Jonathan Hill Yeoryia Manolopoulou Peter Bertram Billie Faircloth Karin Søndergaard Merete Madsen Mikkel Kragh
PHD STUDENTs Anne-Mette Manelius Aurélie Mossé Peter Andreas Sattrup Ofri Earon Nanet Krogsbæk Mathiasen Jacob Riiber Nielsen Søren Nielsen Johannes Rauff Greisen Jan Schipull Kauschen Cecilie Bendixen Tore Banke
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research drawings models experiments
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research
With contributions by
Anne Beim and Mette Ramsgard Thomsen
The Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture & Design
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research – drawings, models, experiments Editors: Prof. Anne Beim & Prof. Mette Ramsgard Thomsen Co-editor: Architect Maria Hellesøe Mikkelsen Illustration credits: Page 149 Layout: Architect Maria Hellesøe Mikkelsen Print: Vilhelm Jensen & Partners ISBN: 978-87-7830-277-9 The publikation has been supported by: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture & DKAD The Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture and Design © The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture Denmark
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research drawings, models, experiments
Prof. Anne Beim Prof. Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture Denmark 1
Preface What is regarded as valid evidence in architectural research and how we evaluate this material – whatever its ‘substance’ – are the central research questions that are analysed and discussed in this book. We have seen a need to discuss the understanding of architectural research and to embrace the analytic processes and abductive nature of architectural reasoning and practice. This includes practice-related theory, methods and experimental traditions. It involves investigations into (new) methodologies and experimental procedures through theoretical studies, the use of digital techno logies, analogue material experiments, and interdisciplinary methods of transferring technological and conceptual practices from related research fields. Our intention is to question what happens when practice-related methods (practice-based research) and design-based research (research by design) are deliberately mixed with other scientific methods. In order to form a wide and multi-faceted basis for these discussions, we organised an international PhD seminar entitled “The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research”, and invited leading researchers and practitioners to discuss their research practice. Prior to the seminar event the research students taking part prepared a presentation of their own research studies through posters and oral presentations. This work formed a parallel study of the material evidence that could be found both in their individual PhD work and in a number of texts provided by the speakers who had been invited. These studies were presented at the two-day seminar mirroring the thematic structure of the seminar and focusing on: the drawing & the model and the prototype & the building. We should like to thank a number of people without whose efforts the seminar would not have been possible. First and foremost, we want to thank our invited guests. As part of the seminar and as coauthors of this book, they have shown an inspiring and encouraging commitment. We also want to thank the PhD students who took part – without them this excellent event would not have been possible. Finally, we want to thank the architect Maria Hellesøe Mikkelsen, who has supported us in coordinating and organising the course and seminar as well as this book. The seminar was funded and organised as part of the Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture and Design (DKAD). We want to thank DKAD and the publishing house at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation – School of Architecture for their support and interest in opening the discussion on The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research. Prof. Anne Beim, Institute of Architectural Technology & Prof. Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, CITA: Centre for IT and Architecture 3
Contents 3 8
Preface Introduction by Anne Beim and Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen
14 28 38 50 62 72 80
TEXTS BY GUEST writers Jonathan Hill Yeoryia Manolopoulou Peter Bertram Billie Faircloth Mikkel Kragh Merete Madsen Karin Søndergaard
94 98 102 106 110 114 118 122 126 130 134 138
Texts by PHD STUDENTs Anne-Mette Manelius Aurélie Mossé Peter Andreas Sattrup Ofri Earon Nanet Krogsbæk Mathiasen Jacob Riiber Nielsen Søren Nielsen Johannes Rauff Greisen Jan Schipull Kauschen Cecilie Bendixen Tore Banke Endnotes of PhD students
140 142 144
Profiles of guest writers Profiles of PhD students Illustration credits 5
Introduction The following texts explore the production of knowledge in architectural research. Focussing on a wide definition of practice-led research, the aim of these texts is to discuss how the practices of architectural design; drawing, modelling, prototyping and building embody a particular set of knowledge types that inform architectural thinking. Architectural reflection is allied with its media. It is through the drawing, the model and the building that architecture is conceived and developed. In practicebased research, working through design means reflecting through the production of material evidence in its various forms. Our query in this book explores how the material evidence resulting from these practices comes to contain knowledge â€“ how is it produced, what knowledge does it embody and by what means and methods can it be critically evaluated? The texts assembled here are deliberately wide apart. Spanning between the highly speculative and the pragmatic, our aim is to suggest that practice-based methods are used across all forms of architectural thinking. Where the structure of the book suggests a divide between the conceiving and the realisation of architecture, what we hope emerges are the fundamental crossovers and cross-fertilisations between these practices. Drawing is as much a practice of theoretical reflection as of detailing; prototyping is as much a practice of physical testing as of conceptual development. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE Architectural thinking is fundamentally about how ideas are embodied. This inherent focus on the material and the practice of making permeates architectural thinking, its concepts and its language. The drawing, the model and the prototype are part of a matterially manifest reflection that allows the emergence of spatial understanding. As reflected upon in Jonathan Hillâ€™s text, the emergence of drawing as a key architectural practice is the moment through which architecture is emancipated from the pure practicalities of construction, thereby becoming a reflective arts practice in its own right. Drawing, as part of the practice of design, suggests a place through which the act of making is liaised with the ideals of conceptualisation, conflating drawing and thinking into one concurrent practice. But drawings are also material constructions. The act of drawing is a material engagement 9
that holds its own craftsmanship, skill and practice. As presented by Yeoryia Manolopoulou in her reflection on her own drawing practice, drawings are not only instructions but also places of invention from which the unanticipated and the production of new knowledge might arrive. But how do we discuss this practice of creative invention? What is the model of knowledge contribution that is suggested here, and how can we conceptualise its production? In his text, Peter Bertram suggests that rather than aligning architectural creative practice with a goal of the universal, it should be understood as a dynamic process that is engaged through technique. According to Jonathan Hill, it is important to confront the understanding of architectural representation as autonomous. Instead, design practice should be appreciated and evolved as that which holds its own particular apertures through which the breadth of the building disciplines, of climate and of weather, bleed in and affect design intention. Design is no longer to be understood as a moment of control, but instead it is continually affected and changed by the conditions that form it. As the practices of creating material evidence as a means of architectural reflection extend from drawing and modelling to computer programming, environmental simulation and full-scale physical prototyping, the question of this association of craftsmanship, skill and technique becomes increasingly convoluted. The aim in this book is to articulate the relationships between these different modes of reflection. By exploring their intersections and correlations, our aim is to avoid collapsing these modes into a rhetoric of linear design refinement but instead to uphold their individuality and their inherent creative potential. THE POLYCULTURE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE Material evidence defined as part of a polycultural research practice is based on a deliberately wide understanding of methodology, research procedure and experimentation. In architecture, we are engaged in a manifold practice of production. When material evidence equals a polyculture of artefacts, the role of the evidence and how it intersects with other sorts of evidence becomes a central question. As architects, we know how the drawing informs the model and the model the building â€“ but we also know that they feed each other, and that a drawing can easily be both measured and 10
speculative and a model can hold both tectonic and conceptual dimensions. How do we express the layering of these constructions of meaning, and how can we develop a discourse of polyphony in architectural research? The PhD projects that have been included in this book form a wide range of architectural research investigations: from tectonic inquiries into material qualities and properties, to computational crafting and model making, to the creation and testing of theoretical models for simulation or articulation of tectonic principles in ordered pictograms. These projects are: Self-Actuated Textiles in the Design of Domestic Spaces; Digital Crafting; Parametrics in Practice â€“ generative performance in architecture; Re-Thinking Interaction Between Landscape and Urban Buildings; Architectonic potentials in utilising industrial robots for concrete building; Acoustic and aesthetic possibilities in spatial textile constructions; Fabric Formwork for Concrete Structures; Climate Adaption Deriving from Nordic Building Cultures; Sustainable Integrated Product Deliveries in Renovation and New Building Construction; Nordic light and its impact on the design of aperture in Nordic architecture; Adaptability as a tectonic strategy; Sustainability energy optimisation â€“ daylight and sun heating. The seminar and this book intend to engage with the dynamic breadth of architectural research, to ask questions across the wide array of material that architects produce; not discriminating between the flighty fantasies of the extraordinary or the weighted pragmatisms of the realised, to allow the discussion of architectural production in the widest sense of the word. The research seminar reflects a tradition for material attention and grounding in practice which can be found in architectural education in Scandinavia. Here, the Beaux Arts tradition has been mixed with the academic training of the building craftsman in our architectural education. Importantly, architecture is not alone in this practice of contemplation through making. In parallel scientific fields, such as engineering and chemistry, the idea of the experiment, the model and the diagram are active parts in research thinking. How can architectural research culture learn from these parallel research practices and their associated methodologies?
THE DRAWING AND THE MODEL As a means of delineating differences in intention in the production of material evidence, we structured the seminar around two different modes of reflection: the drawing & the model on the one hand, and the prototype & the building on the other. This separation follows a traditional progressive thinking of design development as a process of refinement, as one practice leads to the other, but simultaneously it allows us room to think the speculative practices of architecture in their own right. Moving from the formal utopias of Etienne Boullee, to the poetic investigations of Bruno Taut or the geometric speculations of Utzon, drawing is a place of deliberation, of figuring out the potentials and the problems of architecture. The model is an expansion of this practice. Where Utzon, in the Sydney Opera House, uses the model to invent the structural principles that guide the building both spatially and materially, the model itself can also be positioned as a purely speculative investigation searching the languages and operations of spatial conceptualisation. For Utzon the spherical model and its subdivision allow for a material base through which the organisation of structure can be imagined. Similarly and yet under completely different circumstances, the model itself can also be understood as a mode of material reflection allowing the emergence of new spatial concepts. It is this linked practice that suggests architecture’s internal convolution. The texts presented here reflect on this deep-rooted linkage between these differentiated acts of making querying the mode by which drawing and modelling can simultaneously point inwards at the core of architectural conceptualisation, and outwards towards description, delineation and specification. THE PROTOTYPE AND THE BUILDING The second part of the seminar focused on the prototype and building. When testing (research) ideas through full-scale mock-ups or completed buildings, the nature, complexity and resistance embedded in the various parameters that shape architecture come into focus. These can be considered as disturbing elements that contaminate the ideals of the designed, or they can be included as part of the material evidence for further examination. It is through these circumstances that the full-scale physical object, when built, opens for reflection, refinement, testing and development – and thereby for further theorisation. 12
However, the specific understanding of the prototype as part of architectural production is difficult to emphasise, as most buildings can be considered as prototypes – one-offs. In Mark West’s work the prototype attains its own value as a mode of architectural exploration. Through full-scale experiments he has systematically tested the structural and aesthetic properties of concrete when cast in fabric formwork. The prototypes generate, direct and sharpen the research questions and in their own abductive manner produce new research questions and prototypes. It is a slow and laborious research practice that can be characterised as material reflection. In the same way, the building also acts as material evidence for architectural reflection. When Louis Kahn developed his architectural principle of the serving and the served, he tested it by distillation and translation into various spatial elements, structural geometry and use of material. In different ways, this basic idea formed a sort of open design rule by which he could develop new kinds of structural organisations or conceptions of space, and by which he could let new theories emerge. As mentioned above, the texts included here reflect on a deep-rooted linkage between differentiated acts of making – in this case how tectonic tests, material prototypes and buildings can become part of a research practice and how these modes of making can help to specify the core of architectural conceptualisation.
JONATHAN HILL Design Research: the First Five Hundred Years
Design and Disegno In contemporary discourse and practice it is familiar to talk of design research as if it is new to architecture. But to understand research as new to design is to ignore the history of the architect. Before the fifteenth century the status of the architect, painter and sculptor was low due to their association with manual labour and dispersed authorship. First trained in one of the building crafts, the master mason was but one of many craftsmen and worked alongside them as a construction supervisor. Of little importance to building, the drawing was understood as no more than a flat surface and the shapes upon it were but tokens of three-dimensional objects. The Italian Renaissance introduced a fundamental change in perception, establishing the principle that the drawing truthfully depicts the threedimensional world, and is a window to that world, which places the viewer outside and in command of the view. Consequently, for the first time, the drawing became essential to architectural practice. The history of drawing is interwoven with the history of design. The term design comes from the Italian disegno, meaning drawing, and suggesting both the drawing of a line and the drawing forth of an idea. Classical antiquity established the principle that ideas are immaterial and that intellectual labour is superior to manual labour. Affirming this principle disegno allowed the three visual arts – architecture, painting and sculpture - to be recognised as liberal arts concerned with ideas, a position they had rarely been accorded previously. Disegno is concerned with the immaterial idea of architecture, not the material fabric of building. The sixteenth-century painter and architect Giorgio Vasari was crucial to its promotion: ‘one may conclude that this design is nothing but a visual expression and clarification of that concept which one has in the intellect, and that which one imagines in the mind’.1 In 1563 Vasari founded the first art academy, the Accademia del Disegno in Florence. The academy replaced workshop instruction with education in subjects such as drawing and geometry, which emphasised the visual arts’ association with the intellect. A model for art and architecture schools ever since, Vasari’s academy enabled painters, sculptors and architects to converse independently of the craft guilds. The command of drawing not building unlocked the status of the architect. Interdependent, the architect and the drawing represent the same idea: that architecture results not from the accumu17
lated knowledge of a team of anonymous craftsman working together on a construction site, but from the artistic creation of an individual architect in command of drawing who designs a building as a whole at one remove from construction. There is a degree of creative confusion, however, in that the architectural drawing depends on two related but distinct concepts. One indicates that drawing is an intellectual, artistic activity distant from the grubby materiality of building. The other claims that the drawing is the truthful representation of the building, indicating the architect’s mastery of building design. In the new division of labour in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, design was distanced from construction and the construction site. Alongside the traditional practice of building, architects acquired new means to practice architecture that became as important as building, namely drawing but also writing. To affirm their status as exponents of intellectual and artistic labour, architects began increasingly to theorise architecture in drawings and books with the purpose of furthering the know ledge and status of the architect. Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria, 1485, was the first thorough investigation of the Renaissance architect as artist and intellectual, while Francesco Colonna’s Hypteromachia Poliphili, 1499, established the multimedia interdependence of text and image that has been essential to architectural books ever since. Often a design does not get built and an architect must be persuasive to see that it does. Sometimes a building is not the best means to explore architectural ideas. Consequently, architects, especially influential ones, tend to talk, write and draw a lot as well as build. Sebastiano Serlio and Andrea Palladio are notable early exponents of this tradition, and Le Corbusier and Rem Koolhaas are more recent ones. The relations between the drawing, text and building are multi-directional. For example, drawing may lead to building. But writing may also lead to drawing, or building may lead to writing and drawing. If everyone reading this text listed all the architectural works that influence them, some would be drawings, some would be texts, and others would be buildings either visited or described in drawings and texts. Studying the history of architecture since the Italian Renaissance, it is evident that researching, testing and questioning the limits of architecture occur through drawing and writing as well as building. 18
A Different Beauty The architect as we understand the term today was established in Italy in around 1450, in France a century later, and in Britain in the following century. But the history of design from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first has not been seamless and a significant departure occurred in the eighteenth century, when the meaning of an idea and a design changed significantly. In the Renaissance, ideas were understood to be universal. But in An Essay concerning Human Understanding in 1690, John Locke argued that ideas are provisional and dependent upon experience.2 Countering the neoPlatonist and Cartesian traditions in which knowledge is acquired by the mind alone, empiricism emphasised that experience is key to understanding, which develops through an evolving dialogue between the environment, senses and mind. Lockeâ€™s concern for environmental influences included a particular fascination for the weather. For over twenty years he recorded the daily temperature, barometric pressure and winds. But while Locke considered the natural world only so far as it affected human understanding, Anthony Ashley Shaftesbury, third Earl of Shaftesbury, influenced a wider reassessment in 1711.3. Alongside a concern for empirical science, the eighteenth century gave new attention and reverence to subjective experience and the natural world, so that one became a means to explore the other. The changing weather became synonymous with changing perception, and was considered to be as exceptional as the imagination. In 1757 David Hume remarked that â€˜Beauty is no quality in things themselves: it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.â€™4 Although Hume still maintained that educated taste is universal and superior, empiricism led to relativism and the recognition that perception is subjective and changeable. Any change in the weather, the time of the day or the position or mood of the viewer can affect perception, so that even an object seemingly as solid as a building may not seem the same from one moment to the next. Reconfiguring the relations between nature and culture and focusing attention on subjectivity, the eighteenth century transformed the visual arts, its objects, authors and viewers. In contrast to the aloof and individual authorship developed in the Italian Renaissance, an alternative conception of the architect encouraged a new type of design and a new way of designing that valued the ideas and emotions evoked through experience and acknowledged the creative influences of the weather as 19
well as the user. No longer was architecture a cohesive body of knowledge based on universal forms and proportions. Since the eighteenth century, design may draw forth an idea that is provisional, changeable and dependent on experience at conception, production and reception. The reinterpretation of design in the eighteenth century also depended upon a reclassification of the arts. Opposed to utility, the classification of the fine arts - notably poetry, music, painting, sculpture and architecture - is primarily an invention of that century. Associated with utility, the design disciplines that proliferated due to industrialisation, such as product design, are categorised as applied arts at best. In the Renaissance a form was synonymous with an idea. But, especially since the nineteenth-century codification of formal type, a form can be ready for mass production and made without an idea in mind. Painters and sculptors discarded design once it became associated with collective authorship, industrial production and forms without ideas. Among the fine arts, which include the three original visual arts, only in architecture is the term design regularly referred to today. Many people associate design with the newer design disciplines, which affects how architectural design is understood. But in the discourse of architects, the older meaning of design – drawing ideas – and the newer meaning of design – drawing appliances – are both in evidence. Drawing Forth It is clear that design as it was first conceived has a number of failings. First, because it suggests that only the architect is creative and fails to recognise the creativity of the user and others involved in the conception and production of architecture, such as the client or engineer. Second, because it promotes the superiority of the intellect and denigrates the manual, material and experiential. The highly influential concept that ideas are superior to matter is nothing but a prejudice. One option is to dismiss it, concluding that its effect on architecture is only negative because it denies the solid materiality of architecture and encourages architects to chase after artistic status that they will never fully attain, may not need, and should question. But the original meaning of design, as the drawing of a line and the drawing forth of an idea, remains valuable to architectural practice and research as 20
long as its limitations are acknowledged and challenged. It must be tempered by the eighteenthcentury assumption that ideas are provisional and dependent on experience at conception, production and reception. A Cloud of Sea-Coal In the second half of this text, the weather is a means to consider the role of material evidence in architecture, which I assume to mean both the consequences of drawing and modelling and the effects of weathering and using. I discuss climate as well as weather, but my principal focus is everyday experience. Weather and climate differ in duration and scale. Unlike the weather, which we can see and feel at a specific time and place, we cannot directly perceive climate because it is an idea aggregated over many years and across a region. Especially since the expansion of industry, weather is man-made as well as natural. In 1661, John Evelyn remarked that a ‘Hellish and dismall Cloud of SEA-COAL’ blanketed London.5 Industrial fumes combined with coal smoke to blacken rain, turning the air into a dark, odorous smog. Enveloping the city that produced it, the cloud even entered the interior. In 1832 ‘The Duke of Devonshire’s ball was held in the clouds: so thick was the fog in the drawing-room that you could not recognize people at the other end of the room’6 Building a Climate To contrast two early-nineteenth-century attitudes to industrialised weather, which remain relevant today, I have chosen two protagonists – the architect John Soane, and the painter JMW Turner – who were close friends and shared a fascination for the atmosphere. I regard Soane’s house, office and museum at 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields as an intensely personal, highly self-conscious and decisively meandering autobiography in which the author edited, narrated and reinvented his life as he reflected upon it. Aware that no art form can fully describe a person and a life, Soane turned an impossible task to creative advantage. 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields is an appropriate monument to an era that lauded subjectivity but recognised it to be elusive and uncertain. Visiting 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields today, it is easy to ignore how different it was in Soane’s lifetime. 21
A building site for over forty years, Soane conceived 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields as a ruin and ruined as much as he built. In that era, the attention given to the ruin was due to the attention given to time, decay, weather and subjectivity. The ruin of a building was linked to the ruin of a life. But the ruin represented potential as well as loss, stimulating memory and the imagination. As the Soanes remained in Lincoln’s Inn Fields while the three adjacent buildings were acquired, demolished, constructed, adjusted and rebuilt, living there meant living in a living ruin unlike the preserved ruin we see today. In his first lecture as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1809, Soane noted the creative influence of climate on architectural development and emphasised the poetic effects of weather on architectural experience.7 Beyond the city Soane enjoyed the shifting modulations of mist and light. But in London his sensory appreciation extended no further than the boundaries of his home. Soane concluded that retreat was the appropriate response to the city’s heavy pollution. Soane often stated his fascination for the picturesque even though it was by then out of fashion. Discussing a building and its setting, he writes: ‘Architecture being thus identified with gardening, it becomes a necessary part of the education of the architect that he shall be well acquainted with the principles of modern landscape gardening.’8 But his comparison of a building to a garden went further. Equally inspired by Enlightenment architecture and picturesque gardens, Soane responded to Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières’ claim in 1780 that a house and a garden can be designed according to similar principles by conceiving 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields as a garden of architecture.9 Avid for acquisition and adjustment, his inquisitive imagination guaranteed seasonal and yearly transformations. Drawings, paintings, windows and mirrors offer vistas and routes punctuated by ruins and monuments. Sculptures and antiquities cover every surface like architectural foliage, recalling the shaggy aesthetic of the late eighteenth-century picturesque, while alternative routes and intricately interconnecting spaces are reminiscent of the early-eighteenth-century picturesque. Soane designed a climate and a garden as much as a building. Modulating light and temperature, he employed an invention of the industrial era, central heating, to render his garden habitable and counter a by-product of industrialisation, intense pollution.10 To bathe his garden in a golden light 22
he inserted coloured glass skylights and limited visits to sunnier days. Distinguishing between a benign climate inside and a malign climate outside, Soane created an architectural garden to exclude London. He fabricated a climate just as he fabricated a ruin. Only he determined his garden’s growth and decay. Conceiving 12-14 Lincoln’s Fields as a means of self-expression and morbidly concerned for his reputation. Soane displayed some of the characteristics of a romantic artist. But in attempting to deny the external environment and weather, Soane ignored a crucial aspect of the picturesque and isolated himself from the direct and unmediated engagement with nature that characterised romanticism. Pigments and Pollution Turner’s sketchbooks reveal how careful he was to record a landscape from different points of view, in different weathers, and at different times of the day. Many of his paintings focus on changes in the weather and human response to those changes. Some watercolours and oil paintings were made outdoors. More often Turner painted in his studio. In 1822 he designed a new gallery and studio at his London home. An early visitor admired the elegant house and ‘best lighted gallery I have ever seen’.11 In 1842 another visitor describes a quite different scene: “The house had a desolate look. The door was shabby, and nearly destitute of paint, and the windows were obscured by dirt … When I entered the gallery and looked at the pictures I was astonished, and the state in which they were shocked me. The skylights on the roof were excessively dirty, many of the panes of glass were broken, and some were altogether missing. It was a cold wet day in autumn, and the rain was coming through the broken glass, on to the middle of the floor, and all the time I was there – fully an hour – I had to keep my umbrella up over my head.” 12 Decay must have begun much earlier for the house, gallery and studio to reach such a level of decrepitude by the early 1840s. Historians and curators use Turner’s old age and curmudgeonly character to explain the decay. David Blayney Brown describes Turner as ‘a profound pessimist’ and ‘depressive whose resolve, in old age, has so far flagged that he could not be bothered to look after the works he intended for posterity’.13 The Tate’s conservation department identifies a number of reasons for the 23
poor condition of Turner’s paintings today, all significantly due to his working practices including the dilapidated state of his studio: “The finished paintings … frequently suffer from moisture sensitivity, disfiguring mould growth, flaking of priming from canvas, flaking of paint from paint, wrinkled and cracked paint, discoloured glazes …” 14 “As unfinished paintings were left in the studio they acquired a layer of dirt and grease, which Turner should have cleaned away before adding further paint. But he did not. The layer of dirt became part of the painting, decreasing adhesion between the old and new layers and causing flaking.” 15 But instead of merely indicating his pessimism and disinterest, it is likely that Turner’s treatment of his paintings was deliberate and necessary. Ruskin famously remarked in 1856: ‘First, he receives a true impression from the place itself… and then he sets himself as far as possible to reproduce that impression on the mind of the spectator of his picture.’16 I conclude that Turner conceived the progressive decay, and gradual ruination, of a painting to be a means to convey the impression of a place in relation to time and weather. A Londoner throughout his life, Turner’s reaction to the city’s polluted air was fascination rather than repulsion. Its light and colour effects especially intrigued him. In The Thames above Waterloo Bridge, c. 1830-1835, Turner depicts the city’s weather as a heady haze of fog and smog. Whether at sea or in the city, Turner painted what he experienced. In London, his dilapidated studio enabled him to paint in situ. His subject literally entered his work in pigments and pollution. The dirt and rain that landed on unfinished canvases, and that Turner left there, combined with pigments that were also composites of the natural and industrial. The term ‘romantic’ is often applied pejoratively, suggesting disengagement and retreat from contemporary concerns. Instead, collaborations and conversations between painters, poets and scientists characterised early-nineteenth-century romanticism, which accommodated intellect as well as emotion, and was not indifferent to reason. Turner’s subject, site and painting practice were perfectly aligned and a typically ‘Romantic piece of rule-breaking’.17 Rather than a retreat to nature, Turner’s romanticism fully acknowledged the complexity of his time, its climate and weather. Immersed in the hybridised 24
atmospheres and energies that defined early-nineteenth-century London, which nature and industry had together created, Turner offered an early indication of human-induced climate change. In his paintings, he recognised an emerging hybridised weather that was industrial as well as natural and would soon, after the experiments in 1831 of his friend Michael Faraday, also become electromagnetic Miles Apart Soane and Turner lived and worked barely a mile apart. But their attitudes to London’s weather were miles apart. Soane created a clear division between a benign internal climate and a malign external one, while Turner celebrated London’s fog and smog in his dilapidated studio. Soane wished to control ruination, while Turner accepted decay. Soane recognised the architectural potential of a climate, while Turner acknowledged the weather as a significant authorial voice that complimented his own. To some extent, their differing professions determined their differing attitudes. Creating a consistent and comfortable environment, the architect has a responsibility to everyday use that need not concern the painter. But Soane and Turner also represent differing attitudes to architecture and authorship. There is a fundamental difference between an isolated interior in which the designer aims for complete control, and a complex and inter-related environment in which the designer accepts other influences. Weather Architecture To conclude this text I wish to reflect on the architectural tradition that I have briefly described. An opposition to weather, which represents a physical and psychological threat, has historically defined architecture’s limits as a discipline, building and practice. Banister Fletcher writes that ‘Architecture … must have had a simple origin in the primitive efforts of mankind to provide protection against inclement weather, wild beasts and human enemies.’18 In an early-fifteenth-century demonstration of linear perspective, Filippo Brunelleschi depicted the square around the Baptistery in Florence. But rather than drawing the sky he silvered part of a wooden panel so that it was seen in reflection and a different sky was always present. Brunelleschi’s demonstration seems to confirm the opinion that weather is outside architecture and outside architectural representation. But an alternative interpretation indicates the importance of weather to architecture. First, because the dialogue between 25
weather and architecture is a means to reconsider the relations between nature and culture. Second, because the weather locates architecture in a specific place and region, combating globalisation. Third, because the effects of weather on architecture are a means to recognise and represent time. Fourth, because the weather makes architecture more ambiguous, unpredictable and open to varied interpretation, questioning established uses. Fifth, because attention to the changing seasons encourages architects to design buildings that co-exist with the environment. Sixth, because a building is therefore understood not as a perfect, finite object but as provisional and open to change during its conception, construction, use and decay. Seventh, because architecture is not just a mirror to the weather but can also be like the weather in all its subtle variation, both in the ways it is perceived and in its formal, spatial and material conditions. Eighth, because the weather is recognised as a significant authorial voice over which architects have little control, tempering their claims to sole authorship. Since the Renaissance, it is often assumed that a significant building is the creation of one architect because artistic, intellectual labour is associated with the individual. Only occasionally is the contribution of anyone else acknowledged. But the tradition of weather architecture established in the picturesque and romanticism reveals a condition that is widespread: there are always a number of architectural authors at work. Here, architectural authorship is multiplied and juxtaposed not dissolved. Multiplied because, rather than a sole author, a number of architectural authors are identified â€“ such as the designer, client, site and weather. Juxtaposed because - sometimes competing, sometimes affirming â€“ each author may inform the other, as in a feisty dialogue of individual voices and unexpected conclusions. As natural and man-made forces affect each other on a global and local scale, agents as well as authors are at work. An author is an initiating force while an agent responds, translates and transforms. As an author may also be an agent, the result is a complex interweaving of authorship and agency in which architecture and weather are connected rather than opposed and the production of architecture is shared and temporal.
