Page 1



















For all the architects that find buildings fundamentally weird and want to spend their lives unmasking their mysteries.

“Architecture is dead, dead beyond recall, slain by the printed book.” Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris “Especially endowed by nature with one wing, he has therefore formed the idea of being destined to fly, whereby he perished.” Paul Klee, The Hero with the Wing, 1905

Galo Canizares Portfolio or Fake Architecture a tragedy of selected projects from 2008 to 2010 in five acts

preface forgive me, gentle reader, for I am a mere simulacrum of a man; a child faking architecture; a fool pretending to know... The following recollections are accounts of my early encounters and struggles with architecture. It is presented in the format of a critical writing rather than a showcase. Architecture, for me, is a question; a question about culture, society, history, and meaning. And it is how this idea functions in a post-humanist, media-centric world that I wish to explore. I am not interested in what architecture can do, I am interested in what it can be. I am interested in the nostalgia of a long lost age. An age where the architect was a thinker of thoughts beyond the discipline. An age trapped by the shackles of the real. In the world of the ‘anti-theory’ theory, this is my struggle. A note on the title: Fake architecture denotes exactly what it is. For a long time I struggled with whether or not to title my portfolio, and even then, what title to give it. I thought something along the lines of “Architecture?” would illustrate the point that I know absolutely nothing about architecture. I eventually came across the notion of the real, a proposed realm in which architecture reigns above all other arts. And then I knew what I was doing all along. It wasn’t real; it wasn’t theoretical (I’m not at all qualified to use that term in any sense of the word), nor was it imaginary (but maybe in Lacan’s sense). I had been making fake architecture all along. It is fake in that it is not , purposeful, constrained, sustainable, or in any sense real. 1. Frontispiece The architect, slain by the book. Reading about architecture can only do more harm than good. It has for me. “Peter, you know that students don’t read anymore”. - Greg Lynn to Peter Eisenman

It is a portfolio of thoughts inasmuch as it is a portfolio of products.


And now this autonomous architecture has acquired the moral benefaction accruing to the label of ‘rationalism’ and, with the broom of the Tendenza, has swept up the metaphysical Scolari, the romantic Krier brothers, the delirious Koolhaas, etc. And who will dare cry in the face of all of this - Formalism! Peter Eisenman, Oppositions 5


acts 1. of typology? *the library without books, project *the theater for the disorderly, project

2. imaginary architecture *three houses, project *the monument to pollution, competition entry




3. the shackles of modernism *three cautions to architects, project

4. a less than adequate conclusion *a case for fake architecture, writing *a matter of grave concern, writing

5. summary *a brief history of me, resume


Act One Of Typology

I write here about architecture’s status as a domain of cultural representation. [...] I am not primarily concerned with architecture as the art of building per se [...] rather architecture as a specific kind of socially symbolic production whose primary task is the construction of concepts and subject positions rather than the making of things. K. Michael Hays, Architecture’s Desire


The project outline for this Studio III project was presented as the Bookless Library: a concept for the future of the digitized public library realm. The site was in a downtown semi-metropolitan area in Boulder, CO and was to be affiliated with the public network of the city and the existing library infrastructure. The goal was do design a library that functions without books.


Year: Studio: Instructor: Site: Scope: “Type”:

2009 3 George Schafer Boulder, Colorado Schematic Design Library

the library without books a kind of typological inquiry

The bookless library is a problem. A problem that is caused by its own name. It is not the “library of the future”, or a “mediatech”. The dissociation that happens when the term “bookless” is introduced is one between program and type. Traditionally, the type of a library is built around the book. It is first and foremost a repository of books, and when that primary element is removed, the only thing that is left is an indeterminate program (of no books) inside a determinant type (a place for checking out and reading books). Indeterminate in this sense means “not determined or fixed, or having an infinite number of possibilities”. Determinant, here, means “an element that identifies or determines the nature of something”. And so, having the name library, which usually determines the event of reading or interacting with books, becomes a hollow typology in which one is forced to insert any program dealing with alternatives to books.

unrequired readings: On Typology - Rafael Moneo L'architettura della città - Aldo Rossi On the Typology of Architecture - Giulio Carlo Argan Typology and Design Method - Alan Colquhoun The Third Typology - Anthony Vidler

Without worrying about the future or the eventual decline of the books, my exploration culminated in what I called the glorification of the computer lab. This is not a cynical response to “bookless library,” but rather an honest simplification of what would happen if all the books were removed from any given library. For most libraries today, removing the book leaves only a mass of computers, public areas, and knowledgeable people. The agenda that I chose to develop my project with was a rather simple one. It could be applied to any library in the present day and would work in the same way that libraries are currently working. The only difference is that for the bookless library, one is faced with the problem of no books. Thus, information transforms from the event of reading a book, to the event of reading virtual media. The information from the pages of a book becomes the information stored in various knowledge bases. Therefore, the required vehicle for this exchange of information is technology, which today is most readily accessed in the format of a computer lab.


the designer's dream and the architect's ni Personal Agenda Project Outline



Conceptual Premise

Studio Agenda

Critical Thinking

Possible Outcomes


why can’t this be a bookless library?

nort h





what am I trying to say about ‘circulation? existing circulation


existing circulation...

miscellaneous n informatio




Academics Media & Entertainment Commerce Open Public Program Administration

ghtmare commercial strip


hotel public library

Outcome 1 Design

Outcome 2 Architecture

The structure of the this project became an exploration into the schism between design and architecture. I developed two possible outcomes: a designed pragmatic element, and an architected imaginary element. The design became a conventional project with diagrams, plans, and sections, while the architecture itself became the development of a thesis statement based on typological and morphological research within the given contexts. These contexts being Boulder, CO, our specific site, existing library paradigms, and architectural typology.

