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JOE DENT MASTERS IN ARCHITECTURE (MAarch) ACADEMIC PORTFOLIO 2015-2017 NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY Collaborators: Tutors: James Craig Matt Ozga-Lawn Nathaniel Coleman Katie Lloyd-Thomas John Kamara Linked Research: Nikolas Ward David Boyd Ruochen Zhang



















OPENING STATEMENT\ Although the work contributing to my Masters degree has been diverse, both in the topics engaged with and the methods undertaken, there are two key themes that I have identified upon my reflection which have been central to my studies over the past two years: The FIRST has been my attempt to uncover the dominant issues within contemporary architectural practice in the West. This has been performed through the investigation into the psyches of two of its most dominant figures over the last 50 years: Peter Eisenman and Rem Koolhaas, through my Thesis project and Metropolitan Imaginaries projects respectively. More than an analysis in to the pairs’ monographs and design methods; both studies have lead me to a greater understanding of current architectural practice as a whole, and the political systems that play a large part in shaping them. Taking the form of design projects, each study culminated in speculation of how the prevailing economic system of capitalism might dictate the production of space in the near future; the impacts this would have on design, as well as the possibility of their failure and downfall. The SECOND has been a continuation of my long standing

interest in the adaptation and reuse of existing buildings. In particular, I am interested in how interventions alter the existing spaces they are inserted into, causing re-readings of how the existing is perceived, and reinterpretations of how the space be used. These themes were explored through both design and research in my Linked Research and Tools for Thinking essay, where I questioned further properties space can possess; namely Alberto Pérez-Gómez’s definition of ‘chora’, and Derrida’s definition of ‘parergon’ respectively. It was in my Spectres of Utopia and Modernity project that I made the most clear statement of intent on how I believe capitalist space can be confronted and altered to create a more meaningful architecture within society. Here, I considered the work of Dutch Structuralists Aldo van Eyck and Herman Hertzberger in countering an early example of capitalist-driven architecture masquerading as Modernism. It is this project that addresses my fears and anxieties of what capitalism has in store for architecture’s near future, proposing a strategy of cost-effective but beautifully designed reuse of the repetitive, generic and inhuman spaces that architecture governed by rampant capitalism creates. 6


INTRODUCTION THESIS\ “This is the normal world. You go to work in a city. All around you are enormous new buildings, they look alike, but you will never be able to afford to live in them, because the are not really homes. They are blocks of money, bought by global investors, whose money has nowhere else to go.” Adam Curtis. My thesis project began as an investigation in to the psyche of American architect, Peter Eisenman. Through this study, I believe I uncovered wider truths about contemporary architectural practice, its methodology and its motivations; culminating in a speculative scheme located in Midtown Manhattan. My research exposed an architect full of contradictions and confusion, who despite possessing some interesting insights into architecture’s its possibilities, employs arbitrary and meaningless design processes in the making of his architecture. The inhuman spaces that result from these tactics were something I observed in much of the architecture of Eisenman’s office location: New York City, where design driven by economic gain, most prominently in the design of luxury apartments, results in poorly designed buildings lacking any sense of inhabitation. More alarmingly, this is of little concern to those who purchase

the apartments, with over half of the apartments in Midtown Manhattan unoccupied for over 10 months of the year. It is apartments such as these which Adam Curtis expresses concern at in his documentary Hypernormalisation. My project addressed these concerns through Accelerationism, in the words of Benjamin Noys: ‘the idea that only way out of capitalism is to take it further, to follow its lines of flight to the absolute end, to speed-up the limits of production and so rupture the limit of capital itself.’ By creating an accelerated residential tower in Midtown Manhattan, built with Eisenman’s logic and the backing of New York’s most famous developer, Donald Trump, my scheme addressed the dangers of designing through the diagram, exposing the comfort and reliance firms such as BIG place on it as method. The process led me to consider my experience working in practice, as well as the profession as a whole, and how the arbitrary manipulation of volume, motivated only by capital, poses a specific threat to the quality of space created today. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE\ In this essay, I unpacked the issues surrounding the construction of the thesis project

were it to become live. Two important considerations that I made included how New York’s Planning operate in relation to the construction of high-rise towers in Midtown, and the aspects of a project that a developer such as the Trump Organization values most. Both of these short reflective pieces uncovered how the city and developers do little to prevent, and often actively engage with the building of very large, highly luxurious residential buildings, that a minute percentage of those who live and work in the city can afford. METROPOLITAN IMAGINARIES\ The first of two schemes located in Rotterdam, this project was the first in which I investigated the architects’ psyche as a means of unpacking the place and society that they live in. Focussing on Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, I looked at Rotterdam’s identity as a place of work, with many of the city’s inhabitants in the week disappearing at the weekend, to socialise and spend their money elsewhere. This identity, along with the long hours and inflated egos that are synonymous with the contemporary workplace, was something that was embodied in Koolhaas’ Rotterdam-based practice OMA, and was spreading wider into the architectural profession through the vast number of alumni (including Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels of the aforementioned BIG) his intense workplace generates. My scheme was a monument to this culture of work, to Koolhaas, and the vast amount of time spent by all those under his command. Its program imagined the office/hotel block of the future, within which

