Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects 330 West 42nd Street 11th Floor New York, NY 10036
Ik Ike Kligerman Barkley is a 25 person firm of architects, interior designers and supporting staff that offers both architectural and interior design services in an established diverse, design-oriented practice. With an emphasis on residential architecture thier work is articulated in a ture, variety of styles, synthesizing historical precedent with contemporary vision.
Since its inception in 1989, the firm has earned international recognition for successfully transcribing the language of their architectural influences into a modern idiom. Ike Kligerman Barkley has earned numerous professional and design awards, including the New York Chapter AIA Honor Award. The firm has been featured among Architec tural Digest's "AD 100 Designers and Architects" the past five publications including the most recent issue. Professional practice has proved an invaluable components to my development as an architect. Full-time practice has challenged my abilities as a designer and employee. The evolution of my design process is owed in large part to the first hand observation of client / occupant user interpretation of architectural drawings and representations. Formulating legible presentation and reading client design input, requires the ability to see beyond ones personal architectural agendas. In my experience, the ability to adopt an outside perspective has lead to countless design innovations. Ike Kligerman Barkely Architects office in the former McGraw Hill Building 330 w. 42nd St.
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740 Park Ave. construction sequence photo strip existing prep. kitchen area
demolition of both maid’s bedrooms and a maid’s bath as well existing laundry and chef’s kitchen areas
construction of main kitchen and back kitchen areas renovation of existing maid’s bedroom and bath in rear
new stair install finished view prior to handrail looking to park
740 Park Avenue;
Servants Space to Family Domain
All aspects of this project were the sole effort of the author. Envisione Envisioned to be a comfortable contemporary living environment with a blend of classic materials and modern details the kitchen had to serve as a writing studio, professional kitchen, living areas for both family and domestic help. Prim concer concern was the attention to connection and material detail.
740 Park Avenue Kitchen Renovation: Documentation to realization Axonometric drawing for custom fabricated stainless steel stair landing and handrail. The client requested that the stair be made “special”. In this situation the manipulation of size/scale was not an option so careful detail and attention was turned to the material components to accentuate the stair while also alluding to the additional program space located on the floor above.
This project was a 1000+ sq.ft. renovation begun in late fall 2004 and completed in late fall 2005. The work took place primarily during the summer months as the building has strict “quite hours rules”. The “building” proved to be among the larges largest construction challenge as it is a member of the New York City Historical Registry which required a great deal of precise documentation of existing external aesthetic conditions before allowing any changes. The apartment was also owned by the building President thus adding additional pressure to ensure all work was completed to the highest standards as required by the building by-laws.
360 of Exsting Structure 1. 2. 3. 4.
East exposure North exposure West exposure South exposure
existing east elevation
existing south elevation
existing west elevation
existing north elevation
2nd Floor Plan
1st Floor Plan
Demolition and Clean-up + Siding
Roof + Windows/Doors + Chimney
Section at living space
Deck landscape masonry + grading
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5. 4. 7. 3.
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TheMi dSout hHouse: Okt oc,Mi ssi ssi ppi Vi ewf r om out doorr oom t hr oug hent r yt omast er sui t edeck
existing south elevation
existing east elevation
existing 2nd floor
existing lower level
existing 1st floor
existing west elevation
existing north elevation
Executed plan, section & elevational changes
Pr eRenovat i on I nvent or y/Anal ysi s:
H.Her r mannr esDesi gn Pr i v at epr act i ce
TheCot t onHouseRenov at i on WestPoi nt ,Mi ssi ssi ppi Pr oj ectBudget :$84, 000 Pur chasePr i ce:$16, 000( t axsal e) Sq. Ft .1, 260( cond.space) TheCot t onHousei sdesi gnedt o ut i l i z eanex i st i ng1930â€™ sdev el oper houseasahostst r uct ur ei nt ended t oactspat i al l yandf unct i onal l yasa ki ndofgr oundcondi t i onuponwhi ch t headdi t i onel ement sappearasa f i gur e.Thi scondi t i oni sdesi gnedt o occurbot hspat i al l yandv i sual l ywi t h t hesequenceofoccupat i oncol l apsi ngandi sr eest abl i shedasone t r av er sest het r ansectoft hehouse f r om f r ontpor cht or earpor ch.Li ght andmat er i alar t i cul at i onr ei nf or ces t heex per i encecr eat i ngast r ong senseofor i ent at i onandpassage. Thehousei sdesi gnedt obe const r uct edi nphasesasf unds comeav ai l abl eandnumer ous el ement sar edesi gnedar ound r ecl ai medmat er i al ssuchasbr i ck usedt of r ameandi nf or mt he ent r ysequenceandf r ontpor ch. Remnantwi ndowspr ocur edf r om al ocalbui l deri nf or medt hedesi gn oft heLi ghtChi mneywhi chi s i nt endedt or emedyv i sualandr oof per f or mancei ssuescr eat edby oneoft het hr eepr ev i ousaddi t i ons. Thewi ndowsar epl acedat opt he chi mneyel ementt ocr eat eani ngl enookspace,bat hedi nnat ur all i ght andr ef r eshedbycool i ngpassi v e v ent i l at i on,att hebaseoft he chi mney .Thei ndi r ectl i ghtcr eat ed byt hechi mneywi l lwashl i ghtov er anex t ensi v ecol l ect i onofar twhi ch wi l lhangi nt hel i v i ngspacedi r ect l y bel ow. Mani pul at i ngt heex i st i ngf oundat i on, aMast ersui t ei saddedt or esol v e f unct i onali ssuesofr oofdr ai nage andspat i ali ssuesofsl eepi ngspace andconnect i ont ot her eary ar d. Smal lpor chesex t endt heper cei v ed boundsoft hehousewhi l eact i v at i ng t heex t er i orspaceav ai l abl e.
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Renov at edPl an 5.
Ex i s t i ngPl an
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Exi st i ngEl evat i ons: 1.Nor t hFacade ( Dr i v ewayf aci ng ) 2.WestFacade ( St r eetFaci ng ) 3.EastFacade ( Backyar d) 4.Sout hFacade ( Si deyar dFaci ng )
Pr oposedEl evat i ons:
Sect i onalLi ght i ngSt udi es:
Fourth project of private practice
Delview Terrace, Delhi NY Res. Thi This project is the product of a number of interests and participating parties. SUNY Delhi College of Technology has a history of construction within the local community. The college has partnered with the local government to help promote infill withi the village district. Derelict, within vacant and difficult land parcels are gifted to the college foundation with the commitment by the college to build or re-build and make livable a home or dwelling. This project is intended to be built for speculation or a possible pre-agreed selling price to an early investor. The home is to be built on an exceptionally difficult parcel of land which is bisected by a major sanitary sewer line with a 20’ wide easement effectively cutting the site in half and leaving the upper buildable envelope too small for construction construction. In addition the site has a sanitary feeder line running along the northern boundary cutting off an additional 20’ with a drainage culvert on the southern boundary and a steep slopping grade. The community the parcel is a part of also has rules against free standing garages and a 25’ maximum building height rule. These factors made design and planning an interesting task. The final condition was for the home to be LEED certifiable. System such as passive solar, and gray water capture are planned. All materials are to be locally harvested or purchased and fabricated including rough sawn lumber and native blue stone. The home is designed to bridge or startle the easements landing only on buildable portions of the site while maintaining the 1 ½ story height limit and attached garage covenants.
