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COMPENDIUM OF THOUGHTS THROUGH DESIGN DISCOURSE Brian Andrew Buckner Candidate, Master of Science Advanced Architectural Design, 2011 Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

CONTACT Brian Andrew Buckner e: e: a: 1320 York Avenue, 21 – H, New York, New York 10021 a: 1211 Discover Green Lane, Mableton, Georgia 30126 c: 770 823 1206

CONTENT INTRODUCTION Hi ADVANCED DESIGN STUDIO Damage Control Salvage Art Institute Mark Wasiuta ARTICLE 12 Dialogical and Poetic Strategies Irony, Interpretation, Postmodernism Yehuda Safran ADVANCED DESIGN STUDIO (n)certainties Sadistic Apiary Francois Roche w / Ezio Blasetti VISUAL STUDY Swarm Intelligence Paparazzi Roland Snooks ARTICLE Metropolis A Critique of The New Museum Enrique Walker w / Diana Martinez

ADVANCED DESIGN STUDIO Parallel MoMA MoMA Mimi Hoang & Eric Bunge SEMINAR Other Design Diagrams Michael Rock w / Yoonjai Choi SEMINAR Saturated Models Models, Objects, Handrails Alistair Gill & Veronika Schmid


INTRODUCTION My intention has been, and continues to be, to set an irregular, demanding, and challenging path. One that rarely repeats, but allows overlaps and evolution. Perhaps it is as difficult to define the path as it is to adhere to it.

SALVAGE ART INSTITUTE The Salvage Art Institute is a developing institution on Staten Island, New York. The concept for this design studio was to postulate strategies of attending to the massive collection of totalloss damaged art and artifacts currently being stored in museums and auction houses around the world. The studio evaluated current economic trends in art dealings and evaluation measures for damaged art. A revised procedural scenario was design to coordinate with the program of the institution. This theoretical proposal for the institution investigates creating a framework for the act of (re)damaging valueless art and artifacts. Through these coordinated destructive actions a development of potential protocols for response initiatives to damage events is established. The design proposes creating a massive scale event out of the damage act; a spectacle and amusement.

The process began with examining the process of controlled burns and wildfire prevention and suppression.

An initial investigation into an existing damage control scenario explored the process and repercussion of controlled burns in forest fires.

A series of hypothesized damage events. A pavilion design to engage a damage event in order to witness both the destruction and damage control.





























A redevelopment of the typical program of AXA as an insurance company, paired with the potential of the Salvage Art Institute to be a part of their program was examined.





150,000,000 ELEVATION 5000 100,000,000 ELEVATION 4000 50,000,000






13,644 ACRES



57,160 ACRES


31,772 ACRES


4,031 ACRES


Further investigation into fire control and prevention measures led to the examination of cellulose compounds and their deploy-ability as architectural devices. More formal investigations followed based upon the aggregation properties of the material.

1,174 ACRES





From top: Level 04 Observation Deck, Level 02 Observation Platform, Level -01 Basement Storage, Axonometric Drawing

The diagram above (top) depicts the zones of activity, or experimental areas. The second expresses the public egress in blue and orange with core elements in green.


Citations Colebrook, Claire. Irony. New York. Routledge. 2004. Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Chicago. University of Chicago. 1978. Eco, Umberto. Postscript to the Name of the Rose. New York. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1984. Novitz, David. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Winter, 1985), pp. 101-114. Plato, Morris Kaplan. The Socratic Dialogues. New York. Kaplan Publishing. 2009. Powell, Jim. Postmodernism for Beginners. Danbury, CT. Writers and Readers. 1998. Searle, J. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1969. Taylor, Mark C. Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion. Chicago. University of Chicago. Venturi, Robert. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. New York. Museum of Modern Art. 1977.

If we develop an understanding that the world projected is our world projected outwards, then we will begin to understand that, due to internal interpretation, we will never fully understand the world. Since we are all a part of this world we will never fully understand each other as we are all projecting our personal interpretation into the world creating disjuncture in interpretation.

dote by the late Mitch Hedberg:

Irony is most often defined as a discrepancy between what is said and what is meant - the use of words to express something opposing its literal meaning. Irony may be attributed to certain insinuations of communication that an author assumes while attempting to speak. Is irony only ironical when an author is aware of the discrepancy in their speech? Is irony always intended? Or due to interpretation, can irony actually be misunderstand or mistaken due to divide and discrepancy between author and audience? If it is plausible to misunderstand something or someone as being ironical due to a personal interpretation then is it acceptable to say that all an author says is ironic and that we will never fully understand due to interpretational caused irony?