one can spend their entire working week with no escape, exposing the dangers on individuals and society this might bring. TOOLS FOR THINKING\ This essay looked at Koolhaas again, this time his intervention to a Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe building on the Illinois Institute of Technology building in Chicago. Through the example of this project, I considered the possibility that an addition to an existing building could act as a ‘parergon’ in the Derridian sense, that is a framing tool to enable a re-reading of the original building. The exploration of this question reinforced my view that the affect on these existing buildings in an addition is just as important as the qualities of the intervention itself. SPECTRES OF UTOPIA AND MODERNITY\ The second design project based in Rotterdam, this scheme involved an intervention into an existing building, specifically aimed to establish a sense of the modernism and the utopic, within a edifice which had been built around the Modern period. The building I chose to engage with was named the Groot Handelsgebouw (English translation: large commercial building), a post WWII construction designed by Hugh Maaskant. The building’s program and ornamentation combined with the use of concrete and a repetitive columngrid betrayed its nature as a capitalist monument posing as modernism, the static mannerist Modernism of the facades far from the ‘bustling hive of activity’ that Maaskant 8


declared. For my intervention to the building, I consulted the ideas and work of Dutch Structuralists Aldo Van Eyck and Herman Hertzberger, the former of writing on the house as the city and the necessity for a complexity of space, heavily influential on my design. Removing large sections of the building’s vast mass, stripping it back to its frame and inputting a diverse series of modular work spaces, I imagined a new way that the building could operate, with an interconnected and open series of spaces that reflect the dense and intricate villages of old as opposed to the sparse and generic landscape of Rotterdam. In the context of my position as an architect, this project demonstrates my viewpoint that as generic capitalismshaped space continues to dominate the foreseeable future of architectural development, it is the imaginative reuse of these spaces after their demise that is more important than trying to halt their unstoppable advancement. LINKED RESEARCH\ Titled ‘Beyond Representation’, this project entailed research through design, as well as the production of an essay. Creating a series of installations and spaces generated in the actual and virtual realms, I was most interested in the types of space created by methods unconventional to architects. The embodiment of Everest explorer George Mallory’s story in our exhibitions led me to reflect upon the spaces created as resembling Alberto Pérez-Gómez’s concept of ‘chora’, a receptacle space that lies between the actual and the virtual. Thinking

about new spaces, and the spaces they intervene with, in a philosophical way has helped me place more importance into the spaces I design as an architect, considering the vast impacts they can have on people and society. CONCLUSION\ I believe that my research into the psyches’ of architects has been one of the most beneficial avenues I have explored during the MArch, as it has given me an insight into both the profession as a whole, and made me think more carefully about how I wish to operate in it. An awareness of the norms and conventions of the profession, and how I have to an extent adopted them subconsciously (i.e.. designing through arbitrary manipulations and diagrams) has enabled me to consider a conscious approach to how I wish to approach practice My position as an architect is not one of radical revolution against the capitalist-driven architecture of today, but one interested in exploiting the cracks in this system to imagine more complex and human solutions to architectural questions. Restricted by lower funding for more socially concerned projects, I believe that the more social and meaningful in architecture in the next 50 years is likely to come through creative engagement with existing buildings, in particular the failed edifices of private development. It is these projects, where lower-cost, imaginative, experimental and socially concerned design will hopefully be able to thrive, something I very much wish to be a part of. JD




Peter Eisenman is an elusive outsider within the architectural sphere, his drawings alluring and his designs enigmatic. Relying on jargon and polemic statements in the explanations for his work, often rooted within linguistics and philosophy, Eisenman plays by his own rules; making his work a moving target for appraisal. Eisenman claims the world is meaninglessness and that his projects explore architecture’s potential for autonomy. But if Frederic Jameson is to be believed that space is political (and meaningful) - then what are the social implications of Eisenman’s work? Do the tropes of his practices exist within contemporary architectural development? My project investigates, interrogates and inhabits Eisenman’s processes and designs, aligning them with contemporary spatial practices to form a study that has lead not only to explorations into the psyche of Eisenman, but also of the city, and the capitalist-driven developments that rule it. My project focuses on the two most well-known periods