Outcome 1’s Context

Outcome 2’s Context

The Designer’s Dream: Building on a flat concrete pad The Architect’s Nightmare: Creating a new type

what Is a bookl Library? Doe Library, UCLA Berkeley

Theory without history is hubris. Joan Okman, Assemblage 41

The future of the bookless library can be summed up in these FIVE IMAGES. For me, it was a question of defining a process by which a typology could begin to define itself.

Bibliothèque du Roi, E.L. Boulée Warehouse, UK

Nike factory, Singapore



PROGRAMMING At it’s core, the ‘library’ is built out of four needs. The need for an Academic environment, an Entertaining environment, a Commercial environment, and an open Public environment. Computer lab at UNA


Walnut St. 9th St.

Building footprints on the the block between 9th st. and 11th st. and Walnut and Canyon from 1890 to present day.

11th St.

Mapping out Memory

Canyon Blvd.







Fluctuation of block density from 1890 to present day. Type included to show development of building use in relation to overall density. Isometric of block included to show building footprints and pattern of development.









L 11







1907: Explosion at Freight Depot destroys major building.













Site Railroad Building Platform Lot Boundary


Density (% of Block)



100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 1931










Approx. 1978: Complete site renovation.


Analysis vs Analogy Boulder, CO is not an old city. It’s history can be derived from the overarching history of the entire West. A town formed out of the ‘wild west’, it lies in a valley under the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and retains its memory well. A substantial historical morphology analysis mapping the changing types, footprints, and zoning from 1890 (the time of the biggest flood in Boulder’s history) illustrates the typological growth of downtown boulder over the past one-hundred years (below). The specific block analysis is shown on the right.

a Typo-morphol


of programmatic


1890 a.d.


logy of urban artifacts programs

footprint developments

unused lots

specific block's memory of types + forms (key on previous page)

2009 a.d.


I see the grid...

...Hays calls it the primar

ry signifier of architecture

...Durand said it was important

3 1

4 2

street level



level two

“what’s the difference between a bookless library and a computer lab?” “or even a... warehouse? is it really that simple?” 7

9 8

level three The Bookless Library is a(n): 1. Academics Lab 2. Public Cafe 3. Media & Entertainment Lab 4. Commerce Lab 5. Academic Area 6. Media & Entertainment Area 7. Private Center 8. Overhead Crosswalk 9. Administration 0





Dangerous moves from a quixotic mind

Section a





Fort Collins


Current intra-library affiliations in the Boulder County Library System


It is not the building that makes up the bookless library, but rather the combination of knowledge bases constantly interacting with each other. The building serves as a physical node for the interchange of information; it is a market for knowledge-based media; a public realm. Because the bookless library is no different than an iPod or Internet Cafe, it is redundant.

the bookless library

a dead end

another dead end

Utopia’s ghost floats within this dream, conjured time and again by those who would prefer not to. Reinhold Martin, Critical of What? Toward a Utopian Realism

This project is a continuation of the Bookless Library project. However, instead of following a specific program based on an instructor’s curriculum, it is a self-initiated exploration on the issue of urban typologies. I began this as soon as I realized that the Bookless Library project was a road with several dead ends. The program for this is not a ‘theatre’ at all. The term THEATRE here means a stage that is set for performance. The performance being ARCHITECTURE.


Year: Studio: Instructor: Site: Scope: “Type”:

2010 Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable Conceptual Morphological Experiment

the theatre for the disorderly a lesson in pragmatics

Our generation is the ‘left-overs’ generation. We are constantly bombarded with the hand-me-downs of previous generations and are forced to accept that there is nothing new that we can bring. From this point of view, there is only a few methodologies that one can follow in order to even attempt to excite any particular discipline. As soon as a discipline earns autonomy, it creates an internal crisis that can either lead to progress or regress. Architecture is in crisis.

progress regress discomfort self discourse unrequired readings: Notes on the Thing - Elizabeth Grosz Architecture’s Desire - K. Michael Hays Critical of What? - Reinhold Martin Twisting the Separatrix - Jeffrey Kipnis The Architecture of Deconstruction - Mark Wigley


autonomy desire The Problem of Multi-disciplinary Thought or Words that don’t Mean Anything Anymore


Topology vs typology vs topography low density residential

regional business

residential developing

transitional business

urban park

business redeveloping low density residential *Urban Access Network + Land Use Restrictions


x *typological dislocation creates congestion

*mountains prevent sprawl from spreading westward building height restrictions


growth boundaries

*height restrictions lead to sprawl and growth boundaries inflated housing market

Boulder, Co The city is a mess of post-capitalist development. It is a city of strong ideals, but slow progress. The center of the city is extremely average; it is plagued with strip malls, parking, and congested avenues. Yet there is something different about Boulder. It remains one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the U.S. It it has imposed a suburban growth boundary. However, it is still one of the most expensive cities in which to live. Here’s the problem: Boulder seeks to be sustainable, therefore it passes innovative laws that govern development. But they pay no attention to future population growth. They are focused only on the present. There is no space, no connections, no reason to live here other than the University of Colorado, and a self-righteous sense of environmentalism. My solution: fragment the city into a series of typologies and create a network of urban cores based on current urban research.

