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Urban Corpse

An Architecture of Transformation

Jeffrey Cangro

University Of Florida

Masters of Architecture Degree 2009

First Chair: John Maze Second Chair: Mark Macleod

Table of Contents Introduction

-The Industrial City

-The Information Revolution -New Distribution Routes -Urban Corpse

-State of Decay

Case Studies

-The City of Culture of Galicia

Peter Eisenman -Frankfurt Rebstock and the Possibility of a New Urbanism Peter Eisenman -Sculpture in the Environment SITE -Reducing the Metaphysics of Presence in Architecture Gordon Matta-Clark -Materialist Experiments and Experiences Lebbeus Woods -Cities of Artificial Excavation Peter Eisenman

The Process

-The City -The Corpse -The Context -The Narrative Mappings -The Act of Discovery

The Conclusion

-Vignettes -Plan and Section -Critique

THE INDUSTRIAL CITY: “Our urban system is based on the theory of taking the peasant and turning him into an industrial worker.”

(Roger Starr, New York’s Housing and Development Administration Chief 1976,quoted in Fitch, 1993: viii)

The modern urban condition became the dominate way of living because of the industrial revolution; the rural peasant became the industrial worker. Cities developed along major shipping routes, harbors, rivers, and railroad tracks. Local peasants flocked to these centers for work, and the cities were born. Consequently the industrial revolution was also the urban revolution. The industrialization of Western culture, which began more than two hundred years ago with the introduction of the steam engine, continues to this day. It brought the machine and all of its constituent products into virtually all aspects of modern existence. From the way we live and work, to how we recreate and communicate; the presence of the machine has dramatically changed the social and technological organization of culture.

But it is important to remember that the current urban fabric has been influenced by many factors over the course of its development. Urbanization was only the beginning, over time the city had transformed from the industrial to the postindustrial, from the Fordist to the postFordist, from the modern to the postmodern.Large industrial districts became the heart of emerging urban conglomerations. This was closely followed by the creation of high rise office buildings in the center of the cities. Unfortunately, between 1950 and 1990 major cities lost 40-65 percent of their middle-income jobs. The age of labor intensive information production, as well as labor intensive manufacturing had come to an end. Many urban planners and property owners began to seriously contemplate "de-constructing" -bulldozing- downtown America as the only means of restoring the prosperity of industrial cities.

THE INFORMATION REVOLUTION: “Science no longer focuses on the problem of man and nature. Rather, science is concerned with the struggle of man to overcome knowledge. This important epistemological shift from man/nature to man/knowledge has created a problem for architecture as no other discipline: first architecture must continue to stand against gravity and shelter against nature and second because the shift has trivialized the formerly significant symbolism of these acts.” Peter Eisenman Eleven Points on Knowledge and Wisdom

With the era of the computer well under way, the world is fast becoming an interconnected global marketplace. Advancements in networked data highways have brought all corners of the world market into a single, distributed, and vastly diversified field of shared knowledge. These new “highways” have in many ways replaced the existing physical highways and distribution routes. Thanks to these new data highways people can now do almost everything from their desks at home; they can work, they can shop for almost anything (food, clothes, a new car), they can search an endless list of information, they can travel the world and be back on time for dinner, they can enjoy social events and even meet their future spouses. Information and knowledge, rather than labor and geographic resources, have become primary commodities.

NEW DISTRIBUTION ROUTES: We live in a world of vast webs of inter-

connected systems: unintelligible distribu-







mass-produced objects anywhere on the

planet; communications move though invis-

ible fields of data; sound waves, mi-

crowaves, and radio waves are everywhere

yet nowhere. We are unimaginably con-

nected, and yet somehow disconnected.

Almost every object we interact with is a

product of industrialization; from the food we eat, the cars we drive, too the homes and

cities we live in. In the near future, every

object will also be part of an ever-expanding network of information.