of Eisenman’s career; the ‘Houses‘ (1967-1975) and the ‘Cities of Artificial Excavation’ (1978-1988). Through the application of his Cities, attempting to uncover the psyche of a place through the collection of ‘traces’, my project interrogates Eisenman’s place of work and residence: Manhattan, New York City. The architectural biography of Manhattan starts and ends with the grid; implemented in the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 it has become a playground for developers over New York’s history, with the old erased and replaced by the larger, more expensive new. Rem Koolhaas, self proclaimed ‘ghost-writer’ of Manhattan salivates over the city’s cannibalistic tendencies to ingest its past in order to give birth to the future, glorifying its possibilities. Koolhaas’ fantasies have increasingly become a reality over the last 40 years, due in no small part to Donald Trump, whose rampaging development through Manhattan starting in 1975, fueled by massive tax cuts from a city on its knees. Trump has turned New York


into a city for the rich, through the development of the luxurious. Trump has been a catalyst for the development of luxury housing in the city, with residential towers from the likes of Frank Gehry, Rafael Vinoly and Norman Foster dominating the city’s skyline. This is particularly apparent in Midtown Manhattan, where the apartments command some of the highest selling prices in the city. The New York Times reported that in a three-block stretch of Midtown, 57% are vacant at least 10 months of the year. These so called Pied-e-Terre apartments are some of the worlds most expensive and yet are barely lived in, merely acting as safe deposit boxes for the wealthy, starving the city of life and investment in their occupant’s absence. This shift in use of the ‘house’ by the wealthiest 1% brings in to question the house’s definition, and the parallels between the empty apartments of midtown and the Houses designed by Eisenman have formed the fulcrum of my project. Each of the houses in Eisenman’s series were assigned


a roman numeral, like a work of art, commissioned by wealthy clients almost exclusively for use as second homes. Eisenman’s nihilism and autonomy of design process led to the houses being unergonomic, unpractical and inhuman. However, as with New York’s apartments this was little of the client’s concern, as they had commissioned the house not as a home for living, but a showpiece, a talking point - an investment. Equipped with the arbitrary manipulations exhibited in Eisenman’s house designs, I have created a luxury residential tower on so-called ‘Billionaire’s Row’ in Midtown. The practices that I have undertaken can be aligned with the concept of Accelerationism - the notion that capitalism should be sped up, to realise its full potential or bring about its downfall. My project aims to drive Eisenman’s work and Manhattan’s luxury housing development to their logical endpoints, thus exposing their flawed logics, and questioning the latter’s current advancement.


Wexner Center analytique, Eisenman BEGINNINGS\ The architect at the centre of my thesis project was the Jewish-American Peter Eisenman. My interest in American architecture dates back to my early visits to see family members in the States as a child; the vast amount of significant contemporary buildings I saw on both coasts was what engaged me most with architecture, its modern history and the wider discourse in the lead up to my studies at Newcastle University. I saw Eisenman as someone who had always been something of an outsider on the International and even the US architectural scene, always engaged but almost always on the periphery. Attracted by his complex drawn work and theories, as well as his desire to explore philosophy in architecture, I believed his alternative approach to architectural thinking and designing - although often

Wexner Center, Eisenman

House VI study, Eisenman questioned and criticised - would challenge me to expand my own theories and processes within architecture. My early studies involved intense research Eisenman’s works and seminal writings, focusing specifically on his early houses, and latterly his exploration of deconstruction in architecture - which heavily influenced the Wexner Center. One of the things that stands out in Eisenman’s architecture is his renouncement of program or function within his buildings; I believe it is the influence of this belief that makes his architectural projects so enticing to students and professionals alike, but what also leads many to renounce his work, as, together with his often incoherent and overly complex rhetoric, his nihilistic influences in his architecture alienate and confuse observers; architects and the public alike.



Peter Eisenman

Rem Koolhaas

GC2.1+.2/ GC3.1+.2/ GC7.1

House IV diagrams, Eisenman

GC2.2/ GC7.1



House I, Eisenman

Top to bottom: House VI, House III and House I

MANIPULATING THE GRID\ Eisenman’s early work focused solely on the design of single family houses, numbered 1 to 11a. He believed that all his explorations in architecture could be satisfied in the design of these small residences, half of which were built across the east coast of the United States for private clients. The designs focused on autonomisation of architecture, experimenting with the manipulation of formal elements, which derive from the writings of Eisenman’s mentor Colin Rowe, in particular his seminal essay

‘Mathematics of the Ideal Villa’, which discusses the use of the ABABA grid in Palladio and Le Corbusier’s work. Eisenman, took this grid and manipulated it, pushing it to its limits. The results were criticised both for Eisenman’s confusing explanations, as well as their difficulty to inhabit. Whilst I experienced some of those frustrations myself, I found that the complexity of form and narrative gave what I could only describe as an ‘otherness’, almost a ruinous quality to Eisenman’s architecture, which I was intrigued by.