How to densify a city using existing infrastructure

1. Isolate Primary Cores 2. Designate Secondary Access 3. Construct Intra-Type connections. 4. Extrude Types for Expansion

*Urban Cores Inhabitants and their spending College Students Adults 25+ Adults 65+ Total Population Percentage of the population - Green Percentage of revenue from them - Purple

The city becomes all about typological connections. Using algorithms, it then becomes about topological connections. And finally, extruding the built environment shifts the focus to topographical connections.




what if? 1




*Primary Nodes 7+ Connections



552 0




*Secondary Nodes 5-7 Connections

*New Districts Pine Based on Network


80 4 5

*3rd level congestion Suburban Typologies 75% Residential




*4th level congestion Suburban Typologies 90% Residential

*2nd level congestion Suburban Typologies 60% Residential


*Levels of Typological distribution and congestion

*1st level congestion Urban Typologies 20% Residential

n No ngto Burli

*Proposed City Network for Urban/Suburban Typologies and their distribution



35 Baseline Rd



528 0



*a curious solution


53 20

The existing fabric.

Identify primary and secondary urban nodes.

re Rd Empi




Link Urban nodes.

Create a mass out of the linkages.


S 104th St

R Fe R ante rn S orthe


Insert programs into masses.

Dillon Rd



Act Two Imaginary Architecture

Culture must survive the marketplace. Peter Eisenman, In Dialogue - Eisenman and Wigley VII

The project outline for this project was to design three houses. Each house was to be based on Kakuzo Okakura’s three interpretations of the Japanese Tea House; a house of absence, a house of fancy, and a house of imperfection. Each house was also informed programmatically by either a story, or a diagram. All drawings were required to be on yellow trace paper. The purpose was to explore how a house can be designed without a tainted preconception of the terms villa or dwelling.


Year: Studio: Instructor: Site: Scope: “Type”:

2010 4 Peter Schneider Not Applicable Conceptual Dwellings

three houses or loaded ‘words’ questions about architecture, semantics, pragmatics, and syntactics

Discontinuous Chronology 1953 In 1953, the architect Louis Khan was deep in an affair with one Anne Tyng; and in 1954, fathered an illegitimate child with her. During the time of her pregnancy (most of which was spent in Italy) she and Louis exchanged several letters that spoke of love, life, and architecture. In 1997, at the age of 82, Anne Tyng publishes the letters he wrote to her under the title, Louis Kahn to Anne Tyng: The Rome Letters, 1953-1954. 1998 In 1998, Yo-Yo Ma filmed a concert in which he performed Bach’s Cello Suite 2 in a digitally replicated portion of Piranesi’s Carceri. Fascinated by both the fantastical nature of the architecture and the emotional resonance of the cello suites, Yo-Yo Ma’s performance is captured and sold to very small audiences on VHS as Yo-Yo Ma - Inspired by Bach No. 2, The Sound of the Carceri.

unrequired readings: The Rome Letters - Louis Khan The Book of Tea - Kakuzo Okakura The Sublime and Modern Architecture: Unmasking (an Aesthetic of) Abstraction - Kate Nesbitt The Beauty of Shadows - Jorge Silvetti The Architectural Uncanny - Anthony Vidler

1984 In 1984, the theorist and architect, Léon Krier’s version of Pliny’s Laurentian Villa was published in Architectural Design. Following the tradition of his predecessors, Krier’s approach to the design was clearly humanist and of appropriate quality. In 1994, it is published in The Villas of Pliny from Antiquity to Posterity.


you who have learned nothing while reading this ch said is the same thing as what you know jacques derrida

Letter from Louis Kahn to Anne Tyng

A house for Louis Kahn and Anne Tyng.

hapter, you are clearly convinced that everything I

In order to begin, one must understand this project as a kind of narrative in and of itself. Vacancy, or the idea of emptiness, as perceived through Western philosophy consists of the autonomy of space. Space becomes objectified in the same way that forms are, and therefore can be interpreted as a physical entity through which things pass. The narrative begins with Louis Kahn and his mistress, Anne Tyng. Their relationship is not a metaphor for emptiness or vacancy, nor is it an interpretative object that can be personified through formalisms. It is a relationship based on desire. A desire to which many humans succumb.

This desire is the object between Kahn and Tyng. Their desire to be together, and to exist simultaneously in consciousness is what drives the relationship. And this is what is expressed in this project. There is a place for them to eat together, work together, sleep together, play and listen together, and read together. It is enough that they exist here; because they can exist here.

The NINE SQUARE GRID: architecture’s other

to be lost in the forest

to be caught adrift

This modern love wastes me

Manfredo tafuri

Architecture began like all writing. There was first t letter, and every letter was a hieroglyph, and every h like the capitals to the pillars... victor hugo

Piranesi’s Carceri

A place for Yo-Yo Ma to perform Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

the alphabet. A stone was set up, and that was a hieroglyph supported a group of ideas, which were

This is a place for the beauty of sound. Inspired by the nature of the sublime, this reverse panopticon serves only to channel Yo-Yo Ma’s sound into the outside. It is a dungeon for Yo-Yo Ma within which he is trapped for precisely the length of Bach’s Cello Suite.

