusiness hours) gives almost too much potential for bottom-up growth—too much meaning that sparsely regulated businesses have the potential to take advantage of urban participants. However for reasons soon to be highlighted, that type of nefarious activity is self-correcting in certain ways. Shilin and other night markets are points of intense urban interaction. They are frequented not only by tourists, but by families, students, adults, and the elderly of the immediate community (Figure 08). This is quite contrasting to other ephemeral markets in parallel urban zones (Hong Kong’s Mong Kok or Temple Street markets speciﬁcally) where the majority of clientele are tourists and the vendors are primarily interested in unloading merchandise, not in enhancing and interacting with the community. Community driven goals make these areas become more than just a shopping or dining zone—they become integral parts of the community for gathering, recreation, and small scale businesses. They are truly run by the community, servicing the community, beneﬁting the community.
Figure 06: An abundance of restaurants underneath train infrastructure near Tokyo Station, Tokyo, Japan. Photo credit to author.
Figure 07: Shiling Night Market has businesses moving with the crowd in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo credit to author.
Figure 08: Gongguan Night Market is known for its focus on food in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo credit to author.
It is useful to compare the above examples of Kitanagasadori and Shilin Night Market, as we can see what is central to successful in-between. Similarities are immediately recognizable. The urban inhabitants are constantly given the opportunity to interact within these spaces. In the Kitanagasadori that means that the workers, students, and residents who use the transport infrastructure itself must pass through and interact with the in-between, exposing them to what it oﬀers constantly. This does not guarantee a successful typology of in-between, but it does oﬀer a signiﬁcant ‘convenience’ factor when, for example, a person is traveling home and stops for dinner or groceries in-between along the way. This type of interaction is what could be classiﬁed as a ‘convenience interaction’. Shilin also oﬀers a type of convenience, but with a diﬀerent twist. The ephemerality of the market makes the organization diﬀerent every day. Visitors can expect a comfortably similar experience, but never the same experience. The market’s proximity to the MRT is helpful but not critical to its success in the same way proximity is to in-between in Japan. This type of in-between is better classiﬁed as a ‘destination interaction’ which in turn promotes urban interaction directly. The in-between as destination generates a focal point for bottom-up opportunities as opposed to Japan’s more micro-linear and macro-web manifestation of the type of space, which is more preferential to gradient bottom-up development (Figure 09).
Figure 09: Tokyo’s rail network (not shown are all minor lines) estimated at around 4,000 km of track. A signicant portion of that length, especially near stations, is utilized in-between space. Image Available: http://ontheworldmap.com/japan/city/tokyo/tokyo-train-map.jpg
In both cases the programs and opportunities exist in a dense state. The spaces which these programs occupy are utilized more eﬃciently in terms of space allocation than typical storefronts, malls, or other top-down commercial constructs. It is this density of urban content on a micro-scale that makes the in-between successful. Drawing from the brief comparison above, it is apparent that this urban condition works from the within the community outwards. The community must be interested in occupying, generating, maintaining, and interacting with the various programs within. Although regulatory conditions vary between the above examples (as they do with all others) the underlying theme is the interaction between people remains constant. Even on microinteractions such as server to diner, diner to diner, or shopper to cashier, there is interaction outside of the realm on top-down, and inside of the realm of ‘convenience’. Eﬃciency, value, interaction, and opportunity are manifest directly due to this condition. But are these zones of in-between something which will only be successful in East Asia? It appears that each society has its own ﬂavor of in-between in some way. Cultural speciﬁcity is necessary in the implementation of the in-between, and may explain why exporting such typologies is unsuccessful. Accepted cultural norms and local societal and political factors are clearly inﬂuential in the size and frequency of these interactions and spaces. Cultural comfort in small-scale and micro environments are not niche, but mainstream in Japan, and the Taiwanese urban zones allow for their night markets to exist, despite them being impossible to fully regulate and control. What needs to happen for a more successful, more widespread, in-between in Western nations, namely the United States? From the observations made in ﬁeld research and subsequently this writing, there are several key factors which have been identiﬁed as necessary for the in-between to exist. First, there must be some type of diﬃculty in new development or redevelopment. This diﬃculty is arguably already present: entrepreneurs already struggle with acquiring space to operate, and the most lucrative spaces are among the most diﬃcult to be regulated (i.e. in and around public transit hubs, in alleyways, on sidewalks, etc.). In addition to universal development issues, much of East Asia deals with intense land scarcity in urban zones. This is a problem that areas in Western development are beginning to feel more strongly than in the past 50 years. Second, the building and business regulations must allow for such developments—something which in most cases would be impossible in the Western mindset. Finally, and most importantly, the urban inhabitants must be willing to utilize these in-between spaces. With these conditions met, there is potential for in-between urban space to be eﬀectively utilized. These observations may indicate the potential for this condition to spread into urban centers which are not or have not yet reached critical points in their lack of space.