The anecdote expresses time and the direct context of a verbal statement and the immediacy of the passing of time that allows the statement meaning to become obsolete. In this very manner, Barthes expresses that due to the implications of an authors own context and immediate situation, a reader or audience may never truly be able to understand the work of the author simply because they were not present when the author was writing. Nor may it be possible for the author to imply the context in which he is writing so absolutely that the reader may have a true understanding of the text. Text therefore, is openly interpretational in its inability to convey the essence and absolute truths that are implied with the immediate context of the author. The audience is left with the duty to build a context around any gap or hole in the author’s story.

Interpretation and irony In “The Death of the Author,” an essay by Roland Barthes, he says of writing: “…once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality - that ism finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol - this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins. Nevertheless, the feeling about this phenomenon has been variable; in primitive societies, narrative is never undertaken by a person, but by a mediator, a shaman or speaker, whose “performance” may be admired (that is, his mastery of the narrative code), but not his ‘genius.’ “While Barthes was discussing more textual content, the essay may be recounted and applied to verbal narrative as well in present context. In both verbal and textual narrative an author attempts to express a particular point of view or idea. Textually speaking, it is arguable, due to the time context that one may read that text, that an ironic misunderstanding may occur. The situational context in which an author communicates an idea carries with it a plethora of metaphorical baggage. Time, circumstance, and individual interpretation, or bias, all effect how an individual tells a story or retells an event or tale. Hence the more viable understanding that an author, in both writing or literature and every day context is more appropriately understood as a mediator. A simple anecdote to express the importance of time in interpretation and context may be seen in an anec-

“I mumble a lot off-stage, I’m a mumbler. If I’m walking with a friend and I say something, he won’t hear me. He’ll say ‘What?’. So I’ll say it again, but once again he doesn’t hear me. So he says ‘What?’. But really it’s just some insignificant sh*t that I’m saying. But now I’m yelling, ‘That tree is very far away.’”

Socratic irony operates similarly to this notion of truth and irony as it involves an understanding that there are particular truths already present before speech occurs. Speech is a mediator to express an existing meaning of a particular situation. Speech is convoluted and can never aptly nor truthfully describe a scenario or situation due to the bias of the author presenting the speech. “Socratic irony is, therefore, not just saying one thing and meaning another. It is an insistence that what we say must have some meaning; that we cannot just offer some wisdoms and definitions of rhetorical strategies without commitment to what they mean.” (Colebrook) Socrates employed this particular irony in a different context than the present, clearly. Plato expresses the use of irony by Socrates as an almost systematic approach to interrogation of an individual’s wisdom or belief or concept. By simply questioning and never offering an opposition or alternative proposition to a reply, the depth or truth to a particular concept may be followed deeply and eventually return a sort of contradictory reply. In the Socratic Dialogue Euthyphro Socrates actively questions Euthyphro in regards to an affair between he and his father whom he is accusing of murder. Socrates initiates the dialogue by inquiring for an understanding of what is pious and impious. Euthyphro is caught on multiple occasions giving almost no definition of these terms, but rather giving examples terms, but rather giving examples or metaphors of

what these terms may related to. “Socrates: And what is piety, and what is impiety? Euthyphro: Piety is doing as I am doing; that is to say prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, sacrilege, or of any similar crime - whether he be your father or mother, or whoever he may be - that makes no difference; and not to prosecute them is impiety…” (Plato) Euthyphro, after attempting to explain that there are many other acts of impiety, decides to define the terms in relation to the gods. Socrates again questions this meaning as even the gods quarrel and do not agree on that which is pleasing or not in many instances. Yet again the definition falls short of the truth that Socrates desires to hear so the dialogue continues. Euthyphro defines, for the third time and again in relationship to the gods, piety as what is dear to the gods and impiety as what is not dear to them. Yet the as the discussion continues it becomes evident that this third definition is also flawed. It is agreed that the gods love the pious and dislike the impious so if the measure for that which they love is piety then the definition of piety cannot be what they love. Without describing the final answers and the resolution of the dialogue, one can clearly see that Socrates does not offer an answer or alternative meaning to the question but rather directs the individual to respond with another moral meaning. Socrates standing on the subject remains to be seen and thus he is more ambivalent to the situation. He acts as a mediator to the dialogue and allows the individual to effectively prove himself wrong.