The idea of destroying such prominent urban fabric is unsustainable. In many cases the cities grew up around these districts, there identity is unduly tied to the nature of the industrial districts. The infrastructure of the city including the railroads, harbors, and even roads are all tied back to these districts. Removing giant patches of this urban fabric and supplementing it with an alien condition would create conflict within the urban form. This idea is supported by Norman Foster’s article Architecture and Sustainability” in which he writes “Up to 60 percent of the energy and resources used in construction is spent on the shell and core of a building, so retention of a building’s structure through conversion makes sound ecological sense.” My proposal includes using a scheme of recursion

and feedback to examine the urban condition both past and present and allow the system to respond naturally,

in a dissipative manner. The fabric must be revitalized by allowing the energy and prominence of the precedent

to recur, through a careful process of dialogue, interac-

tion, choice, and a state of unpredictability. The polariza-

tion of the modern urban condition is another topic I intend on examining and reediting in the urban corpse

proposal; as well as the interactions of public and pri-

vate, particularly the trend toward privatization of public

space. The reinterpretation and reinvention of the urban corpse will bring a new vitality to the heart of the urban condition, helping to slow the current trend of urban


Ebor City Abandoned Cigar Factory

STATE OF DECAY: “It appears that there is a certain point in the mind wherefrom life and death, reality and imaginary, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable cease to be perceived in a contradictory way.”

Andre’ Brenton The Second Manifesto

Death is tolerated only when the bones are white The Modern movement as well as the heroic tra-

dition of the thirties created an environment that

feared death. Society had a deep and unconscious

fear of death, but it went further then that, they were

unable to tolerate any aspect of corrupted flesh. In fact in order for life to thrive one had to remove any

traces of death. The idea of death extended to decay, rot, decomposing flesh.

However the bleached white bones did not cre-

ate the same dilemma. People were at least able to tolerate if not appreciate the white remains of the

Parthenon. The dry white remains afforded decency Goolraj Singhanee Infectious Cases Ward

and respectability.


Case Studies -The City of Culture of Galicia Peter Eisenman

-Frankfurt Rebstock and the Possibility of a New Urbanism Peter Eisenman -Sculpture in the Environment SITE

-Reducing the Metaphysics of Presence in Architecture Gordon Matta-Clark -Materialist Experiments and Experiences Lebbeus Woods -Cities of Artificial Excavation Peter Eisenman

“Galicia, the historic community of the Atlantic finis terrae located at the end of the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela, has been the cultural meeting point of Western Europe since the ninth century, when the grave of Apostle James was discovered here. Millions of people from all walks of life have traveled along the pilgrimage today in a ceaseless flow of faith and knowledge, in an exchange of cultures and ideas.” Manuel Fraga Iribarne, President of the Xunta de Galicia

The City of Culture of Galicia Peter Eisenman

When Peter Eisenman laid out the City of Culture above Santiago de Compostela, he transferred the pattern of streets from the existing town to his plan for the new, but he did not assign them to their old purpose. Instead, he held them in abeyance, for they are neither passageways on his site nor obvious lineaments in its buildings but rather reversible markings within them. As such, they have only an unstable presence, emerging and subsiding momentarily within the new.

Peter Eisenman describes the project as a “Fluid Shell”. He arranged the project atop a hill facing the historic city from which he “transferred” his plan. The City of Culture is a merge of the traces of old Santiago with the symbolic receptacle of the saint’s shell.

However neither the shell nor the transferred street pattern remains what they were. With the mastery of landscape and the introduction of orthogonal grids that eventually deform in rhythmic distortions; a fluid geological strata in which geometrical cracks have been carved emerges, ultimately revealing the City of Culture.

Layers of information laid over the site. The ridges of the scallop shell, original town streets, and flow lines are used to develop the final design of the site and its buildings.