Here, the artist is forced to play for the amusement of others. Though, they never get to see him, they gather by the hundreds outside to hear him play. They do not know it is Yo-Yo Ma. They are victims to the entrancing nature of the music. They are the voluntary prisoners...

The Stages Module 1 (top left) The artist meditates alone.

Module 3 (middle) The artist performs with a partner.

Module 2 (bottom left) The artist practices alone.

Module 4 (top right) The artist performs alone.

he never carries his cello, it is delivered to him

the mass of architects shouldn’t worry, they should ju Manfredo tafuri

Schinkel’s Laurentinum Villa

A place for Pliny the Younger to live.

ust do architecture

a pinhole... wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king

Pliny and his Lighthouse

“ he walked, pondering the thoughts that a man of Pliny’s character ponders, he came across a wondrous sight. a lighthouse, he thought, could it be? And so this was the site. The perfect place (and it was a place in every sense of the word) for his Laurentian Villa. Not only did the climate suit his needs perfectly, but the cliff dove into the sea in such a way that it cast the most perfect reflections in the western shore; a reflection of...”

“...he built it out of scraps. A few years earlier, a large transport ship fell victim to the sea and most of its remains were found not too far away from where Pliny stood. sustainable? maybe. It was perfect. A house just for Pliny. A house where nobody could find him, and he would be perfectly submerged in a camouflage only the persecuted...�

for Pliny

Just as eroticism is the pleasure of excess rather than the excess of pleasure, so the solution of the paradox is the imaginary blending of the architecture rule and the experience of pleasure. Bernard Tschumi, The Architectural Paradox

This project was a competition entry for the internationally renowned EVOLO Magazine competition. The guidelines stated that we were to design a skyscraper for the future based on sustainable practices, new technologies, and socio-political appeasement. The site was unspecified.


Year: Studio: Instructor: Site: Scope: “Type�: Collaborators:

2010 Not Applicable Not Applicable Mexico City, Mexico Conceptual Skyscraper Michael Moynihan

the monument to pollution or Coop Himmelblau, Asymptote, and Greg Lynn walk into a bar...(an exploration into neo-avant-garde technological determinism) global proc shapeWindow() { group -n shapeToolPalData -em; addAttr

-ln currentModel -dt

"string"; // model attributes addAttr -ln dx2 -min -5 -max 30 -at double; addAttr -ln theangle -80 -max 80 -at double;

-dv 3

-dv -60 -min

scriptJob -attributeChange "shapeToolPalData.dx2" "shape";


scriptJob -attributeChange "shapeToolPalData.theangle" "shape"; newModel(); select -cl; // Create the window window -widthHeight 380 200 Tool Palette" shapeToolPal;

-title "Shape

columnLayout -columnAttach "right" 10 -rowSpacing 10 -columnWidth 300;

unrequired readings: The Project on the City - Rem Koolhaas Multiplicity - Stefano Boeri Collage City - Rowe & Koetter Beyond Delirious - Rem Koolhaas Architecture by Numbers - K. Michael Hays The Cunning of Cosmetics - Jeffrey Kipnis Algorithmic Architecture - Kostas Terzidis

attrFieldSliderGrp -min -5 -max 30.0 -at ("shapeToolPalData.dx2"); attrFieldSliderGrp -min -80 -max 80.0 -at ("shapeToolPalData.theangle"); button -label "New Model" -c "newModel"; showWindow shapeToolPal;



mexico city 2009 a project under siege The year is 2009. Mexico CIty remains one of the most polluted urban areas in the world. This is largely due to the environmental and topographic conditions that have controlled the development of the city for over twohundred years.

+ Pollution

Slope flow

The fact that it lies in a valley on top of a massive reservoir makes it an environmental anomaly. The air around the city sinks into the valley and prevents any circulatory patterns from developing. This essentially leads to the trapping of all of the city’s exhaust gasses within the valley basin.

= Thermal Inversion

Valley-to-basin flow

Plain-to-plateau flow

There are three main air flows in Mexico City. The Valley-to-basin flow which comes from the north, the slope flow which is a direct result of the steep mountains, and the plain-to-plateau flow coming from the south. The result of all these air flows allows the hot air to remain above the valley, while the cold air falls down the mountain and into the city.

Many architects have attempted to study the development of Mexico City, including previous Evolo Skyscraper Competition entries. Ours attempts to combine techno-centric design strategies and environmental solutions would inevitably fail. Thus we propose a techno-topia for the city. A system of monuments that would wait for the technology to catch up to them; monuments to pollution, and the human condition.

Cold air

Normal Situation

Thermal Inversion

In a normal situation, hot air circulates from the earth’s surface upward to the cold air above, taking with it any pollutants created near the surface. However, Mexico City suffers from what’s called “thermal inversion”, a situation in which the surrounding mountains prevent hot air from circulating on the ground surface. This causes the heavy cold air to trap any pollutants on the ground and preventing any vertical circulation. In addition, the cold air carries pollutants from the industrial districts into more residential areas resulting in a layer of smog that spans over 20 miles.