Endnotes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Vasari, G., 1960, Vasari on Technique, trans. Louisa S. Maclehose, New York: Dover, p. 205. Locke, J., 1975, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch, Oxford Clarendon Press, p. 105. Cooper, A. A., 1999, third Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manner, Opinions, Times, ed. Philip Ayres, Oxford: Clarendon Press, vol. 2, p. 101. Hume, D., 1993, Selected Essays, ed. Stephen Copley and Andrew Edgar, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 136-137. Evelyn, J., 1772, Fumifugium: Or, The Inconvenience of the Aer, and Smoake of London Dissipated, ed. Samuel Pegge, London: B. White, p. 18. Extract from a letter of 25 February 1832, from Dorothea, Princess Lieven, to Lady Cowper. Soane, J., 1996, ‘Lecture I’, in David Watkin, Sir John Soane: Enlightenment Thought and the Royal Academy Lectures, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 492-497. Soane, J., ‘Lecture X’, in Watkin, p. 624. Le Camus de Mézières, N., 1992, The Genius of Architecture; or , the Analogy of That Art With Our Sensations, trans. D. Britt, Santa Monica: The Getty Center, p. 74. Willmert, T., 1993, ‘Heating Methods and Their Impact on Soane’s Work: Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Dulwich Picture Gallery’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, March 1993, vol, 52, no. 1, p. 48. Rev. Kingsley, W., 1969, quoted in John Gage, Colour in Turner: Poetry and Truth. London: Studio Vista, p. 162. MacGeorge, A., 1987, quoted in John Gage, J.M.W. Turner: ‘A Wonderful Range of Mind’. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 152-153. Brown, D. B., 2001, Romanticism, London and New York, Phaidon, p. 161. Townsend, J., 1995, ‘Turner’s Use of Materials, and Implications for Conservation’, in Joyce Townsend, ed., Turner’s Painting Techniques In Context, London: UKIC, p. 5. Hackney, S, ‘The Condition of Turner’s Oil Paintings’, in Townsend, Turner’s Painting Techniques In Context, pp. 53-54. Ruskin, J., 1904, Modern Painters, vol. 4, London: George Allen, pp. 21-22. Powell, C., ‘Turner’s Sketches: Purpose and Practice’, in Townsend, Turner’s Painting Techniques In Context, p. 60. Fletcher, B., 1924, A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, London, B.T. Batsford, 7th edition, p. 1.
Yeoryia Manolopoulou Enaction Drawing
APORIA / FIGURE 1 I draw in order to understand. I draw in large notebooks in order to give my thoughts the space of the page to unfold. Page after page my notebooks provide a seamless continuum in which the progression and iteration of thought can be expressed materially. Each drawing is provisional; it can be revisited, undone and redone. The outcome is an arrangement which can be reassessed and changed. It is important that the thought is immediately arrested on the page as and when it occurs because the more direct and honest the drawing is, the more constructively it will allude to critical reflection and further drawing. Doubt and contradiction are welcomed in this type of drawing because the action is non-illustrational. It is led by the principles of aporia rather than representation. In Greek aporia means puzzlement, doubt and confusion. Research-led drawing is driven by doubt and should include it in its materialisation. It should express the difficulty of thought with all its fugitive qualities and backlashes, its uncertainty, multiplicity and stumbling blocks. The difficulty in reconciling differences and the gaps between them should be acknowledged and evident in the drawing. I draw in order to sense. The history of performative and participatory types of drawing can be traced across cultures and times long before Jackson Pollockâ€™s action painting in the late 1940s. The Chinese understood and practiced performative drawing by making literal and direct connections between painting, calligraphy and the martial arts centuries ago. The aim was common: how the painter/ fighter will enact degrees of tension between the fugitive and the present, impulse and control.1 The i-pâ€™in or untrammelled technique used in pre-modern Chinese painting is particularly famous in this regard. Many untrammelled painters performed before audiences and their works were to be appreciated more as performances than as things. The accounts of untrammelled artists are extraordinary: they describe frenzied painters drawing on the floor by stamping and smearing their feet and hands in convulsion. Gesture, motion, pacing and momentum, turning, splashing, and stretching were all important. What mattered was not so much what was painted but how it was painted. To be in the drawing, immersed and physically involved, is a kind of drama: playing and fighting with the work, experiencing and demonstrating the inevitable gap that exists between intention and outcome. 31
ENACTION / FIGURE 2 From an architectural point of view what is worth considering in the untrammelled technique is not so much its extreme expressiveness but the idea that drawing can be a form of play, an enactment. Behind the profession’s pursuit of objectivity and its ethical presumptions, there is a specially honest kind of drawing that the architect can do, which is nothing more and nothing less than the immediate enactment of ideas on paper. Drawing in this way is acting out the journey of thought spatially and making it appear on paper. My notebook pages look sketchy but, I would argue, express a kind of sprezzatura: looking easy but interrogating something difficult.2 Rosalind Krauss has written that hand drawing, and automatic drawing in particular, is ordinarily supported by the horizontal surface of the table which she sees as ‘the more culturally processed domain of the written sign’.3 This is significantly different from the vertical picture plane and the upright notion of space which tends to be understood as perspectival. Notebook drawings do not aim to construct views, ‘pictures’ as such, but use the horizontal domain of the page to situate thoughts relationally. The surface of the paper meets all thoughts falling. Thoughts metaphorically fall on the page to contest and intersect and eventually shift relations and meanings. ‘Enacting’ suggests something more than ‘action’, as used in the definition of action painting. This is because the verb ‘to enact’ indicates that the architect will not only act upon the page but also enact something other. Through drawing the architect can make almost instinctive analogies between the space of the page as occupied by the body, the space of thought, and the space of situated experience as remembered or imagined. The architect can fluently make spatial correspondences between the drawing and the space/object to which the drawing may refer and which it may reconstruct – an object, room, garden, city, or any other located external reality. Often these are correspondences found in the analogies that naturally exist between drawing, writing and walking. Following the laws of gravity and movement, drawing on paper can be paralleled with writing a poem or strolling through a landscape. Writing, drawing and walking are similar actions in the sense that they accommodate and represent thought process simultaneously and sequentially in time: unfolding stories, making journeys, encountering obstacles, going in circles. 32
In the architectural discourse of the late twentieth century few architects insisted on drawing with reference to enaction. Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts and Coop Himmelblau’s Open House are worth mentioning in this connection. And the Igualada Cemetery and related site drawings by Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós come to mind in terms of works that have been built. I suggest that it is time for architectural research to acknowledge and develop enaction drawing techniques because they allow storytelling and temporality to take part in the becoming of the work. POLYPHONY / FIGURE 3 Knowledge is an embodied and time-related function. The child learns through experience and through repetitive doing. Thoughts must be drawn in order to be performed and, therefore, learned and remembered. The manner of spacing and intersecting the various sketches, diagrams, ideograms and photo collages on the page is critical. Where things will go on the page can shift the project one way or another. The practice of choice and combination as an aesthetic practice is perhaps as old as mankind, and is particularly critical in this process. The collection of material in notebooks is a meaningful microcosm of a project – not a passive archive, but a material repository of ideas for further critical reflection and design. Drawing in this way is drawing together multiple dialogues. The thought is held on the page in tension with other thoughts. In setting up imaginary and factual dialogues with books, places, histories, other drawings and other voices, drawing gradually expands in scope and becomes inter-subjective. This way of drawing is animated by the principle of polyphony (meaning many voices); it is relational. How can this process be critically assessed? In order for the architect to assess and understand what she is producing, she must position herself among the work of others, and make her positioning legible in the work itself. There is a history of drawings, objects and buildings within and against which our work is seen. So the things we produce are in constant dialogue with a material context. When the author chooses to integrate this context within the body of the work, the result is polyphonic. James Joyce did it with his Ulysses, John Soane did it with his house in London. For Mikhail Bakhtin ‘the self is an activity’, an activity which is already a relation, that of the self and the other simultaneously. 33
The work on the other hand, whether novel, drawing or building, is a ‘live event’. Using Bakhtin’s definition of the dialogic (rather than the monologic), I suggest that architectural research can benefit from dialogical drawing: multiple other works, other authors and other architectures should actively participate in the work, making themselves materially present.4 PLAY / FIGURE 4 Shutters, House F is an architectural project that explores relationality within the context of a building proposal for a single-family house situated in Patras, Greece.5 The piece describes the design idea, the essence, of an array of hinged shutters intertwining the house. The shutters can operate as passages between rooms, the building and the surrounding olive grove, formed and less formed conditions, present and fugitive realities. But the piece also describes a strategy: a number of moves which, although dependent upon a given situation (the flat initial template), are simultaneously independent actions with particular objectives (to turn a hinged plane inward or outward, to split an opening into two or more parts, to fold or not to fold, to position here or there, and so on). The piece is neither directly about the theoretical question of relationality nor strictly about the design of Shutters. While it unfolds, numerous possible ‘patterns’ can be shaped. It acts beyond the limits of the House F project as a model object that can possibly influence the making of other works in the future. In many ways Shutters can be used for play. Natural elements, such as sand, water, bark, rock, are ideal ‘unformed’ toys for a child’s imaginative play. This is because the less formed an object is, the more completion is required by the imagination. A synergy of changeable factors such as inhabitation, weather, light and chance influences the environment but also the processes of the imagination, how an idea emerges, how it becomes materialised, and changed. Shutters, House F is seen as a playful ‘unformed’ object in an analogous way. Its plasticity is time-based. Each frame is seen as describing a possible configuration of the piece in time. The piece can be ‘reinvented’ and played differently each time. Using it in this way perhaps resembles playing chess or writing a poem. Play is one of the main bases of creativity and civilisation. It is in fact older than civilisation and, as Johan Huizinga argued, in certain ways superior: culture arises in, and as, play. But play, according 34
to Huizinga, is not a ‘real’ part of life, rather it is an ‘interlude in life’ that involves representation: ‘the game “represents” a contest, or else becomes a contest for the best representation of something’. 6 This understanding of play as a contest is not far from the work of the untrammelled painters which we discussed above. Drawing, like play, is an immersed activity, a kind of drama in action that involves the ‘fighting’ of possibilities and representations. Gregory Bateson’s writings on play are relevant here because he argues that fantasy and threat are inextricable parts of play. The main difficulty for the player, the dreamer and the designer is that they should not be fully aware about what they are doing. He argues: ‘within the dream the dreamer is usually unaware that he is dreaming, and within play he must often be reminded that “This is play”’.7 There is a ‘branch’ of architectural research that is particularly worth noticing here. It involves drawing and making that is not at first sight directly ‘applicable’ or ‘useful’ in the sense of logically solving problems or answering questions. This type of making would not immediately solve design issues and would not result in practically purposeful processes and products. Instead, it would construct intermediate and mediating devices that stand somewhere between imagination and application. These mediating devices usually derive from the desire to play freely with an idea, without directly having to apply it deterministically to a context. These devices help us to temporarily transfer our energy from designing in the conventional sense to an independent world of interrogating problems through play. POIESIS / FIGURE 5 Architectural research should not be discussed in merely objective, measurable and universally justifiable terms. Building performance, function and comfort are common categories of research that tend to insist on impartiality, optimisation and efficiency. Doubt, uncertainty and the circumstantial tend to be undesirable and purposefully avoided in discussions about architectural research. But I would argue that by excluding doubt, thereby excluding aspects of ambiguity or polyphony from a project, one is also in danger of excluding play and the poetic. Doubtful structure and contradictory meaning are essential devices in poetic making, and are therefore necessary agents in drawing and the poiesis of architecture. 35
Architecture should try to resist methodical procedures of calculating and predicting as the only means of doing research, and insist on the inclusion of the immeasurable and the poetic. It should explore and question aesthetics as one of its core subjects and strive to achieve beauty rather than only efficiency. Architectural research should allow for dreaming. Our efforts to design rationally are in dialogue with our dreams, oversights and unconscious desires. The self is a live and doubtful activity and so is drawing. Drawing is the physical sign of the self’s thinking process, materially capturing the tension between certainty and dilemma, the universal and the subjective. Charles Baudelaire in The Painter of Modern Life insisted that beauty needs a temporal and circumstantial element in its making. He argued that beauty is made up of two components: ‘beauty consists of an eternal, invariable element, whose quantity is excessively difficult to determine, and of a relative, circumstantial element, which will be, if you like, by turns or all together, the era, its fashion, its morals, its passions’.8 Without the temporal and fugitive quality of the particular moment and viewpoint, beauty would be solely composed of the permanent element and would simply be impossible to sense or comprehend. Practice-led research in architecture inevitably includes the practical study of beauty, but this is often covered up and not sufficiently recognised. Because beauty is difficult to grasp, unquantifiable and fugitive, partly eternal and partly circumstantial, it remains unspeakable. But excluding aesthetics and the subject of beauty from today’s territory of architectural research suggests excluding the appreciation of beauty from the broader discourse and practice of architecture. If we want to find ways to develop our understanding of beauty, we must include it in the material evidence of our research and reveal the difficulties, uncertainties and multiple dualities involved in trying to achieve it. Aporia, enaction, polyphony and play are parts of the self, parts of poeisis and of beauty; as such they should also be parts of the drawing practices of architectural research. Because architecture without dreams is miserable; and because dreams contain both beauty and truth.
Endnotes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
What they all have in common is the effort to enact the tension between impulse and control. This argument is being noted by various scholars; for example: Pohl, K., ‘Performing Craftsmanship: The Practice of Painting and Calligraphy in Pre-Modern China’ , www.uni-trier.de, visited 08.08.2010. I have written about the unfinished and ‘unformed’ aspects of drawing as positive agents in the process of design in: Manolopoulou, Y., 2005, Unformed Drawing: Notes, Sketches and Diagrams, The Journal of Architecture, Volume 10, Issue 5, November 2005, pp. 517-525. Krauss, R., 1993, Optical Unconscious, Cambridge: MIT Press, p. 284. For Bakhtin’s thought on dialogism: Bakhtin, M., 1990, The Dialogic Imagination, Austin: University of Texas Press 1981 and Michael Holquist, Dialogism: Bakhtin and his World, London and New York: Routledge. The project is designed by studio AY Architects directed by Anthony Boulanger and myself. For more see www.ayarchitects.com. Huizinga, J., 1955, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture, Boston: Beacon Press, p. 13. Bateson, G., 1987, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Jason Aronson, Northvale, New jersey, London, pp. 177-193. Baudelaire, C., 1964, The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, London, Phaidon Press, p. 3.