Symbol, Icon, and Index

“A symbol is an arbitrary reference, an icon has a perceptual relationship to its object, and an

index has a physical and temporal relationship to its referents. Indices in this sense were phys-

ical marks, traces, imprints, or clues--- like footprints left in the sand--- concerning a real event

that had taken place rather then a transcendental truth or signified. For example, the footprint

in the sand suggests a prior action of some physical presence; it is the trace of that action or,

in another sense, a record of a process.�

Peter Eisenman ---Codex

“The deformation and flow lines of the project are vectoral notations in space generated by a torquing action that produces the third dimension as a coded rewriting of the two-dimensional index. Neither geometric nor planimetric, these lines are analogous to the strands of the nucleotides of a molecule. As they change spatial position, they change notation. They are no longer indices of meaning but instead are another condition of diagram—a three dimensional matrix of forces.� By the processes of tracing, imprinting and superposition a diagram is produced. The diagram through its arbitrary and random juxtaposition was able to reorganize the existing context into a new structure.

“The entry of Germany on the scene of philosophy implicates the entire

German spirit which, according to Nietzsche, presents little that is

deep but full of foldings and unfolding.�

Gilles Deleuze, Le Pli

Frankfurt Rebstock and the Possibility of a New Urbanism Peter Eisenman

Folding, Unfolding and Refolding

The articulation of the project site began with a seven by seven orthogonal grid being laid over the entire Rebstockpark site in an attempt to establish both spatial and temporal modulation. The grid was then laid over and deformed by the contours of the actual site. The grid is passed through the net of a “folding” operation, derived from a modified version of Rene Thom’s butterfly net. This process is meant to introduce another sense of space and time within the urban landscape. The next step was the development of building masses that allowed for the required program. Their location and organization was developed in accordance with relation to nearby parks and financial districts, allowing for a proper programmatic distribution in the site. These masses were then introduced into the “folding” grid. The folds of the grid were able to influence both plan and section in the buildings.

“In folding the Rebstock plot, Eisenman hopes to index the complexifications in urban space that have unfolded since the War, those which contextualism has been unable to treat.” John Rajchman

Unfolding Frankfurt

Catastrophic Intrusion “In Rebstockpark, the housing and commercial units no longer fiqure as discrete extrusions out of a planar, gridded space, but appear to have been deformed through an intensive intrusion that seems to have come from nowhere and to take one elsewhere. They appear as though they were the remains of an irruption that had broken out of the ground and had returned to it, suggesting that such a “catastrophic” occurrence might arise again anywhere in the calm solidity of things.” John Rajchman Unfolding Frankfurt

The intrusion or eruption has caused a fold in the site; it has created a “crease” in the site. Eisenman has shifted the understanding of site from a two dimensional “pattern” or plan to a three dimensional “fabric”. This urban fabric cannot be captured in a figure-ground plan.

The crease of the fold is the connecting space between the various activities. It charges the urban fabric allowing the space between units or program to come alive. But the catastrophic intrusion that created the fold has the feel of something foreign. It does not appear to be from the site or program, in fact in many cases it seems to go against it. The fold distances the occupant from the traditional perception of the space; it transports the viewer “elsewhere”. Eisenman’s answer to understanding the Rebstockpark site was not a reduction of complexity. He understood that sometimes it is best to fold in a wrinkle or two, it shakes things up. Bringing clarity to what was obscure, and illuminates what was already visible.

In the Urban Corpse proposal this concept will be very valuable. Understanding the urban fabric and how to bring clarity to the site is paramount. Folding in complexity introduces another sense of space and time within the urban landscape. This allows the intervention to simultaneously be tied to the past, present and future. This is the idea of the Urban Corpse, to bring a new life to the site by refolding the urban fabric.

Folding and seeing complexity and clarity perplexity and illumination

Sculpture in the Environment SITE

“Everyone in the early pre-SITE discussions felt the need for a strengthened public language that would be more responsive to a disordered and pluralistic society or what was then commonly referred to as the “post-Industrial world”” James Wines, Foreword in SITE

The Vision

SITE’s early projects were for the Best Product showroom. The typical big box stores of the day were eyesores, offering little in the way of personal space or artistic creativity and the original Best showrooms were no exception. What SITE decided to do was to actually keep the original big box design, both from a functional standpoint and as an architectural relic. They decided to focus on architecture as a reflection of social and psychological issues, as a source of information and commentary, as an expression of reactions to context and the physicality of context itself, and as a fusion of art and building. This thinking laid the foundation for many of their future work as well.