Urban Growth 2005 1960

Population Density 2005

Inversion Layer (Hot air)



Population Density 1960

Trapped Pollution

Suburban Growth (Sprawl) Mexico

Mexico City’s population growth over the past 50 years has been in accordance with the theory of sprawl. This leaves urban areas free for industrialization and commercial influx.

industrial zone

residential zone

growing pains

Daily Trash Production Per Household 1900 Infrastructural Growth



“...but Mexico City has no choice. The federal government proposed to close the city's main landfill this month, saying the 50 million-ton dump has become too full and leaches contamination. Scientists dispute that, and the closing has been delayed by a city appeal in federal court for an extension. Yet waste management officials know that soon much of Latin America's largest metro area will be forced into expensive, temporary alternatives for dumping trash...� MSNBC, January 25th, 2009


Residential 2005


Green Space

Population in 2009: 20,550,000 Daily Trash Production in 2009: 12,500 Tons Daily Trash Production Per Person in 2009: 0.6kg


Bordo Poniente dump. Currently receiving 700 trucks of trash daily.

1kg 0.5kg

15% -0.5kg


a twisted proposition



Our proposal consisted of a series of waste management units (skyscrapers) that process trash in four different ways:

Recycled Stored

Composting Recycling Storage Fuel The units are strung together by a mesh that filters CO2 emissions coming from the northern industrial areas and spits out clean air into the residential districts. These 20 miles of processing plants are projected to have enough processing ability to last for 200 years by which time the storage will dry out and become a solid monument.


Restored as Fuel




...not for another 200 years


A monument to pollution. Proposed Waste Treatment Strategy

mexico City 2150

1 Ton of Garbage uses up 81 cubic feet of space. We have 480,000,000 cubic feet of space per tower. We have 9,600,000,000 cubic feet of space. We have the capacity to store trash for approx. 200 Years Proposed Waste Management Center Type

Human Digestive System

Stored Trash Fuel Production


Compost Production



global proc toMesh() {

And after 200 years. A monument

$list = `ls -sl`; $surface = $list[0]; $object = $list[1];

select -r $surface; $numcv = `polyEvaluate -v`; print($numcv); float $pos[]; global proc toMesh() {

Using a rudimentary knowledge of C and MEL scripting, we created a mesh that would simulate a membrane that through a process similar to that of osmosis, filters out unwanted carbon emissions from the industrial zones, leaving the residential districts with only clean, circulated air.

$count = 0;

$list = `ls -sl`; $surface = $list[0]; $object = $list[1];

while ($count < $numcv[0]){ select -r $object; $newobject = `duplicate -rr -un`; $name = ($surface + ".vtx[" + $count + "]");

select -r $surface; $numcv = `polyEvaluate -v`; print($numcv);

float $pos[];

float $pos[];

$pos = `pointPosition -w $name`;

$count = 0;

select -r $newobject; move -ws $pos[0] $pos[1] $pos[2];

while ($count < $numcv[0]){ select -r $object; $newobject = `duplicate -rr -un`;

currentTime 1; $count++; }

$name = ($surface + ".vtx[" + $count + "]");

Wall CO2 Filtration System


float $pos[]; $pos = `pointPosition -w $name`; select -r $newobject; move -ws $pos[0] $pos[1] $pos[2]; residential currentTime 1; $count++;


1 mi

1.2 mi

re architectu Koolhaas once said this of Mies,

I do not respect architecture. I love architecture. I have studied architecture, excavated architecture, reassembled architecture. I have even cleaned architecture. Because I do not revere architecture, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m at odds with its admirers.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as easy as replacing one word. After all, isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t architecture all about words?


Act Three The Shackles of Modernism

That’s not even . . . It’s mylar. He said it wasn’t architecture at all. Fuck him. He only knows how to do it one way. LIQUID inc, Excesses, Assemblage 22

This project was a restaurant. The goal was to design a restaurant in Boulder, CO that would function in a sustainable manner with local produce. There were three phases, the mapping of food preparation, the ritual eating space, and the final schematic design. All drawings were required to be ink on mylar, following traditional planimetric, perspective, and axonometric methods.


Year: Studio: Instructor: Site: Scope: “Type”:

2009 2 Rori Knudtson Not Applicable Schematic Design Restaurant

three cautions to architects an affirmation of the current state of architectural education

Caution #1 Avoid architecture schools. Architecture schools are in a stalemate. They do not serve the field of architecture any more than does. In the time of the overwhelming marketplace, architecture schools are far too concerned with populism and profit to develop a functional curriculum that teaches architecture. They resort to the teaching of pragmatic design instead. Caution #2 Beware the designer. Design is a fetish. It is based on nothing more than aesthetics in the shallowest of senses. Design doesn’t even compare to phenomenology - a theory of aesthetics. It is sex. It is pure, uninhibited eroticism. Only the coolest of architecture can prevail with this mindset. Just ask Herzog & de Meuron. It is the amalgamation of cosmetics, technophilia, and arrogance. Caution #3 Avoid Praxis, Domus, and Metropolis.