H. Herrmann resDesign
Proposed Design: 5.7.07 Model showing all site issues Mode including (2) 20â€™ sanitary sewer easements, overhead power lines, setbacks for road, side yards, front ward and backyard. Model Media: Bass wood, Chipboard, pencil.
TheMi dSout hHouse: Okt oc,Mi ssi ssi ppi 3, 100sq. f t . ,4bedr oom,31/ 2bat hs Pr oj ectBudget :$350, 000
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Model : Ri v erBi r chLi near Ret ent i onBas i n Dr awi ng: Sect i onsacommuni t y nodes ,Bi k epar k i ng+ Par t yTr ee
McKee St r eetDensi t y and LandscapePl an St ar kvi l l e,Mi ssi ssi ppi
H.Her r mannl andDesi gn St udi esi nLandscapeAr chi t ect ur e
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Apr i l2012
June Jul y August Sept . Oct .2012
Pr oj ectTi mel i ne: Of f i ci al Cour s ewor kMay 1s t 28t h. Remai ni ngwor kdone v ol unt ar i l ybyf or mer s t udent s
Accretion as a Means of Adaptation Architectural education is moving toward hard science solutions, seeking to partition sustainable design concerns into discreetly addressed problems. The consequence is the perceived notion that Sustainable Practice is somehow different from Good Practice, and is therefore, likely to produce only a limited form of architecture. This common perception among students also implies a limited working palette, defined predominantly by technological application. Architecture is arguably a transformation-based discipline entailing, at its root, a building-upon or accretion of previous needs, ideas, and energy flows. Our current practices and pace of development, even with optimal technological developments, will not sustain our future generations beyond 2100.1. Given these conditions it seems critical that sustainable design must not register with students as a limited architectural pursuit nor an optional appliqué. Architecture of accretion as a pedagogy and practice seeks to offer an expanded definition of sustainable design by engaging the existing constructed field as an active host for development. Through the merging of existing and new construction an attempt to blur the partitions of sustainable design thinking is sought. This vain of sustainable practice attempts to coalesce physical, theoretical and ecological layers of development and thicken the built environment2. The various design projects outlined herein call to question these issues and reveal the greater context of sustainable practice. This form of praxis examines means of developing an appreciation for the generative potential of pre-existing forms, structures and materials by which students may find a foothold for progressive design. The methodology and theoretical framework invites one to perceive buildings as more than singular objects, and rather as a collection of parts, the ground included, held temporarily in place until a new state of being is required. Designing with equal parts context and invention the pedagogy seeks a kind of “architectural accretion”, defined here as a re-allocation and coalescence of formerly useful parts/materials to newly useful states of being. Accretion should only be understood as a working method, not an aesthetic device. Existing generative elements are referred to loosely as “sites” and may be a parcel of land, building fragment or material remnant. They should be understood as latent and persistent elements of the working field open to investment. A key distinction in how this is not simply adaptive re-use is that accretion is not a parasitic paradigm; it is not aimed to destroy one thing to profit another. Instead, it is saving what is valid and redistributing what is no longer viable. Practitioners learn to hunt for points of intervention as opposed to waiting to be fed abstract building sites. This act opens the definition to include more aggressive notions of scavengry and exploitation, while removing the stigma of sustainable design as a burdensome, less interpretive expression. Positioned amidst this session topic, will be a series of works created by various young architecture students investigating and helping to define the “architecture of accretion”.
Endless Fields + Boundless Constructs: setting the tone for a search Practitioners and students today have instantaneous access to precise geographical data of nearly every inch of the earth. They can gather photographs of countless places, spaces and conditions and yet the most common issue among young designers is a forcefully timid engagement of site and context. This tendency to focus upon the design of objects, as opposed to the designing an environment, often leads small, self-referential, brittle projects. The ability to ignore difficult issues of formal juxtaposition, interconnection, and associated larger global issues of irresponsible practice is promoted when context is in disregard. As a result, the ability to find potential and excitement in architectural design derived
from existing context is minimal. The student work, outlined below (which is not terribly divergent from much of today’s professional work) demonstrates these tendencies in spite of the numerous measures taken to promote a meaningful confrontation and resolution. While many failures were found in the design of the projects, evidence of some success was also identified. The following is an account of three projects, by freshman and sophomore students, each of which aided in the outline of a principle of this Accretive Design Methodology.
Project 1: Spoliation and the first steps in setting a trajectory Spolia: (Latin, 'spoils') is a modern art-historical term used to describe the re-use of earlier building material or decorative sculpture on new monuments.2 The practice was common in late antiquity: Roman examples include the Arch of Janus, the earlier imperial reliefs reused on the Arch of Constantine and the colonnade of Old Saint Peter's Basilica. The practice is so common that there is probably no period of history in which evidence for "spoliation" may not be found. Interpretations of spolia generally alternate between the "ideological" and the "pragmatic." Ideological readings might describe the re-use of architectural elements from former empires or dynasties as triumphant (that is, literally as the display of "spoils" or "plunder" of the conquered) or as revivalist (proclaiming the renovation of past imperial glories). Pragmatic readings emphasize the utility of re-used materials: if there is a good supply of old marble columns available, for example, there is no need to produce new ones. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, and there is certainly no one approach that can account for all instances of spoliation.
Fig 1. Spolia in the streets of Rome
As demonstrated in these investigations, an initial apprehension for using something “already designed” as a starting point was a concern among designers. As work progressed the designers found a delight in the hijacking of the sites through formal and theoretical manipulations. The term “spoliation” is considered in reference to finding that students seem exhilarated by the idea of hijacking and twisting
the sites’ form and intent, while also allowing the existing qualities to remain visible. Many students chose to perform interventions on their sites that countered the preceding designers’ intentions by weakening the strong, strengthening the weak, minimizing the decadent, etc. This operational underpinning provided a mechanism for the avoidance of the obligatory guilt of “using something they didn’t make”. The perceived bending of the prior designer’s intentions provided a powerful and intoxicating design stimulus. The paradox of this action became clear when the students recognized their own intentions were being swayed and opened to the incorporation of the existing sites as valuable and worthy of engagement. This project was simply intended to open one’s mind to recognize existing form, it’s mass, and implied force. The project asked students to first become familiar with an object of design, in this case a Corinthian arch. The designers measured and drew the object as a static specimen. Upon familiarizing themselves with the proportions and physical attributes, the designers made judgments regarding the phenomenal composition of the piece. Simple determinations of static and dynamic moments of occupation, visual force and compositional arrangement were diagramed. The project continued by requiring students to remake approximately one half of the composition with opposing design elements. In this case, what was determined to read as static had to be remade as dynamic and vice versa. Eventually a simple occupational program was added to introduce issues of scale - here a viewing platform for a single person and a means of ascent / descent. The project required students to reinvest in an existing element and in doing so forced a carefully account of what one had to work with. Because the project happened in white space only, the means of conveying the proper reading relied heavily on the manipulation of media and visualization technique. The students had to learn to draw their designs the way they saw them. Subsequently, numerous rendering techniques were learned / born. Issues of texture, joinery and surface had to be recognized and reconciled in the work due to the presence of these latent qualities in the existing arch.