Peter Bertram Evidence of material difference
DIFFERENCE AND THE NEW The field of architecture is comprised of the architectural profession, experimental work typically executed in and around academies and schools of architecture, as well as the practice of writing. Consequently, the different architectural practices can be said to operate with many kinds of knowÂ ledge. Architecture covers a wide field of practical knowledge as well as bordering, lucratively, on the domains of philosophy, science and the humanities. Obviously, the degree to which architectural practice is informed or hindered by its relation to these neighbouring domains is debatable. One argument sometimes posed by the humanities including the sciences of design would tend to separate scientific knowledge and knowledge produced in the aesthetic disciplines, thereby rendering architectural practice subordinate to scientific knowledge as mere execution or simple knowhow. Disregarding the many different positions in this discussion, it is fair to say that in most cases the reverse relation according to which science is informed by knowledge produced in architecture or other aesthetic practices is less prominent. However, this text seeks to claim that there is a specific body of knowledge to which the arts have privileged access: knowledge concerning the production of the new! How can there be knowledge that is applicable in many different situations when it concerns something that is essentially singular? The fundamental difficulty is that one cannot premeditate any real change without turning it into a variation of something that is already known. This problem typically leaves the artistic voice within the architectural practice silent or murmuring old clichĂŠs concerning the ineffability of creation. Besides the obvious fact that bad concepts do not explore the possibilities of language, it is certainly a problem when one is confronted by the increasing need and current demand to explain the creative process in lucid and communicable, even scientific, terms. If nothing else there is a strong political need to develop a better language from within the field of architectural practices instead of simply adopting one that has been developed elsewhere. At the same time the danger is that the political necessity promotes a rethinking of the architectural practices through concepts that are forged in a different context and adopted too directly. In this endeavour the different architectural practices might help each other. And, hopefully, it is not solely political but also a way of enriching the interplay of architectural practices. 41
Initially, it is appropriate to divorce the discussion, for a moment at least, from the concept of the new and replace it by that of the event. If something in a radical sense presents itself as unknown, it is beyond the discourse of novelty. It is immeasurable with respect to its placement on the temporal line and transcends any judgement whether it is desirable or not. It is endemic to most avant-gardes that the new can be constructed wilfully, or at least that one should attempt to do so. The new is regarded as the fulfilment of the not yet actualised essence of contemporariness and is essentially beyond reproach. Or from the reactionary point of view, the new is seen as the deterioration of an inherited identity. However, the event is neither good nor bad and cannot be premeditated. Consequently, it cannot be used as a part of an argument or justification of a given position. It is beyond discourse and in many ways in opposition to the new. To clarify the point, one might distinguish between two levels upon which the phenomenon of the event can be approached.1 On the first level the event is pure difference, pure immanence. It is a complete annihilation of all distinctions, sequence and order, of time even. It is an outside that can only be assumed. It cannot be approached directly, but only through the use of analogies. On the second level the event is a clearing, an open stage. The open stage provokes the movement of the discourses concerning the meaning of the event. At this point the event is sometimes confused with the new and in a sense appropriated. It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to discover and repeat the mechanisms behind the appearance of the open stage. But one always follows the event. Consequently, there can be no practical methodology constructed on the basis of the appearance of one event that is able to premeditate another. The approach must be quite different, and should safeguard the openings and thus take care of the secrecy of the event, which is so easily erased by the tendency to describe it and put it to good use. And if there is such a thing as a methodology developed in relation to the event, it must be destructive in the sense that it is turned towards existing patterns and conventions that blind the performer with regard to their sudden appearance. The two levels are not stages in a linear development. The clearing does not precede the discourses and the pure event is never erased. The appearance of openings within the discourses can only take place because they are already in the process of developing and the process never erases the event in the first sense; it is never included, so to speak, but remains outside. 42
Difference exists independently of the new.2 It only appears reluctantly in the guise of extensive differences. It remains hidden and is not easily provoked into appearing. The reason for this is that difference is an immanent relation in the material that is being manipulated by the creative process. It is not a negative separating property or just another essence. Forces are immanent and formless, and differences are differences of intensity. Tensions are by definition situated and can only be approached indirectly through the way they disturb and transform the forms. In this perspective there is no overarching motif governing a creative process, but a map of relations instead; and the manipulation of the aesthetic arrangement is not about finding similarities but about finding productive relations in the diversified material at hand. To some degree this may sound like a metaphor borrowed from the natural sciences. It relates to the distinction between intensive and extensive as it can be found, originally, in thermodynamics, and is fundamental in much of the natural sciences of complexity of today. However, it serves as an entry to a description of the creative process that builds upon a topological view of the process. Subsequently, the task is to substitute concepts borrowed from the natural sciences for concepts developed in closer relation to the aesthetic practice. Incidentally, this illustrates a characteristic of the aesthetic approach to science, which involves cutting out components in the foreign domain of science with the intent to use them for other ends without showing them a scientific concern. The process is not an interpretation but a modulation. It is, precisely, aesthetic. The artistic arrangement emerges through the manipulation of the environment in which it is assembled. Any beginning is an intermezzo between components that are already there.3 In other words: a beginning is an encounter. The process of assemblage is not a realisation of some essence that the different members of the arrangement are supposed to share, but a heterogeneous series of adjustments and above all transformations. Each component is potentially many and only rests, provisionally, in a specific place. That is why the performer is always on the look out for promising encounters instead of mere similarities. Any joining of components is a mutual becoming of both and all components. It is fair to speak of a qualitative multiplicity in which there are no stable points only different speeds, and each local change simultaneously changes all other vectors.4 Consequently, the multitude of 43
components resonate in such a way that any local change influences all other components and potentially leads to adjustments elsewhere. The creative moment in a process is not driven by recognition and mere repetition, but by maximising the frictions and by exploring potential mutations of the individual components and the arrangement as a whole. One must understand the concept of materiality in a broad sense of the word. First of all it is the various architectural media that is the field of interest in this context because they constitute a connection to related artistic disciplines. Secondly the context is contingent on the specific process and the number and character of the material components it operates upon. In accordance with the distinction between intensive forces and extensive forms, material is understood in a double sense: it is both a field of formless intensities and a collection of forms.5 However, this is not just a scientific metaphor. Any artistic arrangement is simultaneously a relational field and a collection of actual forms. The relational field can only be investigated by the rearranging of the forms. The performer proceeds by breaking the order of the forms, thereby exposing the arrangement to the forces of the relational field. The traditional motif might be regarded as an aesthetic extensive property, whereas the map of relations mentioned earlier might be regarded as an intensive motif or diagram. In that sense the problem is not external to the material. The material is the problem. That is why any practitioner knows that collecting the proper material and employing the proper techniques is of the utmost importance. Language is often defined as a prerequisite for a reflection upon practice in the architectural media. This is probably true, but at the same time it is decisive that there is a gap between language and the architectural media that should not be bridged by a descriptive or communicative use of language.6 Instead, knowledge is produced through a montage that operates across the two different material domains of language and media without homogenising them. Language should not dictate practice in the architectural media, but should be treated as a material domain in its own right. It plays a significant role if it fosters concepts that help transform the given practices through the development of the existing concepts and modes of discourse. In other words: if it is treated as a practice integrated in the process and not just as the depository of knowledge. The montage that operates across the 44
irreducible gap between language and the architectural media constitutes practical knowledge in the sense it is used in this text. In any case difference is not invented. It is not a property of the performer. It is approached through the investigation of the material. This condition is illustrated by the well-known experience of any performer that the truly successful moments in a given production always seem to come as somewhat of a surprise. It is as if the simple proof of an initial assumption always presents itself as a disappointment: an almost unbearable recognition of one’s own habits. Consequently, one is always on the look-out through the labouring of the material for something that one could not have premeditated. Creation comes from the investigation of immanent differences, and there can be no external point from where it can be described adequately. Immanence is precisely characterised by the fact that it lacks an external dimension. It is immanent only to itself and must not be confused with inherence.7 Because the immanent relations cannot be separated from that in which they are situated, they must be approached by means of practical knowledge. But due to the impossibility of premeditating the event, it is not know-how in a simple pragmatic sense. The creative pragmatism is not an execution of a plan or the repetition of established modes of production. It is an experimental preoccupation with the immanent field of relations.8 Recalling one of the great pragmatic thinkers, one might suggest the development of a diagrammatology to articulate the kind of practical knowledge suggested above. Peirce’s definition of the diagram as a peculiar icon that shares an operational likeness to the phenomenon to which it relates has the potential to connect the gap between the speculative and the operational. At the same time, it is bound to the production of the new as it can be operated upon across different situations. However, such an undertaking far exceeds the volume of this text and rather outlines a broad field of study already begun by the many different discussions of the role of the diagram that has circulated in recent years. In this context I will restrict myself to distinguishing between two kinds of “science.”
TECHNIQUES OF INVENTION In an attempt to get closer to an account of the specifics of the knowledge of an aesthetic practice, one might distinguish between two ways of producing knowledge. It is the distinction between royal and minor science.9 This distinction is, inevitably, simplistic if it is identified too directly with concrete scientific domains, and should rather be understood as a two different models. The significant thing about minor science in this context is the fact that it defines a kind of knowledge that is characteristic of the arts but at the same time is not a derivative of a more institutionalised science. The systems that royal science describes are stable, and the models it constructs are mechanistic and reversible. Matter is essentially regarded as hylomorphic and homogeneous. Consequently, the principles can be regarded as universal and differences are negatives separating essences. It is fundamentally an essentialist approach to matter. In contrast to royal science, the systems investigated by minor science are irreversible and becoming is its â€œmodelâ€?. It is concerned with the singularities of an unruly material and is fundamentally a practical knowledge that evolves through the investigation of immanent differences in a dynamic matter. Minor science is related to the arts as well as the crafts. Unlike the hylomorphic matter of royal science, the matter of minor science is conceived as being dynamic. A typical example could be that of the carpenter and his investigation of the dynamics of wood. The techniques of carpentry can be described as a probing of the singularities of the wood, of the tensions, densities etc. And carpentry evolves not as a closed system but through the intimate relationship to the dynamics of matter. It is a collection of related techniques that cannot be divorced from the probing of matter. It does not form a coherent and independent system. The interesting thing is that the practical knowledge of minor science is not simple know-how or just an application of royal science. It has access to completely different material properties than those of royal science, which is left to the description of reversible and more stable phenomena. The blacksmith develops his craft as an investigation of metal as a matter that is ripe with dynamic potentials. On the contrary, the striving for a homogeneous and pure material that characterised modern industrialisation stems from a conception of matter that is forged by royal science. The difference between royal and minor science is parallel to the difference between steel and the folding of the blade for a Japanese sword. They unfold different material properties of iron. 46
Any scientific domain will be comprised of both sciences in as much as they contain both the solidification and ordering of the body of knowledge as well as practices that develop and transform them. Consequently, the distinction between royal and minor science must not be construed as a distinction between science and the arts. If the description of royal science so far sounds a bit like an older form of science, it is noteworthy that it is also a description of state science and the monopolisation of the concept of knowledge. The discussion whether or not something can be regarded as scientific know足 ledge is itself a discussion defined within the confines of royal science. One does not transgress royal science when one is entering into such a debate because it is first and foremost defined within its domain. In the eyes of royal science, practical knowledge interprets scientific knowledge in the form of applied science or is simply regarded as common know-how. Interestingly, the arts and crafts have had a significant importance for the development of many scientific domains of knowledge. Many sciences have begun as crafts and many technologies have begun as decorative work. Cyril Stanley Smith has delivered many examples of this kind.10 One of the most prominent and surprising examples of this reversal is perhaps the importance of alchemy for the early sciences11, but the phenomenon can be traced in a wide range of fields. However, this should not lead to a discussion of origins or a pointless revaluation of the arts as the source of all knowledge. Certainly, for many decades science has turned its awareness towards the investigation of complex and dynamic phenomena in both the natural sciences and the humanities. This understanding does nonetheless point to the importance of aesthetics as something that transcends questions of mere embellishment, atmosphere and taste. Not only does it underline the significance of the artistic practices in the production of knowledge. The fundamental condition that broadens the concept of aesthetics is the fact that one always approaches the event through some kind of arrangement. The artistic practice operates in relation to the event without the intent or illusion of being able to premeditate it.12 Thus art is a minor science that continuously develops and reformulates a practical knowledge of creation as an intimate relation to the event. Consequently, one must avoid the instalment of the established sciences, typically the humanities, as royal science! The established sciences severs the production of knowledge of the architectural 47
process from its source of investigation as well as stiffening and institutionalising the humanities, turning them into agents of bureaucracy. They must be positioned to avoid the illusion of similarity or the â€œroyalâ€? idea that the knowledge stored in architectural practices simply needs to learn a scientific language in order to establish and communicate itself. If it seems to be stuttering, sometimes this is because it is under the influence of a dynamic material. On the other hand, the arts will never produce a body of knowledge that is consistent in the terms of royal science. But they have always and will continue to produce and expand a body of works in themselves evidence of material differences. The arts produce new sensations for which the humanities will try to produce adequate concepts and models. In that sense the aesthetic work is a forerunner of science. The distinction between technology and technique is in many ways dependent on the distinction between royal and minor science. Technology is tied closely to the tools it employs and tends to assemble them in closed systems. In the modern era technology has been involved in the production of homogeneous series that replicate an external model, and has been dependent on variation as a combinatory game utilising the logics of the system. The distinctive feature of technology is the translation of the material or environment into manageable parameters. Currently, it is important to avoid the dangers of the technology myth of newness and the reinvention of culture through its tools as it is reinstated by the advent of the intelligent technologies. It does not help that the system is smarter if it simply translates the environment in which it is operating into known parameters that it can subsequently combine. In contrast to technology, technique is a probe and complexity is not found within the system but in the material it investigates. If technology falls under the illusion that the new is produced, then technique begins with the assumption that difference exists independently of the new. Technique develops through the interface with the probed material and is in many ways the hallmark of minor science as well as the arts. The traditional crafts are emblematic in their probing of the materials, whereas the first and second industrialisation are emblems of technology. The current technological development transgresses the former industrialisations in as much as it develops the interface in a way that challenges the translation of the environment and abandons the heroic ambition of reinventing the 48
world in its own image. Otherwise the intelligent technologies become terrifying systems in their incredible and unbreakable flexibility. What does it mean to be contemporary? That is the important question one should pose when confronted with the event. From the position of technology, contemporariness is reduced to the degree to which one is chasing the new. But answering through the use of technique it is impossible to be at the cutting edge of the event. Instead, the event cuts into what is known in the most unpredictable places. To be contemporary presupposes a certain disjunction with one’s own time. Contemporariness is without an agenda. It involves probing for the productive differences in the most peculiar of places if that is the necessary step in a given process, and it involves following the problem disregarding the end. To be contemporary means to be untimely.13
Endnotes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Kirkeby, O. F., 2005, Eventum Tantum, Copenhagen. “Spørgsmålet om teknikken” in Heidegger, M., 1999, Spørgsmålet om teknikken og andre essays p..., Copenhagen. Translated from, Die Technik und die Kehre, Stuttgart 1962. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., 2005, Tusind Plateauer, Copenhagen, pp. 422. Translation of MILLE PLATEAUX, Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2, Paris 1980. Deleuze, G., 2006, Bergsonism, Zone Books. Reprint of the original edition from 1991. Translation of Le Bergsonisme, Presses Universitaire de France, 1966. DeLanda, M., 2002, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, New York, pp. 24-28. Deleuze, G., 2006, Foucault, University of Minnesota Press, p.61. Reprint of the original edition from 1988. Translation of Foucault, Les Éditions de Minuit, 1986. “Absolute Immanence” in: Agamben, G., 1999, Potentialities, Collected Essays in Philosophy, Stanford University Press, p.227. Translation of different essays by Giorgio Agamben from the period of 1982-1998. If one where to suggest a path that transcends the incorporated knowledge of the practices one might suggest the development of a diagrammtology along the lines of C.S. Peirce. The diagram in the understanding of Peirce has an operational likeness to that it investigates. For an introduction to the diagram according to Peirce see for instance: Busk M., 2010, The diagrams of Peirce and Deleuze, in: Cartography, Morphology, Topology, Copenhagen, pp.170-173. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., 2005, Tusind Plateauer, Copenhagen, pp. 464-465. Translation of MILLE PLATEAUX, Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 2, Paris 1980. ”On Art, Invention, and Technology” in: Smith, C. S., 1981, A Search for Structure, MIT, pp. 325 -331. Debus, A. G., 1999, Man and Nature in the Renaissance, Cambridge, pp.16-33. In a sense the scientific experiment can be described as an art as one of the precursors of the modern science of complexity has done. The aesthetic sensitivity is closely related to the notion of the experiment. Prigogine, I. and Stengers, I., 1988, Order Out of Chaos, Bantam Books, pp.41-44. Translated from La Nouvelle Alliance, Gallimard 1978. “What is the Contenporary” in: Agamben, G., 2009, What is the apparatus and other essays?, Stanford, pp. 40-41.
Billie Faircloth Materials ad infinitum
PROLOGUE: TREES, LOGS AND STICKS Three trees – one pin oak and two maples – grew in the backyard of the house that I grew up in. Each tree was planted, or more correctly transplanted, by my parents, in no particular arrangement, except as I would later find out, near enough to the house to shade an imagined future deck. As a child I would peer through the kitchen window, look left to one neighbour’s backyard, and scan right across my backyard, to the other neighbour’s back yard. These three trees just sat there, interlopers amidst the still perceivable roll of farmland recently parcelled into 1½-acre lots and studded with split-level suburban homes – one of which was my own. My relationship to these trees was not an easy one. It was strained at best and without creative tension. I could not, for instance, climb these trees, or build the tree house that I imagined should accompany them. Each one had achieved protected status enforced by my mother and father should I try to carve their bark, attach something to them or clamber up them. So perfectly enforced was their protected status that it is still jarring to relay the following: We heated part of our home by burning wood. On one occasion in mid-fall, my father decreed that my sister and I accompany him to some land being cleared of its trees – oak, locust and birch. We watched the trees fall. We watched the trees stripped of their limbs; their trunks chopped into logs, and helped load logs into our truck. Once home we split the logs and stacked them into cords under the shelter of the carport’s roof. Annually, we stacked logs into several cords of wood. My ten-year-old brain could not articulate the question at hand: What made trees reserved for protection different than those reserved for felling? Even more perplexing was the pile of 2x4 lumber next to the stacked cord of split logs. This pile increased and decreased regularly as it was associated with my father’s various construction sites. Tasked to keep both lumber and logs equally neat, my sister and I found ourselves routinely stacking and restacking. And, although 2x4 lumber lay beside the split logs – well within the spectre of the three protected trees – I confess that I did not comprehend stick of lumber and log of tree to be related. They appeared so very different. Nor did I know that the 2x4 was logically arranged to form the roof and wall of our split-level home. It was assembled bit by bit, one adjacent to the other, transferring the roof’s load through the wall to the foundation. 53
IS IT A 2X4, OR SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY? Materials are everywhere at once ad infinitum. We know materials because we grow up with them. We have gained some know-how largely through utility, and can with a touch, for instance, discern wood from plastic from metal. However, anyone wanting to collect material evidence, to accrete materials knowledge for purposeful making of bits into wholes, must recognise that materials and their assembly supersaturate our environment so much so that we miss seeing them perpetually. Once we decide to make a career with them we must go looking for them. And when we do go, more often than not we find materials legitimised as construction logic. Construction logic is a broadly adopted technical and cultural system of reasoning prescribing a materials order and arrangement for a purpose. It is often based on a material unit, such as a wood 2x4 or a clay brick. Construction logic routinely couples and decouples materials for structure and materials for enclosure. Consider ‘frame and fill’ logics, such as wood’s platform frame, which clearly defines that 2x4 materials transfer primary loads while sheathing materials enclose. The opposite of ‘frame and fill’ logic may be the ‘load bearing wall,’ or more specifically, the solid load bearing masonry wall which defines that each clay brick transfers load and encloses. Logics reach status quo; once adopted they are never critically revisited, though they do change. Change may occur incrementally – material substitution here or there. For instance, Thomas Cubitt, a London-based builder, addressing the hazards of cast-iron beams at the Oldham Mill collapse hearing in 1845 stated, “Much if not all of the risk of using iron for beams would be avoided, by the substitutions of wrought for cast-iron, but, up to the present time, the anxiety for this change is not widely enough diffused to lead to any immediate practical result in the manufacturing of wrought-iron beams of such dimension as are applicable to buildings of the largest size.”1 Cubitt’s focus on the beam, one part of a frame and fill system, as opposed to reconfiguration of the whole system, is the signature of incremental change. His statement also evidences that knowledge associated with construction logic, tacit or explicit, exists in relationship to a geographic region, professional practices, material resources, structural theories, logistics, tools, threats of natural hazards, and pursuit of life safety.
