Todayâ€™s architecture of the embodied image continues to desensitize our culture.
The removal of the body from the experience of the built-environment has flattened architecture and created a chasm between the experiencer and the built. Ocularcentric tendencies do not foster nearness and inhibit our ability to embed ourselves in the lifeworld. Physical interaction, especially in the form of movement, plays an essential role in our engagement and interaction with the surrounding environment. Approaches that deemphasize the visual and instead stress engaging firsthand physical experiences are pursued: removing light, masking, blinding, and homogenizing. These are then applied to the design of a pavilion on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. The intervention acts as a secondary circulation system that promotes slowness and discovery by activating underutilized spaces, dulled senses, and revealing the deep relationships that hold up the university.
TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vii 00 // PREFACE 01 01 // PROBLEM 03 02 // PHENOMENOLOGY 11 03 // WAYFINDING 15 04 // PRECEDENTS 21 05 // APPROACH 31 06 // PROPOSITION 35 07 // CLIENT 39 08 // SITE 43 09 // EXPERIENCE 51 10 // CONCLUSION 61 WORKS CITED 63
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1. Bayer, Herbert. The Lonely Metropolitan. 1932. Victoria and Albert Museum, Berlin, Germany. The Lonely Metropolitan. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.
2. “A, attachment of tendon connected with the four recti muscles; B, external rectus, divided and turned downward, to expose the internal rectus; C, inferior rectus; D, internal rectus; E, superior rectus; F, superior oblique; H, pulley and reflected portion of the superior oblique; K, inferior oblique; L and M, portions of the muscle which raises the upper eyelid; to the right of D and to the left on the same line are seen cut ends of the optic nerve.” — Blaisedell, 1904
Blaisedell, Albert F. Muscles of the eyeball. 1904. The private collection of Roy Winkelman, Boston. ClipArt ETC. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
3. Future Video Game Consoles. N.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://gamingconsoles.co/ future-video-game-consoles-2/>
4. Metheny, D. Layers of the skin. 1915. The private collection of Roy Winkelman, Philadelphia. ClipArt ETC. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.
5. Bailey, L H. Maze, England. 1917. Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, New York. ClipArt ETC. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
6. Author’s own
List of illustrations 7. Author’s own
8. Kadish, Seth. The Middle of Nowhere. N.d. Vizual Statistix, http://vizual-statistix. tumblr.com/post/53285918211/we-often-claim-to-be-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-but. Vizual Statistix. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
9. Young, Will. Blind Light. 2011. Will Young Photo, London. Art.: Blind Light. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.
10. Author’s own
11. White, Stephen. Blind Light. 2007. Hayward Gallery, London. Antony Gormley. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.
12. BEALS +, LYON. Aerial. 2013. www.archello.com, Santiago. BEALS + LYON Architects - Project - Garden of the Forking Paths. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.
13. BEALS +, LYON. Girl. 2013. www.archello.com, Santiago. BEALS + LYON Architects - Project - Garden of the Forking Paths. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.
14. Author’s own
15. BEALS +, LYON. C: The Pond. 2013. www.archello.com, Santiago. BEALS + LYON Architects - Project - Garden of the Forking Paths. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.
16. Author’s own
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis 17. Author’s own
18. Author’s own
19. Author’s own
20. Author’s own
21. Author’s own
22. A medal of Crete, representing a Minotaur and the labyrinth in which he was confined. The private collection of Roy Winkelman, Boston. ClipArt ETC. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
23. University of Cincinnati Logo. 2014. Governmental Relations and University Communications. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
24. Vogt, Ivers & Associates. Aerial. 1960. Photograph. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati.
25. Detroit Publishing Co. University of Cincinnati, O[hio]. Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, Cincinnati. Library of Congress. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.
26. Author’s own
List of illustrations 27. Hargreaves Associates, Office of the University Architect University of Cincinnati. Pedestrian Circulation. University of Cincinnati Master Plan 2000.San Francisco: Hargreaves Associates, 2001. Print. p51.
28. Hargreaves Associates, Office of the University Architect University of Cincinnati. Utilities. University of Cincinnati Master Plan 2000. San Francisco: Hargreaves Associates, 2001. Print. p51.
29. M Engineering, Inc. Plant Flow Diagram. N.d. Utilities, Cincinnati. Production Equipment. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
30. Author’s own
31. Author’s own
32. Author’s own
33. Author’s own
34. Author’s own
35. Author’s own
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
00 // PREFACE
Our world is growing ever more digital and intangible. Architecture, however, is
a necessary constant that can never be fully eliminated. “Architecture defines space in the most extreme sense, since, at a time when digital information no longer remains in our long-term memory, the buildings, the real, physical points of identification in a city, become increasingly important.”1 The built-environment serves as a physical point of reference for an ever-accelerating world. It provides an opportunity to affect those who interact with it and perform work by revealing the complex fundamental relationships of our world. However, the current stigma to capture and document these intimate moments of interaction has proven detrimental to the effectiveness of architecture to convey this meaning. Mark Nowaczyk argues in his thesis dissertation entitled Photogenic Architecture, “Why else would we photograph every single moment if we were not afraid of losing that experience, that moment, that space and feeling.”2 But precisely by trying to frame the ephemeral characteristics of our existence, we fail to dive below the surface, missing the additional layers of meanings and relationships that lie deep below. The lack of depth in architecture drives this thesis.
1. Prix, Wolf. “Get Off Of My Cloud: Coop Himmelb (L) Au Texts 1968-2005.” (2005). p376. 2. Nowaczyk, Mark. Photogenic Architecture. Diss. University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 2012. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2012. Print. p141.
Fig. 2 “A, attachment of tendon connected with the four recti muscles; B, external rectus, divided and turned downward, to expose the internal rectus; C, inferior rectus; D, internal rectus; E, superior rectus; F, superior oblique; H, pulley and reflected portion of the superior oblique; K, inferior oblique; L and M, portions of the muscle which raises the upper eyelid; to the right of D and to the left on the same line are seen cut ends of the optic nerve.” — Blaisedell, 1904
01 // PROBLEM Sensorial
Images bombard us incessantly, used for purposes ranging from communication,
to education, to entertainment, to commercial, to artistic. Our world has been characterized by Italo Calvino as “the unending rainfall of images.”1 The imagery of today’s architecture is highly manipulated. The renderings and photographs that portray the built-environment consist of mere precisely composed visuals. “Instead of an existentially grounded plastic and spatial experience, architecture has adopted the psychological strategy of advertising and instant persuasion; buildings have turned into image products detached from existential depth and sincerity.”2 By seducing only our vision and neglecting our other senses, this architecture inhibits our ability to truly engage with our surroundings, built or natural. “…Instead of being a situational bodily encounter, architecture has become an art of the printed image fixed by the hurried eye of the camera.”3 These words of Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, one of the leading critics of an ocularcentric culture, first published in his 1996 seminal work The Eyes of the Skin, are even more poignant today.
In the description of an upcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts,
curator Kate Goodwin points out that there is a younger audience that has “…been brought up to experience architecture increasingly through images seen on computer screens, making instant judgments based first and foremost on looks.”4 The direction of culture is one of continued digitization and technological advancement to solve the 1. 2. 3. 4.