idea that meaning lies behind a text is itself an effect of text; we could not have the notion of meaning without certain fixtures or metaphors.” The post structuralist thought in the late twentieth century shared the notion of metaphor as a diluting substance to the validity to language. Some believed that all language, and hence all meaning, was and is metaphorical and therefore lacked true meaning. Metaphor relies on an understanding of the contents of the metaphor while also understanding a second component of the analogy at hand. So contextually speaking, you must know more than the surface context of the speech but also the metaphorical context in which it is being used. This reliance upon “the other” actively engages irony as one may be emphasizing one component of a metaphor but implying another. The ambiguity and complexity of the relationship requires an abundance of knowledge of both the spoken and the other unspoken component of speech. The context of the metaphor is altogether imperative to understand in this situation. Metaphor may also be used to attenuate a concept and free it of unnecessary implications or connections by supplying a secondary supportive definition. The metaphor may assist an author in articulating a particular concept by replacing context that may or may not have been implied or received by those the author is communicating with. This purposed irony, saying one by defining it in multiple contexts or anecdotes, is an example of the importance of interpretation and the plausibility of misinterpretation. It is precisely when misinterpretation occurs that irony is present.

Another way to respond to the replies given by those individuals interrogated by Socrates is to say that they offered more metaphorical meanings than definitions to the questions. The notion of metaphor is an important aspect of irony. It is due to the use of metaphor and subjects’ ability to be interpreted through a series of metaphors that depreciates the strength of a particular speech or text. It is possible through metaphor or analogy to transfer one meaning onto another and thus reduce its meaning down to that of another. To whom this original meaning belongs has certain questionable importance as interpretation once again becomes present.

Irony, while often actively used and understood on the part of the author, must surely be understood and cared for on the part of the audience. Due to interpretation and misinterpretation, context or lack there of, some time between author and audience there occurs irony as individual interpretation of the meaning of the author’s words occurs within the audience itself. The audience projects itself onto the words of the author and receives a distorted partially accurate understanding of the meaning the author is attempting to convey. Certainly, all that is said is received ironically.

For philosopher Jacques Derrida, all concepts are inextricably bound up with metaphor. Any concept that understands an aspect of some thing about or in the world as metaphor is necessarily logically invalid and therefore false. It relies on some extent of an understanding of another thing. Derrida is profoundly ironic in his readings because he does not necessarily look at what a text intend to say but rather what is said or done. He looks at the difference the texts create within the concepts and images that emerge. “The

It is not often that architecture is described as ironical, but if a interpretation has revealed anything it is that everything may be open to irony. Considering the reliance that architecture has to metaphor, and that a metaphor is the concept of understanding one thing in regards to another, then irony is most always evident in any architecture. Most often, architects may not intend on their work being ironical, as this may be interpreted or taken as a negative consequence to the way in which architects design and compose build-

Irony and postmodernity

ings, but certainly, conceptually, there is room to capitalize on the ironical element of architecture. The postmodern architects of the mid century perhaps knew the correlation between irony and architecture the best. With the likes of Michael Graves and Robert Venturi, the association between architecture and irony may be seen at its finest. Taylor, in Disfiguring: art, architecture, religion states that “from the time of Venturi’s apparent critique of modern architecture, irony has been recognized as one of the distinguishing features of postmodernism. However, neither supporters nor critics have examined the philosophical and theological presuppositions and implications of irony.” In postmodern architecture, there is a heavy reliance on the past in order to proceed and direct forward. The use of the past is never direct but is always indirect and in some sense ironic. The consistent reference to the past is never a truthful reference as it is a mimicry or parody of historical content. The original context that the architectural moment refers to have vanished and so there becomes a divide between the reference and its history. It becomes a shallow repetition of historical truth. The postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognizing that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited; but with irony, not innocently. I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows he cannot say to her, ‘I love you madly’, because he knows that she knows - and the she knows that he knows - that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. (Eco) Charles Jencks refers to the postmodern architectural maneuver as double coding. They can read like a book. When a building says two or more things simultaneously that are contradictory to themselves and that may even involve parody or mockery in their reference, then this is postmodern architecture for Jencks. An excellent example [of ironic postmodern architecture] is the AT&T building. It is a skyscraper in the shape of a grandfather clock. The building connects with us in a familiar way instead of being just a glass and steel box [ as with the modernist sky -scraper] the building also says grandfather clock. There is a double coding through the juxtaposition of styles - grandfather clock and skyscraper - so that irony, ambiguity, and contradiction emerge. This architecture says “both/and.” By combining the contemporary with the antique and the functional modernist and the decorative this building can mean many