The overall beneﬁts of the in-between are apparent in nearly every facet of the urban condition: underutilized space serves the city in meaningful ways, greater opportunities for bottom-up development become possible, the urban condition will inherently have more variety, and the urban inhabitants have more opportunities to interact with each other through the city itself. More dense conditions allow for more ‘convenience interactions’ which point towards Jane Jacob’s vision of cities, and in her words “[c]ities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” The in-between is a direct of a manifestation of Jacob’s vision for healthy urban interaction. It is only when the city is responding to, and accommodating of, all inhabitants in all of their dealings, that they can be called successful.
Boontharm, Davisi, and Darko Radovic. Small Tokyo. Tokyo: Flick Studio, 2012. Print.
Caballero, Jorge Almazán, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto. “Tokyo Public Space Networks at the Intersection of the Commercial and the Domestic Realms: Study on Dividual Space” Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering November 2006/308: 301-308. Print.
Caballero, Jorge Almazán, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto. “Tokyo Public Space Networks at the Intersection of the Commercial and the Domestic Realms (Part II): Study on Urban Content Space” Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering May 2007/150: 143-150. Print.
Caballero, Jorge Almazán, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto. “Tokyo Public Space Networks at the Intersection of the Commercial and the Domestic Realms (Part III): Study on Transit Urban Centers” Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering November 2009/468: 461-468. Print.
Hakamori, Yo-Ichiro. Urban Structure: TUC, CUC. California. Los Angeles, California. University of Southern California School of Architecture. 2016, April 07. Lecture.
Hou, Jeﬀrey. Insurgent Public Space : Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage, 1992. Print.
Kaijima, Momoyo, Junzō Kuroda, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto. Made in Tokyo. Tōkyo: Kajima Shuppankai, 2001. Print.
Kanto Traﬃc Report Association. ”v http://www.train-media.net/report/. Online.
Koolhaas, Rem, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kayoko Ota, and Thomas Daniell. Project Japan: Metabolism Talks.../ Rem Koolhaas, Hans Ulrich Obrist ; Ed.: Kayoko Ota with James Westcott, AMO ;. KoÌln: Taschen, 2011. Print.
Mathews, Gordon. Ghetto at the Center of the World : Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.
FIELD STUDIES - URBANISM SIX SKETCHES
CENTRAL, HONG KONG
CHOI HUNG ESTATE
M50 ART DISTRICT
KOWLOON, HONG KONG
MEMORY the final embodiment of my architectural undergrad pursuits. in my degree paper and project i am interested in seeking out how architecture can fend for itself as an independent entity, and whether it survives, thrives, or fails in its own goals. ultimately architecture is a human construct: the bricks and mortar need human intervention to fall into place. however, the conceptual nature of architecture as an ideaâ€”or as a communicative mediumâ€”is beyond the physical. The non-physical is capable of existing beyond even the best maintained physical architecture. as long as the idea exists in memory then it is immortal. this is a work-in-progress that i plan to identify common factors of a memorable type of architecture.