Fig. 2 Projects by Nathan Alverado + John Fiderra
First, the identification of localities for circulation and occupation was considered. Later, students assessed the artifacts for iconographic/expressional value and proposed programs and scenarios for their conceptual occupation and use. As students began to establish various strategies for engaging the remnant site, scenarios grew to include more advanced theoretical conditions and engaged numerous definitions of spolia. As the students’ design abilities matured so did their ability to project deeper, more meaningful theoretical frameworks. Elaborate ideas of how to use what they had began to form quickly
and soon they were not waiting to be given sites but were actively seeking them. They become selfmotivated opportunistic designers.
Project 2: Deconstructed Learning
Fig.3 Casting Demo by Melissa Sessum
A simple desk critique with a first semester freshman prompted the development of a project in Deconstruction + Remounting. Students had been exploring casting as a method of forecasting design via constructional means. After casting a component one student in particular was struggling to find a way of working into the object. She complained of its limited potential due to its scale and the restricted mutability of the material. As a remedy, she was asked to drop her casting on the floor and put it back together as she saw fit. Her, and subsequently the entire studio’s, dismay and appall at the suggestion of breaking something that was “already made” provided the impetus for further questioning. When it comes to items of their own crafting, what creates such attachment in the student? How might we harness that power to make better decisions about the crafting of architecture and environment? The act of deconstructing was profoundly different for many students because they were so conditioned to learn by assembly, from nothing to something. Working from something to nothing forced a study of the process of disassembly/assembly and provided a precise ending point as opposed to the typical meandering process of design. The requirement of having no mass lost and no mass gained made every piece of material valuable. The assignment asked students to see their former “right answers” as only important and suitable given one set of design parameters. When those parameters changed and the castings were no longer suitable, rather than starting anew the defunct casting had to be “remade” by operations of composition as opposed to total removal. The notion of “breaking” an artifact that the student invested so much time and energy in suggests that the students find value in the work. More precisely, the time and thought invested (the effort), not the material itself, is valuable. This finding corresponds with general attitudes toward fine community buildings, “we need to save these things because they are special, look at all the work it took to build them.” The student comments echo those of American society and were further correlated while visiting Atlanta, Georgia on a field trip. After touring the city students began to consider accretion at the urban design scale by contrasting modern Atlanta’s fabric against that of Savannah, Georgia. The scalar jump
of this student realization gives promise that further connections might be made among the tenets of this project and issues of sustainable architectural accretion. These findings led to a conclusion that a less architectonic and more easily abstracted example of site might accommodate a deeper form of design activity. To provide this model students were asked to work with remnant furniture, tool / machine parts, and architecture school leftovers (site models, displays, etc.) as sites for design intervention. This limited the parameters of analysis while also introducing the notion of the “opportunistic eye”. Based on the observation that the act of physically taking a thing apart allows the student to understand the logic and energy needed to first put it together, a 3 credit course was launched where-in students had to first unmake to make.
Project 3a: Developing an Opportunistic Eye “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” Charles DarwinIt is a principle of this design methodology that sustainable design education must also include the development of the Opportunistic Eye. While the ultimate hope for society is that this design paradigm need not exist one could argue that all social and technological advancement is the profit of opportunism. The designers associated with these studies were not asked to turn the world on its head but rather slowly and carefully look for moments to draw more from what has been previously made. All too often students find themselves finishing their projects before they have started them. The idea of doing the “right” thing the first time is the pervasive outlook. Students often stare at a white page awaiting divine intervention for entire studio periods only to finally make a few timid and meager marks which they then cling to blindly. One suggested reason for this type of paralysis may be the general condition of students to seek single and irrefutable correctness in all their coursework, i.e. calculus, physics and structures. The logic of these design assignments relies on a creative practice founded in opportunism, scavenging and the development of shrewd intuition for design potential and only profits through an iterational search. The method suggests that no silver bullet will be wrought to undo our global state; sustainable and responsible practice starts with avoiding waste. To work in this way as a means of building skill in design, one must abandon the modern notion of a planned approach and find comfort in a central proposition that, existence precedes essence. Students need to find something delightful in the work, not plan to make something delightful. Instinctual design thinking is a difficult ability to convey to students due to its necessity of a fear. In this case, fear of lost opportunity. Fear in general seems something few students consider on a daily basis however, given the tenuous global condition, recognition may be forming. The majority of American college students are not faced with a lack of appropriate shelter however, as early beings this was a major concern. People instinctually sought shelter from convenient natural sources. This shelter was principally needed to protect against mortal harm from animals, opposing humans and conditions of weather. Eventually as a mastery of tools and defense systems grew so did our ability to
fabricate shelter devoid of natural influence. I believe our forgetfulness of instinctual response has led us to a condition of ill-considered design and construction practices. This irresponsible waste of potential is omnipresent and easily identified in project 3, which was aimed at addressing these shortcomings. In this fabrication elective students were challenged to find opportunity in what was given. This is not unlike the majority of studios I have encountered however; in many the site is often lost only to issues of aesthetics and program. The work described below attempted to evade this propensity by limiting the site and palette for design/construction to only a limited amount of waste material. As a critique, the artifacts produced are interesting and useful however, they required a great deal of physical labor to produce. The work unfortunately strove toward conformity and connection with typical furniture types. Students made furniture like the things they encountered daily; regardless of the challenges and opportunities put forth by the materials they were allowed. In many cases the sites were dismantled and cut into simple planar pieces more easily reconfigured to suit the new student visions. The constructs exposed the lost directive, ignoring the opportunities for creating “new” future types, and produced only mildly exploratory artifacts of design.
Fig.4 End table by Tyler Pence + Sit/Stand by Andy Graydon
Project 3b: making fresh by adjacency As a way of pressing the students to see more opportunity they were asked to design a piece of furniture to become part of the architecture school building. This required the students to consider the context of the building including the occupants, usage types and any missing spaces of the facility. The students collectively determined a student lounge was needed but could not decide on a permanent location. The unit was accordingly designed to be mobile, thus allowing it to take on numerous uses and qualities depending on its adjacency to other spaces. The team inventoried all collected materials, including (2) 12’ x 12’ site models and 3 mild steel frames used by studios past. The designs grew from this material stock and the students’ limited access to fabrication equipment.