things all at once… It is effective at communicating with us because of it’s own ironic self acceptance of all that has come before it. (Powell) The discussion of architecture and irony may be very well drawn out to include architects of practice today as well. The work of Frank Gehry and other architects of formal celebration may be seen as ironic. The internal ramifications of external formal squandering has left a disconnect between form and internal practical function. There is no explanation of the internal program due to the disjunction between the internal and external. Furthermore, much like the postmodern style of employing historical reference as a design manifesto, today’s postmodern architect also applies shallow image based references to their designs - see Guggenheim Bilboa which references a ship or the Burj-Al-Arab which reference the sails of ships. From the conception stages of architecture, through the overlap of metaphors with the design process architecture is plagued with irony. In its fullest form, the complete building, perhaps irony is most evident. Architecture is not just ironical when it is designed to imitate or reference some moment of historical content, but also in the experience had by its audience and inhabitants. Perhaps this is the most ironical moment because, thought the design of the building is teeming with thought, depth, emotion, and intricately designed moment, the inhabitant will fail to notice almost all of the richness that the design process held. The metaphor that once led the design process is all but absent, the architect has gone away, and what is left is a metal and stone monolith. The architecture is trying to express one thing, yet the inhabitants will only understand what their personal interpretation will tell them. Conclusion While irony may be purposed, intentional, and meaningful, due to the experiences that individuals do not share as a whole, communication in any fashion will always be obstructed by interpretation. We most recognize irony because of fixed conventions that we share with others. The shared human experience allows irony to exist and be understood as such. The capacity to create individual worlds complete with different rules for interpretation is also a shared experience, but one that allows irony to exist in everything communicated.


Through an employment of sadistic instruments within artificial hive apparatuses, a multiplicity of bee colonies constructs a domesticity of wax over a period of time. The process begins in the containment device — a cavernous, mobile, artificial housing — that reveals its interior construct of layered wax honeycomb with time. The containment device actively engages and amends the agents’ behaviors by negotiating the solid void relationship inherent in the agents’ constructive nature. A sequence of internal sadistic devices, intent upon aggravating and torturing the bees, further calculates the consequence of the agents’ energy. The instruments are employed to ensure a continuous void spaces for habitation through the hive construction.

A series of experiments were performed in order to establish protocols of design. With the utilization of wax as the sculptural material, form was created by layering multiple types of wax around a central armature. A starch and wax model explores the extrusion possibilities of the protocols for construction.

1 2 3 4 Diagrams of protocols of production. 1. Multiple bee colonies are introduced to the external hive apparatus 2. After hive growth sustains, internal machines are employed to articulate growth 3. External hive apparatus abandons the hive and its colonies 4. The resultant construct is revealed for habitation

The machine moves slowly over time actuated by the production inside. It is equipped with pistons and an exoskeleton to aid in movement and is camouflaged with local vegetation which also allows for immediate food supply.


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Built to terrorize and sadistically torment the bee animal. The internal machine traverses the hive and manipulates the bee’s behaviors by releasing smoke and ash into the air from its wood burning engine. The machine scales the active hive with pick like appendages complete and is completed with a smoke attachment to finely articulate the construction.

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The scenario takes place in an hypothetical field condition. The external machines are let loose to proceed as nature will intend as artificial hive apparatuses. The machines are stocked with a multitude of bees and the process of construction begins.

The elevation of the physical construct of the animal agent seen from the container device to the decades old end trails of the artifact. The honeycomb deteriorates slowly over time loosing its color and consistency and also its capacity to be habitable.

The interior of a fresh, fleshy, sticky, portion of the hive complete with scavenger bee colonies.

SWARM INTELLIGENCE Using processing as a tool, we examine the relationships between structure, space, and ornamentation in architectural language. The coding language of processing allows for a dialogue between the elements as one is designed to replace another depending on time and the need for space. The order between these elements looses traditional hierarchy and becomes more equivalent. By scripting the relationships, the elements are not stationary or predictable as in typical discourse but rather generative and emergent.

In this script three typologies of “agents� were created with hierarchical value. The script balances a ratio equation of structure, ornament, and space. The script allows parts of the coded architectural elements to die or change state to another agent class in order to remain balanced. Snapshots of the code in two dimensions (top) and three dimensions (bottom).

Different moments are seen here with varying degrees of what is structure and what is ornamentation. The structure is typically more rigid as one would expect while the ornamentation is an ode to filigree and delicacy. The filigree swarms around the structure creating a fibrous entity often becoming dense and solid appearing less delicate.