unrequired readings: The Manhattan Transcripts - Bernard Tschumi S,M,L,XL - Rem Koolhaas Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal - Rowe & Slutzky Modern Architecture - Kenneth Frampton Parallax - Steven Holl Event Cities One - Bernard Tschumi La Maison de Verre - Kenneth Frampton

Praxis was never more than a picture book. A magazine dedicated to the theory of ‘anti-theory’, conveniently spawned at the fall of the once great Assemblage, it praises practice and the built. Domus, on the other hand, was once great. Founded by architect Gio Ponti, it used to exhibit only the best work grounded in thought. Now while these two are spectacular examples of design fetish, Metropolis is the epitome of design. The granddaddy of fashion, sex, and next-gen in architecture. These can do more harm than you will ever know. I know all of this from personal experience.


an unlikely premise This project is an unfortunate one. It makes a mockery of everything that architecture has ever tried to be. It is shallow, optimistic, idealistic, and fake. During this particular time in my life, I had no clue as to what architecture could be; what architecture should be. I have made the decision of including this project solely for the purposes of mocking it, exploiting it, and renouncing it as a form of childish amusement that can only lead to further self-inflation.

offices roof garden

kitchen restrooms

private dining public dining


Look mom! Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing architecture! Look! No hands!

Once the Author is removed, the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing... Roland Barthes

diagramming diagramming private

public components

service served threshold

These diagrams are the result of an unfortunate misreading of projects from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Steven Holl, Herzog & deMeuron, etc. What these diagrams really show is how an architecture student can fall into the trap of clever communication mimicry that fails to produce an intelligent outcome. But they sure look cool!

primary circulation secondary circulation parti


a sleight of misanthropy

point at which something begins maybe discourse? architecture?

The reason I quote Roland Barthes on the previous page is largely due to the irrelevance of him. Much like yelling out philosophers’ names during a lecture on philosophy, it serves to illustrate an attempt at an understanding of author/idea relations. The ‘shackles of modernism’, if I may, are what trap all architecture students in an unbreakable cycle of useless projects. I fell victim to this, and so I know how it goes. Of course, it all depends on pedagogy and the school they attend. This project is a digression. “Look at my mylar skills, diagramming skills!” I’d rather have you look at my bizarre thinking skills.


What I am post-exploring in this project is essentially modernism. Modernism as a fundamental element of humanism, as Eisenman once said, is not modern at all, but rather a functionalist doctrine. Now, what I’m trying to find is a relationship between formal elements of modernism and their historical transcendence.

What kind of architecture are you thinking of pursuing?

Why is everyone trapped in “modernism”? And if you’re not trapped in “modernism”, you’re still stuck in formalist sensibility. Are you not? Take, for example the latest issue of Casabella and tell me we’re not trapped in “modernism”.


point at which something ends?


part two

Act Four A Less Than Adequate Conclusion

A case for fake architecture Our generation and its malcontents This essay is in its infancy. It is not, however, incomplete. What is presented here is the beginning of an exploration of a subject position that may be expanded on later with further education. I am no critic, nor am I an architect. There is no critical establishment to tell us what era we have entered anymore.1 A few years back, Perspecta - The Yale Architectural Journal devoted an entire issue to the idea of after-state; an idea stemming from our post-critical hysteria and our shift towards a new pragmatism in architectural culture. This particular publication consisted of several contributors stating claims of progress, and ideas of shutting out the needless “theories” of the past and focusing on new issues, like global sustainable solutions or needless jargon strategies.2 Yet, this claim that we are in an era of after-whatever is one that resonates with our particular generation; most importantly generation Y.

Generation Y is the left-overs generation. Left-overs of industrialization, capitalism, technology, sociopolitical theories, philosophies, and language. To put it simply, our generation is forced to be complacent with the hand-me-downs of our previous generation.This generation who, as is the general consensus, sped up life to an unmanageable rate is responsible for our current nostalgia. Teenagers wish they would be back in the 80s, renegades wish they were back in the 60s; while people in the 60s were so excited for the future that they sought the future in everything from fashion to political theory. What do we have to rebel against now? Not enough characters in our tweets?

Generation Y stemmed out of the economic boom of the early 90s and was placed right in the middle of a crisis. This particular crisis is largely due to economic and political factors, but (at the risk of completing the deadly triad) society is also a contributor. The crisis to which I refer, is the limit condition of culture. The slow and painful “death” of Theory in the 90s and the rise of technophilic pragmatism created a rupture in cultural thought. Within the discipline of Architecture, theoretical journals, projects, and pedagogies left the building to be replaced with design-build projects and computer rendering techniques. In music, bands lost the anger and hatred towards the “establishment” and became nostalgic introverts. And even in art, we came to the conclusion that it is not possible to be avant-garde anymore, we simply have to be able to market ourselves efficiently.

At this point, I wish to shift the focus to architecture, criticism, and education. This is the particular lens through which I might arrive at a point about our current condition.

This is a direct reference to Peter Eisenman’s opening line to his essay Post-Functionalism, in which he states “The critical establishment within architecture has told us that we have entered the era of “post-modernism”. Oppositions 6 (Fall 1976)



Current pedagogical paradigms are focused on the idea of praxis, the contention that architecture is a discipline founded on the realities of life. That is to say, that architecture is all about building. While this claim is usually followed by an explication of how to be truly pedagogically successful one has to strike a balance between theory and practice, many architects and educators will tell you now that architects build. They will tell you that they learned more from working on a construction site than, say, at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.3 Yet, these claims, while a little excessive, are understandable. See the Landscape Urbanism Bullshit Generator.