Calvino, Italo. Six Memos For The Next Millennium. Harvard University Press, 1988. p57. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p30. Pallasmaa, p30. Glancey, Jonathan. “Sensing Spaces: Emotional Buildings.” BBC Culture. 30 Jan. 2014. Web.
01 // Problem problems of tomorrow. This amplifies the daunting task of architecture to keep pace. As this trend continues, so too must an increased focus on mediating the gap between experiencer and the physical constructs of the experience. “Frozen in time and space, images curate specific views and idealized conditions for architecture to be presented to a removed audience.”5
The user, who the architect claims resides at the epicenter of design, becomes a
passive viewer in lieu of an active experiencer. Pushed to a distance to capture the builtenvironment through the camera lens, the body participates in dialogue with today’s architecture only via vision. “In our culture of pictures, the gaze itself flattens and causes architecture to lose it plasticity. Instead of experiencing our being in the world, we behold it from outside as spectators of images projected on the surface of the retina.”6 This distancing prevents the whole body from participating in the dialogue with the built-environment; vision is the only sense capable of still reaching the building. There is no more touching, feeling, or smelling of our surroundings – only seeing. “With the loss of tactility, measures and details crafted for the human body – and particularly for the hand – architectural structures become repulsively flat, sharp-edged, immaterial and unreal.”7 Here Pallasmaa exposes the culprits for this shift: a loss of design that relates to the human body combined with a turn away from a construction technique that stresses craft. “The detachment of construction from the realities of matter and craft further turns architecture into stage sets for the eye, into a scenography devoid of the authenticity of matter and construction.”8 He continues to elaborate on the importance of construction in the physical manifestation of an architectural experience: 5. Figueiredo, Sergio Miguel. “Imaging Buildings And Building Images: From De Kiefhoek To Hageneiland And Beyond.” Architectural Research Quarterly. Vol.15.Issue 01 (March 2011): p39. 6. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p30. 7. Pallasmaa, p31. 8. Pallasmaa, p31.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis “The authenticity of architectural experience is grounded in the tectonic language of building and the comprehensibility of the act of construction to the senses. We behold, touch, listen and measure the world with our entire bodily existence and the experiential world is organized and articulated around the center of the body.”9 This emphasis on embodiment in our experiencing of the lived world, including our immediate environment, is the contribution of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Our perception of the world and objects is in terms of our body: our five senses, our voice, our movements, our emotional states, our body-language, our sexuality, our imagination, our thoughts and desires, and so on.10 The term ‘perception,’ however, does not refer to a merely passive reception of sensory information. Rather, it is an active process of engagement, requiring direct contact with the world and things around us. [More can be found within the PHENOMENOLOGY section on page 11] Many phenomenologists call attention to the importance of the nature of human existence and the human body in design.
The surreal qualities promoted by doctored renderings and images eclipse the
intrinsic qualities of the built architecture. “Instead of being representations of a reality, today’s forceful imagery creates its own reality that is often more ‘real’ than the existing physical and human worlds.”11 This aligns with our tendency for the unreal, the idealized. Long-time architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable speaks at length on this topic with warranted concern. “A public preoccupied as never before with fantasy, hooked on simulation, and satisfied with surrogate experience made possible by unprecedented advances in technology, is neither aware of nor interested in real architecture.”12 Thanks to the same technological advancements, the role of representation, the intermediary that negotiates the distance between the aforementioned renderings and their built 9. Pallasmaa, p31. 10. Matthews, Eric. “Merleau-Ponty: A Guide for the Perplexed.” London: Continuum, 2006. 11. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Embodied Image: Imagination And Imagery In Architecture. John Wiley & Sons, 2011. p16. 12. Huxtable, Ada Louise. The Unreal America: Architecture And Illusion. New York: New Press, 1997. p110.
01 // Problem constructs, has shifted. No longer a mere tool to re-present, these images become a reality in and of themselves – compressing any depth to a singular surface, devoid of scale, material. Huxtable proceeds in her dramatic manner to discuss the impact upon the American public: “A public increasingly addicted to fakes and fantasies is unprepared and unwilling to understand the unfamiliar and often, admittedly difficult new work, although its complexities answer to the contemporary condition.”13
Impact on Movement
Technological advances allow us to artificially move around the globe through
surrogate, predominantly visual, simulations. While culturally significant in the opportunities they afford, they are proving detrimental to our dialogue with our environment. Many of the visuals rely on the moving image and composed shots that imitate a sense of movement. These experiences can be had from the comfort of our home and require minimal preparation. “Surrogate
environments have become the American way of life.
Distinctions are no longer
made, or deemed necessary, between the real and the false.”14 experiences
These surrogate limited
engagement, consisting of mainly visual
and aural perception and cognition. As a
result, information about a place or event or moment is lost, as it is not experienced in real time and in the flesh sans an intermediary. “A real architectural experience is not simply a series of retinal images; a building is encountered – it is approached, confronted, encountered, related to one’s body, moved about, utilized as condition for other things, 13. Huxtable, p3. 14. Huxtable, p2.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis etc.”15 The language used here, namely verbs, reveals the active nature of the process. Kenneth Frampton notes “…the surface of the ground is kinetically experienced through the gait, that is to say through the locomotion of the body and the sensuous impact of this movement on the nervous system as a whole.”16 This relationship with the body as it moves through and among its environment cannot be understated. The capacity of the human body to grasp understanding of its surroundings is unfathomable and as such allows for great potential for design. Why restrict design of the surroundings to that of the visual? Flattened representations of our visual environment must omit sensory information for ease of transferability. And the ease of their consumption furthers the cycle of simply producing to consume. With a need to distill a specific experience to increase its communicability, even more layers of depth are stripped.
For the majority of us, physical movement consists of movement into a purely
projected visual field. Frampton cites Schmarsow in Studies in Tectonic Culture to note how “our concept of space is determined by the frontalized progression of the body through space in depth.”17 Pallasmaa too cites David Michael Levin’s term ‘frontal ontology’ to describe the prevailing frontal, fixated and focused vision.18 We look where we are heading, continually passing by markers and passing through frames that serve as points of reference on our journey. This process, though, is fundamental to our lives and as such goes unnoticed - we have been navigating ourselves for years. There exists now, though, a partial reversal in the human/environment relationship. The representational images of movement previously discussed shift the spatial relationship by rendering the environment as mobile and the body as static: case in point, the moving images on a stationary computer screen seen by a seated person in lieu of the stationary building 15. Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Alberto Perez Gomez. Questions Of Perception: Phenomenology Of Architecture. A+ U Publishing Company, 1994. p35. 16. Frampton, Kenneth. Studies In Tectonic Culture: The Poetics Of Construction In Nineteenth And Twentieth Century Architecture. John Cava. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995. p9. 17. Frampton, Kenneth. Studies In Tectonic Culture: The Poetics Of Construction In Nineteenth And Twentieth Century Architecture. John Cava. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995. p11. 18. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p30.
01 // Problem moved past by that same person. This shift extends into the physical movement we undertake on a daily basis: a lack of understanding of the physical barriers of reality; an overall increase in sedentary lifestyles; a collapsing of the globe down to our scale; a focus on efficiency, discouraging deviation and discovery. We rely heavily on our sense of vision for navigating our locomotion and repress other senses. Operating within this context there is great potential to reveal the detrimental side effects of such a condition.