Transformative change – new construction logic – may result in unprecedented wholes. Transformative change is bolstered by momentum towards the new, as suggested by James Marston Fitch, when he states in reference to the Crystal Palace, Brooklyn Bridge, and Eiffel Tower: “These structures are sufficiently great in themselves, each marking the full-flowering of a new structural concept. But they are noteworthy in another respect in that they constitute historical proof of the relationship between structural theories, materials and techniques. The interaction between these three is constant and dynamic.”2 Fitch correctly identifies constant dynamic interaction between more than material units, their heuristics and associated tacit and explicit knowledge for logics to change. This ‘more than’ is associated with contexts, places and problems, and risk taken to actualise the ‘new,’ new knowledge, new materials, new parts, and new relationships between parts, new theories, new logistics, new tools, into new construction logic. And it is associated with methodologies to actualise the ‘new,’ the purposeful pacing of prototypical making. Construction logic, whether resulting from incremental or transformative change, may be incorrectly interpreted as a solitary evidentiary set, an interpretation that fails to recognise a primary source of material evidence. A tree may provide as much evidence as the platform frame’s incremental spacing of the 2x4. When executing construction logic, one is permitted to mentally separate the platform frame from the tree – scrub wood clean of, for instance, its hygroscopic properties – interpreting the platform frame only as a series of large moves with units accreted into a whole. So doing, the material unit, the 2x4 (or the brick, or the …), is cast as simple and inert until it is assembled into a whole. Anyone wanting to use material evidence – to accrete materials knowledge for the purposeful assembly of bits into wholes – should recognise that both construction logic and material origin are legitimate sources. So doing engages materials emergence and the very possibility of remaking materials and their units for architecture. THE TREE, MATERIALS FOR ARCHITECTURE Material evidence is generated through directed differentiation, transformation achieved by the input of energy and force. Before the 2x4 ever reaches architecture it has undergone a massive transformation involving industrial processes which differentiate wood into product: harvesting protocols; material 55
characterisation; unitisation and standardisation; manufacturing protocols; working methods and construction systematisation – modern wood science and modern wood industry. Research, empirical and applied, and problem solving through such transformations, allows the tree to become the 2x4. With this in mind, consider the following evidentiary set, not as a primer on tree microstructure, but as multi-scalar sites for problem solving the form and performance of architecture: A 2x4 is cut from the trunk of several species of coniferous or cone bearing trees such as Southern Yellow Pine. A tree is part of a cohort, or similarly aged trees within a stand of trees of the same species and condition. A stand of trees may be part of a managed plantation or part of a forest. But whatever the case, incremental spacing, one tree next to the other, will affect each tree’s growth as they individually compete for a requisite amount of sun and water. It follows that a stand is associated with a region, or an area defined by nearly homogeneous elevation, geology, and amounts of sun and water. To stare into a tree stump’s ever-nested (concentric) circles is to stare into the regimen of tree growth. The very outer edge, the bark, is dead and dry tissue. The very centre, the pith, is the now inactive wood cell cluster of the sapling. Just under the bark, new cell production occurs and the tree grows outward, increasing in diameter. Nearer to their centres trees may have a slight or noticeable discoloration, a rosy to crimson hue, which indicates that as each year passes, as new wood cells are added at tree perimeter, wood cells are, in turn, rendered inactive at tree interior because they are no longer used for resource transport. Alternating light and dark, concentric growth rings are the stump’s most pervasive feature. They indicate the passing of time, and their spacing – the distance between one dark ring and the next – says something about the tree’s interaction with its environment, or amounts of sun, water, and wind. Light and dark concentric growth rings are contiguously joined wood cells. They are not, despite their appearance to our unaided eye, two different materials. Rather they are one material made, when resources are abundant, less densely packed and therefore lighter in colour; and made (when resources are scarce) more densely packed and therefore darker in colour. Most wood cells grow perpendicular to the ground and are connected, one to the other, with lignin, a naturally occurring polymer adhesive. Wood cells are likewise comprised of two naturally occurring polymers: Cellulose and hemicellulose. Cellulose is most dense, with chains up to sixty-seven times 56
longer than hemicellulose chains. And cellulose is most abundant. Pine species may contain upwards of 70% cellulose. Wood cells have a hollow centre around which four distinct layers concentrically nest. And each wood cell layer is comprised of cellulose fibrils which are themselves nested structures as cellulose microfibrils bundle together to become thicker cellulose macrofibrils. Fibril orientation changes per cell wall layer, from innermost layer to outermost layer they run horizontally, diagonally, horizontally, and then randomly. Overlapping macrofibril orientations lend structural integrity to the wood cell, and in turn, to the tree. In order to extract a 2x4 from a tree we make plans. The trunk of the tree, an irregular geometry, is rationalised into a series of rectangular cuts said to be tangential or radial to the tree’s grain, the primary orientation of the wood cell. Upon cutting the tree, water, floating freely in the wood cell’s hollow centre, immediately begins to evaporate. Once empty, water saturating the fibres of the cell wall begins to evaporate. The wood cell, and hence the 2x4, proceeds to decrease in volume, shrinking until it reaches equilibrium with its environment’s relative humidity and temperature. Yes, the 2x4 changes dimension. What was once nominally measured 2”x4”, will likely measure 1½”x3½”. This dimension will continue to fluctuate because wood is hygroscopic, taking on and giving off water over its lifespan. The final product of this process, the 2x4, is much less like the tree: It is lighter, denser, and stronger. It can be rated for structural use, and can transfer live or dead load to a house’s foundation. But we know something else about the 2x4. It sequesters carbon. The tree, its leaves, branches and canopy, is one of several components in a forest – the others include soil, ground cover, and understory – that have the potential to release and sequester carbon. Photosynthesis is the process by which carbon is sequestered, and the process by which four-layered, cellulose microfibril-packed wood cells are produced. Photosynthesis turns water and carbon dioxide into cellulose and hemicellulose. As a sapling matures it produces cellulose at a rate where carbon is positively sequestered. If the forest burns, carbon from these various sources will dissipate. When leaves and 57
branches fall from the tree and decay, carbon is dissipated. When the tree itself begins to decay, carbon is dissipated. If, however, the 2x4 is extracted from the tree at a cycle that matches the tree’s peak carbon uptake, carbon is sequestered. THE LENGTHS WE MUST GO The tree, fully considered, reminds us that other professions have the aided eye – the microscope, telescope and satellite. We are strapped by our macroscopic ways, bound to see and manipulate materials with the naked eye. We are legally dependent on what someone else has seen, solved and measured, evidence collected on another scale, for units, and hence the construction logics. Anyone wanting to discover materials evidence – to generate materials knowledge, tacit or explicit, on scales other than the macroscopic for the purposeful assembly of bits into wholes may engage the materials engineer, the industrial ecologist, the process engineer, the physicist or the environmental manager to solve materials for architecture before products ever reach a building. We see the 2x4 as simple and inert, practice under the paradigm ‘simple 2x4 – complex architecture,’ and promote architecture’s complexity as the unit of built civilisation; as it is relational one building to another; as it is relational to its environment; as it organises the flow of goods and services; as it is made to protect health, safety and welfare; as it consumes resources – energy and water; as it requires maintenance; as it holds meaning; as it may be made to be beautiful; and as it has an end of life. Architecture is made to be complex. But, so too is the 2x4—it is equally complex. Furthermore, new materials are constantly emerging, and with new functionality. They have shape memory, are self-healing, self-assembling, and self-cleaning. They produce energy from sunlight. And, so too is the 2x4 – it is constantly emerging.
At very small scales materials engineers are determining applications for cellulose separate from hemicellulose, extracting the less-dense hemicellulose from the wood cell’s wall for various uses. At the macroscopic scale ‘plans’ made to extract the 2x4 from the tree may involve laser scanning each trunk prior to the sawing process. Wood utilisation is increased as laser scanning optimises the yield, configuring cut size and orientation per trunk geometry, but may also be used to detect defects, increasing lumber quality. At the regional scale, forest managers pursue an understanding of carbon uptake and dissipation per species, asserting a positive environmental effect on matching peak carbon uptake and lumber extraction. For all of its working to date, wood is still in a state of becoming known. BIT X BIT All materials, ‘time honoured’ or ‘new,’ are in a perpetual state of becoming known, a confounding type of inertia which requires a near-constant scientific characterisation. Materials also require nearconstant cultural characterisation. “More and more one comes to see that it is the everyday things which are interesting, important and intellectually difficult,” states J.E. Gordon. “Furthermore the materials which we use for everyday purposes influence our whole culture, economy and politics far more deeply than we are inclined to admit.”3 Gordon is credited as a founder of materials science, and translator of the multi-scalar nature of wood, steel and composites in books such as The New Science of Strong Materials, or why you don’t fall through the floor. Gordon, who pioneered research with ‘whisker’ crystals, concludes that materials evidence may be more than technological accomplishment. Gordon’s reflexive admission, ‘materials appear deceiving,’ factors into Fitch’s ‘dynamic interaction’ as it describes the context through which we conspire to characterise the ‘new’ by purposeful pacing of prototypical making, all the while comparing it to what we know and can see. Consider, for instance, the work of Swiss engineer Robert Maillart, who, in addition to engineering bridges, invented concrete’s mushroom column and two-way flat plate. Or, consider the work of Uruguayan engineer Eladio Dieste, who conspired to span great distances with bricks. Both Maillart and Dieste purposed their research and intuition amidst existing construction logic, and gathered materials evidence over time by making and measuring prototypes.
Maillart questioned the system of reasoning associated with a recently emerged construction logic – steel-reinforced concrete. “Reinforced concrete does not grow like wood, it is not rolled like steel and has no joints as masonry. It is most easily compared with cast-iron as a material cast in forms, and perhaps we can learn something directly from the slowly discovered cast-iron forms regarding the avoidance of rigidity in form by a fluid continuity between the members that serve different functions. The condition of this beautiful continuity is the conception of the structure as a whole”4 Maillart’s assertion, that steel-reinforced concrete ‘does not grow like wood’ and therefore requires distinct reasoning, was based on logic invented and patented in 1892 by Francois Hennebique. Joists perpendicular to beams, although cast monolithically with slab and column, were central to Hennebique’s system, and thus central to Maillart’s objection because they mimicked timber frame logic. Maillart posited that the slab, if reinforced correctly, could span without beams or joists, could in fact, be beamless – a hunch likely intuited through his accomplishment with bridges. Maillart proceeded to engage a methodology to actualise the beamless floor slab through the purposeful pacing of prototypical making. Each prototype, the smallest cast in 1908 which revealed the form and connection between the slab and column were central to the problem) and the largest cast in 1910, introducing the mushroom column and measuring slab deflection through upwards of two thousand control points, allowed Maillart to collect, use and discover materials evidence. Today Maillart’s system, a two-way flat plate, is quotidian. Dieste had access to limited material resources: clay brick, ingredients for mortar, reinforcing bar, and steel cable. He accessed these materials in a technical and cultural context that required innovation – he needed to span some distance and his material options were few. Elsewhere in the late 1970s the system for reasoning associated with clay masonry evidenced it tending toward veneer, a nonstructural use. However, Dieste found sufficient impetus to vault with masonry, arraying bricks one next to the other over formwork, reducing construction costs, inventing tools, and training local workers – all the while creating something more with several small parts. Dieste actualised the ‘new’ throughout his career, and nearly with each project, yet through a system of reasoning. Dieste stated, “In my building experience, I have used the model very little. Whenever I thought about using it, I had, by that time, studied the problem so much that it wasn’t necessary. What I can say is that I have 60
proceeded bit by bit and that the smaller structures have been the models for the larger one.”5 Projects such as the Sea Gull, a service station cover, may be said to be a bit of Massaro Agroindustires, a warehouse. Today Dieste’s logics remain novel and nearly unrepeatable. Materials – bits like the wood 2x4 and the clay brick – and their construction logics are everywhere, structured across scales and characterised ad infinitum. “I began to work on designing and building structure in 1942,” Dieste stated, “Since then I have thought about why we build things the way that we do.” Anyone willing to pursue the question ‘Why do we build the way that we do?’6 and willing to collect, use and discover materials evidence may make architecture as a prototype, made to be measured. They may accrete materials knowledge for the purposeful assembly of bits into wholes, and recognise that a whole building is an imperfect experiment with several simultaneous interdependent variables that may continuously yield materials evidence. EPILOGUE Materials evidence collected: Cellophane House™, assembled in midtown Manhattan in just sixteen days for The Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, was disassembled, bit by bit, in order to test the viability of disassembly over demolition, and the potential to recover the energy embodied in construction materials. Its novel building envelope was integrated with sensors to analyse envelope performance, feedback that has proven value for future problem solving. It is founded on work achieved by SmartWrap™, a prototype portending in 2001 the potential for a lightweight, energy gathering, light emitting, mass-customisable building envelope, which is now nearly achievable with technologies that were then only emerging.
ENDNOTES 1 2 3 4 5 6
Peterson, C. E., 1980 Inventing the I-Beam: Richard Turner, Cooper & Hewitt and Others, Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology. Fitch, J. M., In American Building: the Environmental Forces that Shaped It., Schocken Books, New York. Gordon, J.E., The New Science of Strong Materials or Why You Don’t Fall Through the Floor, Princeton University Press, revised 2006. Maillart, R., 1955, Design in reinforced concrete, Reprinted in Robert Maillart by Max Bill, Zurich, Girsberger. Eladio D., 2004, Architecture and Construction, Reprinted in Eladio Dieste Innovation in Structural Art, Stanford Anderson, ed. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, Originally published July, 1980. Ibid., p. 182
mikkel kragh interview by maria hellesøe mikkelsen
Mikkel Kragh has an MSc in “Civil and Structural Engineering” and a PhD in buildings physics, and is an associated partner in Arup, Milan. He is involved with innovative groups doing interdisciplinary work in particular with new façade systems. We talked to Mikkel Kragh about how material evidence is conceived and evaluated in these processes.
At Arup your specialities are; facade engineering, building physics, integrated design, facade technology and R&D, building performance simulation. What do you find so fascinating about the building skin? I find the building envelope fascinating because of its obvious impact on architectural expression and the spaces we design. Successful design, engineering, and production of building envelopes require integration across disciplines. The building envelope has – for me at least – an unparalleled impact on the perceived qualities of architecture in terms of both aesthetics and performance. At the seminar you talked about “total design” as a practice taking place between the disciplines. Could you elaborate on this idea and explain how this new interdisciplinary process creates a new platform for research in architecture? Total design takes on different meanings depending on context. I guess it’s shorthand for integration of disciplines and the aspiration not to try and engineer an architectural vision, but to develop solutions which work well at every level. For the sake of argument: the shape of a roof may be driven by a certain ventilation strategy, while at the same time working well structurally and generating a beautiful space. Another example is the way building design should be sustainable, integrated with the urban context as well as the use of resources and energy – aspects which require a range of skills not necessarily pertaining to traditional building engineering disciplines. You also said: “there is definitely science in what we do”, This, I believe, is related to your understanding of material evidence! How is material evidence developed and evaluated in your practice? We would probably never use the term ‘material evidence’, but our firm is generally known for its creative and innovative approach to design. As engineers – or designers – we often try out solutions 65
beyond ‘the known’ and are forced to work from first principles. One of my tasks is to spot research elements embedded in our engineering work – research which would normally go undetected because the engineer sees it as a natural part of solving an engineering problem or challenge. Communication is instrumental to the creative approach, and the testing of innovative ideas involves mathematical, physical and virtual modelling. This material evidence or knowledge you produce. How is that spread within the firm? How do you recycle knowledge within the firm? The harvesting and dissemination of knowledge is the cornerstone of development and innovation. At Arup we recognised the importance of knowledge sharing a long time ago, and the result is a wide range of tools and platforms, ranging from skills networks and online forums to project databases and various forms of publications. We have also recently launched the Arup University, which takes our in-house training to another level with well-defined learning standards and collaborations with universities. You described a model of buildability as a trinity of financial, technical and architectural importance. You said; “If you can solve this triangle you have a project”. Could you elaborate on the three aspects? When we deal with relatively complex projects, we need to develop solutions which are technically feasible within the available budget, while ‘delivering’ the architectural vision. Compromises are inevitable and so the challenge is to develop a solution which meets (or exceeds!) the client’s brief, manage expectations along the way, and work closely with the contractors to minimise or avoid problems during construction. A typical example would be the delivery of a fluid-form architectural building envelope in a relatively rational and economical way. The way you break down the fluid form into discrete elements is inevitably a compromise for the architect. Technically it needs to be feasible and buildable. And it needs to be realised within a given budget or it’s ‘back to the drawing board’.
Many buildings are developed using two-dimensional drawings; you talked about the ability to think in built dimension, could you elaborate on this? I was referring to the way details are traditionally drawn up in two dimensions, whereas the real challenge is to resolve the interface details in three dimensions. The widespread use of CAD means the details may be mistakenly read as resolved, whereas they may not be fully developed at all. We say that ‘the devil is in the detail’ and this is particularly the case for complex building details. An experienced designer will be able to think the detail in three dimensions and also be able to sketch it freehand. The ability to sketch is key to ‘thinking on your feet’ and developing buildable solutions. There is a generation gap between, on the one hand, the wiz kids who master advanced CAD software but have limited design experience and, on the other hand, experienced designers with limited knowledge of – and interest in – CAD tools. In the seminar you presented the project “THE INTEGRATED BUILDING ENVELOPE” What is the main motivation for entering into such a project? We were invited to join a pre-project, exploring innovation and future building technology. It was an interesting opportunity to network and explore development opportunities. After a series of workshops, we proposed creating a consortium and developing new technology, employing new materials in a commercial building envelope application. It was a way of ‘pushing the envelope’ in terms of technology and the way facade systems are developed. Clearly we were also interested in the networking aspect. At the seminar you said: It is because we feel that we can do better ;in order to find an alternative to aluminium! Could you elaborate on this professional drive for inventing better solutions? We were not specifically seeking an alternative to aluminium, we were rather seeking to see how far we could get using composites in commercial curtain walling applications. Aluminium is the de facto standard in curtain walling frames. Because of the very high thermal conductivity of aluminium and the need to reduce thermal transmission, the frames need to be thermally broken, which introduces complexity and cost. We started with a material with a lower thermal conductivity – a material with modifiable characteristics – and wanted to design around the properties of that material instead of 67
mimicking conventional materials such as steel and aluminium. We set ourselves a series of very ambitious goals and worked to what we saw as a commercially relevant set of performance requirements. We wanted to see how far we could get with a material which is not used in curtain walling normally. Not only what that would do to the product itself, but also what it would do to architecture; we started with a new material – now what will the architecture look like? The participants involved in this project represented a cross-section of the supply chain. How does this group of cross disciplinary participants help to create new knowledge and material evidence? We put together a consortium across the supply chain in an effort to develop technology, which was considered in a 360° view. We facilitated the sharing of knowledge through a considered combination of workshops, site visits, and in-depth research and design. The sharing of knowledge and the development of concepts took place through the use of sketching, modelling and prototyping as appropriate. We went to great lengths to create an environment where information could be shared and the participants were free to contribute, using the most appropriate means of design communication. What is the role of the demonstrator in this particular project? We developed a number of models – both virtual and physical – during the project. We delivered what we called a visual mock-up on the conclusion of the first stage of the project (which was supported by Realdania under the Building Lab DK programme). The purpose of the visual mock-up was to communicate to ourselves and to our prospective clients ‘the look and feel’ of the new material in a novel curtain walling application. Clearly, an important element of this activity was to learn about the material and the challenges associated with the assembly processes. This “hands on” material and building process. How does that contribute to the development of knowledge? Again, I was referring to the way your knowledge of materials and the way things are put together naturally informs the way you go about designing – whether you are designing building envelopes or other things. If you are exploring ways of using new materials in architecture – or using materials in a new way in architecture – it is probably a good idea to spend some time in the workshop or the 68
factory to gain an understanding of their characteristics and behaviour. One example is our building envelope development project, exploring the use of fibre-reinforced polymers (fibreglass) in facades. The experience of cutting the material and testing different types of bonded connections gave the designers an appreciation of the limitations and the possibilities. You presented a series of beautiful hand-drawn detailed drawings and discussed these as being a particular way of solving problems. How do you learn from this material evidence? The sketches are a fundamental part of the development of facade details and communication between the various members of the design team and other stakeholders. The sketch is powerful as a very immediate means of communication; and while the format clearly sets out principles and subtle details, it also clearly shows that it is design in development. A CAD drawing may be seen as a final design even if, in reality, it is an early draft and full of flaws. A catalogue of sketches is a good starting point for developing solutions in response to project-specific requirements. How does material evidence like the demonstrator or the visual mock ups intersect with other sorts of material evidence such as detailed hand sketches and CAD drawings? The hand sketches are part of the exchange of ideas and the development of solutions, which are then firmed up as detailed drawings and shop drawings. The mock-up allows the designer to explore the materiality and also experience the issues associated with working the material and assembling the components and the system. The mock-up communicates to other stakeholders what the concept is in a way which a sketch would only do to specialistsâ€Ś.The sketches are used to develop the solutions while the visual mock-up (or the demonstrator) is a physical representation of the preferred option. Shop drawings are the production information which is fed from the designers to the workshop or factory. They are developed as part of the process; the sketch becomes a detail drawing but that detail drawing needs to be further developed to say exactly what the components look like. In a shop drawing you would set out what the profile is and where you are drilling holes to inform the guys how are actually fabricating the visual mock-up
You talked about the sketch book as a way to document this process and to communicate it. What is the role of the sketch book? The sketchbook has become our preferred way of communicating our design process because it captures the process and sets out options and solutions in a condensed way. The graphical nature of the sketchbook appeals to architects and clients and helps steer the conversation towards design decisions. It is also a quite powerful medium for back tracking the process you have been through and avoiding time-consuming discussions. The sketchbook usually does not capture ‘hard core’ engineering calcu lations, but deliberately seeks to provide examples of previous projects and suggest alternative solutions and recommendations. How do you as a project manager create a breeding ground for this kind of knowledge production? It depends on the context. In our development project it was interesting to observe the ‘creative tension’ between the abstract and open-minded architects wanting to explore uncharted territory and – in sharp contract – the detail-focussed engineers, who were keen to agree on a solution so they could go away and work it up in detail. I put the group in different situations and different settings to facilitate and encourage new perspectives and new collaborations. Sometimes it worked very well, sometimes it worked less well. Again, it comes down to people and it is intrinsically challenging to free up the most gifted designers to spend time on what can be seen as an ‘esoteric’ activity. How is material evidence from the workshops evaluated or transferred into research or knowledge? And what kind of “engineering activity” follows after each workshop? The activities in a workshop will span across presentations in various forms, enquiry, discussions and collaborative sketching, model building, and ad hoc testing. There is a sense of validation after the review in the workshop, but the theories need backing up by some analytical work such as engineering calculations and physical testing. Overall, I was pleased with the method. Ideally, the process would have been more intensive and the meetings would have been more frequent, but the idea of meeting in different locations and doing workshops followed by research and engineering activity worked well and – unsurprisingly – the group worked better and better as the project progressed. 70
Endnotes Bundegaard, C., 2009, The Integrated Building Envelope, Development of a pre-fabricated, modular faรงade system, Danish Architecture Centre,
lig lig dårr dår r fo fo ngning i n øs øs opl opl
merete madsen interview by maria hellesøe mikkelsen
In her research, Merete Madsen has developed a concept and a methodology looking at light and working with the planning of light1. She has taken this particular methodology with her into her present work at Grontmij | Carl Bro. She works as head of a consulting group with architects, lighting designers and engineers. She is expanding the discussion of light in architecture. We talked to her about her former research and about the role of material evidence in her present work.