These are people that were taught exhausting theories in school. They attended universities during the most exciting time for critical thinking and postmodern theories, and were taught by people who were a part of the 1968 generation. They learned first hand, the dangers of thinking too much. And so thinking took a break. We let computers do our thinking now. Of course, in architecture school, one is always taught that a computer is a tool, second only to the hand that draws. But that doesn’t stop students from tracing computer-generated models and faking their drawings. In some cases, students even know Google SketchUp before they know how to draw a technical perspective. Yet, these details are not the problem. The problem is the shallow attitudes and general atmosphere that has begun to plague higher education disciplines. Architecture can’t do anything. This is what I once heard an instructor say to our studio. Yet, architecture students are so deluded by some utopian notion that “architecture can change the world”, that they fail to question anything. They are caught up in a process of idealistic problem solving that gets them nothing more than an A. Then they move on to the next studio, as happy as can be. This is what is failing our higher education system: complacency. Complacency fails both the educators and the students. For educators, they are products of a generation that overwhelmed themselves with questions. They questioned everything from politics to existentialism, and applied theories to any discipline. The result of which being the reification of existence, and a sense of satisfaction with appeasement. For students, they see their instructors at ease with understanding that they accept it. Because their instructor thinks he knows what architecture is, they accept that knowledge as truth. The current architectural climate is also too complacent with itself. As soon as an architect thinks he knows what architecture is, architecture dies a little. When an architect says “sustainable”, “global”, “conceptual” he’s in that mindset that students are in, where they say that architecture can do everything. It’s not naivety; it’s a delusion. It is better to be in the

mindset that architecture can’t do anything. At least from this point of view, a discourse is still possible. After all conflict is the essence of drama, and discourse is drama. A once culturally relevant aspect of society, discourse has become the realm of the hipsters. We have reduced discourse to such a small level that it is cool to like it. Philosophy is not discussed in giant symposiums at John Hopkins University anymore, it is discussed in coffee shops by students. This is what we have turned theory into: a fashion. This is where fake architecture becomes relevant. Fake architecture is not conceptual architecture. It is a response to the lack of thought to which I have been exposed. It is a rebellion against complacency. I of course, cannot bring back discourse; not me nor my hipster brethren. What I can do is follow traditional canons of architecture and exploit their fallacies. In a manner resembling an iconoclastic attitude, fake architecture denounces any definition of architecture. It furtively mocks real architecture. In an effort to question and provoke theoretical thought, it makes claims of architecture being “a rain-soaked piano”, or “a story that never existed about a man who never built a house”. Fake architecture is an attempt to release architecture from the shackles of satisfaction. Architecture is not a trade, but a part of the human experience. It is related to literature, myth, cultural production, and it cannot be simply, what a pragmatist might call “shelter”. We are at the point in technology where computer algorithms can tell us everything we need to know about the world, and so why not about architecture? Can a computer algorithm tell us what architecture is? If architecture was as easy as mere building, computers would be doing it by themselves now. Oh wait, they are.

This was a conversation I had with one of my more distinguished professors at the University of Colorado College of Architecture and Planning.


A matter of grave concern On the strategies and implications surrounding the architecture of Michael Graves In the 1960s, Post-Modernism brought about the notion of style and historicism. There are numerous ways to analyze the intentions and effects of the post-modern movement, but none so efficient as focusing on a single architect’s role in it. The purpose of this essay is to establish an essential understanding of the architectural discourse surrounding architect Michael Graves in the context of post-modernism and American architecture.

Michael Graves was educated in architecture at the University of Cincinnati and at Harvard University. Like many bright students of the day, Graves became extremely involved in Academia and eventually became a fellow of the American Academy in Rome; a privilege reserved for the best students of Architecture. It was in Rome where he received his most influential education. However, Graves claims to have never sketched before his trip to Rome. He stated that he’d never drawn “in the street or landscape”1 and that his work was mainly done in a studio. In Rome, however, he experimented with dozens of different types of drawing media and scales.2 It is clear that this experimentation would eventually spill over into his design strategies and help influence his particular direction in architecture. With the publication of Five Architects, Michael Graves was thrown into the forefront of the New York school of architectural thought and discourse. He was pinned up against Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Charles Gwathmey, and Richard Meier; all known to be extremely “modern” and to follow in the footsteps of Mies and Le Corbusier. Having been mixed up with these architects, Graves was almost immediately recognized as a late modern architect.3 However, over the course of the seventies, he became more and more dissociated with the New York Five and, in particular, Peter Eisenman. The schism that led Eisenman toward a “syntactic language of exclusion” led Graves toward a “language of allusion and metaphor”.4 This is the key to understanding the