“The dominance of the eye and suppression of the other senses tends to push
us into detachment, isolation and exteriority.”19 The adverse effects of an ocularcentric culture reach far and wide. From altering the way we identify beauty to the way we communicate with one another on a daily basis, vision wields an exorbitant amount of influence over our lives. These visuals neglect the temporality of our existence. By framing and circumscribing a lived experience, a representational artifact omits nuances, layers of depth, and relational complexities. In his Studies in Tectonic Culture Kenneth Frampton cites University of Virginia architecture professor Scott Gartner who pointed out the threat this omnipresence of visuals poses to architecture: “Experience, as it relates to understanding, seems reduced to a matter of the visual registration of coded messages – a function of the eye which might well rely on the printed page and dispense with the physical presence of architecture altogether...Within this framework of thought, the body and its experience do not participate in the constitution and realization of architectural meaning.”20 The thought that an experience, complex with layers upon layers of information and relationships, is reduced to a two-dimensional image is disheartening. If society simply needs image-makers, what is to become of architects? And what is to become of the built environment we inhabit? 19. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p19. 20. Gartner, Scott. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Conference, Washington DC. 1990. Lecture.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
02 // PHENOMENOLOGY To examine the etymology of the word, phenomenology is the discourse of phenomena. German philosopher Martin Heidegger, known for his existential and phenomenological explorations, explains that “…the meaning of the expression “phenomenon” is established as what shows itself in itself, what is manifest. The phainomena, “phenomena,” are thus the totality of what lies in the light of day or can be brought to light.”1 Showing itself as itself can be thought of as leaving the entity embedded in the contexts, meanings, uses, and relationships that are inseparable from it. Heidegger also remarks that to examine an entity by objectifying it is to annihilate it.2 When the entity is actively picked up to be examined, it is circumscribed and many of the aforementioned integral contexts, meanings, uses, and relationships are discarded. Thus, the entity is not examined in its entirety – in its nature, or being – as it relates to other things, people, places, and times, but as a manipulated version of itself. Phenomenology, then, is an approach to understanding the fabric that the entity exists within to understand the entity more fully, by allowing itself to presence itself as itself, rather than as a mere “object.”
Lifeworld Always and already. Those are the two key terms in understanding the lifeworld. There is “…behind and beneath either “objective” or “subjective” knowledge something more fundamental, a ‘lived world’ of relationships in which human existence is embedded, prior to any conscious or specific act of examination.”3 The lifeworld simply is. It is everything and anything known, unknown, and not known to be unknown. We 1. Heidegger, Martin. Being And Time: A Translation Of Sein Und Zeit. SUNY Press, 1996. p25. 2. Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. p170. 3. Hancock, John E. “The Earthworks Hermeneutically Considered.” Hopewell Settlement Patterns, Subsistence, and Symbolic Landscapes. Gainesville: U. Press of Florida, 2010. p265.
02 // Phenomenology live within it, with it, and through it. It is the unexamined context of all experience and meaning. The complex network of relationships between things and meanings that always exists and already existed before they were brought to conscious thought and examination. As soon as they are picked up and presenced, that is foregrounded in front of the background of our lives, we have ripped them from their contexts. That is because it is impossible to examine any ‘thing’ using out traditional objectifying methods without ripping it from the relationships that tie it to the lifeworld. Thus, we must strive to understand the lifeworld and the thing’s place within it to understand its relationships; this is the project of phenomenology. These relationships are deep and complex – so much so that they normally go unpresenced, as it would simply be overwhelming to be conscious of any or all of the forces and relationships acting upon the things we interact with on a daily basis.
As Pallasmaa notes, the purely visual has produced inquisitive structures, “but
it has not facilitated human rootedness in the world.”4 This idea of rootedness stems from Heidegger’s phrase being-in-the-world, the way an entity is embedded within the lifeworld. “Being-in-the-world is the basic state of human existence, and it indicates the fact that everything which exists has an environment.”5 Our being is place specific – our bodies are singular entities that exist within the lifeworld at a specific point. “It is common usage to say that acts and occurrences take place. In fact it is meaningless to imagine any happening without reference to a locality. Place is evidently an integral part of existence.”6 However, places are complex entities that are deeply embedded in the lifeworld and cannot be simply reduced to a handful of properties, for example spatial relationships or demographics. Because of its paralleling complexities, the character of a 4. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p19. 5. Relph, Edward. “Geographical Experiences and Being-in-the-world: The Phenomenological Origins of Geography.” Dwelling, Place, and Environment: Toward a Phenomenology of Person and World. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1985. p17. 6. Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genius Loci: Towards A Phenomenology Of Architecture. Rizzoli, 1980. p6.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis place is a more encompassing approach to explore human environmental understanding.
Norwegian architect and theorist Christian Norberg-Schulz notes that “…all places
have character, and that character is the basic mode in which the world is ‘given’.”7 It is to an extent a function of time, shifting with diurnal or seasonal cycles, weather patterns, cultural trends, etc. It is also “determined by the material and formal constitution of the place. We must therefore ask: how is the ground on which we walk, how is the sky above our heads, or in general: how are the boundaries which define the place.”8 This focus on the how corresponds to the articulation of the boundary, namely how is it delineated, or built. “A phenomenology of place therefore has to comprise the basic modes of construction and their relationship to formal articulation. Only in this way architectural theory gets a truly concrete basis.”9 Norberg-Schulz continues to illustrate how adjectives can denote character, not in its totality because of its complexity, but in an attempt to capture its essence.
The loss of intimacy between humans and their environment as well as between
people and their communities is what Heidegger and Pallasmaa refer to as a loss of nearness. This is because “…things and places can be properly understood only through nearness and intimacy, through bodily participation.”10 The removal of the body from our being-in-the-world creates this distance as previously discussed and subsequent loss of nearness.
7. Norberg-Schulz, p14. 8. Norberg-Schulz, p14. 9. Norberg-Schulz, p15. 10. Corner, James. “A Discourse on Theory II: Three Tyrannies of Contemporary Theory and the Alternatives of Hermeneutics.” Landscape Journal 10.2 (1991): p127.
03 // WAYFINDING “Spatial orientation and wayfinding subsume an ensemble of complex mental processes. They allow people an idea of surrounding space, of their positions in that space, and they allow purposeful movement within that space. People must reach a great number of destinations during a typical day, and they are normally quite aware of their positions in the surrounding space and in the larger environmental context. Not only are people quite efficient at these movements, but they execute them often in an automatic or semiautomatic fashion. When everything works according to plan, the mental operations required will pass unnoticed.”1
Labyrinths The term ‘labyrinth’ has multiple definitions. The most frequently used is as a constructed representation of the intangible, referring to a muddled situation. “This figurative, proverbial sense of the word has been in use since late antiquity and can be traced back to the concept of a maze, a tortuous structure that offers the walker many paths, some of which lead to dead ends or blind alleys.”2 However, the labyrinth is best defined in its form. Its overall shape is unfathomable to the individual from within. Seen from above, “the lines appear as delineating walls and the space between them as a path, the legendary ‘thread of Ariadne.’ The walls themselves are unimportant. Their sole function is to mark a path, to define choreographically, as it were, the fixed pattern of movement.”3 Though similar and usually classified together, there is a distinct difference between the aforementioned labyrinth and the maze. The labyrinth consists of a singular, sinuous path that winds its way by doubling back upon itself to a central point, a terminus. That same path is then retraced, reaching the entry/exit once again.