Fig. 5 Light FIXture by: Courtney Bolden, Chris Rivera, Scott Archer, Andy Graydon Student Domain by: Tyler Pence, Taylor Poole, Charlotte Fairley, Dennis Daniels, Ryan Morris
As the project progressed the students decided to divide into 3 teams and construct 3 complimentary components to be placed around the building. The addition of these building assets spurred much conversation in the way they reconfigured space and shifted the reading of adjacent building structure (context). The light fixture addition (see fig. 5) in particular created a new found appreciation for the roof framing and surface texture. The students were able to recycle all the materials with only meager additions and in doing so effectively “re-made” previously inert portions of the host building.
Conclusion: At this point it is critical to acknowledge an obvious paradox; the suggested means of production in this model can only exist if someone else is working with the opposite of intentions. If this pedagogy were to truly inform future generations, one might argue it would burn itself out as all things were eventually put back to use. But in that we see a cycle. Things go defunct as technology expands and what we see as useful will fall into disuse and in this we guaranty our future productive value. Architecture of accretion suggests that design pedagogy must focus on the notion that things don’t ever go away, they just fall out of use. It is the role of the designer to pick them up and figure out how, if reconfigured/conceived, they may be useful again. The time is coming rapidly where we will be forced to acknowledge that the material supply limits will soon be reached and that we cannot simply cast aside our earlier works and try again. The positive aspects discovered, and flaws drawn out of prior works should form the directives for future projects. This pedagogical perspective is not new. It has however, often generated overly generalized conditions for investigation, in many ways mirroring our global condition wherein we acknowledge the issues, parties responsible, and reasons for being, but again leave it as only an easily overlooked social concern. These studies propose that a pointed and directed responsibility be asked of the student designer by recalling prior projects for reinvestment over multiple semesters.
Time constraints, differing faculty interests, and required learning outcomes contribute heavily to our inability to substantively address re-use in architecture. The majority of studios are premised on the students first establishing a thesis, ideological position or at the very least a formal parti from which the work progresses. To see the conclusions of prior student work, both built and theorized, re-engaged might present a rare and potentially influential paradigm. â€œIt is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.â€? Charles DarwinNumerous authors have written cogently of the many blurred facets of contemporary sustainable design. A common thread in nearly all current discourse concludes that architects must become system thinkers. Our far flung material supply network requires a great deal of additional accounting in regard to systems thinking. Architecture of accretion attempts to remove the vastness of this model by looking at and working with the potential at-hand. The accumulated knowledge and technĂŠ to vastly improve our practices exists if we choose to engage it. Perhaps by forwarding a pedagogy underpinned by mutualism and the ability to form lasting architectural accretions we may prime a future generation of truly sustainable designers.
1. 2. 3.
Meadows, Donella H., Randers, Jorgen. Meadows, Dennis I. 2004, The Limits to Growth. Chelsea Green Publishing. Corner, James. 1999, Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Theory. Princeton Architectural Press Kinney, Dale. June 2001, Roman Architectural Spolia, proceedings of the American Philosophical Society vol. 145, No.2
HOLISM IN FOUNDATION DESIGN: AVOIDING THE “SILO EFFECT”
Holism in Foundation Design: Avoiding the “Silo Effect” HANS CURTIS HERRMANN MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY INTRODUCTION:
might stimulate and advance the profession as it works to address issues of ecology and
Standing in contrast to Descartes's scientific
ethical development. This paper attempts to
reductionism, Systems Thinking is a logic and
outline how Systems Thinking is enabled via
working methodology which one may employ
retrospective causality diagramming and meta-
to understand complex organizational issues. It
discussions regardless of a student’s
is change-based in that it often attempts to
educational background or perspective. A
understand and predict how actions result in
means of bringing a Systems Thinking
reactions and/or interactions. Architectural
approach to the foundation years of a design
design and its role as a contingent of (global)
education are outlined utilizing the vehicle of
environmental design has begun to embrace
this logic to better address ethical and professional challenges facing the next generation of architects. While this may be happening in interdisciplinary and crossdisciplinary practices such as OMA/AMO, SHoP, MVRDV, Field Operations, as well as some corporate giants, its application academia is largely limited to the graduate level of study where students are more likely to hold a higher level of educational diversity. Foundation design curricula (years one through four) have
Fig. 1 Grain Silos: Enduring Giants, Created by Man Photo by Cole Thompson
often been anchored upon knowledge silos, a term common among the business community
To begin let me make clear the term Silo Effect
that is used to describe discrete knowledge
or at least its definition within the context of
domains that lack an operational reciprocity.
this paper. Common in the organizational
The design studio has traditionally served as a
lexicon, the silo refers to a singular knowledge
kind of anti-silo, or laboratory for knowledge
domain, isolated from others and without
synthesis. Taking advantage of this latent
operational reciprocity. Modeled after the
learning format, the interest here, is to
functional purpose of the commonly witnessed
understand how a Systems approach to design,
grain storage device, educators have been
if engrained in the students’ modus operandi,
using this term to isolate various forms of knowledge and/or to delineate the boundaries
of a discipline. While the concept is useful, it
The weakness of silo-based pedagogies is that
runs the risk of closing the door on cross-
architectural theory, visualization, organization
disciplinary or even trans-disciplinary study. As
and functional system/materials knowledge
universities face ever-increasing standards of
domains, when separated into individual
educational effectiveness, silos become more
course topics, become singular in dimension.
common as a means of clearly defining the
Much like the effect of a small hole in a grain
many subjects of education. Paradoxically, this
silo, when all the grains (knowledge domains)
demonstration of “effectiveness” creates a
are separated to the same size the silo may be
vacuum among the subjects or silos which,
drained very quickly by a small hole.
according to trans-disciplinary researchers is
Analogously, if a student hedges their entire
often the home of innovative discovery. In this
design on fulfilling or addressing a single facet
paper it is important to understand that all
of a project, that project may easily be
elements of education, subject, method,
dismissed by the finding of a single
knowledge domain, discipline, etc. may be
shortcoming in the work. However, if the
separated and held as a silo irrespective of the
grains were mixed within the silo the bottom
domain’s relative scale.