work of Michael Graves and in a broader sense, one of the foundations of Post-Modernism. The influence of the Modern Movement on Graves should not be taken lightly. Graves was extremely influenced by Le Corbusier and the notion of functionalism. Yet, to him, function became a problem inseparable from form. What the modernists lacked, in his opinion, was the exploitation of form as a language. To them, function was the language of architecture. And so Graves (as well as others) set off in a new direction. In order to fully understand the Post-Modern stance on architecture, one must see it as “an understandable reaction to the pressures of societal modernization”.5 This means that it must be understood as a movement that grew out of the technological means of production at the time; a revolt against it. For Graves it was a call for form to be as important as function; for Kenneth Frampton, Post-Modern architecture is the exploitation of consumerism and the result of the “cannibalization of architectural form”.6 What Venturi calls the “decorated shed” ends up being used as a tool by capitalists to promote economic growth, rather than an organic, human based approach. This is where the architecture comes in. In the case of the architecture of Michael Graves, meaning takes over both object and program. Graves’s strategy of splitting up architecture into elements is the primary way he conveys meaning. He purposely sets up a series of verbs, nouns, and adjectives; all components

of language and builds architecture out of them. The elements are columns, pyramids, windows, capitals, cornices, etc. They are the essences of architecture for him, and how architecture comes alive. For Graves, architecture is a “perennial symbolic language, whose origins lie in nature and our response to nature”.7 However, it is also easy to get lost in a field of metaphors and meanings. This is why Peter Eisenman refers to the architecture of Michael Graves as “neither an ideological entity or an object, but rather the painting of an object”8. It is this interpretation that leads to a specific discussion of the buildings of Michael Graves. In 1990, Graves won the commission for the new Denver Central Library building. Having been already a prominent practitioner and leader in the field, Graves proposed a rather eclectic campus of spaces that together made up the library. It is built around the concept of compartmentalization of programs and adheres to a predetermined system of language. Here, Graves uses the same fenestration elements as in his Portland Public Service Building, the extruded square columns from his Humana Building in Louisville, KY, overall prismatic forms, and tops off the highest element with an abstracted capital. It is easy to dislike this building on account of its natural esotericism. Yet, once inside, one realizes that it isn’t merely a statement of Post-Modernism for the sake of Post-Modernism. It is an extremely thought out, classically influenced building. It follows the notion of the library in a classical sense, with a great atrium, which might allude to Labrouste, contains a plurality of light effects, not to mention the custom designed reading lamps designed by Graves himself, and each program is given a different color scheme in pastel colors so as to not be distracting, yet not boring9. The building is, in fact, successful as a library and public entity. Eisenman once pointed out that what Graves is interested in doing is building a historicist collage10. This concept stems out of cubist paintings and the way that elements in the painting are abstracted and collaged in several different views. While Graves is perpetuating the idea of a classical formal language, he does so in a modern way. That is to say that he utilizes concepts from the Modern Movement such

as cubism and abstraction as a lens from which to regard classical elements. Unlike Léon Krier, Graves pushes classicism to the edge with the occasional “fragmentation of archetypal imagery” and “historical pun” that give a certain quirk to his extremely dense and heavy structures. While Michael Graves is highly regarded as one of the quintessential Post-Modern architects, it is important to understand the process in which he became such a figure. He grew up in the Late Modern; a period with figures such as James Stirling, Léon Krier, Robert Venturi, Charles Moore, Peter Cook, and many other prominent idealists. He was a Modern architect. He was a classicist. It is the eclectic mix of all of his influences that result in his design strategies. His trip to Rome, the influence of Louis Khan; it all impacted his architecture. Michael Graves is not the founding partner of PostModernism, but rather a product of the zeitgeist which developed his architectural dialogue based on a unique understanding of language and history.

Notes: 1. Brian M. Ambroziak, Michael Graves: Images of a Grand Tour, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), IX. 2. Ibid. 3. Alan Colquhoun, “From Bricolage to Myth, or How to Put Humpty-Dumpty Together Again”, Oppositions 12 Spring 1978: p. 1. 4. Ibid., p. 4. 5. Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, (London: Thames & Hudson, 1980), p. 306. 6. Ibid., p. 307. 7. Colquhoun, op. cit., p. 10. 8. Frampton, op. cit., p. 308. 9. Jenny Shank, “Slate’s Architecture Critic Picks on Denver”, New West, 19 Jul. 2006 10. Peter Eisenman, “Postscript: The Graves of Modernism”, Oppositions 12, Spring 1978: p. 21

Curriculum vitae Name Add. Tel D.O.B

GALO CANIZARES 3856 Main St. Westminster, CO 80031 USA +1 (720) 234 1154 08/21/1989

education FALL 2007

Bachelor’s of Architecture (Incomplete) - Syracuse University School of Architecture

2008 - 2010

Bachelor’s of Environmental Design - University of Colorado at Boulder College of Architecture and Planning

technical skills


real world

Adobe Photoshop Adobe Illustrator Adobe InDesign Flash Acrobat AfterEffects Maya 3d Studio Max AutoCad Revit SketchUp Rhinoceros M. Word/Pages M. PowerPoint/Keynote Final Cut Pro Programming* *Actionscript *MEL *C *Javascript *HTML/CSS

English - Fluent and Proficient

2010 - Barista @ Starbucks

Spanish - Native Speaker

2009-2010 - Stock Associate @ Banana Republic

French - Fluent and Proficient

professional experiences 2008 - PRESENT


- Creative Director & Co-Founder - Color 8 Studios Print and Digital Media based design studio.


Portfolio I, or Fake Architecture  

A tragedy of selected works presented in five acts. Selected projects from 2008 - 2010 Copyright 2010. Galo Canizares.

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