1. Passini, Romedi. Wayfinding In Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992. p1. 2. Kern, Hermann, and Jeff Saward. Through The Labyrinth: Designs And Meanings Over 5000 Years. Prestel, 2000. p23. 3. Kern et al, p23.
03 // Wayfinding The maze, on the other hand, has a much less rigid structure. There may be intersecting paths, dead ends, multiple entrances and/or exits. The movement through may be of a one-directional nature, depending on the experiencer. Suffice it to say, the maze opens up the movement through to a wider array of outcomes. This creates not only a more interesting journey but also a more unpredictable one. It creates more opportunities for chance encounters – or simply put, it creates more unknowns. Certain characteristics of the labyrinth make this journey and temporary disorientation an enjoyable experience that holds value for the experiencer. “The person is prepared and chooses to undergo such an experience. He or she knows that the time during which they will feel lost will be limited, and that no real danger awaits.”4 The challenge of navigating out of the labyrinth pits the individual against the labyrinth’s creator in a battle of wits. The outcome, however, has already been determined: the experiencer will ultimately overcome and move beyond the bounds of the physical construct. There are no environments that take victims. This carnivorous nature of a built-environment would negate the aforementioned underlying sense of safety that coaxes experiencers in to lose their way, at least temporarily.
Labyrinthine settings also encourage discovery and conjure up a pleasure in
discovering the new. “Spatial complexity and the unknown awaken curiosity and the desire to explore. The factors of surprise, of discovery, all contribute to a full spatial experience.”5 This idea of the unknown affecting our mental state and ensuing actions is logical. When our surroundings differ from the conditions of our everyday experiences – the conditions to which we have become conditioned – our minds seek to understand the new relationships. During this process of interpretation, the search for information increases our understanding of the meanings and connections of these relationships. 4. Passini, p14. 5. Passini, p22.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis The investment of time and effort made to take on the labyrinth and overcoming its testing journey makes the reward of discovery that much more meaningful. “A certain state of mind brought about by labyrinth features seems to enhance the value of the discovery.”6
Fig. 6 Formal Considerations
By precisely designing the experience in terms of its length, its complexity, and its
character, it is possible to manipulate the journey. In discussing more historical hedge mazes, Passini notes: “The hedges are generally tall enough not to allow for the use of reference points outside the maze, and sufficiently uniform to efface reference points inside the maze.”7 (See Fig. 6) Designing a typical interior condition that is kept constant throughout denies any identification from differentiation. This adds to the complexity, forcing the experiencer to pay very close attention to even the subtlest of shifts that may provide clues as to their whereabouts. There is a gap between physical distance and cognitive distance. This can be exploited as a design tool, influencing the choreography of occurrences along the path. “The more cluttered a route, the greater the resulting cognitive distance.”8 Slowing one’s progress can seemingly elongate the journey and allow the temporal existence of the experience to occupy a smaller physical manifestation. 6. Passini, p192. 7. Passini, p7. 8. Passini, p39.
03 // Wayfinding
Fig. 7 “Routes appear generally longer if they contain, for example, many intersections, many barriers, or distinctive features such as curves, reference points, and so on [Sadalla and Staplin, 1980; Byrne, 1979; Canter, 1977].”9 (See Fig. 7) Another opportunity to shrink the footprint of the physical construct that houses such an experience, the incorporation of these elements that punctuate the journey create moments ripe for design intervention.
“Labyrinthine arrangements may give the initiated inhabitants of a setting
a feeling of security.”10 The intricate formal configurations of mazes and labyrinths allows for spaces that are tucked away, hidden around corners, and off the beaten path. Lying outside of the easily seen or reached, these points reside at the end of a journey. Creating this physical and mental separation, “the labyrinth then becomes a mechanism to reinforce a territorial claim.”11
Related to this feeling of security is the sense of solitude offered by the labyrinth.
9. Passini, p39. 10. Passini, p129. 11. Passini, p129.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis Within its bounds, the experiencer is provided a unique opportunity for contemplation and meditation – a chance to simply be.12 The constant stimulation from the neverending flow of images reduces chances for pause and reflection. The naturally occurring instances of this condition are slowly disappearing with the entropy of our civilization. The continuing growth of the world’s population is resulting in fewer and fewer geographical areas, or points within those areas, where one can truly be alone in nature. Pair these with the continued technological innovations that skew what it means to be ‘alone’ and it is clear to see why such an experience holds value. Susan Sontag has remarked on the influence of the photographed image in altering our perception of the world: “By furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.”13 The photograph corrupts those yet to be reached places on our planet, exposing that which we hold so sacred.
12. Passini, p192. 13. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes Of The Skin: Architecture And The Senses. John Wiley & Sons, 2013. p31.
04 // PRECEDENTS Blind Light // Antony Gormley // 2007
Blindness conjures up thoughts of darkness - a lack of light. Outside of the range of
visual perception lies darker darkness and brighter brightness. This installation creates a unique experience for its audience. It takes a fundamental condition of the human experience and foregrounds it through elimination. The removal from its embedded and everyday position results in an enlightening realization of its importance. Because of the heavy reliance on vision for perception it is extremely disorienting and jarring to have it denied.
A simple enclosure within which this deprivation is executed, this piece changes
the way its audience moves. No longer does movement into a projected visual field have
Fig. 10 21
04 // Precedents certainty and definiteness. Instead, movement slows; inch forward with hesitation and caution. Paths continue in their typical progression, however, the nature of the paths themselves shifts from linear ones of purpose to circuitous ones of discovery. The boundaries of the space appear by dissolving out of nowhere and offer a means for navigation. Relying on touch instead of vision, experiencers are able to move around the interior perimeter of the space with more certainty.
Lacking visual information about proximities, chance encounters occur as paths
intersect and individuals literally bump into one another. This interpersonal nearness brings strangers together and within intimate distances of one another. Relying on the experiencers’ presence to spur these encounters, the stage is set for truly unique encounters each time participants enter and exit. The constant unpredictability of these interactions keeps the experiencer engaged and on edge. They encourage the slowing of movement so as to reduce the risk of collision. Gormley’s short description of the piece points to this lack of certainty of the surrounding environment as his method of presencing. Certainty corresponds to the truth associated with vision: seeing is believing. “Architecture is supposed to be the location of security and certainty about where you are. It is supposed to protect you from the weather, from darkness, from
uncertainty. BLIND LIGHT undermines
all of that.”1 Thus, by crafting such a context – one that subverts expectations and engages its experiencers – Gormely creates a situation for deeply ingrained navigational relationships to presence themselves.