(like a student’s project) may not be made to fall-out as easily. Operating like a soapy-foam
One application of this term in regard to
within a tube, an ethical design takes on a
graduating students is that they are emerging
multifaceted response to the question,
from professional education with skills in only
addressing it with answers that create a
silotized design thinking. By this, I suggest
dispersed response, like the structure of foam,
that students are being pushed more and more
not relying upon one leg but many. This
toward fine-grain answers to small questions of
approach to design results in a field-based
design. A building project is multifaceted and
resolution which does not answer the question
in practice numerous players are involved in
in only one way but rather, it attempts to
many decisions. When a project is subject to
reveal and answer the constituencies of the
scientific reduction as an educational model,
original question. In this way, I suggest that
facets of the project are removed to focus on
an architectural project aligned and justified
specific issues. This method of discovery places
via numerous disciplinary acknowledgments
the project facets into silos which, if never
and intentions will run a far lesser risk of being
reconnected, leave students with an
deflated or, returning to the grain silo analogy,
incomplete understanding of design as an
drained due to its’ lack of compositional and
inclusive synthetic act. This is likely not
because educators do not see or believe in taking a broad perspective, but because they are under extreme pressure to ensure many “skill sets” are covered. While the skills are critical to the production of relevant architecture they are not all that is needed to ensure it. Why the Silo is Dangerous:
HOLISM IN FOUNDATION DESIGN: AVOIDING THE “SILO EFFECT”
three learning opportunities that educators must offer their students: (1) the building of competence in changing or conserving the landscape (2) the building of experience and confidence in doing so, and (3) the building of the theoretical constructs that underlie the above two. This framework illustrates the emphasis placed upon the issue of change within the Landscape Architects’ means of Fig. 2 Melamine foam at 100 microns
Achieving a Systems Thinking result requires a
In 1971 Ian McHarg, in his book "Design with
great deal of commitment and time as well as
Nature" popularized a system of analyzing the
knowledge in one’s field. Because of this, it is
layers of a site in order to compile a complete
often reserved for graduate students arriving
understanding of the qualitative attributes of a
with such a predisposition and knowledge. In
place.  McHarg would give every qualitative
recent years I have seen numerous institutions
aspect of the site a layer, such as the history,
abandon the thesis project leading me to
hydrology, topography, vegetation, etc. This
believe that few students effectively achieve a
seminal work in Landscape Architecture along
Systems approach to design even as advanced
with its contemporary equivalent, Geographic
students. This led to an investigation of where
Information Systems (GIS), further highlights
and who might be accomplishing this form of
the importance placed on understanding the
study in the design field. To narrow my search
baseline upon which the design of a thing will
I looked to allied programs of study including
initiate a change. Where McHargs’ system has
Urban Design, Environmental Design, Interior
been expanded is in the realm of scale and
Design and Landscape Architecture. Of these,
cause and effect. With advanced simulation
Landscape Architecture offered a unique aspect
software designers are now able to impart
for discovery with its’ preoccupation with time-
ecological changes to a scenario ecosystem to
based design parameters. In contrast to my
see what affect their changes may have to the
program’s fairly traditional architecture
system at multiple scales.
curriculum, Landscape Architecture frontloads issues of change and shift in design, devoting a
Foundation level architectural education may
great deal more of their curriculum to systems
have lost sight of issues of change and shift,
analysis and the causes and effects of
focusing perhaps too intently on the idea of a
designing in the world.
building’s materials and methods (essentially shiftless silos) as the only measure of credible
Carl Steinitz, Professor of Landscape
architectural production. In reality, the
Architecture at Harvard University, suggests in
education must center on the ramifications of
his paper “A Framework for Theory Application
our work acknowledging that the site, context,
to the Education of Landscape Architects (and
clients, programs, energy flows and economies
other Environmental Design Professionals)”
of living constitute the fabric and productive
value of architectural design. The buildingâ€™s
speculate and test scenarios digitally, why is it
material palette and spatial composition are
so much emphasis has been placed on surface
only a part of our work which is easily lost if
manipulation and materials development?
we do not attend to and take advantage of the
Systems Thinking in design asks more of the
generative potential the whole project offers.
designer and educator. Advanced scenarios are
The way the building influences change at the
required to incorporate shifts in a buildingâ€™s
community, city and perhaps even regional
life-cycle and community growth at the
scale are rarely considered in favor of fulfilling
planning scale; this added parameter is
personal indulgences of taste and style.
complex and highly unpredictable yet crucial to
Balancing the foci of design studios is critical to
our professions advancement. Comfortable
ensuring that silo-based pedagogy do not
issues of craft and composition are routinely
come to dominate the undergraduate curricula
the focus with few examples of schools
which often are overly put-upon to cover the
preparing students for an education founded
prerequisite skill driven components of design
upon holistic design in a world desperately in
need of empathetic, conscientious, and innovative thinkers looking to create a
Change and the Measure of Performance:
measurable and deployable means of change to our built environment.
Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.
Returning to the question of how can the silo effect be avoided or at least controlled, I
suggest time as a fundamental design parameter to be placed in the center of our
Landscape Architecture has enjoyed the
pedagogical set of concerns. Landscape
necessary parameter of Systems Thinking
Architecture addresses this issue via the
since its inception around 1828 when Gilbert
inescapable parameter of their material
Laing Meason coined the title, which was later
palette, living vegetable tissue and its
institutionalized by Frederick Law Olmsted. The
dependence on the environment. Recounting
advantage Landscape Architecture brings to
interviews with Landscape Architecture
design pedagogy is itâ€™s skill in understanding
colleagues and their writing, one trope
life-cycle and larger 4 dimensional, or time-
emerges within their design pedagogies. To
based, issues. While architects have always
design a landscape is to design a change. In
been required to consider their designs as
architecture, particularly with novice designers,
functional devices serving over-time, more and
design is increasingly understood as being
more architectural design has become an act
synonymous with invention and original
of image production above the making of
creation. This misunderstanding and lack of
functional space and place. Juvenile designers
correction by faculty builds a false belief that
have the propensity to follow down a path
architecture is only invention, when in fact I
trending toward isolated design devoid of time-
would argue it is augmentation. In a world full
based performance issues and aggregated
of design and design ideologies one, regardless
affect. Given our vastly increased ability to
of design experience, cannot help but define
HOLISM IN FOUNDATION DESIGN: AVOIDING THE “SILO EFFECT”
his/her understanding and actions through
to be onto something. Not to be onto
prior knowledge. In this, students should be
something is to be in despair.
made to understand they are augmenting Walker Percy-
architecture and its aggregate effect on community and city. Planning and Urban Design as allied fields of Architecture and Landscape Architecture could and perhaps should be taught as one continuum. While their content would likely prove too much to cover in a single undergraduate education, the theoretical and operational means used in considering the effects of change may be coopted and are absolutely passable. Rolling-Start vs. Cold-Start:
At stake in the foundation years is the students’ trajectory as a practitioner of design in effect they learn to become Technicians or Architects. Engineering, medicine, business, architecture and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent - not with how things are but with how they might be - in short, with design.
A good Landscape Architecture and Urban
Design project is commonly initiated by an extensive site inventory and analysis phase. This form of Rolling-start puts the designer into the mind-set that they are provoking a change-of-state rather than creating a state.