The Best Notch Showroom in Sacramento, California is an example where the basic commercial

building prototype has remained unchanged. In fact when the gap is closed the building becomes a standard commercial building, with a suspicious crack in its faรงade. The notch showroom uses reductions as additions, the crack separates and the wedge moves 40 feet on a track to open the showroom. Many of Sites BEST product showrooms share this basic artistic idea. The idea of decay suspended, or a

building suspended somewhere between construction and demolition with evidence of disintegration. It

has been interpreted as a commentary on the precarious future of the consumer culture. The idea that the building may be crumbling around you but there is still time to buy one more blender. As seen in the Best Indeterminate showroom in Houston, Texas.

The inclusion of nature or the

invasion of it helped further the discussion of decay. The Best Forest Showroom in Richmond Virginia

was constructed around an existing

forest. It gives the illusion that na-

ture has taken back the site, but

once again Best is holding back na-

ture long enough to keep buying. It’s an interesting dis-

cussion on the idea of building


and what must and must not be present.

“When Gordon Matta-Clark cut a house in half, he left a trace of the act while reducing the metaphysic of the idea of the “home”, shelter, enclosure, etc, to pure presence.” Peter Eisenman, L’ora Che E’ stata

Reducing the Metaphysics of Presence in Architecture Gordon Matta-Clark

Matta-Clark was able with the most minimal of action to remove or separate the very concept of architecture. He was able to remove the idea of family, the idea of safety, the concept of enclosure, the traditions of occupation and function. The cuts altered the “form” of the house. The cuts themselves mean nothing they are arbitrary in a sense. However because of the cuts the house is no longer a house. It has lost all of its ability to be a house. It can no longer protect from the elements; or protect its occupants. It is no more architecture then a painting is. A simple shift has altered the function, and has left the site in need of new meaning or definition.

The Conical Intersect Project 1975

This project is another example of how a simple cut in a previously defined piece of architecture can result in the removal of definition or metaphysics to pure presence. This simple act of carving changed this apartment building into a piece of art; it was no longer a home, or enclosure, or even a safe place. The idea of decay comes back into play. How much does something decay or disintegrate, or how much has to fall away, before it is no longer architecture or before it loses meaning.

Materialist Experiments & Experiences Lebbeus Woods

“Unheimlich: That which is strangely familiar, that attracts one because it is made up of the most essential quotidian reality, and then disturbs what one thought was safe haven from the vicissitudes of an unknown world out there.� Aaron Betsky, Terra Nova

Lebbeus Woods is a materialistic visionary; his work carries on a tradition of arts and crafts. In order to produce an experimental architecture he makes no distinction between making, building, drawing and architecture. Much of his work relies on Woods belief that advanced technology will open new worlds to all mankind. The work is placed in a post- apocalyptic future that has sunk into a state of decay but has risen up in a flurry of craft and excavation.

“Woods sees the world as one of shifting fragments that have become recombined through the act of discovery� His work has a sense that architecture is in need of fixing, unearthing, or mending. When he presents his work he is not concerned with an obvious understanding of scale, of place or even human inhabitation. Like Le Corbusier before him Woods is concerned with creation of a new architecture for a new world.

Human existence vitally of the present

The projects that arise from the decay have taken on an almost organic sense, with a feeling that the work is in motion. That it is moving through, morphing to both its surroundings and the implications of occupation. His work seems to reference both the past and the future without being stuck in either.

Woods writes that he often intentionally masks or ignores the joint between the old and the new. This is due in part to the fact that he is relying on an unknown structural system. It is also possible that he keeps the joint vague to continue the idea of architecture of the present. The invention or intervention appears to have slipped in of unknown origins, ready to disappear into the unknown at any moment. It recalls ideas of a suspended decay, and an architecture of transformation.