1. Gormley, Antony. “Blind Light 2007.” www.antonygormley.com, 2007. 2 Oct. 2013.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis The Garden of the Forking Paths // BEALS + LYON Architects // 2013
movement is not necessary slow, but the journey is elongated. With slowing and prolonging comes a new way of perceiving the surroundings: “…slow, paused, useless, thus establishing a connection with their bodies through an unexpected sensual experience.”2 The Garden of Forking Paths by BEALS + LYON Architects utilizes the labyrinth typology to promote slowness. Vision is of no consequence in guiding movement as full height corn stalks bound the paths. (See Fig. 13 + 14) This establishes a uniform condition on the interior, Fig. 12
2. Beals, Alejandro + Lyon, Loreto. “The Garden of the Forking Paths.” www.archello.com, 2013. 18 Oct. 2013.
04 // Precedents homogenizing all space inside the mazeâ€™s bounds. The yellow pavilions serve as points within the network of paths for rest and reflection. They create a rhythm between movement and pause that lends to a sense of predictability and comfort. The journey then is less daunting and more enjoyable, with pleasant distractions along the way. Despite the siteâ€™s urban context the nodes become miniature sanctuaries of serenity that thrive on their individuality. Located deep within the network of pathways a feeling of security allows those there to let their guard down and truly relax.
Aural nuances and pavilion landmarks aid to orient the experiencer at points,
but the feeling of being lost opens the door to discovery. Undirected movement along circuitous paths allows for a true space of leisure. Nearly all of our movements today are directed toward an end goal â€“ departing on a journey with a destination already in mind. This results in direct linear paths with minimal deviation. Repetition of these then adds to the monotony of daily life. In many instances a routine desensitizes the body to perceiving the nuances of the environment. 24
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
Blur Building // Diller & Scofidio // 2002
Why did the Blur Building enjoy such success? Is it the idea of creating a building
that has minimal physical weight? Is it the effective use of technology as the perfect marriage to architectural form? The novelty, being able to walk into a cloud, paired with a lack of definitive visual form proves paramount to its admired reception. Ever-shifting to adapt to changing weather conditions, its appearance is dynamic, eluding the static photograph.
The pavilion is an example of a building devoid of any program: its “...sole
purpose was to provide a memorable event for its visitors” by pleasantly obscuring visual perception.3 A water bar on the top deck is the one programmatic piece. The remainder is purely about movement through mist. There are two conditions for vision-obscured movement: the very linear gangways and staircases that lead the visitors up, down, around, and through; the open deck coaxes the visitor out into the mist to navigate for themselves. (See Fig. 16)
The optical white-out and aural white noise of the thousands of nozzles spraying
lake water shift the mode of navigation to one of touch and feel. The tactility of the floor 3. “‘Recent projects’ (includes Expo 02 Yverdon-les-Bains Arteplage: the Cloud, Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland 2002 / Diller + Scofidio)” Architecture + Urbanism no.8 (383) Aug. 2002: 28.
04 // Precedents beneath the feet, the slippery handrails, and the dew upon the skin all reinforce a sense of physical embodiment. These forces bombard the visitor, causing unease and mystery that is literally shrouded. An environment “...that is formless, featureless, depthless, scaleless, massless, surfaceless, and dimensionless”4 envelops all, blocking out any trace of the outside world. It is this disconnection that proves memorable and provides a rare experience.
The contrasting modes of circulation throughout the cloud aid in moving visitors
through the sequence. The linear gangways that carry them into and out of the cloud, plunging deep into the unknown, prevent any opportunity to wander. Then, once accustomed to the conditions and lack of visual cues, the building opens up to allow freedom of movement. At this point the sensation of blurred vision has been established well enough as the baseline condition to allow for a level of comfort. However, caution and slowness of movement still elongates the experience because of our ocularcentric tendencies. The benefit of this though is the ability of less building to serve up more experience, yielding a more efficient design.
Choose Your Own Adventure // Bantam Books // 1979
Decisions require a high level of engagement. They prompt critical thinking:
known information is weighed, outcomes are considered, and consequences are taken into account. This highly complex process occurs daily and is taken for granted, but marks a peak in cerebral activity. The Choose Your Own Adventure series of children’s gamebooks utilizes a sequence of these decisive moments to determine the path through a story. Leaving the exact path of movement up to the reader, these moments of decision serve as key inflection points that mark the journey. (See Fig. 18 decision tree from The Mystery of Chimney Rock) Junctions of pause and contemplation, the ensuing major action items, yield memorable experiences. They also foster a sense of ownership and 4. Klingmann, Anna. Brandscapes: Architecture In The Experience Economy. MIT Press, 2007. p52.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
Fig. 17 empowerment by transferring the task of navigation from author to reader. This active participation embeds the reader within the plot and in the process reveals the story. The beauty of this structured system is the illusion of choice. The author chooses the options presented and constructs the context within which the decision exists. It is then up to the reader to pull the trigger. The multiplicity of outcomes and divergent paths sustains the value of the book far beyond a first read. It provides a new and unique experience time and time again. This dynamism is crucial to the success of these books. Another key characteristic is the descriptive verbiage. To best transport the reader to that particular place and point in time when a decision is called upon, physical conditions are described in depth. This is an attempt in conveying the information needed to choose one of the possible outcomes. Excerpt from The Cave of Time: â€œYou walk into the interior of the strange cavern; then wait while your eyes become accustomed to the dim, amber light. Gradually you can make out the two tunnels. One curves downward to the right; the other leads upward to the left. It occurs to you that the one leading down may go to the past
04 // Precedents and the leading up may go to the future. If you take the tunnel leading left, turn to page 20. If you take the tunnel leading right, turn to page 61. If you walk outside the cave, turn to page 21.”5 The approach to creating such an experience begins by outlining the overall structure, consisting of nodes, and the adjacency relationships. The connective tissue is then infilled and manipulated to ensure a smooth transition from node to node. This method is one I have adopted, zooming in to specific moments and crafting them, then continuing on to the linkages.
5. Kraft, Scott. “He Chose His Own Adventure.” The Day 10 Oct. 1981.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
05 // APPROACH
There is a distinct difference between a method and an approach. The former
aligns with the creation process of the image in which the final composition and output supersedes the process altogether. The process itself is merely a means by which to reach a predetermined goal. As a result, it is a linear process that proceeds with preconceived steps for a finite period of time. An approach, however, “emphasizes the process of bringing us closer to an envisioned goal or destination; it does not put a stress on reaching the goal or on getting hold of whatever has been aspired to. It is this open manner of proceeding that makes approach the most suitable term for doing phenomenology.”1 The cyclic nature of this process presents a way to explore the being-in-the-world of a thing – be it a material, a form, a place, etc. – and discover its multiplicity of meanings and relationships.
Exploring the character or atmosphere of a place within the project it is possible
to more fully encompass the nature of human environmental experience. Exploring the language we use to describe space-defining elements, it is possible to better understand the character that sculpts a place. Norberg-Schulz explains that “Places are hence designated by nouns. This implies that they are considered real ‘things that exist’, which is the original meaning of the word ‘substantive’.”2 In this vein I determine my program of places based upon these nouns, such as ‘well,’ ‘grotto,’ ‘bridge,’ and ‘promontory.’ These places are made up of spaces, which are “…a system of relations, denoted by prepositions… [that] denote topological relations…”3 The spaces that make up the mentioned places consist of ‘below,’ ‘under,’ ‘along,’ ‘with a view of’ to name a few. The character, then, is denoted by adjectives, “…a complex totality” that singularly “cannot cover more than 1. Graumann, Carl F. “The Phenomenological Approach to People-Environment Studies.” Handbook Of Environmental Psychology. Ed. Robert B Bechtel & Arza Churchman. John Wiley & Sons, 2003. p96. Print. 2. Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genius Loci: Towards A Phenomenology Of Architecture. Rizzoli, 1980. p16. 3. Norberg-Schulz, p16.