Demonstration; how foundation design can be about the gathering and interpretation of information not just the means of making:
While architecture is often considerate of site, vis-à-vis a site analysis phase, it often only results in a minor set of design considerations forming a thin veil of groundedness. Students do not begin a project seeking
Fig. 3 Meander Project Fall 2010
questions; they begin by seeking answers to only the questions we as educators provide in
One active means of pressing students into a
the project statement. It is our job to teach
time-based way of understanding is the use of
them to seek the unknown in order to create
Causality Diagrams. Causality is the
their personal working knowledge. The
relationship between an event (the cause) and
foundation skill is teaching students how to get
the consequence (the effect) of the event. This
on to something not how to finish something.
relationship can typically be expanded to include as much or little information and data
The search is what everyone would
as the instructor feels necessary. Critical are
undertake if he were not stuck in the
the conversations about the diagrams and the
everydayness of his own life. To be
latent condition of change-over-time. I find by
aware of the possibility of the search is
doing these diagrams students recognize the context of their work while realizing the paths
that their work may progress toward. Once this
writing out decisions that seem simple or
understanding is made visible and hopefully
obvious, likely a conditioned response to their
clear, the student is empowered to manipulate
secondary education which generally strives for
the scale of the diagram including or excluding
answer-based response above question-based
issues to place their work in a position of
understanding that is appropriate for the project duration and expectations. Beginning
To begin this process of reflection it is
students often lack this operational sensibility,
important to address the question of
seeing the vastness of a project’s potential,
knowledge creation and management, it is
paralysis is often the result. By contextualizing
appropriate to develop some perspective on
the design problem a student begins to
knowledge so the student can better
understand the problem’s local identity within
understand the objective of the exercise. Neil
its global challenge and vice versa. What is
Fleming, an Educational Developer, suggests
important is the fact that these models are not
these definitions for the constituents of
design paths/tracks made for students to
follow in hopes of completion. They are awareness models, intended to frame and create the necessary context and push-back that drives design.
A collection of data is not information. A collection of information is not knowledge.
A collection of knowledge is not Prof. Carl Steinitz defines design as both noun and verb wherein the verb state is equated to
A collection of wisdom is not truth.
the methods and actions of design, while the noun state is associated with design as its’ theory and purpose.  In this case, by employing causality modeling I am able to refer students to the noun (theoretical conditions) and verb states of their projects, bringing focus to their efforts.
The idea is that information, knowledge, and wisdom are more than simply collections, similar to silos. Rather, the whole represents more than the sum of its parts and has a synergy of its own.  Below is a Causal Model I use to explain how a firm functions and how it is composed of many moving parts similar to
Working with beginning students it is important
their projects and the way their projects might
not to suggest a single answer or method
affect the world if built.
exists in design. I allow students to first just work, produce and comprehend all they can intuitively. After the project is presented we take time to reflect on the work through a Causal Loop diagramming exercise where students list the issues they considered and how they considered them. This is usually difficult and slow to begin as students often do not see the complexity of the work they have produced. They are also uncomfortable in
Fig. 4 Causal Loop for a Firms Operation
HOLISM IN FOUNDATION DESIGN: AVOIDING THE “SILO EFFECT”
This reflection brings students closer to an
based system of education allows students to
understanding that their work will one day
“know” something, to have a confidence with
have consequence on our built environment.
the methods of representation, project
Exposing students to the notion of
organization, etc. However, these are all issues
consequence brings them back to the issue of
that could be taught in a non-studio format.
time and shift as a fundamental parameter of
The studio is the place where these distinct
knowledge domains become smudged and muddled, blended and braided into new forms
The Hive and Meander Projects [fig. 3] were
of knowledge. To teach design is to both clarify
first year design projects aimed at building
and smudge issues of design praxis. While
skills and confidence while also considering
clarification via texts on theory, drawing,
communal consequence in design thinking. In
material science, and construction abound, it is
both projects students were given an abstract
the role of the instructor to introduce variables
yet clearly delineated site. The sites were
that cause this information to be untangled
defined as base-lines upon which their work
and transformed into new methods and
would have effects. In addition to affecting the
systems of project realization.
site, students were asked to design
I conclude that the manipulation of time and
interventions which relied upon their
its uncanny ability to measure design
neighboring designers’ comprehension of
performance is the means by which
intent. These projects probed and provoked
architectural foundation design may be
cause and effect design scenarios resulting in
brought into a contemporary state. Time has
aggregated designs that relied on Systems
focused our attentions on the environment’s
Understanding for project explanation and
decline, politically empowered disasters,
human tragedies and accomplishments. We measure our lives and our successes on the passing of time as we often do the value and nobility of great buildings throughout time.
Fig. 5 Silo Education Model Moving Toward Non-Silo Model
By reminding our students that time creates the measure of performance, we the designers
Smudging the Silos: At the foundation design level I believe the critical objective to know is that students need a place to stand. In this way I think the silo-
of education, may create a class of architects not interested in just now, but also tomorrow.
Endnotes: 1. Carl Steinitz. “A Framework for Theory Application to the Education of Landscape Architects (and other Environmental Design Professionals)” Landscape Jrnl. September 21, 1990 9:136-143; doi:10.3368/lj.9.2.136 2. McHarg, Ian L. “Design With Nature” February 6, 1995, Wiley; 1 edition 3. Carl Steinitz. “Design is a Verb; Design is a Noun” Landscape Jrnl. September 21, 1995 14:188-200; doi:10.3368/lj.14.2.188 4. Bellinger, Gene. “Systems Thinking: A journey in the realm of systems" 2004 http://www.systemsthinking.org/kmgmt/kmgmt.htm
Bibliography: 1. Mittelstrass, Jurgen. “Enzyklopädie Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie” 4 volumes, 1980–1996 2. Nicolescu, Basarab. “Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity” 3 January 2002, Suny Series in Western Esoteric traditions, translation from French by Karen-Claire Voss 3. S. E. Jørgensen, “Integration of Ecosystem Theories: A Pattern”, 3rd ed. Kluwer Academic Publishers, (ISBN 14020-0651-9) (2002) Chapters 1 & 2. 4. Basarab Nicolescu (Ed.) Transdisciplinarity – “Theory and Practice”, Hampton Press, Cresskill, NJ, USA, 2008. 5. Jørgensen, Erik and Bendoricchio, G. “Fundamentals of Ecological Modeling” Volum 9 of Developments in Environmental Modeling. 1998 Elsevier Press
OPPORTUNISM IN BEGINNING DESIGN
Opportunism in Beginning Design Hans C. Herrmann, AIA Mississippi State University
Introduction Opportunism is often used as a pejorative when describing the immoral or unethical manipulation of a situation to further one’s self-interest. Unprincipled, deficient of character or at the least, showing a lack of propriety, the term holds sinister associations. The contemporary understanding is clear; however, one must ask if the same associations hold true when the word Design is placed before opportunism? This inquiry asks numerous questions of the term and contemporary practice. How have architects traditionally conduced their craft in the face of opportunity, which may often be closely coupled with necessity? Is Design-Opportunism a subject to be avoided by beginning design educators? Should students be taught to feel shame or comfort when given an assignment that requires them to observe, detect, and act upon situational design advantage, in essence, seek opportunity? Although it may be disapproved of or criticized -"there ought to be a law against it"in the immediate sense opportunistic behavior is not necessarily criminal or illegal and may, if well considered, revive the profession by building an entrepreneurial opportunity-seeking ethos in future graduates. Opportunism holds a critical alignment with situational ethics that in many instances falls to a position of the lesser of evils implying that one may be doing the right thing within the situation that has been created by those outside of the designer’s sphere of influence; a common condition in today’s global economy and the architectural profession within a field of environmental design and construction. Given
the contemporary condition in which architects are being marginalized as makers of image, might it be wise to discuss the role of opportunism in design practice as a means of escape from the profession’s ever collapsing disciplinary bounds? Integrated Project Delivery and DesignBuild offer unique advantages to architects when considering the opportunity to increase design quality and fees by taking on increased responsibility, risk, and liability. Is this opportunism or is this what William Deresiewicz of the New York Times might characterize as the rise of the “Millennial” ethic? Deresiewicz suggests the new crop of graduates will be highly entrepreneurial, interested in doing the right thing over the most profitable thing and most critically, not defined by tradition or preexisting disciplinary boundaries. If this is taken as true, how does foundation design education leverage these tendencies and perhaps even bolster them? Jane Jacobs once wrote: As in the pseudoscience of blood-letting, just so in the pseudoscience of city rebuilding and planning, years of learning and a plethora of subtle and complicated dogma have arisen on a foundation of nonsense. In this passage Jacobs is referring to the blind allegiance designers often hold the paradigms of their education. As educators we must always question the paradigm and bring perspective to our role in the larger issues of the built environment. Architecture is a pseudoscience and it is in many ways often founded upon nonsense. What is critical to understand is that certain forms of opportunism are often quite
OPPORTUNISM IN BEGINNING DESIGN
sensible and divorced from the highly abstracted, sometimes utopian, goals of theoretically derived design.