“Have the museum’s administrators and architects never heard of the taverns and derelicts that once gave the Bowery its proud, seedy identity?” Yes, and it is perhaps one of the reasons that the New Museum chose to relocate to the Bowery. In an attempt to continue and further its association with the sharp, raw, cutting edge, the New Museum decided to take up residence on a site previously occupied by a parking lot- perhaps to act alone and not displace the seamy residents. The new location speaks to the mission of the museum as much as the physical design does. Industrial materials that compose the façades and exhibition spaces relate subtly to the kitchen appliance, light industrial, and hardware stores and the disheveled structures that have lined the Bowery for so long. The paradox of the relocation is that through the progression of gentrification, the characteristics of the Bowery that were so attractive and engaging may disappear as it currently hovers between a “grungy past and an overpriced future.” From a distance, the New Museum shimmers in afternoon light and generates multiple personalities from morning to night as the light interacts with the multilayered facade. The scale of the museum is far more significant than most anything in the area and with the lack of apertures or openings on any face, you would expect the building to feel brutally large. However, it appears to successfully avoid imposition by shifting the series of stacked gallery and program boxes back and forth. This subtle shifting relieves the building of being too big and too brutal while the apparent breakdown relates well to the adjacent structures of three and four levels. The skin too contributes to the control of scale by giving a sort of “soft” appearance. It is only when you encounter the building from the sidewalk that you notice the harsh simplicity and almost abrasive quality the metal contains. By this time though, it is too late as the New Museum has drawn you in with its gestured extension of the sidewalk into the lobby. The stark simplicity of the exterior translates seamlessly into the lobby and the subsequent spaces. The metal skin has suddenly changed scale and become a ceiling plane only slightly concealing the mechanical and structural systems. As a continuation of the minimal form even the polished concrete floors contain no expansion joints yet are cracking to continue the dialogue with the street. The openness of the lobby continues only once you ascend the vertical circulation of fire stairs or the single oversized elevator. Either vertical path you choose to ascend offers close contact with those visitors, and often rapscallions, of the neighborhood. The circulation confines you momentarily only to offer relief upon arrival of each successive white gallery. Only when you notice the skylight openings do you realize that each floor plate

is slightly different from the last recalling that the white boxes stagger and shift as one traverses vertically. The strict requirement of the simple box seems to control the design as every surface is free of defect and color. Only the artwork in the galleries offers a relief from the blanked fenestration of the form and interior presenting quite the inverse from the context of the building to the Bowery. In the middle of the twentieth century, hopeful architects dreamed of positively influencing society through physical manifestation of building. They envisioned architecture of effect that would encourage public life and create thriving cultural experiences. Perhaps these architects dreamed too big. Perhaps they were dreaming too big as the designs that were proposed to fulfill this vision were often of a magnitude almost unmanageable or just unbuildable. Perhaps also, the dream itself was too big because in the end they found no real solution to positively affect society through a building. Today though, in the circumstance of the New Museum and the Bowery, it appears that a building can have positive socio-cultural and socio-economic consequence as the avantgardes once dreamed. Perhaps the scale of the vision of those early protagonists could have been reduced. Smaller increments of manageable sized “avant-garde dreaming” may be more successful and controllable while taking root. In regards to the Bowery, it is loaded with history as it has been a street of wealth, a street of inebriation and destitution, and is now a growing, developing thoroughfare. One could make the argument that the New Museum has played a significant role in the revitalization of the street by continuing the gentrification process previously established along Broadway in SoHo to the west. When viewed simply as a means to cleaning an area up and encouraging an optimistic social atmosphere, it is possible to say that gentrification is an affirmative and productive measure for any area. The process creates a safer community and encourages growth and redevelopment. The effects, at least in a capitalist society, seem undeniably positive and encouraging. Yet the ramification of increased value and enhanced growth does not come without cost. The capacity of gentrification, with its increase in value and cost of living- as these two things come hand in hand, often displaces the original settlers of the neighborhood. As gentrification slowly dislocates these individuals, often to worse conditions, it must be asked if gentrification is as constructive and fruitful as it appears to be. It may very well be that this is as close to the avant-garde dream as architects can be. No amount of social or cultural progression comes without negative consequence to someone.

PARALLEL MoMA MoMA is conceived through application of an urban condition into an architectural strategy. The urban condition considered from Tokyo, Japan focuses on the irregular usage of interstitial space created by seismic code applications which regulate space between buildings. These spaces, inherently private, are reappropriated through the reapplication of public function. These fissures become activated green space, back yards, circulation and communicative conduit, community and commercial space. The design of a new MoMA focuses on the creation of juxtaposed museum experiences in constant dialogue with each other. An urban museum, conceived as a public experience, has both formal and programmatic implications on a white

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

box museum as it seemingly carves through the massing allowing light to permeate every gallery. It implements planned open space in order to frame public event and art installations. The white box museum becomes an artifice to view art in a traditional MoMA fashion though the art becomes publicly visible and experienced constantly while it contains a private circulation path for visiting, paying patrons as well. MoMA becomes a private and public institution as the city is allowed to permeate its walls. The boundary between the two is blurred presenting a unique museum experience to the city.