“They work within already strong sites in order to expose these sites’ latent dynamism and the forces hidden within their stability leading to inevitable transformation.” (Lebbeus Woods).


Choice Recursion Feedback Determinate field Free field Heterachy The architecture of the present is an interesting idea; one that allows a break from the urban fabric. In Woods proposal it took a catastrophic upheaval of a semi-apocalyptic future to allow this freedom. The opportunity is also present in the void of the postindustrial city; an area that has become stuck in the past, to the point of decay and discard.

Cities of Artificial Excavation Peter Eisenman

“History is not continuous. It is made up of stops and starts, of presences and absences. The presences are the times when history is vital, is “running,” is feeding on itself and deriving its energy from its own momentum. The absences are the times when the propulsive organism is dead, the voids in between one “run” of history and the next. These are filled by memory. Where history ends, memory begins.” Peter Eisenman South Friedrichstadt as a place to live and work

Eisenman proposes that the European city is in what he terms a mem-

ory-void. The destruction from the war along with a de-void reconstruction

effort has resulted in the European city losing its identity. There is decay

and ruins, pieces of a once vital urban fabric have been severed and only

a haphazard attempt at reconstituting it has been made. Eisenman describes this attempt as if one were trying to preserve dinosaur bones. They take the few remaining fragments of the urban structure and preserve them

as if they were bones or relics in a museum. This is an attempt to freeze time to preserve the memory or try and stop the decay from progressing.

The other method he mentions is the attempt to reconstruct the past. To

reassemble the ruins or bones in an attempt to reverse time, but often the result is misguided.

Eisenman’s proposal for his cities of artificial excavation tried to go beyond this sterile idea of memory. One that is unable to reconcile the past, or look to the future. He tried to accomplish two things through his interventions; one was to reveal a specific history of the site, to render visible its memories. The other was an attempt to relate the site to the world at large, or as Eisenman puts it to “memorialize a place and to deny the efficacy of that memory.� This is where Eisenman reveals his idea of antimemory, an idea that allows him to take the site to a

new level. Anti-memory is unique in that it does not demand a past, or future. If you rely completely on memory to inform the site you become entrenched in a romantic idea. It is through the layering of memory and anti-memory that Eisenman is able to reduce and refine the urban fabric and arrive at a new structure and order.


“Infinite enlargements and reductions infallibly repeat the self-same constitutive irregularities and anomalies” Eisenman's proposals included the idea of anti-memory as a generative device. It included elements retched from the past, or ones that were derived from “somewhere else”, but then scaled, twisted and layered over memories of the site until a new order emerged. The idea of a site devoid of memory, one that has fallen into decay and ruins has emerged in many of Eisenman’s works. It allows for the introduction of a catastrophic intrusion that reveals new order in the site. In other works it was a fold or crease that was introduced, however in this work it was anti-memory. The anti-memory element was derived from elsewhere and melded with the site revealing similarities and differences that gave the site new life. The end result was similar to that of Lebbeus Woods, it produces an architecture that is strangely familiar, but remains independent.

The Process -The City pg.

-The Corpse pg.

-The Context pg.

-The Narrative Mappings pg.

-The Act of Discovery pg.

The City:

The modern urban condition became the dominate way of living because of the industrial revolution; the rural peasant became the industrial worker. Cities developed along major shipping routes, harbors, rivers, and railroad tracks. I began to investigate local urban centers to find a site that embodies the traits . What I found was Fairfield a site located just east of downtown Jacksonville Florida. This site embodied the ideas of the Urban Corpse and would provide a charged matrix from which to work. Fairfield's beginnings came in the late 1860’s when New Yorker Jacob S. Parker acquired over 150 acres along the St. Johns River. Soon, Parker helped establish the second paved road and first toll facility in Duval County through the area. A few years later in 1876, Jacksonville’s fairgrounds were established on the northernmost portion of Parker’s property, partially because he was the manager of the first Florida state fair. The fair’s popularity focused Parker’s attention on real estate, which resulted in him naming the surrounding area "Fairfield". In 1880, the community was incorporated as a town and Parker was elected as the first mayor. In 1887, with a population of 543 residents, the City of Fairfield was annexed into Jacksonville.