Memory is a record. It is a reminder to the possessor of previous occurrences. The magnitude of the event affects the longevity of the memory. An insignificant memory may fade, while an exciting one remains vivid. In this same way, a section is a memory—a moment that exists statically, chosen for its excitement. A frozen representation of an object. The architect uses section to predict the future. The architect imagines the experience before it is possible, making a portal into spaces not yet crafted. This is the prediction of memory. It is in this prediction that architecture’s memory is first created. Each sketch, plan, and section becomes a different moment. Every iteration alludes to an architectural possibility. The architecture’s design produces its wildest memories. It is only after architecture is completed that memory can become repressed and upon completion, every other possibility is ignored (F igure 01). If architecture kept a record of those moments, it would be part of the architecture’s memory—the series of decisions that influenced its trajectory. A childhood, if you will. Each decision informs a moment of memory and therefore a moment recordable by the section. The architecture’s upbringing is its speculative conception.
Figure 01 _ The potential for architectural change throughout its lifetime; all of it is memory. Credit to Author.
There are memories in architecture in the same way there are memories in people. Perhaps a building thinks back to its first sketch, or its scaffolding, or to when its component parts were joined. Or perhaps it thinks to when it was nothing but an idea, nothing but words. The architecture has more than a physical presence; it is more than the sum of its parts. The architecture is a sum of its memories. It is the sum of the experience of each part—a process concealed by the finality of its own existence. I propose to show how the section is capable of describing the invisible iterations, decisions, and culminating existence of architecture and its memory. In architecture, buildings have historically been a representation of solidity. Structures endure: they have the capability to exist long beyond their makers, occupants, observers, admirers, and critics. They outlast external forces—societal shifts, new cultures and dying customs, the pinnacle of empires and the birth of revolutions—and internal stresses—states of care and neglect, people and events, colors, materials, and programming. Architecture can live a hundred lifetimes. Imagine if a piece of architecture wrote a history book, if all of the knowledge a building had could be communicated, if a building could share its memory. But what does it mean for a building to do such a thing? Let us begin by defining memory through two distinct categories: biological memory and architectural memory. First, and generally, memory will refer to moments of interest: firsts, collisions, conflicts, resolutions, discoveries, traumas, and achievements. Biological memory will specifically refer to what a person can remember while architectural memory will specifically refer to what the architecture has experienced. Architectural memory can be the manifestation of collective biological
memory, as in the case of events within the scope of the architecture in question.1 Events define architecture more than architecture defines itself. The goal of most architecture is to influence events, and those events comprise the architecture’s memory.2 I n biological memory, each instance is a record of an event from a single perspective, whereas architectural memory describes each instance as the sum of biological memory overlaid on form and space.3 Artifacts of use are apparent in the city. Roads crack, colors fade, materials wear. Wear is both biological and environmental. The section is capable of exposing the memory in architecture in several ways, first being its physical state. To reiterate, biological memory is a section of time recorded, stored, and retrieved by a single entity (a person), and architectural memory is the total collection of biological memories within its own boundaries, and of relevant environmental forces without its boundaries—biological memories are the parts of an architectural memory’s whole, generating a flux-field condition of reciprocal part-to-whole relationships.4 A section is also a memory. It is a glimpse into those moments—both past and future—allowing us to clearly see more than just spatial relationships, but the forces influencing experience within and around that which is sectioned. In biological memory, a section is the specific neural firing pattern that evokes a specific memory. In architecture, the section is indeed a two-dimensional tool… but, in architectural memory, a section acts biologically. It responds to the sensory input (inhabitants). The architectural memory is concrete when observing the past, and is made concrete through section.