New York, New York, United States

An early study diagram of the artwork existing in MoMA currently. The diagram presents an opportunity to experience multiple typologies of art from different vantage points at the same moment.

Diagram of Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan circulation paths and urban spaces.

Diagram of New York circulation paths and urban spaces around the MoMA site.

Study for Urban Museum Spaces

Massing Studies

Gesture Models of two systems in dialogue

Final-ish Model

Conceptual vignettes of experience and spatial strategies.

Building Strategy Diagrams

The museum program is placed upon the site in a mass. The existing MoMA is kept - with modification.

The massing is divided over the site as alleys or fissures introduce an urban space through the site.

The massing is manipulated to create more irregular urban space conditions as well as create a continuous building form.

The massing(s) overlap in moments in order to create circulation from one mass to another.

The manipulation of the massing and urban spaces create two circuits for circulation within the site. One MoMA museum experience, yellow, and the other urban spatial experience, cyan.

The result is a building form, urban spaces, and two circuits of museum experiences all in dialogue with one another.





































Program Diagram expressing the loop of circulation through the museum experience.

The bottom levels are dedicated for private and public uses. They are a consideration of both museum experiences.

The MoMA circuit of galleries dedicated for permanent collection.

Ground Floor Level

Building Section A

Fifth Floor Level

Building Section B

Entry of MoMA through a fissure in the urban fabric.

Animated drawing of the Museum Experience juxtaposed to the Urban experience.

View of the private amphitheater, above. View of Private gallery space looking over out to the urban experience, below.

Animated drawing of the Urban Experience juxtaposed to the Museum experience.

OTHER DESIGN Architecture begins and ends with drawing. Diagramming is inherent in architectural discourse and process. The following is an excerpt from the seminar course Other Design in which diagramming was explored for its potential in relating information through explicit drawing techniques.

Iconography / Pictogram exercise. Things I Drink.





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New York Times diagram depicting the amount of space an article assumes on the front page versus its proceeding page in the print edition.





























New York Times diagram depicting the relationship of key words within the paper to the headline articles of a particular print edition.









New York Times Diagram comparing the appearances of Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees in the print edition of the paper over the course of Pettitte’s career.

SATURATED MODELS The discussion of the relationship between object and model is one that creates as many questions as it does answers. Is an object a model? Is a model an object? Are these two the same? What and why is there a difference? Certainly at some point they are one in the same so at what point can there be a separate understanding of each, or should they be understood jointly? Specifically implemented architecturally, each term comes with an excess of baggage and an implied understanding. A model is classically understood as a miniature version of something larger. A scaled down version of a self. An intended result. An object may be understood more spatially and conceptually. Less rigorously understood as something that will be, but something that may be learned from. A spatial condition that a model may choose to employ. To proceed, many of these conceptions must be forgotten or at least checked at the door to return to later. For saturation of either to occur, an understanding of both must happen.

The discussion begins by taking a more philosophical route to understanding the terms object and model. Any discussion implementing a philosophy into a tangible subject such as architecture may proceed into a water of semantics. In order to stay (relatively) focused and to instill a framework into the discourse an existing discussion should be the epicenter of this one. Graham Harman and Alain Badiou frame the terms in their work from different points of view bringing up may exciting facets of the model / object relationship. There are aspects of each view that may be identified and implemented in the overall discussion here. For one, Harman is interested in the excessive, left over qualities of an object. He is not interested in the performance, per se, of the object. There is more integrity and meaning in this extra understanding of the object than of the object itself. The extra may contradict, empower, or perhaps negate the object as such. Badiou considers the world in which objects live. The completeness of the world implies a completeness of the object. The object is never more than the situation they are presented in. However, the relationships with the world and the situation of the object in the world assist in defining the object. For Harman, an object reveals something else, something extra, due to an interaction between object and something. For Badiou, the object relies on the context / world in which it lies - its world in which it lives and takes on characteristics from that world. Badiou insists that an object lies in a multitude of worlds and may never be understood as singular. Neither Harman or Badiou believe in an object being complete for their own sake due to a reliance on an other. Harman and Badiou both imply that an object is related to something. (At this point the discussion is implying that object and model are interchangeable in terms. There is no categorical differentiation between “model” and “object.”) Relationships are of utmost importance in both scenarios. This relationship is embedded within the object and must be presented. It is hidden and not necessarily understood. It may in fact be considered something extra. An object can never be understood as an individual as it is in a network of relationships that ensure that it can never be discussed individually. These relationships start to set up models in another way as a model of a relationship with an object such as a structured understanding of a template of interaction or relationships. Saturation The traditional architectural model comes pre loaded with a saturation of meaning in terms of both Harman and Badiou. The model gains saturation upon interaction with individuals as each may experience