You have developed this concept about light-zones. What is a light zone? A light zone is an area, a zone of light, which is defined by light that’s different from the light, shade or darkness beside it. Basically, a window in a large dark room creates a light zone; a lamp in a dark room creates a light zone. My thesis was about the way different light zones interact, creating a space within another space and interacting with the physical materials of the space. Often there are many different light zones within a room. A space with only one light zone, a stage for example, is rare, we do not use the dark room very much. I was taught that a space with more than one window was troublesome because of the shadow that will occur between them. My point of departure was to clarify this statement, simply because I love spaces with light from more than one side. What is this term “light zone” capable of? In a phenomenological meaning, “light zone” creates a place to be. People always move towards light and therefore we can control the way people move within a space. The light zones are the focus of the room. If you have a room with many light zones, alike or different; you can work with creating a hierarchy of light zones by attaching different ‘importance’ to them. Furthermore, light zones work like light; they interact with material and form, and consolidate the intentions of architecture. They generate meanings like sacred and profane, and they can be ambiguous. James Turell says: “A lot of the learning to work with light, since it doesn’t form by working with the hands as clay does, is this working with light through thoughts”2 I admire Turrell’s thoughts and I insist that light is a matter from which you build or with which you can build. In combination with materials, light determines how you experience buildings of e.g. brick or concrete. Architectural theory works as a whole; it describes what is happening as a whole, with people, material and with light as a building matter. 75
In your choice of text you make an analogy between light and music. What does Peter Bastian say about light when he writes about sound? I chose a chapter on fifth: You have one tone c and another g, if you hit them at the same time; it is not the same as c + g; something unique happens! You have this vocabulary of combinations with a mysterious complexity; the uniqueness of two different tones or two different light sources in a space. Noise is sounds you can’t distinguish; it’s the same with light, if you have too much light or too even light, you get visual noise! You talk of the difference between light described with numbers and light described as phenome nological space. How do you look upon this difference? The phenomenological descriptions on light in architectural theory are often hard to read for outsiders. I unscramble these descriptions by analysing the effects that create a certain feeling of space. When we examine these effects we can move between architectural theory, the science of illumination and building regulations. That makes the knowledge within architectural theory part of this research field. This was the intention of my thesis; to make it possible for architects and engineers to operate between the two sets of knowledge, and for lighting designers to work in-between. How do you operate between these two sets of knowledge? When I first started working in practice, I found that there was a common world between the two sets of knowledge, but that we didn’t understand each other. Engineers worked with measurements, they calculated a horizontal surface that equals a horizontal working space and they had this standard for space. I asked: “How can you work in this flatland? You need the section!” The first thing I need, when I work with light, is the section. You can calculate daylight in plan and section, and today it takes 10 minutes whereas 12 years ago it took weeks to calculate it by hand. Technology is helping the worlds to merge, but we have to ask ourselves the question: what do we want from technology? How can we use it? What kind of material evidence do you produce in the process of designing a lighting concept? On a conceptual level we draw light. When you draw light, you either draw the shadows or you draw 76
light on a black paper. The drawings become more and more technical until they end up as a ceiling plan with lamps on, for instance. The process is divided into phases, with conceptual design, basic design and detailed design project. First, you know something but you don’t know it all; slowly you develop the project until you can begin to speak of window blinds, luminaires, control systems and how much it all costs. The drawings of the detailed design project are unambiguous; you can get all the information you need in order to build the house. Traditionally in Denmark you used to choose a lamp or luminiare which you liked the look of and then you looked into how many you needed in order to meet the standards. Today it has become much more complex and we have more options with light: There are a lot of different kinds of luminaires and light sources, and you can integrate light in different building components like walls or ceilings. In projects, we start by talking about light itself – what the light should do to the space; no socket, lamps or power; we just discuss where we need the light and what kind of light we can use. This is where the term light zone distinguishes itself. Do you work with computer models made by architects or by engineers? Typically it will be factual models. I hate to call them engineering models because they contain information important to architects, e.g. sun and shadow calculations. The architects produce the conceptual renderings that show the intentions of the project. Then we ‘translate’ them into details, but we also produce the conceptual drawings. When we draw light it is closely linked to a buildable reality. What we ask is: how can we ‘draw’ this space with light and shadow? How do the different kinds of material evidence complement each other? In the first phase the sketch is used for investigating the situation. It is ambiguous because there are many different outcomes to each sketch. We use the sketch throughout all the phases: in the beginning it is an investigation and in the end it is being communicative. The model provides evidence of various conditions: Is there light enough? Does it create glare? The outcome becomes more and more precise. The model communicates at a spatial level, but it is also a practical tool that helps the internal communication. The term light zone is equivalent to space and we use it in all phases; it is much easier to accomplish something if you understand it. 77
How do you design or shape a space with light? What I tend to do is to ask the question: “Where are the zones with less light?” When I speak to a customer or a developer he considers that everything as important. But if everything is equally important; everything becomes unimportant! Light is not interesting if it is everywhere. It is a challenge to make the customer choose and thereby to slip in some shadow and light that creates the right atmosphere. Can you give us an example of how you are working with light zones at present? Today I have been working on the project for Nørreport Station. It is a subterranean train station. It is an extremely interesting space, because it is narrow and there are huge trains passing by all the time. Today, it can be quite a terrifying site. There are a lot of people whom we want to walk and stand at the right places. As I mentioned earlier people move towards light but they tend to place themselves beside the light, e.g. a spotlight; you don’t stand directly underneath it. To define the waiting area at Nørreport, we have a spotlight between two columns. In the threshold of the light zone people will find a natural place to wait for the train. They will place themselves in the threshold of the light zones. We use significant down lights with more diffuse lights on each side of the platform. The down lights create a rhythm in the large space. In the space on each side of the platform – where you walk and where the trains arrive – we created this particular light zone. Then we’ve suggested illuminating the outer wall of the space to enhance the sense of security and comfort. If we were to illuminate the entire space with one luminaire, we would blind the train driver; instead we used many different light sources. In the many transitions/thresholds from the platform to the metro and to the square, we think about which light zone we move from and which light zone we move towards and then we design a flow throughout these with due regard for all the standards applying to lights on a staircase and other factors. What kind of material evidence does the Nørreport project consist of? The drawings are still conceptual. The project consists of a lot of drawings: sections, planes and also building descriptions. Luckily we succeeded in developing a mock up of the whole scenario. It is quite a victory to get to make such a visual reference to supplement the black and white CAD drawings.
What is the role of the mock up? It shows this section in real scale (the flooring, columns, signs, shades and ceiling panels) as well as features like how you get behind the ceiling plates. What we aree dealing with here is a station of course. A lot of people have to understand and consider this case and the building process is very limited because you canâ€™t just shut down a station for six months. This is why we were able to build this mock up, to investigate our intentions. How do the different kinds of material evidence supplement each other in this case? The drawings function as instructions on how to read the mock up. Building the mock up enabled us to illustrate our intentions very clearly. Then the drawings are much more effective than a text in describing what we see. We made drawings that tell the story about the columns and the downlights, in order to avoid misunderstandings or discussions about taste. With the section we can explain how the light is distributed and keep the focus on space and how it manifests itself.
Endnotes 1 2
Madsen, M., 2004, Lysrum - som begreb og redskab, Light-zone(s): as Concept and Tool, PhD dissertation, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Copenhagen. James Turrell, interviewed by Esa Laakosonen, 1996, James Turrell, Blacksburg, Virginia 1996, http://home.sprynet.com/~mindweb/page44.htm.
Karin Søndergaard and Kjell Yngve Petersen Material Evidence as Staged Experientiality
In the considerations on architectural reflection as allied with the media within which the architecture is envisioned and developed, how can ‘experience’ be brought into a consistency as a material of evidence alongside drawings, models, and experiments? In opening for an explorative position of architectural reflection emerging from experiential accounts there are a move towards the perspective of humans inhabiting the architectural site and how we engage with the concrete aspects of shape, texture and construction from an experiential position. The idea of architecture as having a staging agenda by which people can improvise their daily life was eagerly discussed by the Danish architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen already in the 50’s. In his thinking, the architect acts as a “theatrical producer, … who plans the setting for our lives”1, and he suggests that human experience is a primary source for architectural design strategies. To situate experience as a critical medium in architectural processes means working with the production of experiential forms of material evidence, which could be pursued through the staging of specific experiential situations, or by giving instruction on how to approach the activity of experiencing in a particular case. The experiential evidence emerges inherently from the researcher’s active position as a participant in a situation. The researcher is involved in generating her own experiential accounts, both observing and performing the experience, and the evidence emerges as a consequence of that enactment. The formal character of experiential evidence is the instructions by which experiential situation can be staged. The staging instructions orchestrate the re-enactment of the particular experiential account. The inherent immaterial and individual nature of experience leads to questions of how material evidence of experiential accounts can be evolved and formalised, what knowledge qualities can be identified or generated, and by what methods and in which contexts can it be disseminated and evaluated. Evidence in the context of knowledge production could be said to be an attempt to produce accessible material and allow for critical re-engagement with the findings. In this paper we suggest to structure experiential situations, staged by rules of engagement and situated by prototype architectures, in a way that can arrange moments of refined analytic presence for 83
the researcher and bring a particular focus on the matter under investigation. In the following a selection of research stagings and installation artworks is used to exemplify a spectre of strategies for enabling accounts of experiential evidence. THE EXPERT PERFORMER AS HOST OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE Investigations into strategies for staging experiential evidence must take into account several questions and problems of research methods and procedures. How can we develop experiences with a particular focus, formalise them into abstracted staging strategies, and transfer the experiential qualities into staged events that engage the participant in experiential exploration, initiated and contextualised relative to the initial intent? To exemplify such investigations we need to take a short discourse into the world of performance art. In theatre and performance, acting and training methods are developed according to the artistic style. No matter what style is used, the performer generates her own experience of performing and gives rise to her own emerging narratives. The performer does not experience what the audience experience. Unlike her audience, the performer is directly psychophysically involved in a process of lived experience which generates a state of heightened awareness. Within theatre anthropology this is discussed as an extra-daily state. In the diversity of performer techniques, the extra-daily2 state of the performer is viewed as being based on a psychophysical engagement that can be staged. The expert practices of the performer situate her in a particular self-reflective operation which cultivates inner awareness of a heightened state of engagement. The specific modalities developed through the practice of the expert performer promote a self-reflective state by which the performer is enabled to observe her own observations. This reflective presence of the performer is a self-reflective mediating state, distinct from the behaviour of daily life. It is a particular self-reflective mode of presence, giving her the capacity to perform while simultaneously observing her own activities and relating to the contexts of the situation.
Our suggestion is to externalise the performer’s technique in the form of abstracted mediating architectural structures, which then stage the participant in similar extra-daily experiential conditions. The staging strategies operate through specified rules of engagement and scale 1:1 architectural prototypes. The implementation of the particular experiential situation is a refined re-enactment of the original research situation. Among the many installation artists who promote such thinking by way of their works are artists like Robert Morris, Dan Graham and Bruce Nauman. In Nauman’s behavioural investigations, he specifically develops formalised movement activity. The choreography resulting from one of these studies situates an exaggerated behaviour within a scenographic space defined by lines on the floor. He carefully puts his feet down on the line of a square, one foot in front of the other, and at the same time he shifts his weight in an exaggerated manner. Nauman combines the use of guiding instructions (how to walk and behave) with formalised inter action towards an outer structure (the defined route of a walking square). The painted square on the floor in “Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square” is replaced in “Going Around the Corner Piece” by a set of walls forming a square around which the participant can walk. The instructions of engagement are layered in the design of the way the cameras and monitors operate. The view from the video cameras is shown directly in the monitors, as a feedback loop. The camera tracks the participant, and makes her see herself from behind going round the next corner. The participant is involved in generating her own exaggerated walk, she is following the trace along the walls that makes her adopt a certain way of moving, similar to the original exaggerated movements Nauman executed in his studio. Looking at the photos it is easy to recognise the way in which the participants are staged to re-enact Naumann’s original performance. Naumann has transformed his choreography into an architectural staging, which persuades the participant to re-enact the behavioural experience of the original choreo graphy. Our suggestion is that experiential evidence is not a material that can be observed, but experiential positions that can be situated by methods of staging a particular performative engagement.
Three strategic approaches are presented below. Each approach situates the researcher and her enactment of the experience at the centre of the situation, and exemplifies how different forms of experiential evidence can be staged. The approach of producing experiential evidence as staged events is exemplified in relation to how (1) objects and (2) video-mediated relations function as staging devices; and how (3) analytic teams of participants stage analytic situations. STAGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH OBJECTS AND LIGHT The following example discusses a frame object and light design, installed as a staging device. The design of the frame object and light design is refined to become an instrument that organises the space and the relation between people in that space. The frame installation instantiates experiences of how the relations between people are influenced by the design of architectural elements, and as such stages experiential evidence of how the design of objects and light influences the situation for human relationships in space. The philosopher Elisabeth Grosz suggests that â€œthe wall divides us from the world, on one side, and creates another world, a constructed and framed world, on its other sideâ€?3. The wall, as a basic architectural gesture, generates both itself as a wall and defines the basic properties of the surrounding space. The wall establishes a reference by which the position and relationship of people are qualified, and activities are evoked among people. In this thinking, the installationâ€™s structure contains behavioural implications, designed as an architectural prototype, which situate the visitor in a process of self-reflective operations. The place characteristics are defined by how the frame object enables a spatial reference between people. The frame object acts as a formative device and situates attention relative to the scale, shape and position of the object. The staging effect of the frame object generates a distinction, and constitutes the possibility of an inside and an outside. The distinction generated by the frame object marks certain relational possibilities, a separator and a passage, and stages a social agreement on a certain set of social framing operations.
The frame object is designed as both a scaled object and a simplified wall. It has the proportions of an object and the size of an architectural element. The frame object is situated in the tension in-between being a wall or an object, not belonging to either domain, but opening for a potential in-between. In a simplified way, one could say that the domain of architecture is, seen from a human position, something to inhabit and in a scale larger than human; whereas the domain of objects is smaller than human and something to manipulate. The frame object establishes a relative and mutually constitutive staging between these domains, where the ‘objectness’ is contextualised by the ‘architectureness’ and vice-versa. The frame object is one part of a larger staging operation, which includes a particular light setting and a black-box environment. The light design clearly defines the social activity areas with bounded light zones4 and drives dynamic experience through the variation in the light texture across the light zones. The staging promotes analytic behavioural activity, mimic behaviour and explorative actions, as well as directing the attention of the participants towards each other in ways that allow for staring, posing and sensuous nearness. The experiential situation is staged as a mutual reflective space with a situation that legitimises a formalised relationship and allows for investigatory activities, performing for oneself and the other in a formalised staged context. The frame installation situates relations between people and generates experiential evidence relative to how the architectural design influences these relational qualities. STAGING MEDIATED RELATIONSHIPS WITH VIDEO CONNECTIONS The transformation of broadcast media and telecommunication into new integrated landscapes of social encounters, like video chat and live broadcast, produces participatory environments with radical new constructs of the processes between the actual and the virtual. The linking across separate spaces changes the context of what is concrete place and what is potential place. The actual and present becomes simultaneous potential and virtual in other places, and the mediated relationships combine the actual and the virtual that simultaneously exist by way of the direct transmission.
The spatial qualities specific to video-connected places are investigated by the installation of a simple video connection which stages key aspects of how video interfaces influence the placeness qualities of connected spaces. The staging situates the participants in a relational situation with a two-way double-sided video transmission, presenting the participants to each other live and in real size through the mediating system. The staged situation allows for investigation of the spatial conditions for human relationships across places with respect to the different qualities of actual and virtual presence. The staged video connections have clear behavioural implications and organise a self-reflective performance between people, which generates experiential accounts of some of the key aspects of the telemedial space. One aspect is the necessity to continuously maintain a conversational activity to keep the connection alive. One research participant reports from her experience of the staging that “in the projection … it is only when I get visible feedback from the other that I can be assured that we are connected and I continue to doubt if we have contact, because if the other begins to explore her own space, then we are losing it. That means that I can’t explore my own space either … I am very bound to our communication”5. There are obvious limitations to the space qualities defined by the technological constraints, like the fixed perspective defined by the optics of the cameras and the quality of the images defined by the projector. But besides these limitations there are aspects of how the connectedness influences the sense of place, presence and relationship that opens for new interesting spatial dimensions. The overlay of actual and remote presence is an experiential condition with spatial impact on both the local place characteristics and the spatial aspects of spatialities across the actual/virtual divide. The telemedia condition presents the difficulty of how to gain the attention of the other; how to project presence and attract attention from the other, and how to maintain a sense of relationship and thus a sense of connected space. For instance, the media image has altered geometries with a different sense of depth and direction, and the people on the screen have no capacity for eye contact. The video connection persuades the participants into communicative actions, such as waving to each other and giving signs, as if there is a necessity for the connection between sides to be constantly re-affirmed. To re-affirm that there is a person behind the image on the screen. 88
The staging evolves new social and interpersonal relations with those on the other side, and develops new modalities of conversation specific to the possibilities and constraints of the media connection. The staging of these conditions as a participatory event allows experiential evidence to be investigated as an actual experiential account. STAGING EXPERIENCE OF LIGHT WITH METHODS OF ENGAGEMENT The sensation of light as an architectural form is inherently difficult and complex to grasp. The following is an example of methods of engagement as experiential evidence which uses human relationships as a formal instant choreography of analytic behaviour. The interesting point here is to investigate how the sensation of light evolves from the process of lived experience and how specified procedures formalise these sensations into evidence. The experiential method in the light investigations stage analytic collective operations, which enhance the participantâ€™s capacity to qualify and articulate the sensation of light. For a team of researchers systematic experiential investigations are staged, using methods that correlate between the sensed, the experienced, and the observed. The staging procedures allow for analysis through conversation from different perspectives into the same experiential moment, and develop an enhanced sensibility towards lighting as architectural shapes, evolved from experiential activities and formed into experiential accounts. The experiential evidence is generated from these analytic events, with groups of participants being enabled to negotiate their mutual observation as relational operations, in situations that explicitly stage how the different roles and observer positions are structured relationally. The method enables a formal externalisation of otherwise private and individual experiences into a collective investigation qualified within a cooperative structure of relational operations. The strategic method developed enables a structure of engagement by which a group can share a first-person experience and explore this same experience from different positions as a comparative qualitative investigation. This method operates with a selection of observer roles and is specific in the 89
way it situates a collective of investigators in different roles of observation within the same explorative engagement. THE TRIANGULAR SET OF OBSERVER POSITIONS: The first participant observes from a position inside the experience of a performative engagement, from where the light zone is explored and the participant speaks from her first-person experience. The second participant observes from a position outside the light zone in continuous discussion with the first â€“ a referent position as an external observer who interviews, reflects on and registers the first-person experience. The third participant observes from an outside position and uses a camera to frame and document the first-person experience, likewise from an external position. Together, the three positions maintain each other in a triangularity of performative engagement in an organised performance situation, and generate a shared mode of presence similar to that of the performerâ€™s extra-daily state. The team repeatedly change roles to make sure that each person rotates through all roles several times. The participants synthesise their experience of all three observer positions, and attain a capacity for overviewing the totality of the situation and the relational operations that qualify it. The evidence is here a method for a specific staged experience. The rules and structures of engagement, like a score of a happening, are the basis on which the evidence is produced. The engagement following these instructions then generates an experiential event, the extra-daily situation in which the experiential evidence evolves. The imagery, texts and memories of the experience are then used to produce reflective reports, material evidence in the form imagery, text and reflection, which can then be re-evaluated by re-enacting similar events. The evidence, emerging as sensations in the moment of exploration, is embodied in the particular refined use of the camera and the text as a qualified articulation from a deep conversation. 90
EXPERIENTIAL STRATEGIES FOR STAGING MATERIAL EVIDENCE Experiential evidence is a type of evidence that contains or is made of experiential accounts. The experiential accounts appear as experience and are often highly context and person specific. The uniqueness of each incident of experiential evidence is related to the interpretation but not to the qualities of the evidence itself. The complexity in the staging of experiential evidence is approached by formalised strategies, that enable a personal interpretation within a recognised set of particular contexts and conditions, and facilitating sharing and critical discussion of creative and explorative experience across a diversity of contexts. The procedures of staging the emergence of experiential evidence have been exemplified by three case studies, which use objects, telemedia and rules of engagement respectively as their staging strategy. The strategies stage experiential accounts, which give actual and repeatable experiences for the researcher taking part. The research evidence is accessible through these stagings, and emerges through the exploration of the designed conditions.
ENDNOTES 1 2 3 4 5
Rasmussen, S. E., 1959, Experiencing Architecture, MIT Press, Cambridge, p.10. The concept of the extra-daily state is rigorously discussed in: Barba, E. & Savarese N., 1995, The secret art of the performer, Routeledge, London. Grosz, E. C., 2008, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth. Columbia University Press, New York, p. 14. The term Light Zone is discussed in: Madsen, M., 2004, Lysrum - som begreb og redskab, Light-zone(s): as Concept and Tool, PhD dissertation, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Copenhagen. Nielson, K. participant interview in: SĂ¸ndergaard, K., 2010, Participation as Media: A Compositional System for Staging Participation with Reflective Scenography. Ph.D. thesis. Plymouth: University of Plymouth, p.148.
PhD student presentations
Anne-Mette Manelius The role of material evidence in fabric formwork for concrete
Fabric formwork is a new formwork technology in which sheets of woven textiles are used as flexible, lightweight formwork for concrete structures. This Industrial PhD project has its focus on exploring the architectural potentials of fabric formwork for concrete structures. Potentials are investigated in a theoretical framework of tectonic discourse, and with regard to form, surface and production of concrete. The term fabric formwork seemingly contains an embedded contradiction, an oxymoron. Cultural associations to textiles and concrete lie in the lightness and narrative of textiles, and in the heaviness and rigidity of concrete. This cultural conception of material properties leaves room for elaboration, yet it frames a theoretical problem of concrete construction at deeper level. Tectonic discourse was influenced mainly by the writings of Gottfried Semper1 before concrete had been rediscovered. The two basic notions of the tectonics of the frame and the stereotomics of stone do not cover the multiple procedures of pouring concrete into a constructed mould as a manifestation of initial structural principles; there is a lack in the tectonic terminology with regard to concrete construction. Other challenges for fabric formwork lie at a technological level. Textile principles and traditional practice regarding concrete construction are far from similar. It is not straightforward to transfer textile technologies to the concrete industry, and at the same time textiles used as formwork will affect how we think of concrete construction and architecture. The relevance of the study lies in two areas that can be summarised as: concrete evolution and textile revolution. Concrete is the most commonly used building material worldwide, and contemporary Danish building is based on reinforced concrete, mostly produced in the form of prefabricated elements. Developments in digital design and engineering tools have changed the way architecture is conceived and calculated. However, concrete structures are produced using methods that have not changed for half a century, despite new developments in technologies for concrete and formwork materials. The architectural vocabulary of concrete can be developed with regard to form, structure and surface in order to exploit the liquid origins of concrete when wet. There are potentials with regard to both prefab and on-site concrete production.
Textile technologies have undergone an immense, almost revolutionary technical development in which existing production techniques are combined with new or alternative material fibres and scales in order to produce flexible, strong and light sheets of fabric with new material properties and at affordable prices. It is the assertion in this thesis that the considerate use of textile technologies in formwork for concrete may articulate potentials of concrete in architecture through enhanced expression of materiality and processes of ‘becoming’. Through the affiliation with a large contractor and an architectural office, the project frames the topic in a Danish context of concrete building and further elaborates on research by pioneers in research and building2. The aim of the project is to formulate strategies for the future implementation of fabric formwork for concrete in architecture. Potentials will be discussed at two levels: potentials with regard to the formwork technology itself, and potentials regarding concrete structures formed by fabric. In other words, how can concrete be used in new locations at a low-tech level, and what are the formal and structural potentials of concrete which can be unfolded at a more technologically evolved/developed level. METHODOLOGY – RESEARCH THROUGH DESIGN The project involves research through design3,4. The empirical data of the project is produced through two types of experimental practice: Student workshops and the author’s own experiments. Workshops include designing and constructing principles for formwork structures; pouring concrete into these structures; and finally stripping the concrete pieces to reveal the concrete structure. The remains of these processes are material evidence or experimental data, tons of hardened concrete with a strong material presence which express the direct formal consequence of the formwork tectonics as well as expressing the embedded oxymoron in the technology. Besides, or actually before the concrete evidence, the experimental practice creates further valuable material to be evaluated, namely the fabric formwork structures designed and constructed for the concrete pieces. The design and construction process is documented through drawing, photos and written reflection.
The formwork vocabulary formulated through analysis studies of the experimental data is further elaborated and discussed for its potential â€˜evolutionaryâ€™ impact on conventional concrete construction, and on the articulation of formwork tectonics. To sum up, there are three types of experimental data in this thesis: sketches of design concepts; documentation of construction processes; and the remaining concrete structures. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE WHEN EXPLORING FABRIC FORMWORK The workshop activities that generate the concrete data of the project could be seen in a similar light as Nervi,5 who states that architecture is seen as a synthesis of technology and art. The assertion then is that artistic explorations of technology and technological testing through artistic practice (material workshops) may work as fruitful, parallel and overlapping research approaches. The individually designed concrete objects have a highly expressive presence. Along with these obvious decorative and formal aspects for concrete as material, the experimental data includes data to describe concrete as process. The complex and multi-facetted set of data is analysed in order to further elaborate the tectonic terminology involved in rhetorical and instrumental construction of concrete. With a deeply rooted architectural vocabulary at hand, the tectonic understanding of fabric formwork and fabric-formed concrete may point towards the possible application in contemporary construction.