Bernard Tschumi, The Manhattan Transcripts. Academy Editions. 1994. Ibid. 3 Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City. MIT Press. 1984. 4 Stan Allen, “From Object to Field,” Architectural Design, 1997. 1 2
The section is capable of signifying architectural memory; each architectural memory is created by and belongs to every person, event, and phenomenon involved. It is the sum of all individual memories that collectively informs the architectural memory, and thus, the matured value in the architecture. A person remembers sections of their lives better as a series of firsts. Their first day of school, first visit to a city, first interaction with someone, or the first time hearing a word; that section of their lives becomes a memory because it weighs more heavily than its immediate context of sections. As time goes on, that weight becomes less pressing, and memory fades. This significance gradient is not unique to biological memory. In architecture, we revere the work that was first: the newest, most unique, expression of space, material, and form. It is for that reason architectural history primarily recalls notable projects, movements, and technologies while it disregards the redundant, the unexciting, and the pastiche. Architectural history is itself a collection of architectural memories, chosen because they are a series of firsts. The architectural memory explains the architectural context. To ask why the ancient Mayans did not use steel and glass would be foolish—that culture at that time existed before the memory of steel and glass technologies. It is understood that the architecture of the time was influenced by its context—geography, climate, culture, materials, technology—and the architectural memory is therefore tied to those contextual markers. In biological memory, stimuli is stored as groups of neurons rigged to fire together, replicating the neural activity the initial experience triggered.5 This implies that biological memory is in fact tied to contextual neural markers in the same way architectural memory is tied
Joshua Foer, Moonwalking with Einstein. Penguin Books. 2011.
to its own context. Biological memory is stored all over the cortex, in specific regions responsible for processing the specific reactions for each memory.6 Sound, smell, sight, touch, pain, emotion, etc. are located more or less independently from each other. However these regions and their markers are fluid within their own confines.7 In an architectural context, Peter Zumthor asserts in an Archdaily interview that it is only possible to remember if there is an emotional response.8 This implies that architectural history is actually only a portion of architectural memory. The remainder is comprised of emotion, day-to-day interaction, and the inhabitants whose biological memory generates the architectural memory. Zumthor elaborates on his process, describing it as observational. He finds discrepancies between textbook history and its actual record. He says “the true history, our families’ history, our people’s history, is here, and here, and there, and once again here,” throwing the validity of certain recorded architectural memory into question.9 In order to substantiate history, we must record more than the obvious—we must record the architectural memory. But how? What form of data, image, drawing, or eye-witness is necessary? If every building could show its scaffolding, then certain processes would be more apparent. Efficiencies, redundancies, techniques, and accidents could be read. Of course physically retaining scaffolding is unhelpful, intrusive, and potentially detrimental to architectural functions. The abstraction of scaffolding and its necessary influence on design are the points of interest.10 The trucks, workers, and tools that brought the building together also Ibid. Ibid. 8 Nico Saieh, “Multiplicity and Memory: Talking About Architecture with Peter Zumthor,” Archdaily. 2010. 9 Ibid. 10 Enrique Walker, “Scaffolding,” Log, no. 31 (2014): 59-61. The majority of what makes architecture architecture isn’t part of the physical architecture. The necessary but invisible parts and processes of architecture should not be forgotten. 6 7
disappear when it is completed. The maintenance staff retire their mops, buckets, and paint brushes out of sight, and the occupants are not constantly performing the intended programmatic function—under no circumstance is the full bounds of architecture apparent. For those reasons, buildings are better explained in terms of process, frames, and sequences. Through those means it is possible to expand the understanding of intention compared to result, and as a designer, more accurately predict the future. One example is adaptive reuse. I have been conducting my research for this investigation while sitting in a residential loft in a repurposed bank building. Why would this building be exempt from historical preservation efforts while some of its contemporaries are not? The contextual markers in the underlying architectural memory drive that distinction. There is emotion tied to architecture, and in most people’s minds today, it is a misunderstood phenomenon.11 Libeskind argues that architecture is in fact not recorded; he goes to say “Architecture is the biggest unwritten document of history.”12 Architecture is the record, and the architecture has memory. The designer, location, purpose, and material may be recorded, but the memory in them is not curated as history is. Those parameters (among many others) are independent values which belong to the architecture, but must be evaluated beyond their collective sum in order to understand the architectural memory. Material, as component of the architectural assemblage, displays physical proof of memory—artifacts of experience manifest in the surface finish and structural integrity of the material13. Material is erected, maintained, and degraded. Material experiences luster, fatigue,
Daniel Libeskind, “We musn’t forget the emotional impact of the buildings around us”. CNN Style. July 20, 2017. 12 Ibid. 13 Manuel Delanda, Assemblage Theory. Edinburgh University Press. 2016. 11
and wear. Material does not experience death as long as it stays architecture. Take for example, the Croatian statue, Gregory of Nin. The icon itself is a tribute to memory—an immortalization of man in material. The material itself is not unliving. The material remembers (F igure 02).