05 // Approach one aspect of this totality.”4 These include ‘deafening,’ ‘moist,’ ‘blurry,’ ‘exposed.’ Thus, a specific combination of words can be grouped to vividly capture the experience of moving through an architectural situation. (See Fig. 19) By looking at the characteristics of programmatic elements it is then possible to design triggers for those characteristics in a conscious and purposeful manner.
This exploratory approach encourages activity. Utilizing a variety of processes
and medium each iteration yields that much more insight into the intrinsic qualities of the project. “It is only through the actual undertaking of perception-based work – imaginary drawings, models, artifacts, and the actual building of landscapes – that the landscape architect can best find access to the enigmatic richness of landscape space and time. Only through the temporal and phenomenal processes of doing and making can revelation occur.”5 Landscape architect and theorist James Corner continues to stress this active engagement in “…that primary knowledge is that which comes from direct experience. We live in a corporeal and phenomenal world, amongst real things, in specific places, and it is only through the perception of this primary realm – rocks, rivers, solar cycles, seasonal change, human encounters, and so on – that different cultures have understood and found access to the ideal.”6
Fig. 19 Stills from multi-media animation of 02 // Drone Oculus. 4. Norberg-Schulz, p16. 5. Corner, James. “A Discourse on Theory II: Three Tyrannies of Contemporary Theory and the Alternatives of Hermeneutics.” Landscape Journal 10.2 (1991): p127. 6. Corner, p126.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
Fig. 20 Formal exploration of path geometry. Circuitous nature minimizes vistas, disorients.
Fig. 21 Musical piece representational of qualities of the various moments of the experience.
06 // PROPOSITION
By starting with the details and interactions on the human scale between
experiencer and built-environment it is possible to hone those moments on a micro scale. Because of its distance, designing for the image loses the intimacies of these interactions: the building is conceived of on a macro scale, considering its communicative qualities only at a distance. Interactivity of experiencer and environment is one solution to collapse this distance. Bringing architecture back within the personal sphere can reestablish the depth of dialogue. The proposal is to utilize a phenomenological approach that starts with the experiencer at the center and investigate the ways architectural space and character can become vivid phenomena. Spaces for leisure and quietness are few and far between today. “Among the subplaces we also find the archetypal retreat where man may still experience the presence of the original forces of the earth.”1 The retreat begins with an embedded potential for powerful experiences of a particular human scale. The character and atmosphere of these places are their essence that holds the power to affect. They “…allow them to perceive in a different way: slow, paused, useless, thus establishing a connection with their bodies through an unexpected sensual experience. This could bring a whole new understanding of space, capable to locate the body, back at the centre of architecture.”2
In In In In
a a a a
labyrinth, labyrinth, labyrinth, labyrinth,
one one one one
does not lose oneself finds oneself does not encounter the Minotaur encounters oneself 3
1. Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genius Loci: Towards A Phenomenology Of Architecture. Rizzoli, 1980. p40. 2. Beals, Alejandro + Lyon, Loreto. “The Garden of the Forking Paths.” www.archello.com, 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. 3. Kern, Hermann, and Jeff Saward. Through The Labyrinth: Designs And Meanings Over 5000 Years. Prestel, 2000. p23.
06 // Proposition
In a context dominated by productivity and deliberate actions, an environment
of slowness and discovery serves as balancing counterpoint. The proposed intervention consists of crafting moments that heighten awareness and understanding of one’s beingin-the-world. This encompasses the individual’s relationships with the built-environment, specifically the campus topography, buildings, and infrastructure; peoples, specifically neighbors, faculty, fellow students; natural environment, specifically the seasons, diurnal cycles, climatic conditions, and one’s own body.
The particular intervention will act more as a pavilion that offers a secondary
circulation system and situates itself among the features of the university. It will do so in a labyrinthine manner, carving out spaces and linking existing spaces as a framework to facilitate slowness and discovery. The most important feature of the labyrinthine archetype, or more accurately the maze, is “…not the lines that form the walls, but the negative space of the path formed by those lines, which determines the pattern of movement.”4 Considering the character of the void, the spaces that constitute the intervention can be highly tuned, impacting the pattern of movement. Traditionally, the pavilion archetype has proven more forgiving when defining a specific program. The lack of a circumscribed and singular purpose is often its greatest strength, allowing for openness that yields spontaneity. Thus, designing opportunities for activation by its experiencers leaves the nature of the dialogue open. The typical smaller scale of the pavilion allows for a higher level of design to embed the intervention within a complex context. Alejandro Beals and Loreto Lyon discuss how, “a pavilion in the park is usually seen as an isolated form read against the landscape, built to be perceived only visually from the outside. On the other hand, typologies like the enclosed garden, the grotto and the labyrinth are conceived from within, demanding a certain exploration and experience of their understanding. They have an ambiguous nature: they are simultaneously natural and artificial, interior and exterior, public and private, leaving space for the interpretation 4. Kern, p.23.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis of both their significance and the situations that can occur within them.”5 The goal of the intervention is to raise awareness of the phenomenological understanding of how we exist, always and already among things, meanings, and relationships – our being-in-the-world. Appealing to the underutilized non-visual senses is the channel through which new relationships among the experiencer, the natural/built environment, and our fellow-humans will be revealed. Accommodations for reflective pauses along the journey will allow for dwelling on the newly uncovered depths of the lifeworld. What does it mean to dwell? Looking to Heidegger, it can be understood as thought and care – thinking and caring cultivate intimacy. “The way in which you are and I am, the manner in which we humans are on earth, is buan, dwelling.”6 Related to our being, dwelling has a temporal aspect – time is needed to think and contemplate the complexities of the lifeworld. It is a staying with things7 when comprehension occurs and takes root, advancing our understanding.
5. Beals, Alejandro + Lyon, Loreto. “The Garden of the Forking Paths.” www.archello.com, 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. 6. Heidegger, Martin. Poetry, Language, Thought. Translated by Albert Hofstadter, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1971. p349. 7. Heidegger, p353.
07 // CLIENT
The potential client is the University of Cincinnati. The philosophical principles
outlined in the university’s 2000 Master Plan states: “Education is a total environmental experience; therefore the opportunities are unlimited. Education most obviously occurs within academic and research programs, but can also occur through interaction with the physical environment of the University – both its indoor and outdoor places.”1 This acknowledgment of the potential for learning outside the classroom encourages the idea of self-discovery; that one does not need a professor, structuring a method and a context for education, to guide this process. An unprejudiced disposition that acknowledges the variability of such a process is promising for an intervention of non-conventional means. This level of willingness to explore permutations played a large role in selecting such a client. Within the context supported, and sustained by this client, such a project becomes feasible.
The mission of the University of Cincinnati as stated is to “…create opportunity,
develop educated and engaged citizens, enhance the economy and enrich our University, city, state and global community.”2 A key part of this statement is the development of educated engaged citizens. What does it mean to encourage the engagement of students? This can translate to engagement in the specific approach of a student’s interaction with surrounding contexts. An engaged citizen is active within those contexts – actively in dialogue and interacting.