Aurélie Mossé Reef: appropriating electro-active polymers through material tales
Reef is the design of a self-actuated surface imagined as a ceiling landscape changing shape according to wind intensity and direction. It takes place in the context of practice-based and design-led research investigating how the use and design of self-actuated textiles can be conceptualised, probed and implemented in an architectural context. Self-actuated textiles are intelligent textiles converting energy into motion. Like any other smart materials, they differ from traditional building materials in that there are dynamic: their physical properties or energy state changing in response to transformations in the ambient environment1. In architecture, materials and therefore buildings have usually been conceived as fixed in time and space. When these materials enter the home, they challenge the traditional understanding of the home as a hermetic shell protecting the individuals from the outside world. Asking how these new materials and technologies can be appropriated so as to re-establish a relationship of interconnectivity between nature, the home and its inhabitants, the research aims at questioning how self-actuated textiles can allow us to understand space differently in order to embrace new ways of conceiving and inhabiting our everyday spaces. How can thinking architecture through smart textiles’ temporality lead us to the design of more sustainable environments? What are the means to achieve this goal? Which technologies can support this approach? By designing scenarios for responsive textile architecture and by exploring the materials and technology that can support these scenarios, the objective is to re-conceptualise smart textiles beyond the post-modern and technology-driven framework in which they emerged for them to become the drivers of a more sensitive, holistic and interconnected home. Within this research, Reef addresses more precisely the potential of dielectric elastomer actuators – a specific category of electro-active polymers that undergoes large deformation when actuated by electricity – with a view to exploring how they can help homes to reconnect with natural rhythms and cycles METHOD IN RELATION TO MATERIAL EVIDENCE The research methodology of this project focuses on design as a creative process for the cultural appropriation of technology. Implied here is the understanding of design as ‘a way of adopting tech99
nology in our culture by accepting its influence as well as influencing itâ€™2. What de Winter suggests here is that the influence of technology on design is not unidirectional but reciprocal; therefore design becomes a tool to influence the realities in which these technologies take place. Consequently, the role of the designer resides not only in introducing new technologies into the home but in how to make them acceptable, how to shape them according to our needs and desires. Within this research, the production of material evidence is therefore central. It occurs at three distinct levels: (1) conceptual probe, (2) material probe, and (3) material tale. The conceptual probe is a design-led and speculative investigation aiming at developing design ideas through methods such as future-mapping, scenariobuilding and brainstorming. The material probe, as its name suggests, is an exploratory investigation into materials and technologies. From the sampling of existing materials and technologies to the development of custom-made and design swatches, the purpose is to engage materials, crafts and techniques in the refinement of the scenarios tackled in the conceptual probe. Reef as material evidence is the construction of a material tale. This term was originally coined by Anthony Dunne to refer to â€˜ways of presenting conceptual designs as investigations and processes rather than as finite things in themselves3. In the context of this research, a material tale encapsulates the process through which conceptual and material experiments are developed so as to embody a specific narrative or perspective for the appropriation of self-actuated textiles. In other words, material tales are embodied scenarios for the future where reality and fiction meet to question and mediate how to appropriate new technology in everyday life. Located at the intersection of speculative, material or technological realities, by creating such a tension between various modes of reality they aim to inspire discussions on the role smart textiles can play in the shaping of future responsive environments. Precisely because these material tales can only be partial impressions of possible actualisations4, they cultivate a polyculture of material evidence in which different modes of representation and prototyping are engaged in dialogue with each other so as to maintain a sense of openness and criticality. The key resides in the tension created by the different natures of these artefacts, which trigger discussions on their validity. 100
THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE The performance of Reef as material evidence is intrinsically dynamic. In the light of the performanceoriented design model proposed by Michael Hensel5, where architectural performance is the result of interactions between four domains of agency: the subject, the environment, the spatial and material complex; Reef can be understood as a network of material evidences, fragments interacting with each others to contribute to the performance of a material tale. These fragments are of different nature static (model), dynamic (technological sampling), digital (3D animation) or tangible (responsive installation) and relates to different levels of apprehension. They highlight an approach in which the material evidence belongs more to a set of processes than to a finite object, demonstrating a particular path of appropriation so as to provoke discussions on how we want to accept technologies in our everyday lives while generating a new set of research questions. Such a consideration of material evidence also raises further discussions on the place and role of new materials and technology in the generation of architectural evidence. Interdisciplinary by nature, architecture is a weak discipline overlapping with many other activities. To some extent, architecture is grounded in materials and technologies; but beyond the design of forms and substances, architecture is also concerned with systems of relationships in which subjects and environment are integral parts, thus equally reaching cultural, philosophical and societal issues. Within such a dynamic complex, what is the role and place of the speculative? Can and should the material evidence have the ability to address all of these aspects? If not, which one should be privileged? Maybe the underlying thread beyond these questions is the necessity to address and acknowledge ambiguity as a central part of the architectural research process, so as to pose questions and become reflective about itself, rather than attempting to solve a set of predefined problems.
Peter Andreas Sattrup Environmental Simulation as Material Evidenc e
This research project is an inquiry into the relationship of architecture and energy, with a particular interest in the way environmental simulation tools can inform architectural design decisions. Though environmental simulation software has been around for decades, developed mainly by and for engineers, it has only recently become widely available to architects who are not specialists in physics and computation. Following this introduction of technology into the field of architecture, comes a stimulating shift of attention in terms of the aims of simulation research: that of studying the relations between different spatial scales, exploring form and material organisation as means to produce desirable human environments, rather than the singular optimisation of specific technical subsystems. The studies presented here are investigations of the passive solar energy potentials in dense urban environments. We perceive solar radiation with our eyes as light, while the skin feels it as heat, and one of the important roles of building is to temper the environmental forces to create comfortable, delightful environments, harnessing energy, protecting and accommodating human activities. Urban environments ‘filter’ the solar energy potential before it arrives inside buildings as passive energy contributions. As the sun moves across the sky, buildings receive, reflect and absorb parts of the radiated energy and complex interference patterns emerge that change during the day, the seasons and the year. Environmental simulation software allows architects to analyse spatial patterns dynamically, compressing and extending spatio-temporal energy phenomena based on regional or local meteorological statistics. The influence of form, material specification, programmatic issues and other questions of design can be calculated and quantified fast, offering design performance evaluation simultaneously with the development of the design. METHOD The text “Performance-oriented Design from a Material Perspective: Domains of Agency and the Spatial and Material Organisation Complex”1 was chosen as the reference for a discussion of material evidence in architectural research. In this paper Hensel presents a diagram as a framework for the concept of performance which is discussed on a theoretical phenomenological background, and illustrated by results created through experimental practice. Hensel’s work prompted me to develop a 103
series of diagrams to explain different aspects of performativity related to my own studies. The new diagrams have clarified the theoretical framework of my project, though the most important ones were developed after the seminar and have been presented in a research paper2. The diagrams work in multiple ways: They are a research result (a clarification of a theoretical framework in their own right). They are instruments in creating synthesis (with the framework it is possible to map the research studies in terms of their position within the overall field of research). And the diagrams can act as projective devices (the uncharted territories of the framework point out potential fields of future research). Elaborating a poster and a presentation for the seminar, I presented material evidence and used it to develop my argumentation in three different ways: Research process: Visualisations of simulation research processes. The experiments are shown in four stages of development, each relating to different scales at the interstice between urban planning and building design. The visuaÂ lisations unite spatial geometry and temporal analysis of the changing intensities of the passive solar energy potential for daylight and solar gains: 1) Site conditions and planning: maximum density geometries, solar access and yearly radiation levels. 2) Building form and urban pattern: seasonal and monthly distribution of solar energy potential on a fixed geometry, high density urban pattern/ building form, the perimeter block. 3) Building skin: folded faĂ§ade geometries as a design parameter to increase/decrease solar gain according to demand. Building programme: the temporal distribution of internal energy gains and their influence on thermal energy loads. Research results: Visualisation of design principles. Each visualisation can be seen as an example of an abstract generic design principle with minimal geometric articulation. Diagrams as research results. Clarification of theoretical framework developed through research process. Theoretical framework as a device to create synthesis between individual research studies. Future research: Diagrams as projective analytical devices pointing to future research. Unmapped fields of research become evident when research results are mapped using the theoretical framework. As architectural research is evolving as an academic discipline, there are many discussions of what constitutes and qualifies architectural research, and what its particular methods and research quality criteria are or may be. Architecture operates within a diversity of research paradigms, requiring architects to navigate successfully among these, while applying both quantitative and qualitative methods3. 104
As architecture is both applied science and applied art, the issues of whether architectural research can include ‘research in the Arts’ ‘art practice as research’ or ‘research in and through the arts’4 become increasingly important when trying to define the particular field of knowledge that is architecture. In my view the seminar on material evidence takes on part of that discussion, focussing on the issue of representation in and of architectural research. One peculiar aspect of architecture is its dependency on visual and plastic media. Architects engage the world through their drawings and models, as much or even more than with their words. Rarely are they directly building their own work, and much of the analytical and projective design process is executed via the symbolic representations of space through geometry. In that sense drawings and models can be likened to language as in “Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words” – from the opening of De Interpretatione, the volume that laid the foundation of formal logic and its hegemony in the scientific traditions5. There is therefore nothing new in understanding architectural representations as a matter and media of architectural research. Rather the problem lies in understanding the shortcomings of representations – language, drawing or model – in expressing the mental experience of the physical world. Environmental simulation models dress spatial geometries in simplified representations of atmospheric and human behaviours, opening up new architectural scales of environmental intensities, offering new modes of control and possible delight. It extends the complexity and possibility in architectural imagination. Perhaps we should remind ourselves that Aristotle chronicled many more aspects of the knowledge of his day, and that his formal logic was but a part of his writings. In my mind architectural research is about the gaps between representation, experience and the environment. It has both agency and structure. Our research methodologies and standards should reflect the fact that the field of knowledge particular to architecture is multi-faceted, attempting to bridge science and art.
Ofri Earon Nature as a generator of domestic spaces in the city
“The city must be recognized as part of nature and designed accordingly. The city, the suburbs, and the countryside must be viewed as a single, evolving system within nature, as must every individual park and building within that larger whole.”1 During the last several decades, nature has gotten closer and deeper into urbanity. It has become a part of the city and its architecture. Environmental developments, social theories, scientific discoveries and urban growth have supported this process, where the border between culture and nature has dissolved. This shift in identity of the city and countryside is extensively studied in the scale of urban planning. There is not much research about the potential of this shift in the building scale and residential building in particular.The research participates in the architectural effort to enhance the life quality and living places in the city. The aim of the research is to explore the architectural, social and environmental potentials of the penetration of nature to urbanity focusing at the scale and function of a residential building. “Urban life in general and urban stressors such as: noise from traffic, fear from crime, and crowing in particular may motivate people to look for greener grasses in the suburbs.”2 Reading nature, city, suburbia and countryside as one might to be a key to develop a new housing form. During the research the meaning of urban nature is studied, so as to explore its potentials as a living place. Through the research it is hypothesised that approaching a building with the idea of (urban) nature would enhance the building’s spatial characteristics, performance over time, environmental responsibility and the life to be lived in it. This research project is an industrial PhD done in collaboration with Holscher Architects. Each research phase involves another sort of material evidence. The current research phase is to understand the meaning of urban nature in relation to housing architecture as it has been until today. The material evidence is a two-metre timeline from the years1850-2011. This timeline looks into the evolution of urban housing in the view of nature. The starting point is the second half of the nineteenth century, when the urban “import” of natural features into residential buildings emerged as a response to the greyness and pollution of the industrial city.
landscape project (from 1982)
urban residence - Danish examples
1854 Lægeforeningens boliger (Brumleby) Gottlieb Bindesbøll & Vilhelm Klein
1866 Voldkvartererne Frederik Christian Bøttger
1873 Kartoffelrækker Frederik Christian Bøttger
1920 Bakkehusene Ivar Bentsen & Thorkild Henningsen
urban residence - international examples
1850 George Streets, Bloomsbury Henry Roberts
1867 Riverside Buildings in Brooklyn I. N. Phelps Stokes
1850s town house typology
1891 Manhattan building William Le Baron Jenney
1906 1909 Casa Mila Globe Tower - theorem Antoni Gaudí
1893 Edmond van Eetvelde House Victor Horta
natural form, individuality, exploration & discovery
air, light, green space
1922 Immeubles Villas Le Corbusier
1914 The Domino System Le Corbusier
openness & continuity
Natural features, process and experience as spatial generators of domestic spaces in urban context State of the art 1850
1849 The Seven Lamps of Architecture John Ruskin
1859 Origin of species Charles Darwin
1860s the principle of evolution applied in biology, psychology, sociology Herbert Spencer
1866 The term ecology was coined Ernst Haeckel
1888 The Revival of Architecture William Morris
understanding of nature (diverse sources)
The timeline presents examples of key buildings in the development of urban housing divided into international and Danish examples. These are the two long lines in the timeline. The meaning of urban nature has changed and developed over time. The examples are chosen to represent the perception of nature from the particular time they were planned. The result is a representation of the evolution of the concept of (urban) nature. Essential landscape projects provide a supplementary understanding of urban nature. A third line represents the development of urban nature in relation to parks, squares and gardens. This line is shorter. It starts in 1982 with the competition proposals for Parc de la Villette, which was a breakthrough in landscape architecture. Underneath these three lines of examples, there is a fourth line of general understanding of nature according to scientific discoveries, social science and architectural theories. The timeline is supported by a text about each example explaining its significance. In this way the timeline traces the evolution of urban nature and the concepts of nature focusing on urban housing. So far, only the international line has been analysed. Ten concepts of nature are identified by relating the housing projects to the line of the general understanding of nature. The starting period of each concept is recognised and contextualised. Some of the concepts are still being realised, while others have transformed into a newer concept that represents a more update and complex understanding of the concept concerned. The first concept is Air, light, green space. This concept of nature is about the most basic environmental features. Air is ventilation, light is the amount of daylight, and green space is a yard attached to the building. The second is Natural form, individuality, exploration & discovery. In this concept, natural shapes and forms are representations and simulations of the natural world. The third concept is Landscape features. This concept is about landscape features as representations of nature. The fourth concept is Openness, continuity. This concept is about openness and continuity. It relates to the experience of being in open landscape (= natural experience) stimulating the sensation of freedom, spaciousness and big scale. The fifth concept is Recreation, vistas. In relation to this concept, the human-nature relationship is identified by useful benefits from nature. Recreation is the functional usage of a green space, and reflects social implications such as: having free time, hobbies and 108
1924 Ville Radieuse Le Corbusier
1982 Parc de la Villette Oma
1928 huse Fuglebakken horkild Henningsen
1932 Blidah Edvard, Bentsen, Kaastrup, Buhl
1940 Bispeparken Knud Hansen, Vagn Kaastrup, Kaare Klint, M. L. Stephensen, Knud Thorball
1949 Punkthuse Bellahøj Svenn Eske Kristensen, Edvard Heiberg, Karl Larsen, Ole Buhl og Harald Petersen, Dan Fink
1950 Lake Shore Drive Apartments Mies van der Rohe
1963 Høje Gladsaxe Hoff & Windinge på baggrund af plan fra 1943 af Vilhelm Lauritzen, Juul Møller & Agertoft, Alex Poulsen.
1952 Unité d’Habitation Mies van der Rohe
1958 The Spatial City Yona Friedman
1961 Dubiner House Z. Hecker, E. Sharon and A. Neumann
1963 Albertslund Syd Fællestegnestuen
1964 Walking City Ron Herron
1977 Solbjerg Have Fællesstegnestuen
1966 Bijlmermeer Siegfried Nassuth
1967 Habit Moshe Safdie
1974 Farum Midtpunkt Fællestegnestuen
1979 Inner Nørrebro
1978 tinggården Vandkunsten
mastery & control
1980 Hedelyngen Vandkunsten
1982 The Oaklands, Toronto DuBois Architects
1985 Igualada Cemetery Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós
1988 Museumspark R’dam Oma
2000 MFO Park Burckhardt + Raderschall
1985 public housing Hundertwasser
1988 Ökohaus F. Otto and H. Kendel
1989 The Ritterstrasse-Nord Robert Krier
1993 2000 Committee for the Chateau-le-Lez Housing Osaka Gas Next 21 Edouard Francois Project
2004 Tower Flower Edouard Francois
2008 Floating Ecopolis Vincent Callebaut
2008 High Line Field Operations
2008 Mountain Dwellings Big
2008 Urban Farming Work AC
2009 Fyrholm Arkitema
2008 Urbana Villor Cord Siegel & Pontus Åqvist
2010 Tree-Ness House Akihisa Hirata
process urban ecology
1962 Silent Spring (book about mankind depredations of the environment) Rachel Carson
2007 2008 Urban Jungle City lounge Vincent Callebaut Pipilotti Rist and Carlos Martinez
2004 Frøsiloen MVRDV
human well-being, sensory variability
1953 structure of the DNA James D. Watson and Francis Crick
1991 Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park Peter Latz
1985 Dalgas Have Henning Larsen
integration of parts and whole
1990 Schouwburgplein West 8
1972 Gaia hypothesis that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth are closely integrated James Lovelock
1973 oil crisis
1975 Sociobiology Edward O. Wilson
1984 View through a window may influence recovery from surgery Roger S. Ulrich
1987 Formulation of sustainability United Nations
1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
1997 Kyoto Protocol UN Climate Change Conference
2006 An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore
2009 Cop15 UN Climate Change Conference
social interactions. Vistas relates to the idea of having something green to look at. The sixth concept is Mastery & control. This concept is about separating the built environment from the natural world, so that the first does not spoil the second. The next concept is Integration of parts and whole. This concept reflects an understanding of nature as a system composed of parts and wholes. The parts create a whole, which is a part of a bigger whole, and so on. The eighth concept is Human well-being, sensory variability. This is about the psychological effect of natural elements on human kind, and the concept reflects recognition in the influence of environmental features on human behaviour and sensory variability. The ninth concept is Urban ecology. This concept is about the city as a place for humankind and nature. It is about a natural attendance in the urban territory. The last concept is Process. This concept of nature reflects an understanding of nature as a dynamic process that changes over time. It is about the patina of time, aging evolution and changes. All the concepts represent meanings of the term ‘urban nature’. The line of the Danish examples and the landscape projects will be analysed in a similar way. The Danish examples will provide an understanding of Danish concepts of nature and their evolution. Assuming that the landscape projects are a more comprehensive and more advanced representation of the concept of nature, these projects will be investigated as a leading pole. They might provide hints of the future meaning of urban nature in relation to housing.
Nanet Mathiasen Nordic Light â€“ cloudcover, skyluminance and the distribution of light
This project will specify and exemplify what Nordic light is, and how the design of apertures relates to specific light conditions. As daylight is part of our everyday lives, we know it very well. We also know that daylight varies and fluctuates during the day and throughout the year according to our location on Earth. Our knowledge of daylight is often based on our daily experience with it. This project, therefore, attempts to specify the various characteristics of light within the Nordic countries. Just as architecture in general should be considered as a cross-disciplinary subject, so should light. By looking at the state of the art describing daylight, one discovers that there are two main approaches: the quantitative way that natural science describes light; and the more holistic, qualitative way that human sciences describe light - not only as part of a very complicated physical context, but also as a visual experience of our everyday surroundings. Natural science traditionally describes light by the following three characteristics: the spectral distribution (colour), the luminance (perceived energy) and the distribution (directional or diffuse light). These three characteristics vary according to the local geographical settings and climatic conditions. Therefore, climatic data is collected and meteorological studies carried out in this project as they are important for the understanding of the physics of light. Human science and the way we perceive light is mainly based on the visual input. A building structure, its boundaries and surfaces have the important role of interacting with the light and thereby creating a distinctive light setting. Therefore case studies are also carried out in this project with the focus on the experience of light, studied 1:1 on site. Visual aspects of space are studied according to the size, positioning and design of the apertures. The material evidence of this project will relate to these two aspects: the visual input and the scientiÂ fically well-defined terms of the physics of light. By combining these two approaches, the relation between them will be emphasised. The aim of the project is to unfold the characteristics of Nordic light in a more profound way and to add to the knowledge of light within a more holistic approach.
registration of cloudcover, skyluminance and light distribution latitude N 55° 40.771’, E 12° 33.613’
26 October 2010
max altitude of the sun at noon: 22°
west facing window
08:00 08:04 sunrise
interior west facing window
12800 6400 3200 1600 800 400
CLOUD COVER, SKY LUMINANCE AND DISTRIBUTION OF LIGHT Trying to represent a three-dimensional wavelength of light and its complex interaction with the atmosphere, material surfaces and human eye is bound to entail some short cuts. For example, architectural plans, with the indication of the intensity of daylight shown in iso-lux curves, often differ from the actual light situation experienced. This is typically because of the plan illustrating the measured light on a horizontal plane and not what we experience: the light of a vertical plane. So the illustration tells us one story but not the whole story, and especially not the story of the light experienced by our eyes. Furthermore, man cannot see any level of light intensity (illumination), as we are only able to see the reflection of light (luminance). Bearing in mind that various representations of light often only illustrate fragments of its complex aspects, it is of interest to gather many diverse representations of light in order to gain a more varied picture of light. In this project one of the sources used for this purpose has been meteorology. Meteo rology offers a well-defined registration of the cloud cover which is of interest as it has direct influences on the way we perceive daylight. Inspired by meteorology, a methodology is established. In this specific situation it is used to analyse one case throughout one day. Three aspects of light have been chosen, each generating its own material evidence: - Cloud cover: the cloud cover is classified according to the international standard of meteorology. - Sky luminance: the sky luminance is measured to register the variation of intensity throughout the day. - Distribution of light: the visual appearance of the interior, as a result of the distribution of light, is registered through photos taken each hour, or whenever the light situation changes. The first two of these three aspects represent natural sciences and the last one represents human science and the way we experience light in a given light situation. The surveys are put next to one another hour by hour. And the interesting part is to “read” the material evidence vertically to explore exactly how the same light can be described within various scientific data. 112
altostratus 17:42 sunset
material evidence, Nanet Mathiasen, November 2010
REPRESENTATION OF LIGHT THROUGH MATERIAL EVIDENCE The material evidence produced from this one case was presented on a poster illustrating the three aspects of light inspired by meteorology. In a way, meteorology creates a link between the measured and the experienced light. Thus the rather banal series of photos, trying to capture the experience of the changing light throughout a single day, attracted more attention than the more scientific graphs. Consequently, the talk was more about the photos, the way they were generated, and the camera as an instrument of registration. But the photos were not meant to stand on their own – which was not clearly enough communicated on the seminar. The purpose of the registrations was to combine them and thereby create a more multi-faceted view of the specific light situation in question. Jonathan Hill combines various fields of research in a very stimulating way in his text “The Weather in the Architecture: Soane, Turner and the Big Smoke”1. By digging deep down into scientific material describing the weather and the climate of London throughout the last 400 years, he creates a very intense account of a city and its evolution. He furthermore puts it into an architectural context and describes how two 19th-century artists made their own architectural interpretation of the weather of London. Representing light through material evidence in various ways is yet another way of combining different fields of research. It emphasises how manifold the subject can appear and how diverse the interpretation of it can be. Furthermore, it underlines the advantage of gathering material evidence from various scientific areas and thereby adds to the understanding of the one specific subject that you want to have a broader knowledge about.