Figure 02 _ The material remembers every touch, and every touch rubs the material smooth. http://dickschmitt.com/travels/Croatia/dalmatia/split/target54.html
The architectural memory is concrete when observing the past, and ephemeral when observing the future. This leads us to implied memory, or the section. Implied memory is when the architectural memory is not defined by its context, but rather alternate versions of itself.14 Connotation referencing connotation referencing connotation loses itself along the way. In these cases, those who represent the memory have the power to manipulate it. Denotation must be referenced actively otherwise the predicted architectural memory is unlikely to align with the actual thing.
Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture. Birkhäuser Architecture. 2010. Signs reference signs.
The section is therefore a mnemonic device. It allows us to forget the specifics of an architectural memory because it becomes a record we can retrieve and examine anew. There is no need for eidetic memories because the section recalls them precisely. However this requires that there be no bias in the memory—nothing can be excluded, nor anything false added. The people, the soil, the political climate, the environmental climate, the architecture, and the cultural value; so on and so forth, until it comprises everything. This brings out another difference between architectural and biological memory—there is no choice in memory. The technologies of the digital age allow us to generate and store entire collections of data which are capable of instant recall if cataloged correctly. Data repositories in certain fields like weather forecasting allow predictions to be made accurately without accurately understanding phenomena.15 These tools are better suited for identifying an end goal (the desired memory) and devising the process to reach that goal after-the-fact. Accurately imagining future memory through infinite iteration is possible.16 The end goal is an unknown object within a known objectile17. If we think about this in analogous terms, the architecture is the object and its memories are the parameters influencing its manipulation in the objectile. An explored objectile renders every possible memory based on the input parameters. This shows every possible memory, and based on desired criteria, can lead designers to an effective solution quickly. Recognizing events as architecturally relevant is hardly groundbreaking. Bernard Tschumi’s work in Advertisements for Architecture, and The Manhattan Transcripts are
Mario Carpo, “Breaking the Curve,” Artforum International, vol. 6, pg.172. 2014. Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm. MIT P ress. 2011. The objectile being every possible iteration from a known ‘parent’ object, based on a static set of variable parameters. 17 Ibid. 15 16
thorough investigations in that effort.18 They exemplify the importance of the time, of the people, and the influence of the architecture (Figure 03).
Figure 03 _ Advertisements for Architecture, Bernard Tschumi.19
Bernard Tschumi. “Advertisements in Architecture,” Bernard Tschumi Architects, 1976-1977. Ibid.
Figure 04 _ The Block, Bernard Tschumi’s MT04.20
Bernard Tschumi, The Manhattan Transcripts. Academy Editions. 1994.