the model in a different way and may each perceive the model differently. This works to the advantage to the author of the object as they may instill a multitude of perceptions within the architectural model. Furthermore, when stepping outside of architecture and its inherent limitations, an object may be even more saturated due to the potential architectural implications and every other possible implication. It is therefore imperative that the author predetermine, or postulate, potential meanings an individual may gather from the interaction with the object. This could be understood as saturating a model / object from its conception with a particular motive - i.e. the narrative to Saturated Models. DESIGN Hypothesis / Goal The design of an object with an open ended result carries a daunting task. No site, no program, no client, no parameters. The instillation of a multitude of experiences was the initial goal to this endeavor. Experiences are unique. They are understood uniquely by each individual that has one. The goal to create a series of experiences within a single object implies multiple things. First, the object is pre loaded with preconceived “extras.” These extra will qualify each experience differently and overlap in order to create a potential of multiple experiences simultaneously or in rapid succession. Certainly, a single individual may experience the object multiple ways in multiple encounters it is the postulation and prediction of multiple encounters simultaneously that becomes problematic. Because we don’t want architecture to exclude everything that is disquieting. We want architecture to have more. Architecture that bleeds, that exhausts, that whirls, and even breaks. Architecture that lights up, that strings, that rips, and under pressure, tears. Architecture should be cavernous, fiery, smooth, hard, angular, brutal, round, delicate, colorful, obscene, voluptuous, dreamy, alluring, repelling, wet, dry, and throbbing. Alive or dead. Cold - then cold as a block of ice. Hot - then hot as a blazing wing. ...Architecture must blaze... As Coop Himmelblau desires architecture (object) that touches feelings, descriptions, and experiences

with the fatal, surprise, shock, harmful, and beautiful. Design / Digression The process for the implementation of a series of experiences into one object was to layer the way in which the experience is understood and catering to the ways in which one may experience the object through traditional senses - sight layer, touch layer, smell layer. The next layer is a re-reading of a traditional architectural element that is pre-loaded with meaning of a different caliber or inherent with expectation of a definitive type. These layers are intertwined and misappropriated in order to confuse the traditional understanding of the object. The process was a series of digressions compiled to ultimately create an object. This object was conceived first a trojan horse. The notion that the object is loaded with meaning and is defined by context and extras relates well to the tragic tale of the trojan horse and the fall of Troy. The horse was a pleasing gift understood as a piece offering or a sacrifice but the true intent of the object revealed itself after it had penetrated the gates of Troy. In the same regard, the object is intended to be luring and attractive or even safe but upon interaction, the true motive of the object is revealed and the interaction produces shock or surprise if not a little damage as well. From the misreading of something safe or inviting to a surprise of something somewhat masochistic becomes integral to the design process. A series of formal investigations into natural systems occurred in order to misread an existing condition and apply it to the object process. Fish scales were examined and documented as potential systems as the interaction with them is two multi fold. Scales are aerodynamic and smooth as they overlap to create a single surface out of thousands of elements. This condition is one directional. The opposite direction presents an alternative condition that is more akin to sandpaper. The scales are designed in such a way that they are inherently one direction based upon the context of their use or their environmental affect. Similarly, the condition applies to the quills of a porcupine. Though they are inherently sharp and dangerous they are also safe depending on directionality. The quills lay flat as scales or hair would and therefore the danger comes with the end condition of the quill understood as a singular object. The combination of thousands of quills creates more of a carpet that is reducible to a more singular element. The jellyfish was explored for its ephemerality. The translucency and neon coloring became a fascina-