Jacob Riiber Nielsen Generative Processes in Architectural Design
This PhD project investigates questions of temporality, hierarchy and interface as constituents of processes leading to the development of architectural form. That is, questions pertaining to the progression of different phases within the design process, the order in which they occur, and how they interact. Conceptually these investigations are placed at an intersection between computer science and architectural design. Here the project directs its specific focus towards the principles of self-organising systems, which are defined as systems consisting of simple locally interacting entities with an ability to negotiate complexity at a global level. Utilised in an architectural context, this means that the project explores this general ability within self-organising systems to evolve form by negotiate the complexity occurring from interactions between architectural components. That is, elements possessing material, structural, tectonic, and aesthetic properties. Complexity in this context refers to the reciprocity occurring between components themselves as well as the components, an architectural program (design intent), and a milieu (context). Normally, these elements are out of necessity positioned somewhat hierarchically in a design process. Specifically they tend to follow a linear progression of development, where only a limited amount of feedback is possible. The use of self-organising principles questions this necessity. Self-organisation presents an opportunity to free ourselves from a type of temporality in which one level of information informs the next. Usually this follows a path from sketching to realisation, with decisions throughout the process having the disadvantage of obstructing the possibility of feedback between phases. The project proposes that this problem resides in the fact that we assume that elements of the design process need to interface in a linear progression. If we instead envision a process where interfacing occurs continuously and as a networked structure, the situation will be altered. The temporality would cease to be fragmented, and the design process would become a matter of orchestrating a single event of formation. MATERIAL EVIDENCE In this project the question of material evidence is related to the development of architectural components. The materiality linked to these follow three different trajectories within the project: a digital, a physical, and a metaphorical trajectory respectively. 115
A DIGITAL MATERIALITY: According to architectural theorist Atoine Picon1, our contemporary technological environment has created a condition where traditional technological objects, e.g. cars and airplanes, have ceased to be as determining as they used to be. Instead, objects that make an impact today are comprehensive and abstract entities such as networks and fields. Components of technological objects are less and less assembled according to schemes based on geometry and mechanics, and this has resulted in a technological environment with a seamless nature. Through computer culture we find that layered assemblages have replaced systemic and synergetic arrangement with interfacing. In this context interfacing has more to do with problems of code-writing and translations from one code to another than with traditional structural design. The utilisation of self-organising systems within architecture resonates with this new condition. A self-organising system of architectural components will always possess a digital materiality aimed at how elements interface in a networked structure. In other words, the data structure by which components are distributed and related is just as defining for an overall form as the structure imposed by physical materiality. A PHYSICAL MATERIALITY: For self-organisation to become architecturally meaningful, the networked structure is nevertheless not enough. Physically implementing a form that is the outcome of a self-organising system needs to include, within the system, a logic aimed at tectonics, forces, and material/structural performance. This of course informs the digital materiality as well, but has its roots outside the digital. The point at which physical materiality interface with the digital is what is of interest to the project. This relates to terms like parametrics and simulation. A METAPHORICAL MATERIALITY: Questions regarding how to interpret the research practice are, through a reading of French philosopher Michel Serres, also attached to a sense of materiality. In this case, on what could be defined as a metaphorical level. Serres proposes regarding any form relative to movements between a fluid chaotic and a solid unified state of being2. Forms possess time in the sense of paths to take in their development, and as they metaphorically calcify they lose this capability. Similarly, in an almost literal way, components within a self-organising system negotiate their form and â€˜solidifyâ€™ the nearer they get to negotiating a stable global shape for the system. The ambition of this project is to conceptually design components in such a way that they exist as gradients between the completely generic to the absolutely specific. 116
THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE The point of departure is mainly within the paradigm of the digital. The specific materiality discussed is that of computer code, perceived as a tool for producing architectural form. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben is used to propose that code, considered as a design tool, is inherently related to movements between actuality and potentiality. This also resonates with the idea of movements between solid and fluid found in the work of Serres. Reading Agamben led to the idea that if code is developed as a form of drawing, modelling or diagramming, we directly and concretely engage potentiality and impotentiality through the very nature of the syntax of computer language. This is hypothesised to be what distinguishes code from other tools producing representations. Programming as it appears in architectural practice has the predominant form of being a bottom-up process where our work is based on the parts forming the whole. Here everything originates in abstract templates in which concrete elements are initialised. In this way a virtual abstract form always exists prior to the actual elements that describe the specific configurations used in a project. The interesting factor related to this is the point at which potentiality passes into actuality. Like the position put forth by Agamben, in coding we create and act within movements between potentiality and actuality without losing the potential in the actual. The template persists and we therefore do not lose the capability of being impotential. The solidification into concrete objects always points back towards potentiality.
Søren Nielsen Tectonics of adaptability
The interest in the architectural consequences of adaptable, lifecycle-based strategies, such as flexibility and reuse, is evoked by the necessity of focusing on the reduction of energy consumption related to lifetime processes of buildings. The considerable amount of energy, existing as ‘embodied energy’, has previously been disregarded as a design parameter in favour of parameters aiming at minimising energy consumption for building operation. Concurrent with the development of efficient methods for saving operational energy, an increasing need arises to consider energy for building processes – mining manufacturing, site-operation and maintenance – in architectural design practice. The most prominent strategy for saving material resources is design for disassembly, as it provides a potential for functional adaptation and other transformations during a lifetime as well as material separation at the end of life. The purpose of the research is to exploit the energy-saving agenda in order to open a field of articulation potentials for the architectural profession to adopt or to relate to. The articulation of construction and assembly is among the most powerful expressions of architectural skills; and when the aim is to save resources, the design aspect is a highly motivating factor. Therefore, the overriding research question is: What are the architectural consequences of the necessity of considering material energy? The associated hypothesis is that there are specific, identifiable relations between technical principles and architectural articulation. The uncovering of these relations can turn guidelines for saving process energy into a resource of inspiration for design practice. METHODS IN RELATION TO MATERIAL EVIDENCE Background information regarding energy-saving principles is gathered in order to frame the study, to provide historical depth and a future perspective. The theory employed is a combination of technical research in disassembly methods and tectonic theory. It is the intention of the project to connect these traditionally incommensurable discourses by applying their respective perspectives to the material evidence of architecture: Architectural drawings, models, prototypes and completed buildings. Technical principles and principles of tectonic articulation are systematically mapped. A number of empirical cases are scanned for technical principles of disassembly (the ‘adaptability code’) and the 119
respective tectonic articulation in order to detect the architectural consequences of disassembly methods. The rules of the adaptability code involve accessibility, reversibility, general usability etc. Tectonic articulation refers to identifiable form-giving principles deliberately employed in the design process. This research process shuttles between implementation and analysis of principles: The industrial PhD study situation implies the opportunity to combine theory with practice insofar as theoretical principles can be applied to building schemes. This employs in all cases the media of drawings, models and prototypes as material evidence of implementation. In order to make the findings available for architectural practice as a general tool, it becomes a key challenge of the research to extract the technical and tectonic principles from highly situated solutions into more generic media. The following extracting process is considered, illustrated by a practical detail below. Diagrammatic representation of architectural solutions: In technical diagrams a buildingâ€™s parts and details can be dissolved into a number of singular variables with a general relevance for all similar operations. The diagram accounts for, and documents, programmatic requests but reveals nothing about the tectonic articulation. However, the tectonic articulation can be identified as form-generating types of phenomena which can be illustrated in pictograms and perhaps other abstract representations. The very relationship between tectonic articulation and technical principles remains situated, embedded in the material evidence of the practical cases. Hence, the research methodology becomes a construction of knowledge in three stages of production, each generating its own characteristic material evidence: - Production of systemised technical protocols for programmatic purposes, consisting of diagrams - Production of experimental knowledge through implementation of technical protocols, resulting in drawings, models, prototypes and buildings. - Production of analytical diagrams from case studies resulting in documentation diagrams and pictograms.
The outcome of the empirical analysis is presented as diagrammatic relations between articulation pictograms and assembly levels. The preliminary ambition is to present the relations found as an ‘atlas’, including overview diagrams, typical examples of articulations resulting from flexibility, disassembly, reusability and reversibility. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE The work is related to Eladio Dieste’s text ‘Architecture and Construction’1, in which he distinguishes between built and assembled constructions stressing the qualities of holistic architecture opposed to the generic standards of the modern industrially produced building. In this discourse Dieste does not explicitly address the tectonic discipline, which is conceived in this research as ‘the art of assembly’. However, Dieste evokes the consciousness of the architectural optimisation of the building systems available at any specific time. Dieste points out that within any technical regime of building – including materials, technology, market conditions and building codes – a repertoire of forms exists. It is the hypothesis of this research that such a repertoire can be described systematically as types of tectonic articulations of technical parameters conditioning the building system. When specifically addressing the technical conditions of design for disassembly, a repertoire with a characteristic profile is revealed which is different to other technical regimes. The request for disassembly causes both restrictions and possibilities to the design repertoire. The material evidence of the research, consisting of diagrams and visualised articulation principles, constitutes a representation of a repertoire as it can be materialised: derived by, but detached from, empiricism. Empiricism is always contaminated by the arbitrary, contextual and personal histories of each building case, whereas the extracted principles and diagrams illustrate an ideal dimension of the repertoire of a building regime. From this abstract state the articulation principles can be utilised as a resource for new designs based upon principal forms rather than cultural habits.
Johannes Rauff Greisen Architectonic potentials in utilizing industrial robots for concrete building
‘Architectonic potentials in utilising industrial robots for concrete building’ is the working title of my PhD project, whose point of departure is that the growing use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) within architectural practice is naturally followed by Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) within the building industry. CAM tools most often derive from other industries and find their way into building practice to replace manual work processes and add new layers to building culture. My main research question is: “What architectonic potential can the industrial robot reveal as a fabrication tool within concrete building?” Keeping the premise in mind that concrete buildings need a relatively long lifetime to become sustainable, I approach today’s technology searching for architectonic potentials in the widest sense within categories inspired by Vitruvius: Beauty, Functionality and Durability. Experiments are vital to the project. Approximately half of my time is spent in the High Tech Concrete Lab at DTI. The industrial robot and the mixing plant that I employ are off-the-shelf solutions, so any experiment can theoretically be brought into practice. Three sub-questions are defined: - How can the industrial robot practically reveal and interplay with the extreme form potential of concrete? - How can the industrial robot interact with architectural design processes? - How can the industrial robot be feasible within concrete building industries, or be made feasible for these? Formwork is the primary objective of CAM fabrication, due to the mouldability of fresh concrete and the rigidity of cured concrete. Aspects like formwork material, fabrication technologies and relationships between concrete properties, casting technique and the void to be cast are crucial within the first sub-question. The second and third sub-questions deal with technology implementation. They aim to define the robot’s potentials and limitations. For example free form and file-to-factory possibilities on the one hand, and the surprising size effect on the other hand. The size effect occurs transferring the project from experiment and design scale into building scale, and demands a following transition of production means compromising the ‘file-to-factory’. This paradox, among others, helps to under123
stand the interests of architects and builders in a new industrialised building culture. Concrete examples demonstrate these interests, pointing out where the industrial robot is relevant and how it could potentially add architectonic value. METHOD My method of investigation is anchored around a Robot Cell situated at DTI. It is an industrial trajectory robot fitted with a milling head having six degrees of freedom (6-DOF) providing a Cartesian workspace of approximately 1.5 x 2.5 x 3.0 metres and three or five axis numeric controlled (NC) milling approach. The robot cell is a CAM tool normally used for repetitive tasks within the production of context-independent consumption goods, but its use is now expanding into contemporary mass customisation of context-dependent products, including buildings, in what we call the new industrialisation era. According to Jonathan Hill, research within the field of architecture is fairly new, but design research can be traced back to the Renaissance, when architects were craftsmen. ‘Design’ derives from the Italian word for drawing, and the status of the architect rose with the introduction of the drawing, because within the drawing lies the vision of the building. The architect became the sole creator and his drawing became the artefact representing the building1. Naturally, today’s buildings are not described by traditional drawings, but by a network of information sets relating to each other in some sort of Building Information Model (BIM). Some information sets like renderings and material samples are easy to interpret, and some information sets like parametric design setups and work paths from Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are difficult to interpret. Today’s architect is still creating the vision, but he also has to negotiate it into complex systems of production and regulations. The role of material evidence may be to maintain the vision throughout this negotiation, but it can also be used the other way, so material evidence deriving from complex systems inspires the architect to alter his vision to the better. In general material evidence, no matter which form or consistency it is given, is an artefact like the Renaissance drawing. These artefacts are important especially when working in the computer-based, synthetic and abstract domain. Artefacts 124
attract and gather people. They make people talk. They anchor a discussion. They monitor a creative process. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE Material evidence is a method of artefacts, originating from chosen sets of information or from created outputs. Material evidence is important to my work as a cornerstone method, because it allows and forces me to pay true attention to the resulting artefacts and deliberately combines different kinds of information sets – some qualitative, some quantitative, some easy to interpret, some difficult – and despite their differences relate and compare them. This deliberate comparison results in more systematic and transparent research than previously, allowing benchmarking and the repetition of experiments. A proper distinction has been introduced between ‘How things are’ and ‘How things can be’. This eases the communication of my architectural research to people working outside the field of the arts, because it substantiates the research ideas transition from the conceptual state into the theoretical state. For a few research ideas, since my experiments are executed by off-the-shelf-tools, this transition has continued from theoretical state into a future actual state, and thereby; into architectural visions defining ‘How things are becoming’. Material evidence plays an important role in the field of architectural research since it allows a research community to settle without striving for consensus. It offers tools for internal discussions resulting in familiarity with different research projects, perspectives, methods and fields of interest. Furthermore, the role of material evidence must be to communicate with external people, to learn from their experience of materials and methods outside the field of architecture. This is perhaps the most important aspect, due to the fact that architecture is multi-faceted in practice, and research has to reflect practice to a reasonable extent. Material evidence may be given any form (digital, physical, concrete or abstract), helping it to play its role as the anchor of the discussion which can now be carried out on a higher level.
Jan Schipull Kauschen Sustainable Integrated Product Deliveries in Renovation and New Building Construction
Architects and the building industry both face great challenges in the near future: new laws require buildings with greater energy efficiency and higher conservation of resources. As new buildings only account for a small percentage of the overall building stock in Denmark, sustainable renovation projects have specific potential for reducing the energy consumption of the existing building mass. The aim of this PhD project is to investigate possibilities to use integrated product deliveries in renovation projects, always with a strong focus on the sustainability of the project concerned. Projects at various scales will through case studies inform the research in order to evaluate the possibilities of the implementation of integrated product deliveries, and how integrated product deliveries may be qualified as being sustainable. Sustainable renovation projects demand a holistic approach on all – equally important – aspects of sustainability. This PhD project will develop strategies to be used by architects to design sustainable renovation projects addressing all social, economic and ecological issues. In this respect in-depth consideration of the term “architectural sustainability” will be of specific interest. Architectural sustainability does not only refer to the high aesthetic and design qualities of a project – in fact, it refers primarily to those architectural qualities that allow a long and meaningful use of a building, while encouraging both spatial and functional changes. The main cases chosen for this PhD project – Stadionkvarteret in Glostrup, Søndermarken in Frederiksberg and Urbanplanen in Copenhagen – all represent large social housing projects, built in the time period 1950-1970. With almost one-third of the multi-story residential stock in Denmark being built in this period and sharing the same typology and construction techniques, the specific challenges facing architects and engineers with respect to their renovation will have widespread application. With regard to new building construction, the project will also question whether specific architectural concepts or building types have proven more flexible than others in tolerating or encouraging renovation. How effectively and to what extent may integrated product deliveries be used in a given project? How can future buildings be designed, built and managed to allow less complicated, more efficient and especially more sustainable future renovation projects?
METHODOLOGY IN RELATION TO MATERIAL EVIDENCE During the PhD course we found that the term “material evidence” can be applied to a broad range of the works that architects and designers produce. Everything from the first sketches, drawings, models and prototypes to final products or projects can be referred to as “material evidence”, as long as it is in a state to “talk back” to the designer (during the design process) or inform other research. Due to my PhD project’s focus on renovation projects and the nature of the material questioned in my research, I will also regard “the built” as material evidence. The case studies that I am currently working on all deal with existing buildings, thought, drawn and built by people other than me. The material that can be questioned is actually quite rich and spans from sketches, drawings, reports and user experiences to photographs, mock-ups and of course also the actual building with all its layers of information. Interestingly, the material present is able to inform various fields of research and is not limited to “only” architecture. One could say that “the built” has gained a meta level of information that in all probability was not intended or foreseen by the architect when the building was designed. Unlike many other PhD projects that were presented during the course, my project does not produce material evidence as such, but will have to work with the material produced and supplied by others. Due to this fact I am mostly interested in how this material evidence is to be questioned, what answers or results can be expected, and how this information can feed into objective case studies. Case study design in applied sciences often deals with “ill-defined problems”1 that are characterised by three major issues: “Initial state cannot be described precisely, target is not sufficiently known, types of barriers are not known”2. In this respect the definition of a new methodology around material evidence seems extremely interesting and would certainly help to make the information contained in the material evidence more graspable and generally comprehensible. A second interesting idea that Scholz and Tietje3 present is that a certain artistic feel is necessary to successfully develop a case study in the field of architecture. Taking this into account, the case study itself could be regarded as material evidence as the development process of the case study is quite equal to that of a design process4. 128
THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE In the field of architecture we are used to a broad range of different approaches to visualise our work. This is necessary to be able to develop and to refine ideas, transfer them to buildable projects, and also discuss thoughts and solutions in a design process. This leads to great flexibility and also a great interest of using the most different tools and methods to enable us to best explain our ideas – but it is most important that the method is adequate to its purpose. Of course this is not unique for the field of architecture, since all other art forms have their own “language” that can be used creatively to express ideas in the best possible way. But compared to the other arts, architecture overlaps with many other fields ranging from fine arts to engineering to economics and much more, resulting in a great variety of different material that is connected to architecture. If you asked artists (or any other profession) to reflect on a certain topic, you could rely on the fact that most of them would stay within their “normal” (professional) language (a poet would write, a painter paint, a musician compose or improvise). But architects would most probably present their idea in a form that they think is adequate – and not necessarily typical for an architect. Architects also use very different forms of representation in the different phases of a project and according to the kind of information that needs to be communicated. In the competition phase visualisations are more dominant, while in the tender or building phases plain drawings with high technical content are used. Finished projects are documented using photography and graphical drawings. Hence “material evidence” in relation to architecture is hard to define precisely as it covers many different ways of expressing architecture and related thoughts, but also refers to work-in-progress as well as finished presentations and representations. During our PhD course I learned that the different types of material evidence have one thing in common: their ability to “talk-back” to the person quest ioning the material. Material evidence is not limited to a certain form of representation, method or scale, but it is created through a design process that could be compared to a conversation5, where every creation is the starting point for the next thought and the following creation until an idea is fully developed into a final state.
Cecilie Bendixen Architectural Sound Absorption with Textile
This PhD project aims to find answers to how textile can be formed and placed in order to shorten the reverberation time of sound and at the same time function architecturally. The answers to this question should form a set of guidelines for architects and designers. This main question introduces three fields: architecture, sound and textile, and it is in the meeting between these three fields that problems arise. However, architecture, sound and textile are completely interwoven as the fields are closely connected because all three can be seen as spatial phenomena: Architecture is a spatial phenomena because the very essence of architecture is said to be space, sound is spatial because it spreads out three dimensionally, and textile is spatial because it easily defines a space when placed in a room. This connection between architecture, sound and textile makes it possible to find solutions based on spatiality. However, the introduction of textile in architecture as a sound regulating material based on spatiality includes at least three major problems. The first problem is how to form and place textile so to optimise its acoustic properties. The acoustic properties of textile relate both to the fibre and structure of the textile in itself and to the way it is spatially configured. Sound, however, is so complex that it is not possible to estimate theoretically how to configure textile to shorten the reverberation time. The second problem is how textile, based on its own materiality, can be formed and placed. The third problem is how to make textile fit into our architectural vision of transparency, materiality and figuration, for instance. Thus, the three major problems in the project are closely related to materiality, in the sense that both problem and latent knowledge are inherent in the material involved. MATERIAL EVIDENCE To get access to the knowledge inherent in the material involved, three different kinds of investigations have been conducted. The investigation methods are chosen depending on the information needed to solve each of the three problems described above.