There are many layers of memory. They are difficult to quantify because they hold different values for different groups. These values exist simultaneously for the same entities. The architectural memory must account for all perspectives—it cannot decide on a single set of biological memories. Designers must realize they are creating not just a mere object, but a site for a collection of memories—a collection of sections of an object. In the contemporary urban setting architecture is populating an intense field of interrelated components, each with a unique set of parameters justifying their existence.21 The quality of each object in the field varies, affecting the intensity of the memory. The memories of adjacent architectures affect one another. Each instance of architecture could exist independently, but could not have been created independently. Program in architecture changes constantly. A residence can become a crime scene, a sports arena can become emergency shelter, a park can become a protest. These events are temporary unplanned (in contrast to Corbusier) shifts in the architecture, and are part of its collective memory. The French Revolution, Vietnam War protests, Tiananmen Square, Occupy Wall Street, or the Umbrella Revolution were all temporary changes in static space which the space itself experiences, grows from, decays from, and changes from. Periods of increased stress on architecture at a regional scale, pushed forward by increased occupancy. Equal in importance, but opposite in intensity, are the micro-programmatic changes. Unscripted actions in a scripted programmatic environment are inevitable. An office is not built for work; an office is built for workers. The workers work, but they also relax, socialize, and procrastinate. In one moment a cubicle is a workspace (productive), and the next it is fitness (stretching), then back to a
Stan Allen, “From Object to Field,” Architectural Design, 1997.
workspace (productive). The program changes constantly, from moment to moment. The architect did not design the office for procrastination, but the building experiences it regardless. These moments are not always considered when designing buildings… but they could be. The architect’s tools can describe these moments (Figure 05).
Figure 05 _ The section freezes a moment, making a spatial memory. Kowloon Walled City and its various programs. https://blog.nextthing.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/opener.jpg.
But why use a section? Why not use a plan? According to Le Corbusier, architecture’s sensation is derived from its organization—control develops experience, therefore control develops memory. He advocates for the plan: “The Plan is the generator. Without a plan, you have lack of order, and wilfulness [sic]. The Plan holds in itself the essence of sensation. The great problems of to-morrow [sic], dictated by collective necessities, put the question of “plan” in a new form. Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan both for the house and for the city.” 22
Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture. Dover Publications, 1985. Specifically referencing his advocation for modern architecture as a style independent of site context, or architecture as a universalism.
In his vision, the architectural memory is not contextual, but universal. It can exist wherever the designer decides. This is contrary to the aforementioned concept of memory and its infinitely unique contextual ties to site, people, and events. Corbusier was not the only one to think this way. There are many instances where future memories are used to influence the present. Kenzo Tange’s master plan for Tokyo Bay, Archigram’s Plug-In City, and Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse are attempts to ignore the past in an effort to improve the future. Wildly ambitious urban schemes interested in pursuing an assumed but unknown goal.23 It is a curious result, then, that unrealized architecture has a memory as well. These experiments attempt to develop non-contextual urban-scale applications for architecture. Their origins however are the result of those same contextual markers that when evaluated fully, describe all built architecture. The political climate, social movements, and urban requirements are the parameters guiding the memory—they are the parameters of the objectile.
Figure 06 _ Corbusier’s visual example for why the plan is the best tool for organizing space.24
Architectural memory must not be dismissed. The predictable repeatability in today’s built environment is creating a material and spatial agnosia25. Material qualities become ignored; architectural elements become expected, solidified, commercialized, and defining. The lighting,
Ibid. Agnosia: A loss in an individual’s ability to process sensory information, resulting in inability to recognize sound, smells, people, objects, or places despite there being no damage to the sensory organs or memory centers. In this context, redundancy and predictability are