Fairfield has always been a community that has been home to heavy industry and recreation. Somewhat to its detriment, the economic engines that gave the community life have continued to grow and consume land where residents once lived. In many cases the industry has now disappeared leaving large tracts of Fairfield abandoned. The greatest example of this is the Ford Assembly Plant, which was a vital part of the urban fabric for many decades. Pictured here in context, the Mathews Bridge is being constructed next to the site. The bridge has become a major feature of the site; it now serves as a one of the best viewpoints. It is also interesting to note the relative residential nature of the context, which was in a process of transformation to industrial. This is clearly seen in the destruction of urban fabric to make room for the interstate projects going on at the time. This divided neighborhoods creating a schism that lead to many areas becoming desolate or converted to commercial/ industrial spaces..

Constructed in 1953, the steel truss Matthews Bridge is the second oldest bridge still standing in the city. It is named after John E. Matthews, a former Florida state legislator and Chief Justice of the 1955 Florida Supreme Court who helped secure funding for the bridge's construction.

The Corpse: The 165,000-sqaure foot assembly plant located at 1901 Hill Street was built in 1924, it is situated on a long quay that protrudes out into the river and is supported by 8,000 piles. This is one of over 1,000 buildings designed for Henry Ford by Albert Kahn, an internationally recognized industrial architect. In fact by 1938, Kahn's firm was responsible for 20 percent of all architect-designed factories in the U.S. It's known for having a pair of 800' skylight panels that provide natural light into the industrial plant below. At one point, Ford employed over 800 workers who spent their time manufacturing 200 Model-T and Model A cars and trucks a day. Ford shut down this operation in the late 1960's. Today, the factory has made the "Jacksonville's Most Endangered Historic Buildings" list.

Ford Assembly Plant

Pictures of the factory at the height of production. Notice the level of sunlighting in the building a feature carefully thought out by Albert Kahn.

(Below) building in current state, many of the windows have been boarded reducing the full effect.

Jacksonville Florida

Series of pictures showing current condition of Ford Factory. Even in its dilapidated state the original skylights still provide a rich lighted environment. The scale can only be truly experienced in person.

The industrial detailing of the building is at a level of intricacy that elevates it above a simple utilitarian function, although utility is what originally generated the formal details.

The Context: A main hypothesis of the project became the idea that the corpse grew out of major shipping routes, harbors, rivers, and railroad tracks. As a result the Idea of distribution routes became an important design node. I began mapping and tracing these distribution routes in search of marks, traces, imprints, or clues in the urban fabric. I investigated the current condition of the greater Jacksonville context looking for marks that would lead back to the original forces. This lead to a series of increasingly focused mappings that began to investigate individual elements revealed in the larger diagram.

A main factor became the city grid, through a series of overlays investigating the original city grid compared to the current expansion, clues or imprints of forces became revealed. These imprints were then mapped to further the understanding of site. These imprints or forces included railroads, harbor and port conditions, and the idea of the city having grown as several distinct nodes that grew back into each other to create the larger context.

The Narrative Mappings:

The diagrams and mappings produced were then used to produce a series of future tracings. These diagrams included elements retched from the past, these were elements revealed through the mapping process. But then scaled, twisted and layered until a new order emerged. This is accomplished through a careful process of dialogue, interaction, choice, tracing, imprinting and a state of unpredictability.

The idea of decay comes back into play. How much does something decay or disintegrate, or how much

has to fall away, before it loses meaning. The maps were “decayed� or randomly cut away. The cuts themselves are arbitrary in a sense; However because of the cuts the diagram now reveals hidden forces, it has

an unstable presence, emerging and subsiding momentarily within the new. A simple shift has altered the function, and has left the site in need of new meaning or definition. Folding in complexity introduces another

sense of space and time within the urban landscape. This allows the intervention to simultaneously be tied to the past, present and future.