To solve the first problem, how to spatially configure textile in order to make it absorb sound, know足 ledge about absorption efficiency in different textile configurations was needed. Therefore the problem was investigated in a laboratory with a sound pressure level meter. Ten square metres of textile was formed and placed in about 150 different ways in the laboratory to pin down which spatial parameters were crucial to absorb sound most efficiently. The data of the experiments was collected by the sound pressure level meter and made accessible in diagrams, visualising the efficiency of the different textile configurations. To solve the second problem, how textile can be formed based on its materiality, knowledge about the material properties was needed. This problem was investigated by touching, moving, looking, listening and even smelling and tasting three very different kinds of textile. By comparing the three sets of sensations it was possible to formulate the relative, but specific properties of each textile. The data of the experiment was thus collected by myself and systemised in diagrams. To solve the third problem, how to form and place textile in order to make it function architecturally, two types of knowledge were necessary. First knowledge about architectural characters and purposes was needed. This was found by a theoretical analysis of six different architectural situations. Three situations focusing on architectural character (transparency, materiality and figuration), and three situations focusing on purpose (an office, a hallway and an auditorium). Then knowledge about how textile could fit into these situations was necessary. This was found by the analysis of the results from investigations one and two. By a chain of evaluations, six textile elements for the six architectural situations were formed. Thus, the three major problems of the project were investigated through three different methods. This was to get access to the knowledge inherent in the material involved. The evidence of the investigations was found in the resistance of the material. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE The problem of measurability is basically about communication and not only about expressing matters 132
in numbers. The measurement of the beauty of a material form can be done by mapping how aspects are connected and dependent on each other. When working with a material, the mapping and the measuring can thus be done simultaneously. In my project I measure sound regulation, textile properties and architectural possibilities by three different ways of measuring, the two last types including measurements of beauty by argumentation of which example is the most beautiful. I will try to map the connections and dependencies among the examples. A second subject of interest is material as a common field of different approaches – among others the scientific, the artistic and the craft field. All these fields include materials, but they investigate them in very different ways. This means that if different fields collaborate through the investigating of a material, a broad spectrum of knowledge can be made accessible. And through the material, the different fields can meet. In my project the three fields mentioned above are included, each contributing a certain type of knowledge. Third, the discussion of “material will” versus the human will is important. When working with materials we recognise that they can perform in specific ways and not in others. This can be called the “will” of a material. By contrast to this we find our own will to make the material perform in a certain way. But the meeting between the “will” of the material and our own human will is not predetermined to balance at a certain point. This meeting point can be pushed towards the “will” of the material or towards the human will. In my project, in the investigations of how textile can be formed, I have to consider where to place this meeting point. How much, and which part, of the textile form should arise from the material itself, and how much should be a result of my will?
TOre Banke Parametri i Praksis, Generativ performance i arkitektur
This project examines the development of parametric sketch tools that integrate multidisciplinary knowledge into the architectural design process. The project is being done in collaboration with the Danish architectural company 3XN and the Centre for IT and Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Based on 3XNâ€™s design practice, the project investigates how daylight can be a design parameter in the initial design phase. Today 80% of the decisions impacting energy consumption are made during the first 20% of the design process1, which means in the initial design phase. There are currently no tools that provide quick feedback on light and energy consequences, which means that these factors are taken into account much later in the design process when it is often too late or very costly to change the overall design2. Today light and energy analysis is done with external software such as BSIM, Be06 and Radians. These programs are complex, data intensive, time consuming and require the exchange of detailed 3D models. This makes them hard to use in the initial design phase, which consists of many open questions and the need to make fast, radical changes. Instead, architects and engineers rely on their previous experiences and the use of simple 2D rule of thumb methods. Whereas more sophisticated engineering simulations rely on file sharing between several types of software, parametric tools will be developed (and integrated) through the established CAD platform. Parametric tools differ from conventional drawing tools and programs because they work with variable geometries3. In recent years programs like Grasshopper4 have made parametric tools accessible to the architect with visual programming interfaces and low cost. This gives the opportunity to produce customised tool sets in which simulation and editing can happen at the same time. METHOD IN RELATION TO MATERIAL EVIDENCE Because architecture is multi-faceted and consists of very different demands and needs, it cannot be defined by a solution space strictly established by natural science. The German method and design theorist Horst Rittel considers that architecture belongs to a particular class of wicked problems5. Instead of pointing at a final solution, these problems generate new questions. Wicked problems consist of many criteria and are never isolated, concrete and not abstract, unique and not general. 135
In this way wicked problems cannot be answered through absolute solutions that are right or wrong, but instead consist of a qualitative solution space in which the various outputs must be weighed against each other. This project investigates the way in which the parametric model gives the opportunity to build up relations between very diverse parameters. By using engineering knowledge (rules of thumb and weather files) in the coding, the aim is to produce a new set of digital tools which allow daylight and energy to become a design parameter in the initial design phase. Because architecture is so multifaceted, its output is different from that of the engineering world. Here the best solution is not found in the optimisation of single parameters but more in the composition and sum of all the parameters. This PhD project will follow a number of ongoing projects in the competition department at 3XN. In this context the parametric tools will be developed and gradually implemented into the architectural process. THE MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND EVALUATION The tools developed will be evaluated according to both their precision at simulating light/energy and their potential as architectural work tools. The project sees these two groups of output as different material evidence. The first belongs to the measurable solution space of natural science, which consists of right and wrong. Whereas the second consists of spatial qualities that are more individual and open to discussion and interpretation. This calls for two different evaluation methods which meet these different criteria. Finally, the parametric model (or coding) is also considered to be material evidence. It draws a pattern about flexibility, detailing, complexity and scale, for each project. THE ROLE OF MATERIAL EVIDENCE The text Lux / Lumen by Arthur G. Zajonc6 speaks about the various ways daylight can be described or looked at according to the spectator. For instance, scientists describe daylight in a mathematical way (in terms of photons, light waves and frequency). Whereas artists will refer to daylight in terms of its composition, atmosphere and aesthetics. Neither of the two groups is in possession of the truth. Like everything else, daylight is multi-faceted and no one description is more correct than any other. 136
The text describes how the width and multiplicity of the angles with which daylight is approached only make the definition of daylight stronger. The use of scientific data in the architectural process initiated a discussion about accuracy, questioning the source of the data, how it is used, and the final output. To some degree the parametric sketches are a representation of the physical world, but this is always done with a certain level of abstraction. The data used consists of imprecision too. The weather files used consist of data measured many kilometres away from the building site perhaps ten or twenty years ago. This will have an effect on the output, since the environment will be different in the chosen area and there is a great chance that the measurements would be different if they were done today in this minute or second on site. The computation contains a degree of abstraction too, using a number of engineering rule of thumb equations for making fast estimated calculations. The fact that both data and computation have a degree of imprecision means that the reliability of the output may be uncertain. It is therefore important to maintain a high degree of transparency in the tools that are developed with a view to registering what this imprecision consists of and where it is located.
Endnotes of PhD students Anne-mette manelius 1 2 3 4 5
Semper, G., 1851, Die Vier Elemente der Baukunst, Brunswick. Chandler, A. & Pedreschi, R, 2007, Fabric formwork, RIBA Publishing, London. Frayling, C., 1993/1994, “Research in Art and Design” – Research in art and design vol. 1 nu. Further examples on this practise in: Architectural Design,“Design Through Making”, vol75 no 4, July/August, 2005. Nervi, P. L., 1961-1962, ”Aesthetics and Technology in Building – the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures,” Harvard University Press Cambridge, Mass, 1965. - Mark W., www.umanitoba.ca/cast_building
Aurélie Mossé 1 2 3 4 5
Addington, M. and Schodek, D., 2005. Smart Materials and Technologies for the architecture and design professions. Oxford, Uk: Architectura Press; Elsevier. De Winter, K., 2002-last update, Thoughts on originality [Homepage of Design Addict], [Online]. Available: http://www.designaddict.com/ essais/Originality.html [07/27, 2009]. Dunne, A., 2005. Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design. 2nd edn. Cambridge, Massachussets; London, England: MIT Press. Grosz, E., 2001. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space. MIT Press. Hensel, M., 2011. Performance-oriented Design from a Material Perspective: Domains of Agency and the Spatial Organisatio Complex. Performalism: Between Form, Function and Performance in Digital Architecture. Routledge,
Peter Andreas Sattrup 1 2 3 4 5 - - - -
Hensel, M. U., 2010, Performance-oriented Design from a Material Perspective: Domains of Agency and the Spatial and Material Organisation Sattrup, P.A. og Strømann-Andersen, J., A, 2011, methodological study of environmental simulation in architecture. Integrating daylight and thermal performance across the urban and building scales, In SimAUD, Boston. Groat, L. & Wang, D., 2001. Architectural Research Methods, Wiley. Borgdorff, H., 2006, The debate on research in the arts, Amsterdam School of the Arts. Aristotle, 2010, On Interpretation, Kessinger Publishing. Banham, R., 1984, Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment 2nd ed., Chicago University Press. Galiano F., L., 2001. Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy illustrated edition., MIT Press. Hensel, M. U., 2010, Performance-oriented Architecture, Towards a Biological Paradigm for Architectural Design and the Built Environment, FORMakademisk, 2010, vol. 3 nr. 1, pp.36-56. Grobman Y. and Neuman E. (eds.), Complex, In Performalism, Routledge.
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Spirn, A. W., 1884, The Granite Garden. New York: Basic Books, pp.5. Hartig T., Preference for Nature in Urbanized Societies: Stress, Restoration, and the Pursuit of Sustainability, Journal of Social Issues, 63(1), pp.80.
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Hill, J., 2009, The Weather in the Architecture: Soane, Turner and the Big Smoke, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London Published in The Journal of Architecture, special issue: ‘Painting and Building’, vol. 14, issue 3.
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Picon, Antoine, Digital Culture in Architecture, Birkhäuser, 2010 Serres, Michel, Genesis, University of Michigan Press, 1997
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Dieste, E., 2004, Architecture and Construction, reprinted in Andersen Stanford, ed. Eladio Dieste Innovation in Structural Art, New York, Princeton, Architectural Press, originally published in July 1980. Brand, S., 1994, How Buildings Learn – and what happens after they are built, Viking Press / Penguin. Durmisevic, E.,2006, Transformable Building Structures, Doctoral thesis TUD. Eco, U., 1989 (orig. 1962), The Open Work, Harvard University Press USA. Frampton, K., 1995, Studies in Tectonic Culture, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. Kendall, S. & Teicher, J., 2000, Residential Open Building, E&FN Spon, NY. Kieran, S. & Timberlake, J., 2008, Loblolly House: Elements of a new architecture, New York Princeton Architectural Press. Kieran, S. & Timberlake, J., 2004, Refabricating Architecture, McGrawHill. Leupen, B., 2006, Frame and Generic Space, O1O Publishers Rotterdam. Nielsen, S., 2010, Dynamisk Arkitektur in Arkitekten 2010 / vol. 10. Nordby, A.S., 2009, Salvageability of building materials. Doctoral thesis NTNU Ørskov, V., 1966, Aflæsning af objekter i Ørskov, V. 1999: Samlet, Borgen København
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Hill, J., 2009, The Weather in the Architecture: Soane, Turner and the Big Smoke, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London Published in The Journal of Architecture, special issue: ‘Painting and Building’, vol. 14, issue 3.
Jan Schipull Kauschen 1
Scholz, Roland W. and Tietje, O., Embedded case study methods : integrating quantitative and qualitative knowledge, Thousand Oaks Calif.: Sage Publications, 2002. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 A design process is qualified by different stages that can be described as a loop that is undergone until the design concept is finished. The design process usually starts with the definition of a problem or a program, formulating/creation of an idea, followed by research on the problem/idea until the design concept is fully developed. Then the concept is tested, simulated and modelled until the final design is defined. Regarding case study design (for ill-defined problems), a similar development process could be used. The model of the loop and different stages fits well, as the problem, but also the material is reviewed several times, with slightly different foci, until the case study is finalized (similar to an iteration) 5 Donald Schön describes the design process as a conversation: ”In a good process of design, this conversation with the situation is reflective. In answer to the situation’s back-talk, the designer reflects-in-action on the construction of the problem, the strategies of action, or the model of the phenomena, which have been implicit in his moves.”, Schön, Donald A., The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action, Aldershot: Ashgate/ARENA, 1991.
TOre Banke 1 2 3 4 5 6
Theßeling, F., Schlüter, A., Leibundgut, H., 2008, Energy and Exergy Performance as Parameters in Architectural Design Sketching - a Case Study, Architecture in Computro, 26th eCAADe Conference Proceedings. Liebchen, J., H., 2002, Bauwirtschaft und Baubetrieb; Band 17. Kolarevic, B., 2000, Digital Architectures, Eternity, Infinity and Virtuality in Architecture. www.grasshopper3d.com Rittel, H., and Melvin W., 1984, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning, Policy Sciences, Vol. 4, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Inc., Amsterdam, pp. 155-169. Arthur, G., Z., 1997, Lux/Lumen, Article from the Miro Foundation
Profiles of guest writers Jonathan Michael Hill Jonathan Michael Hill is an architect, PhD and Professor of Architecture and Visual Theory, at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He is Programme Director for “MPhil/PhD Architectural Design”, which draws on the strengths of design teaching and doctoral research at Bartlett, encouraging the development of architectural research through the interaction of designing and writing. Jonathan Michael Hill investigates the relations between architectural objects and the practice and experience of architecture. His research combines historical investigations, material studies and design propositions and results in books, exhibitions and installations and encompasses personal scholarship, teaching, collective projects and public discourse.
Yeoryia Manolopoulou Yeoryia Manolopoulou is an architect and PhD at The Bartlett School of Architecture where she is “BSc Architectural Studies Project X Coordinator” and “MPhil/PhD supervisor”. Her research is primarily concerned with theories and practices of indeterminacy and chance in architecture and spatial perception. In her work she acknowledge architecture as being produced and experienced in time and, moreover, as being produced and experienced by both design and chance.
Peter Bertram Peter Bertram is an architect, PhD and Assistant professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture where he is affiliated CITA - Center for Information Technology and Architecture. Peter Bertram has mainly been engaged in the creation of exhibitions and in teaching. His PhD thesis, “Den animerede bygning” (The animated building), from 2008, was made as an artistic development and the outcome an exhibition. The main question of his PhD was how to specify an experimental praxis in the relationship between conceptual creation and working with common architectural media. His research topics are: Aesthetics/form, Architecture Graphic design/visuel media, Process /method Technology /digital design and Theory/ philosophy.
Billie Faircloth Billie Faircloth AIA is an architect and works as a Research Director at Kieran Timberlake in the field of research initiatives relating to emerging materials and technologies, and trans-trade, trans-discipline and trans-industry collaborations. Billie Faircloth is formerly an assistant professor at The University Texas of Austin, School of Architecture and has a background in material research as a starting point towards architectural innovation, involving performance, form, fabrication, and environment in conversation with material processes. At the University Texas of Austin, Billie Faircloth has developed teaching
methodologies which are directly connected to the many questions she asks of her own architectural research. The design studio is cast as a laboratory and a partnership where questions regarding the potential of architectural invention and innovation can be pursued.
Merete Madsen Merete Madsen is an architect, PhD and Chief consultant at Grontmij. She is formerly associate professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. In her PhD “Lysrum – som begreb og redskab” (Light-zone(s): as Concept and Tool), Merethe Madsen clarifies and concretizes light-zones in relation to the source of light. At Grontmij Merete Madsen works together with Engineers in the process of developing “holistic lighting” and thereby offer the clients solutions that are both aesthetic and functional.
Karin Søndergaard Karin Søndergaard is performance- and installation- artist, PhD and associate professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Her PhD thesis “Participation as media: a compositional system for staging participation with reflective scenography”in which the practice‐led research develops a compositional system for staging participation within reflective scenographies, and suggests an artistic concept of ‘participation as media’, which propose the participatory involvement as compositional material in itself. Karin Søndergaard has given master classes, taught skills and theory, realized laboratory workshops, and has been involved in the education of architects, designers, scholars, performers, dramaturges and directors. She has taught practice and theory within the field of performance and installation art.
Mikkel Kragh Mikkel Kragh is MSc in Civil and Structural Engineering, PhD in Building Physics and an Associate at Arup in Milan, Italy. Kragh’s role in Arup covers a broad spectrum of activities, including specialist consulting to external clients and Arup design teams, internally funded development work, networking with academia and research centres, and externally funded commercial collaborative research and development.
Profiles of PhD students Anne-Mette Manelius Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Industrial PhD-student at CINARK – Centre of Industrialised Architecture, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD project: Fabric Formwork for Concrete Structures - Architectural potentials. Supervisors: Anne Beim, Rolf Carlsen and Mads Kaltoft. Industrial Partners: Pihl og Søn and Schmidt Hammer og Lassen. PhD-study started: 15.08.2008.
Aurélie Mossé Master of Design for Textiles Futures from The Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Ph.D. student at CITA - Center for Information Technology and Architecture, Royal Academy of fine arts, School of architecture. PhD project: Energyharvesting and self-actuated textiles. Supervisors: Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen and Carole Collet. PhD-study started: 15.09.2008.
Peter Andreas Sattrup Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD student at Institute of Tech nology, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD project: Sustainability – Energy Optimization – Daylight and Solar Gains. Supervisor: Anne Beim. Industrial Partner: Henning Larsen Architects. PhD-study started: 01.03.2008.
Ofri Earon Master of Architecture from Academie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam. Industrial PhD student at The Danish Building Research Institute, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture.PhD project: Urban Housing With Nature Values a search for New Housing Forms in Dense Settings. Supervisors: Peder Duelund Mortensen, Mikkel Nordberg, Claus Bech-Danielsen. Industrial Partners: Holscher Architects. PhD-study started: 01.08.2010
Nanet Krogsbæk Mathiasen Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Ph.d.-student at Institute of Technology, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD project: Nordic Light - and its impact on the design of aperture in Nordic architecture. Supervisor: Torben Dahl. PhD-study started: 01.08.2009.
Jacob Riiber Nielsen Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD-student at CITA - Center
for Information Technology and Architecture. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD project: Generative Processes in Architecture. Supervisor: Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen. PhD-study started: 01.02.2010
Søren Nielsen Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Industrial PhD student at CINARK – Centre of Industrialised Architecture, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD Project: Tectonics of adaptability. Supervisors: Olga Popovic Larsen and Thomas Arnfred. Industrial Partner: Tegnestuen Vandkunsten. PhD-study started: 1.09.2008
Johannes Rauff Greisen Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Industrial PhD-student at CINARK – Centre of Industrialised Architecture, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Supervisors: Thomas Bo Jensen and Mette Glavind. PhD Project: Architectonic Potentials in the use of Industrial Robots in Concrete Building Production. Industrial Partner: Teknologisk institut. PhD study started:
Jan Schipull Dipl.-Ing.Arch. from Technische Universität Darmstad - Fachbereich Architektur. PhD-student CINARK – Centre of Industrialised Architecture, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Project title: Sustainable Integrated Product Deliveries in Renovation and New Building Construction. Supervisor: Anne Beim. Industrial partners: JJW Architects and Realdania. PhD-study started: 15.05.2010
Cecilie Bendixen Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Ph.d.-student at Danish Centre for Design Research, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD Project: The idiom of absorption - an investigation of how textiles can be moulded to absorb sound and form space. Supervisor: Per Galle. PhD-study started: 19.03.2007.
Tore Banke Master of Arts in Architecture from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Industrial PhD-student at CITA - Center for Information Technology and Architecture. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. PhD Project: Parametrics in practice, generative performance in architecture. Supervisors: Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen and Kasper Guldager Jørgensen. Industrial Partner: 3XN. PhD-study started: 01.05.2010
Illustration credits p. 2: © Anne-Mette Manelius p. 4: © Jacob Riiber Nielsen p. 6-7: © Arne Magnussen p. 8: © CINARK p.14-15: © Sir John Soane, The Museum, 12-14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1794-1837. Photograph: Martin Charles. Courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum. p. 16: Andrea Palladio, San Petronio, Bologna, 1579. Elevation. Courtesy of the Provost and Fellows of Worcester College, Oxford. p. 18: © Jonathan Hill p. 21: J. M. W. Turner, The Thames above Waterloo Bridge, c. 1830-1835. Courtesy of the Tate, London. p. 28-37: © Yeoryia Manolopoulou p. 38-49: © Peter Bertram p. 50-51: © KieranTimberlake p. 52: © Taylor Medlin/KieranTimberlake p. 55: © Taylor Medlin/KieranTimberlake p. 58-59: © Vicente del Amo p. 60: From: Robert Maillart by Max Bill p. 61: © Peter Aaron/Esto p. 62-71: © Mikkel Kragh, Jan Wurm og Roos Aldershoff p. 72-73: © Alvar Aalto Foundation p. 74: © Søren Aagaard, Grontmij. p. 77-78: © Christina Augustesen, Lighting, Grontmij p. 79: © Søren Aagaard, Grontmij. p. 80-81: Søndergaard, Karin, 2004-5, Video Connection, Performance Laboratory. © Ole Kristensen, Simon Moe, Kjell Yngve Petersen & Karin Søndergaard. p. 82: Søndergaard, Karin, 2004-5, Frame Object, Performance Laboratory © Ole Kristensen, Simon Moe, Kjell Yngve Petersen & Karin Søndergaard. p. 84: Nauman, Bruce, 1967-68, Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square, Picture from movie: www.youtube.com/watch Downloaded 7 March 2009. © Bruce Nauman/billedkunst.dk p. 85: Nauman, Bruce, 1970, Going Around the Corner Piece, Photo: Assche, Christine Van (ed) New Media Installations (2006) Editions du Centre Pompidou, Paris. P: 213. © Bruce Nauman/billedkunst.dk p. 86-89: Søndergaard, Karin, 2004-5, Frame Object, Performance Laboratory © Ole Kristensen, Simon Moe, Kjell Yngve Petersen, and Karin Søndergaard. p. 90-91: Søndergaard, Karin, 2006, The Sensation of Light, © The master-class participants: Maria Jensen, Lone Nielsen, Line Ørsnes, Lotta Wågmark, Charlotte Nielsen & ‘Aslaug Thorgeirsdóttir, p. 92-93: © Aurélie Mossé p. 94-97: © Anne-Mette Manelius p. 98-101: © Aurélie Mossé p. 102-105: © Peter Andreas Sattrup p. 106: © Tim Crocker (Justin Bere project) p. 108-109: © Ofri Earon p. 110-113: © Nanet Krogsbæk Mathiasen p. 114-117: © Jacob Riiber Nielsen p. 118.121: © Søren Nielsen/Vandkunsten p. 122-125: © Johannes Rauff Greisen p. 126-129: © Jan Schipull Kauschen/JJW p. 130-133: © Cecilie Bendixent: Investigations of material properties p. 134-137: © Tore Banke
The Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture & Design
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research – drawings, models, experiments Editors: Prof. Anne Beim & Prof. Mette Ramsgard Thomsen Co-editor: Architect Maria Hellesøe Mikkelsen Illustration credits: Page 149 Layout: Architect Maria Hellesøe Mikkelsen Print: Vilhelm Jensen & Partners ISBN: 978-87-7830-277-9 The publikation has been supported by: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture & DKAD The Danish Doctoral Schools of Architecture and Design © The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation School of Architecture Denmark
Jonathan Hill Yeoryia Manolopoulou Peter Bertram Billie Faircloth Karin Søndergaard Merete Madsen Mikkel Kragh
PHD STUDENTs Anne-Mette Manelius Aurélie Mossé Peter Andreas Sattrup Ofri Earon Nanet Krogsbæk Mathiasen Jacob Riiber Nielsen Søren Nielsen Johannes Rauff Greisen Jan Schipull Kauschen Cecilie Bendixen Tore Banke
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research drawings models experiments
The Role of Material Evidence in Architectural Research
With contributions by
Anne Beim and Mette Ramsgard Thomsen