History of Opportunity Contemplating architectural production over time one realizes that opportunity has consistently played a significant role in enabling architects to advance design and construction methods in the agency of an improved builtenvironment. Architectural heroes and innovators such as Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), Andreas Palladio (1508–1580), Francesco Borromini (1599-1667), Eugène Emmanuel Violletle-Duc (1814–1879), Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926), Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978), Edgar Miller (1899-1993), Charles (1907–1978) and Ray Eames (1912–1988), to contemporaries like Norman Foster, Bernard Tschumi, and SHoP Architects + Construction, have focused on underlying opportunity to build works of architecture that define their age and the professional discipline.
catalysts for architectural response. Often in the form of intervention, but at times as a reformative act, architects consistently respond to situational needs that must, in some form, be addressed. These conditions structure the thin line between opportunism and seeking opportunity. In the case of hurricane Katrina examples of what some might call opportunistic behavior was surely demonstrated and to a degree persists today.
Fig. 2 Francesco Borromini, Chiese Di SM Della Pace
Fig. 1 Leon Battista Alberti, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini
Whether re-cladding a medieval church or a poorly designed NY Nicks stadium, the goal of these architects was to make more of the existing situation for the good of the built environment and those using it either by purpose or default. Natural disasters, war, social unrest, and other global strife have all, at some time, acted as
However extravagant some design responses may seem, it is difficult to discern genuine concern for the built environment, people, and places over self-interests in design. Does natural disaster response necessarily imply self-serving action on the part of designers or are they simply doing their best within a situation? Not for profit groups like Architecture for Humanity and the myriad of university-based community design centers work tirelessly to build a better world. Is their function opportunistic? Likely not. The question of whether or not to act is what may be the key to discerning opportunistic behavior from seeking opportunity. Architects design buildings, spaces, and places; if that is what is needed in the end how does one argue that no action is more principled then reaction? Surely action is necessary however, the skills and professional ethics professors impart to be enacted by their
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students does play a large role in how design effort is opportunistic or genuinely philanthropic. At question is the agency of architects to aggressively and proactively address the situations in need of attention, i.e. quality of life, sustainable design, stewardship or resources. With their expertise on the built and building of environment is it more principled to await requests for assistance or to actively engage the issues through practice? I believe most would argue that practice is paramount but if that practice, which is founded on methods and ideas presented during one’s education, is unprincipled then the issue once again becomes murky. It is the role of the educator to discern the difference and to teach these distinctions to their students. Shades of Opportunism Human opportunism should not be confused with "seeking opportunities" as such, or "making use of opportunities when they arise". Opportunism refers rather to a specific way of responding to opportunities, which involves the element of selfinterestedness plus disregard for relevant ethical principles, intended or previously agreed goals, or the shared concerns of a group. Although human opportunism often has a strong negative moral connotation in contrast to biological opportunism, used as a neutral scientific description, it may also be defined more neutrally as putting self-interest before other interests when there is an opportunity to do so, or flexibly adapting to changing circumstances to maximize self-interest (though usually in a way that negates some principle previously held). The self-interests involved in justifying one’s actions are of course still open to corruption. In the case of the construction industry emerging architects need to understand the ongoing erosion of their fields’ responsibility and necessity. When put in perspective architects seeking opportunity by pursuing segments of project realization that currently do not belong to architects is hardly unprincipled but in fact a principled response to the systematic dismantlement of their profession
and livelihood. Foundation design education must, in such an instance, be consistently referred by the ethical considerations of building, including the greater good, public welfare, civic mindedness, and environmental accountability which often are concerns of design and building that other construction industry contingencies are not particularly concerned with. Opportunism is sometimes also defined as the ability to capitalize on the mistakes of others, to utilize opportunities created by the errors, weaknesses or distractions of opponents to one's own advantage. In a war situation or crisis, this may be regarded as justifiable, but in a civilized situation it may be regarded as unprincipled "taking unfair advantage of the situation". Again this is a question of perspective. To the gorilla fighters in Vietnam perhaps the defense of their homeland, regardless of political ideology, was motive enough for their strategies, as was also the case for many militia groups in the war of Independence here in the United States. It is difficult to suggest their actions as wrong or unprincipled when viewed from the perspective of the defender rather then aggressor. Taking a realistic or practical approach to a problem can involve weak forms of opportunism – for the sake of doing something that will work, or which will successfully solve the problem, a previously agreed principle is knowingly compromised or disregarded, with the justification that any alternative action would, in an overall sense, have a worse effect. Architects are increasingly finding themselves in such situations as more and more of the built environment is conceived, designed and built by non-architects with a different set of goals. Systems Thinking and Opportunism With regard to contemporary interests in systems thinking and holistic design it seems evident that opportunism be considered a component to improved design. At the center of opportunism is
OPPORTUNISM IN BEGINNING DESIGN
attentiveness. For one to be opportunistic one must have a goal and must understand what advantages may be sought to reach that goal. If the goal is outstanding design, which includes notions of ethical construction, environmentalism, public welfare, then the trait of opportunism is one to seek and / or impart on young students.
Architects Marsupial Bridge or the much celebrated Highline project by James Corner and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Their work highlights the possibilities of opportunism as an interventional methodology for design that results in a rich, functional, and poetic built environment.