If you rely completely on memory to inform the site you become entrenched in a romantic idea.

The diagrams produced were able to become free of scale, place, or time. They became a series

of narrative mappings that were highly layered and charged. When the Future tracings or narrative

mappings were overlaid on the site, they were able to inform it in ways that simply pulling in context

would not have been able to do. The diagrams were the first instance of an architecture of transformation in the site.

The Act of Discovery: The shifting fragments have

become recombined through

the act of discovery. The mappings have generated fields that

become charged according to

their contextual relationships. I

began experimenting with ideas

of massing and spatial relationships generated from these

fields. The massing appear to

have been deformed through a




seems to have come from

nowhere or from another time,

ultimately revealing the spatial

conditions that became the intervention.

Unfortunately many of my first

attempts became fractal in nature.

The spatial conditions became lost

in translation. This was due in part

to the fact that I had not clearly de-

fined or comprehended the rules set

forth in the narrative mappings. The

mappings are very charged and had an overwhelming effect on this criti-

cal step.

The Conclusion

The idea of the project from the beginning was a contextual investigation of a charged urban fabric through a series of artificial excavations and filters. This investigation created a series of narrative mappings that would inform an architectural intervention into the context; providing an architecture that is of the site but also of another place and time. The architecture would rise from the work; that is to say it would be generated in the process. The formal vocabulary, scale, materiality, and spatial conditions would all arise from the diagrams. This proved a much greater challenge then anticipated, and a leap was made toward architecture. The following are a series of vignettes that are an attempt to capture the scale, materiality, and spatial conditions that would arise from the process.

The plan and section were generated from the diagrams and the ideas set up in the massing exercises. The larger idea was an architecture that is generated from the narrative mappings and resulted in an architecture of intrusion. A formal language that is temporal in nature, I wanted the elements to appear as if they rose out of the context, pushed up by some latent force and ready to disappear just as fast. The idea was tied back to the original narrative mappings; they were snapshots of a contextual conglomeration that revealed moments within the fabric. It was through the process of layering, scaling, and deformation that key forces within the city were revealed. Each of the narrative mappings or future tracings were moments frozen in time, and at each of these moments different dynamic forces with the context were revealed. It was these forces that I had hoped to use within the intervention; allowing the architecture to respond in a natural ebb and flow or an almost organic architecture. An Architecture of Transformation. Although the end result was not as successful as I had hoped, the process taught me a great deal. The final critique led to many avenues of exploration and potential resolutions for the project. The main observation was the fact that there was a large leap from the narrative mappings or process work to the final product. This was an admittedly week point in the project spurred on by my desire to attain architecture instead of allowing architecture to rise from the process. This also lead to a loss of meaning or a disconnect from the diagram. Because I had not fully realized the potential or investigated and defined the forces developed in the diagrams I was not able to use them to inform the spatial conditions to the level desired. Another key point was the way in which I chose to touch or interact with the existing building. As it is I have left the building completely unaltered, except for a few entry or exit points. There stood a great potential to allow the intervention to begin to carve away or decay the corpse further. I think my first attempt to intervene within such a powerful and contextually charged building resulted in a sense of awe in a way. The building became too much of an architectural relic; which prevented the forces from truly working within the fabric. I believe that having a better understanding of the forces I was pulling from the diagrams would allow me to have a larger effect on the building. A potential solution mentioned was attaching meaning and myth to the lines and grids of the mappings so that they add some function to the moves and collisions as well as defining what is touched and what is not. Another comment made to this effect was to maybe leave the intervention out of the building, or just allow it to become a moment of intersection. This is an interesting idea, one that may be valid in relation to the level of understanding that I was able to get from the contextual investigation. However my intention for the project, and given more time I would hope the result would be an intervention that is strong enough to work within the Corpse; one that has enough command to handle the rich fabric that lead me to investigate the situation in the first place.


mrp 2009 draft

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