UC also seems attuned to the importance of the tangible and physical in an
increasingly digital world: “A fundamental purpose of the University is to allow intellectual exchanges within a context of physical interaction – face-to-face meetings 1. Hargreaves Associates, Office of the University Architect University of Cincinnati. University of Cincinnati Master Plan 2000.San Francisco: Hargreaves Associates, 2001. Print. p6. 2. “UC Facts.” www.uc.edu. Jan. 2014.
07 // Client and dialogues.â€?3 Already serving as a junction of interpersonal interaction, the existing conditions are ripe for subtle manipulation. The Master Plan emphasizes on-campus development that utilizes appropriate scale to enhance the human experience.4 This large institution is attuned to the importance of human scale on the level of the personal experience of itself. A major asset of a university is the breadth and volume of new experiences offered. The addition of this intervention would add to this long list.
3.â€‚ Hargreaves Associates, p6. 4.â€‚ Hargreaves Associates, p6.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
Fig. 24 University of Cincinnati 1960
08 // SITE History
The University of Cincinnati originated with the founding of Cincinnati College in
1819. In 1875 the school moved to its current location in the Clifton Heights University Heights Fairview Heights [CUF] neighborhood of Cincinnati. The proposed architectural intervention will situate itself within the University’s campus, specifically in the western portion of West Campus known as ‘Academic Ridge.’ This was the first area of development on campus and is composed of buildings that parallel Clifton Avenue. “On this high point, the University had a commanding presence and became known as the ‘University on the Hill.’” The buildings’ linear configuration was a resultant of the topography and did not enclose an interior courtyard as was typical at the time. “The University thus began with an outward orientation rather than an inward one.”1
“Topographic change within West Campus amounts to a total of approximately
125 feet. This dramatic variation in elevation creates issues pertinent to building sites, and pedestrian connection and access (particularly for the disabled). At the same time, it offers the advantage of views.”2 This is one of the defining characteristics, along with its density, of the campus. But here again we have a context that favors vision and vistas, distancing one’s self to behold the campus as an object. “The ravine that once ran diagonally all the way through the middle of West Campus remains a significant topographic feature. It bisects the southwest corner of campus, creating difficulties in connection and access.”3 The ravine’s remnants today are circulation paths, specifically 1. Hargreaves Associates, Office of the University Architect University of Cincinnati. University of Cincinnati Master Plan 2000.San Francisco: Hargreaves Associates, 2001. Print. p10. 2. Hargreaves Associates, p16. 3. Hargreaves Associates, p16.
08 // Site
Fig. 25 ‘The Braid,’ of Sigma Sigma Commons.
Discussing mountains and landscapes in his Mining the Multiply Folded
Mountain, German architecture professor Franz Xaver Baier notes “The mountain is the gods’ throne, the cosmic axis that penetrates all levels of life.”4 The way he eloquently speaks of mountains can be extended to include hills, as Cincinnati boasts not the former but the latter. Relating mountains to bed sheets, he continues: “The daily crumpled bed sheets bear evidence of the sleepers’ tossing and turning, their emotional convulsions, of digesting and preparing certain situations of life, of love and sex, and the drama of hidden processes.”5 Thus, the landscape holds the potential to reveal the history and process of its own formation. The mythical qualities of such topographical features Baier points to stems from a vast depth of potential meanings. The ability to conjure feelings of sympathy, solidarity, peace, harmony with oneself and the world, are all possible. It is up to us though to tap into these when we delve into deep interaction with the land. 4. Baier, Franz Xaver. “Mining the Multiply Folded Mountain” first published in: Hans Schabus. Das letzte Land. The Last Land. Ed. Max Hollein, La Biennale di Venezia, 2005, p84. 5. Baier, p85.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis Arc
The Clifton Arc (See Fig. 28) is a green space that acts as a buffer between the busy
Clifton Avenue, the westernmost boundary of the campus, and the campus’ academic buildings. “The steps up to McMicken Circle and the ridge from Clifton Avenue are used heavily by students who live or park to the west of campus.”6 It also acts as a partial threshold for students who live to the west, delineating the boundary of “on-campus”
6. Hargreaves Associates, p22.
08 // Site and “off-campus.” “The ‘traditional’ west edge of the campus comprises institutional and residential uses, residential being largely fraternities and sororities. A ‘university feeling’ predominates here, with houses on one side of Clifton, and on the other, the wooded slope up to the traditional Academic Ridge or ‘University on the Hill.’”7 Its continuous slope and long sidewalks characterize the Arc. The noise of traffic on Clifton Avenue drowns out nearly all natural sounds, turning it into a space of transition and through movement that does not encourage lingering. It is underutilized and serves merely as visual green space.
Academic Ridge is the focal point of the intervention because of the established
disposition for learning. The program of the surroundings buildings are that of academia – classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories – and as a result see a high frequency of student turnover, both on a daily as well as annual basis. This high traffic zone offers a large pool of potential experiencers to draw from and affect. According to the philosophical principles outlined in the University of Cincinnati Master Plan from 2000, the aim of the campus is to “…create an environment of exploration, discovery, community and fun that will enrich the student experience and leave visitors to UC with a good feeling.”8
The west side of campus is home to the iconic buildings of McMicken Hall
and Tangeman University Center. The towers of each serve as landmarks and aid in orientation and navigation. The proliferation of circulation paths is indicative of the variety of journeys undertaken on a daily basis. “These worn pathway connections represent a set pattern of daily foot traffic.”9 Because of the extreme topography, there 7. Hargreaves Associates, p17. 8. Hargreaves Associates, p6. 9. Hargreaves Associates, p21.
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis are a number of devices for negotiating the elevation change. Most notable are the runs of stairs scattered throughout the campus. Traversing the campus in either the east/west direction or the north/south direction, it is a challenge to avoid climbing or descending stairs. These act as barriers that inhibit movement, especially for the disabled. “Walkways that contain flights of stairs are less frequently used. The only highly utilized stairs are those which Fig. 27
are unavoidable.”10 This would indicate a willingness to circumvent stairs and pose an opportunity for intervention.
An institution of such scale requires an extensive network of infrastructure.
The university boasts two on-campus power plants that connect through underground piping and tunnels to power over 100 buildings with “864,237 k-lbs of steam mainly for heating; 58 million ton hours of chilled water for air conditioning; 817 million gallons of water; and over 293 million kilowatt hours of electricity.”11 Utility Distribution System:
Steam Pipes --------------- 35,509 linear feet
Chilled Water Pipes ------- 32,889 linear feet
Tunnels -------------------- 13,947 linear feet12
10. Hargreaves Associates, p21. 11. “Utilities Distribution.” University of Cincinnati. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2014. <http://www.uc.edu/>. 12. Utilities Distribution
08 // Site With a goal of efficiency, the inherent functionality of a utility network yields a purely resultant aesthetic. Visual considerations of design implications are gladly subverted to increase efficiency of the overall system. Its ordinariness as equipment and embedded nature, both physically and figuratively, within the context of the campus backgrounds and conceals. Many of the locations of this infrastructure are out of sight – underground, behind a building, or behind a locked door. This proves the unimportance of seeing them, a goal common to this thesis. Instead, their presence is known deeply, always and already, shaped from our past experiences turning on a faucet in a bathroom, flicking on a light switch in a closet, plugging in a laptop in a classroom. They are understood as forces – constants – that are taken for granted; treated akin to how we treat our sense of vision. A number of the locales of these pieces of equipment pose an opportunity to peel back the concealing layers of the lifeworld and reveal the inner workings of the university. The creation of a work of art – the proposed architectural intervention – to call to presence this network from its deeply embedded position increases one’s understanding of the campus. Framing the being of these pieces of equipment and allowing them to shape space, give form, and effect character brings the body into experiences for interacting with these ubiquitous forces.