fire-safety, and HVAC define a space more than architecture of late.26 There begins to be a disconnection between what space was and what space is, which will lead us to not know what space will be. Biological memory has an inherent connection to the past—it is simply a record of earlier conditions (spatial, emotional, etc). However this amassed memory is only useful if it is actually used to evaluate the present and envision the future, predicting multiple possibilities for the architecture, which reciprocally generate the architectural memory. Returning to Corbusier, his prediction of the future relied almost completely on the plan. His v ision for Ville Radieuse was a plan, which ignored the experiential qualities of the space he was so intent on crafting. Even in Towards a New Architecture, we can see Corbusier advocating for the plan, describing its usefulness, while using a section to visualize it27. The fact that even such an avid advocate of the plan must employ a section to make his plan useful shows that the section is a more relevant, productive tool to architectural memory. The section is the relevant tool because the section is a temporal tool. The section describes intangible experience through breaking physical boundaries. If the architecture is physical, then its memory is temporal—intangible but still existing. The memory in buildings can inform the future. We can learn from them—which conditions were productive and what prompted stagnation, identify tyranny and predict benevolence—using the same tools as predicting the weather.28 It is important to understand that memory fades—it loses clarity the longer it goes without retrieval. Architectural memory is no different. It must be recorded. Architecture must not continue down its road of self-inflicted dementia. Memory is recorded
Rem Koolhaas, “Junkspace,” Quodlibet. 2006. Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture. Dover Publications, 1985. 28 Mario Carpo, “Breaking the Curve,” Artforum International, vol. 6, pg.172. 2014. 26 27
casually as it is experienced, but must be remembered with discipline. Memory implies sequence, but does not define it. The collective experience that architecture records becomes more valuable than any architecture the designer could have intentionally made—not only do we learn what material, form, and spatial conditions produce, but the potential interaction, program change, societal reaction to, and usage of architecture. It is the flexibility of architecture that creates its ephemerality. For instance: a designer builds a bank, but it becomes a loft, and also a gallery, and also a fitness center. The architecture has grown. It has assumed new responsibility, served new occupants, and undergone material change—what would happen if the designer intentionally designed a building capable of satisfying all programs simultaneously? Does the architecture fail to satisfy the needs of one? Do the market forces drive the program to whatever generates the largest margin? We must recognize the designers role in architecture is limited, but profound. The designer must see the future a hundred times before acting in the present. The designer must recognize that the building will grow and learn. The designer must remember: “One who cannot remember can hardly imagine because memory is the soil of the imagination.”29
Marc Trieb, Spatial Recall: Memory in architecture and landscape”. Routledge, 2009.
References Allen, Stan, “From Object to Field” Architectural Design (AD), vol. 67. Pg. 24-31. May-June 1997. Carpo, Mario. The Alphabet and the Algorithm. Writing Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011. Carpo, Mario. "Breaking the Curve." Artforum International 52, no. 6 (2014): 169-170,172-173. Corbusier, Le. Towards a New Architecture. Dover Publications, 1985. DeLanda, Manuel. Assemblage Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016. Foer, Joshua. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Penguin Books, London: Allen Lane, 2011. *Hill, Jonathan. Architecture—the subject is matter. New York, Routledge. 2001.
“Architects are caught in a vicious c ircle; in order to defend their idea of architecture they often adopt practices, forms and materials already identified with the work of architects. Traditionally, architectural matter is understood to be the physical substance of buildings, and architects employ a limited palette of materials such as steel, glass, brick and concrete.” “There are now many architectures This book acknowledges architecture far beyond the familiar boundaries of the discipline and reassesses the object at its center: the building. Architectural matter is not always physical or building fabric. It is whatever architecture is made of, whether words, bricks, blood cells, sounds or pixels.”
Libeskind, Daniel. “We musn’t forget the emotional impact of the buildings around us,” CNN Style. July 20, 2017. h ttp://www.cnn.com/style/article/daniel-libeskind-architecture-emotions/index.html. Koolhaas, Rem. “Junkspace,” Quodlibet, Italy. 2006. Rossi, Aldo. The Architecture of the City. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1984. Saieh, Nico. "Multiplicity and Memory: Talking About Architecture with Peter Zumthor." ArchDaily. November 02, 2010.
Treib, Marc. Spatial Recall: Memory in architecture and landscape. New York, Routledge. 2009. Tschumi, Bernard. “Advertisements for Architecture.” Bernard Tschumi Architects, 1976-1977, http://www.tschumi.com/projects/19/. Tschumi, Bernard. The Manhattan Transcripts. New ed. Academy Editions, London : New York, N.Y. 1994. Walker, Enrique. "Scaffolding." Log, no. 31 (2014): 59-61. Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. Birkhäuser Architecture. 3rd edition. June 2010.
morphing typology A.rep // 502a // assignment 12
morphing typology B.rep // 502a // assignment 12
5 year undergraduate portfolio for the USC School of Architecture