tion in the project. The potential of a jellyfish to act similarly to a trojan horse was fitting as well. The jellyfish appears to be inviting and beautiful but upon interaction with it one may be severely damaged. They pose no danger as they are not aggressive, but physical interaction with them may result in a dangerous account. A man made chain mail construction was identified as for potential formal and structural capabilities. The ability to fold and be easily manipulated is intriguing as is the construction methodology or composition. This is the first example and most fitting to taking advantage of potential fabrication processes. Having made these preconceptions or announcing these “extras� that were desired to be instilled into an object, a site needed to be chosen. Context is crucial to an object as it may benefit or detract from the goals of the extras. In order to ensure that an interaction occur with the object a site with intense interaction was chosen. Not only was the site of heavy with traffic, but an existing object within this site was chosen as yet another precedent to build from. A handrail is an object of vigorous interaction. It is solid, structural and for all intents and purposes supposedly a safe object which assists when an accident occurs. The safety of this banal object intensifies the irony it’s the devious intent potentially invigorating the relationship and creating a series of interactions that are predicated upon this unique scenario. The address of this existing object in the specific context with the inclusion of the extras desired of the object design became integral to the design. Construction / Fabrication Having decided upon a context that would benefit the object through its inherent environmental characteristics, the design proceeded from thought and concept to understanding of fabrication methodologies. The fabrication process itself owns a plethora of layers of potential extras and preconceptions. Designing to benefit from these inherent layers was paramount. The previously mentioned chain mail construction was humored as a potential constructive device as the fabrication method allowed for an inherent interlocking of parts. Due to the restrictive combination of scale and build area, many of the fascinations with the chain mail were abandoned. A moment inherent in the chain mail was applied to the design as members of the object were fabricated as interlocking units. Further exploration led to further constraint. Due to the build area limitation and the desire to fill this area, the design was broken down into hundreds of parts

instead of being fabricated as a singular entity or surface as the chain mail would be. A reconciliation of parts to whole was reached when the design was broken into hundreds of parts that would be reconstructed as a whole. A new object of objects is created upon aggregation of parts. The quills are designed as individual units that insert into an armature. The quills become a surface as they are introduced as a multitude of elements in a unified whole. The inherent materiality of the fabrication material is soft and pliable. The ephemerality of the jellyfish at this point was abandoned for a more contextual fenestration. The site is inherent with dark colors and natural products. This darkness translated into a coloration of the material property of the object. While the natural color of the fabricated object is white and pure, the context is dark and worn. To further add to the complexity of extras in the object, the coloration of the object became a process in itself complete with new sensations. The brown inherent in the site was applied to the object through another set of means. The brown coloration was applied through application of coffee to the object. The material properties of the fabricated object(s) is porous. The brown of the coffee, along with the smell and (probably) taste of the coffee are transferred to the object. The capacity now for the object to blend with the environment comes with a new series of layers of baggage and interaction. CONCLUSION Essentially, the object is a composition of a multitude of objects that could be understood individually. Upon aggregation and assemblage, a new object is understood. Upon employment of this object of objects into a context, a new object is understood. Upon interaction with this new object, another object is understood. Time is the next element, as the object may react adversely with further interaction. The expectation of the object in its conception is clear - to act as a trojan horse - luring individuals with simple interaction that may initially appear harmless or helpful but carries a deviance and masochistic implication. The object intends to create a dialogue with its context by adding to or replacing an integral piece of the context - the secure handrail. The expectation is an one of interaction. The object needs interaction to access its extras - shock and surprise being the primary intentions. The context has profound influence on the object through fenestration, interaction, and definition. The site has as much influence on the object as the object

has on the site. Through a series of negotiations the object replaces and adds to the context with a new series of layers due to the intended interactions. The site’s influence on the object is clear in its fenestration, structuring and fabrication. The design of the object integrates into the site by becoming a garland - supported by existing handrail. The fabrication of the object implies a unified wholea design of parts that appears to create a whole. Much like the porcupine, the quills define the object. The object goes further than an imitation of the porcupine by introducing coloration, site, smell, and a soft quality to the object. The conclusion to the design of the object is multifaceted. It is probably as much a failure as it is a success in relation to its initial goals or ideals. It does not inherently introduce the capacity for shock or surprise as was intended. It may not be dangerous or masochistic unless a tertiary element is introduced as an element whose purpose is of dangerous intent. It introduced an element of smell through an integration of a site / context element. Coloration equals smell. It encourages interaction through its location and through its fabricated appearance. Individuals will be attracted to it due to its unique formal qualities. The conclusion is that there were as many layers added to the process of designing and fabricating the object as there were removed due to an inability to coordinate the intentions with actual results. There are a multitude of layers that are inherent within the object as it is an object none the less. The object design and fabrication produced unintended extras as well as intentional others.

Pictures of the object in place on its handrail site.

grad portfolio rough draft  

roughly drafted graduate portfolio submission

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