The selfishness of todayâ€™s students seems their insatiable appetite for object-oriented projects focused more on novelty of fabrication than quality of lived experience. To design in a field of preexisting buildings, social fabrics, material palettes, and vernaculars, in short context, has somehow become a deplorable chore and even worse, as one student called it, â€œless architectural.â€? In such cases the opportunism being witnessed is one of willful ignorance to the realities of design and those who will one day suffer its consequence. The separation created by abstraction of documentation methods, client correspondence, means of construction, and the standard business model, have all led to a smallminded, self-serving practice of work-a-day architectural hobbyists more interested in a picture of a building then a sustainable and fulfilling environment. This form of opportunism does not reside in the academy alone and is in fact far more threatening when witnessed in practice. The suburban malls, subdivisions, and frontage-street shopping strips, what Rem Koolhaas might define as Junkspace, are all the result of opportunistic developers, architects, engineers, and contractors putting profit above design ethics and civic responsibility. One might conclude that opportunism suggests the careful and strategic use of resources, maximization of effort to return. In such a definition opportunism aligns with environmentally accountable and sensitive ecological design. Logically ordered to make the most of things, opportunistic design thinking could lead to examples such as La Dallman
Fig. 1 Highline by James Corner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Instrumentality Utilization of potential is a trademark of opportunistic design however, this notion extends beyond the visually accessible alone. In the case of practices such as SHoP and Kieran Timberlake the opportunity for disciplinary expansion has extended to include the creation of building products and practices. For these practices opportunity has emerged from a self-derived necessity. In creating architecture, that many argue is an improvement of the built environment, these firms have gone so far as to design specific means of construction and construction materials. In doing so, the firms
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have expanded their influence on the realization of a project, adding fee to their practice, while also ensuring higher quality. As examples of contemporary practice both firms have shown the potential for â€œvalue-addedâ€? commonly associated with Integrated Project Delivery or IDP. While for some the invention of specialized fabrication and materials may seem self-serving and potentially opportunistic, when considered against the goals and accomplishments of afore mentioned architectural heroes, these practices register as contemporary exemplars, signaling the recovery of the role and value of the architect. The issue of established norms, disciplinary boundaries, and professional conduct is at question in such instances. What may be perceived as aggressive or even out-of-line is in reality merely a retaking of the traditional responsibilities of architects in the construction of our built-environment. The opportunists, to use the term negatively, are those professional societies and institutes who are dismantling professional oversights in favor of limiting legal responsibility and the need for rigorous education and professional examination, affectively giving value and fees to those members of the construction industry who are concerned the least with issues of quality of life, art, and the human experience but most prepared to manage risk. These opportunists are not necessarily functioning out of intent to do wrong but rather an ignorance of the complexity and ramifications of their actions. The notion of architects as aggressors has consistently referred more to their championship of design quality above higher salaries and personal wealth. When considered carefully a paradox is revealed that those most closely associated with Value Engineering and design cost reductions are also those who tend to profit the highest from construction as a business for generating wealth over better living.
Pedagogical application One method of building an opportunist ethic in beginning students requires the use of welldefined design solution contingencies such as highly articulated sites, material stocks, or programmatic utilities as part of design exercises that result in intervention-based solutions. By presenting the ill-structured pursuit of design as a relational task rather than a purely invention orientated act of synthesis, students are confronted with elements of the problem that are real, scalable, and tangible, and therefore operable and generative. In contrast, projects and exercises that require the student to begin from scratch with nothing but a white sheet of paper present an extremely challenging learning curve. The level of abstract thinking and instruction (which is critical) required to begin, and effectively address such design problems, may become too daunting a task for even the well-prepared student and educator.
Fig. 4 Take / Put
When considering the notion of opportunism one must remember that it implies a set of givens (site, materials, program devices) that are open for tactical manipulation as components of a design solution. In this way alignments with vernacular design are made where in one operates tactically based on local understanding of the problem at hand and the contingencies associated with that problem in order to manipulate it to alter the result. Likewise it
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suggests that the problem is aggressive and that it contains a kind of inertia, perhaps formal, theoretical, or other, that may also be manipulated to serve the designers agenda. By designing problems that are loaded with inertial contingencies, design depth and scalable performative consequences are embedded in the work and therefore more easily made distinguishable and comprehensible to the novice designer. Conclusion If the act of design is to legitimize 'what should be done', opportunistic design thinking seeks to pursue 'what can be done and why it should', a position far more easily understood by a beginning student. Rooted in Discovery Learning pioneered by Jerome Bruner, the act of seeking answers, perhaps opportunistically, above applying answers is a critical skill for educators to advance. The shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion these are the most valuable coins of the thinker at work. But in most schools guessing is heavily penalized and is associated somehow with laziness. -Jerome Bruner Architectural education is not about reinforcing dogmatic theory. It is about educating the next generation of people that will build in the world. The world they will enter is difficult to anticipate and their education should acknowledge this instability and openness to allow for a full and unencumbered engagement. The introduction of doctrinaire theory or simply a preferred aesthetic may create an immeasurable impression on the novice designer. Faculty seeking to impress students with what amount to nonsense syllables in the mind of beginners must be careful in their role as mentors and experts. Education is about giving not getting and faculty that are teaching to garner a following rather then a deeper
understanding should be mindful to occasionally question their motives. In this, I conclude by suggesting that opportunism is a way of thinking and working that aims to take advantage and make the most of things. As we enter a century where it is likely that we will need to explore our resourcefulness, students do not need to follow style, aesthetics, or outmoded theories, they need first to follow opportunity.
OPPORTUNISM IN BEGINNING DESIGN
Deresiewicz, William., Generation Sell. Published: November 12, 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/ sunday/the-entrepreneurialgeneration.html?pagewanted=all
Entretiens sur l'architecture, Henry Van Brunt's translation, the "Discourses on Architecture; University of Michigan Library (April 27, 2009)
Nobel,Phillip., Sharples, William., Holden, Kimberly., Pasquarelli, Gregg., SHoP: Out of Practice., The Monacelli Press (February 7, 2012)
Kieran, Stephen., Timberlake, James., Refabricating Architecture, McGraw-Hill Professional; 1 edition (November 20, 2003)
Tschumi, Bernard., Event-Cities; The MIT Press; 1st edition (January 22, 2001)
Subjic, Deyan., Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture; Overlook Hardcover (September 2, 2010)
Cahan, Richard., Williams, Michael., Vertikoff, Alexander., Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home: Chicago's Forgotten Renaissance Man; CityFiles Press (October 13, 2009)
Hensbergen, Gijs van., Gaudi: A Biography; Harper Perennial (November 4, 2003)
Kirkham, Pat., Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century; The MIT Press (February 6, 1998)
10. Fuller, Buckminster R., Kuromiya, Kiyoshi., Critical Path; St. Martin's Griffin; 2nd edition (February 15, 1982) 11. Palladio, Andea., Placzek, Adolf K. The Four Books of Architecture; Dover Publications (June 1, 1965) 12. Koolhaas, Rem., Junkspace; October, Vol. 100, Obsolescence. (Spring, 2002), pp. 175190. 13. Bruner, Jerome S., Beyond the Information Given: Studies in the Psychology of Knowing. W W Norton & Co Inc (June 1973)
Image Credits 1.
Leon Battista Alberti, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini, Photo by Author
Francesco Borromini, Chiese Di SM Della Pace
Seemann, 636546 P1000786.JPG http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/
Take / Put by Author
Published on Nov 1, 2012