Fig. 28 48
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
09 // EXPERIENCE 01 // The Mundane Slog [Existing condition] Walking / gathering / heading
02 // Drone Oculus [Pause] meditating / cooling / splashing / thinking / sitting
03 // Endless Western Horizon [Pause] gazing / leaning / pointing / hovering
04 // Through the Fire [Move] feeling / sweating / hurrying / wincing / worrying
05 // Marshmallow Factory [Pause] lounging / forgetting / warming / relaxing / reading / laughing / bouncing
06 // [Un]Seen [Pause] watching / waiting / measuring / standing / touching
07 // Slippage Encounters [Move] guessing / listening / moving / deciding
The desired length of the entire experience is approximately 15 minutes, split
between moving and pausing. Thus, to provide 10 minutes of movement at a casual walking pace the length of the journey shall be roughly a half mile [2640 linear feet], 51
09 // Experience
Fig. 31 also the length of each edge of the university’s west campus block. This is merely an estimate, as experiencers will pause at varying junctures for varying lengths of time. Places of pause will be inviting and comfortable for those who wish to linger. The intervention consists of an east/west connection from McMicken Commons to Clifton Avenue, traversing the Academic Ridge. What follows is a quick narrative of the sequence:
01 // The Mundane Slog You just got out of the longest psychology class. You’re tired and thankfully done with classes for the day. Walking out of Baldwin, you reach into your pocket to retrieve your phone. Shuffling along at a sluggish pace, you scroll through emails. A new one from Megan Tischner about a Graduate School open house. That gets deleted. When next you look up you find yourself gazing upon McMicken Commons. There’s a brisk breeze today – glad you wore that sweatshirt after all. Your shoes strike the pavers significantly different than the concrete. Your hamstrings twinge from the morning’s workout. Don’t feel like climbing any more stairs today. 52
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis The unconscious decision to take the passage home has already been made. No stairs that way. You can spare a few minutes to save your legs. A text message from Kate comes in. “Want to grab dinner tonight?” You slide the phone into your pocket. She doesn’t need an immediate response. Your calf muscles start to strain with the increase in grade. You veer left and a low wall begins to grow in height. Then the ground begins to level out. You begin to descend. You squint but cannot see very far ahead. The last time you went through, you were with Kate. The shrill shrieks of sorority girls selling cookies starts to fade. The ceiling begins to enclose you, cutting off your view of the sky. There’s a lot less wind in here. Your eyes begin to adjust to the dim light. But you can’t see around that next corner. The walls start closing in, squeezing your body. But just as the passage feels as if it will crush you, it spits you forth. A cavernous room. ---
09 // Experience
05 // Marshmallow Factory Fig. 32 54
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis 05 // Marshmallow Factory The ceiling disappears. Looming in front of you is McMicken Hall. You open the door – wow that’s heavy. You pass through the thick brick wall that envelopes you. Inside feels more like a womb than a building. It’s intensely quiet. And soft. Spongy actually. You start to bounce with each step. A few students are lying on massive pillows, reading. Your movements are muffled – only one girl glances up and makes eye contact. You smile and she looks back down at her book. A few right-angled turns. Then you start to hear a drone. Before you can place it, you look left and right and stop. You are looking straight down the hallway of the basement of McMicken. Students shuffle here and there, oblivious to your presence. Then you realize they cannot see you. You make a funny face and start waving your arms. Nothing. Cool. You linger for a few more moments. Observing the Cincinnati collegian in its natural habitat. Then you continue on. ---
09 // Experience
02 // Drone Oculus Fig. 33 56
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
02 // Drone Oculus Is that static? No. It’s the sound of falling water. It continues to grow. Louder and louder. There’s a group of three coming towards you. You can’t hear them, but give a nod. “She did what?!” That’s all you catch of their conversation as they glide by. You round another corner. And stop dead in your tracks. The roar blocks all other sounds. There is a group sitting at the base of the waterfall, meditating. They sit cross-legged, allowing the sound and positive ions to flow over them. There’s a concave bench behind them, and they wouldn’t hear you. But it’d be awkward when they suddenly turn around when finished. You leave the waterfall behind. It fades to a dull drone. And the light dims again. ---
09 // Experience
03 // Endless Western Horizon
Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis
03 // Endless Western Horizon The light starts to get brighter. You hear a distant car horn. Must be getting near Clifton. The ceiling is the first to go. The canyon is flooded with warm afternoon sunlight. The wall on your right turns to wood. You can peer out and see green. Your eyes are at the level of the ground. Peering out just above the topsoil you glimpse a squirrel darting among the trees. You pull out your phone again. “Wanna meet at 6? I’ll tell ya about the walk home over dinner” As you continue to rise, the breeze begins to tickle your skin. Rising up towards the sky at the end you climb another few steps. The ground is falling away as you climb. The tops of trees start to appear. Then the tops of houses. The sunlight is splayed by the wooden slats. As you emerge from the rough wood, you freeze. Your eyes take in the scene, scanning the horizon and peering far to the west. You can see the street and your house, but no way down. Looks like you’ll have to backtrack. Might as well take a seat on the bench to take in the lovely view.
Fig. 35 07 // Slippage Encounters
10 // CONCLUSION
This intervention of slowness and discovery returns architectureâ€™s capacity to
reveal by creating moments for dwelling. Our ability to embed ourselves in the lifeworld is heavily dependent on these opportunities to simply be, among things. Carving out a place for these moments among a bustling college campus fosters a deeper understanding of the complex relationships of our lived world for the university community. Interaction through a dialogue that deemphasizes the visual and instead stresses firsthand physical engagement puts us in direct contact with these deep relationships. Because the image stresses vision and thus desensitizes the body of our experiences of the builtenvironment, a change is needed to foster this nearness. Appealing to the underutilized senses and designing moments for physical interaction prompt engagement that moves the body back to the center of lived experience. And the University of Cincinnati has an inexhaustible wealth of resources just waiting to support this undertaking.
WORKS CITED Baier, Franz Xaver. “Mining the Multiply Folded Mountain.” Hans Schabus. Das letzte Land. La Biennale di Venezia, 2005, 84-91.
Calvino, Italo. Six Memos For The Next Millennium. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988. Print.
Corner, James. “A Discourse on Theory II: Three Tyrannies of Contemporary Theory and the Alternatives of Hermeneutics.” Landscape Journal 10.2 (1991): 115-133. Print.
Figueiredo, Sergio Miguel. “Imaging Buildings And Building Images: From De Kiefhoek To Hageneiland And Beyond.” Architectural Research Quarterly 15.01 (2011): 35-46. Print.
Frampton, Kenneth, and John Cava. Studies In Tectonic Culture: The Poetics Of Construction In Nineteenth And Twentieth Century Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995. Print.
Gartner, Scott. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Conference, Washington DC. 1990. Lecture.
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Discovering How to RE|Move // Grant Inglis