Cannaregio plan, Eisenman

Cannaregio Plan, Le Corbusier


Model, Eisenman


THE HINGE\ Eisenman describes his project at Cannaregio, Venice as the ‘hinge’ (in the Derridian sense) of his work. Confessing that his explorations into architectural autonomy in the houses had become ‘stale’, Eisenman - for the first time in his career - looks to the outside (context, history, site) to ‘contaminate’ his before purist white structures. The ‘City’s of Architectural Excavation’ as he titled them, produced primarily between 1978-1988 but with concepts from this series featuring in works later in his career, explore history, trace and erasure through architecture, using palimpsest and manipulation of lost architecture to generate new places in the city. In Eisenman’s designs, he states that he chooses the arbitrary and the meaningless, manipulating them to create places that reflect the meaningless of life, in a truly nihilist fashion. My ethos of architecture has always resided

in the creation of the meaningful, architecture that engages 21 directly with social concerns. This therefore became a key strand in my work, considering the social implications of Eisenman’s processes and their outcomes. SEARCHING FOR MEANING\ Contradictions in Eisenman’s claims begin to occur in his IBA housing project in Berlin (1982). The use of two clashing city grids and the Berlin Wall as a datum point for the base of the housing located on the site is far from meaningless, meaning is something hard to avoid in one of the most politically charged places of the 20th Century. However, it is in projects such as this one, where Eisenman uses palimpsest to create architecture that is both meaningful and relevant to the past and present city, that I found most interesting, and where the driver for my own research and emerging project.

IBA housing plan, Eisenman

IBA housing perspective, Eisenman

Nolli Plan, Nolli

Campo Marzio, Piranesi

INFLUENCES\ The writings on trace/erasure and palimpsest by philosopher Jacques Derrida and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud were of great interest to Eisenman, but I felt that the way in which he had understood their ideas differed from my own reading of them. Whilst I believed that looking at Eisenman’s work and process was a good starting point, I worked to understand texts by his influences without his ‘translation’, allowing me to get closer to the original meaning. This move allowed me to reinterpret Eisenman’s influences for myself, which in essence put me into his position, but occasionally drawing different conclusions due to my alternate worldview: interested in the meaningful and the socially engaged. Due to this, I viewed the project progressing to a point where I was ‘inhabiting’ Eisenman’s biography, and through the differing directions I took, I was essentially critiquing him and his work. Several of Eisenman’s influences wrote about and made drawings of Rome, a city that he had been interested in since visiting it on the Grand Tour with Colin Rowe

during his time at Cambridge. In Piranesi’s Campo Marzio, he repositions the city’s monuments in order to preserve what he sees as a city in chaos, due to its decline at that time. Eisenman re-imagined Campo Marzio for the Venice Biennale, exploring it through a series of gridded diagrams, But what I was most interested in was how Piranesi was trying to preserve the city’s history, through the salvaging of its important monuments. Freud talks about Rome as a palimpsest of layers, with the different layers and excavations of the city giving it a richness of meaning. The oft-used analogy of archeology as psychoanalysis is noteworthy here, as one could state that the exposed layers that Freud sees in Rome lead to a rich and more whole reading of the city and its past. I was interested to investigate whether this exposure of layers could happen ‘artificially’ by using the way in which Eisenman creates ‘fake’ sites based on the unseen context of a place, and whether Derrida’s writings on trace and erasure, could inform how this might take place.

The Project of Campo Marzio model, Eisenman



A Field of Diagrams model, Eisenman

GC2.1+.2/ GC4.1+.2/ GC7.1

Primer Model ‘Palimpsest of Psyche’ (opposite)

Primer concept drawing PRIMER CONCEPT\ My research into Eisenman in the lead up to the Primer had started to help build up an in-depth understanding of the architect, following this, I was able to start focusing on specific elements of his work that I was interested in studying further. The Primer was a chance to exhibit my research through the production of an installation of some sort, to start channeling my interests into a critical response. I produced a model which spatialised Eisenman’s biography as a palimpsest of ‘texts’ important to him, Piranesi’s Campo Marzio, Derrida’s garden in the Parc de la Villette, and the Manhattan grid in which his office is still based. These layers


were superimposed to create a topography that is not only invented, but also without scale. The site was then been populated with fragmented buildings over Eisenman’s whole career, that are particular importance to him, the buildings have been distorted using the same principles Eisenman used in his projects of this period, by techniques of scaling, discontinuity and recursivity. The model represented Eisenman’s life not as a linear biography, but as a whole, more in line with how Foucault talks of history as a ‘tangled web of ideas’. The piece reflects on Eisenman’s psyche; the contrasting and contradicting ideas, producing a landscape which is fractured, complex and inhuman in its nature.



The Architectural Biography group Primer exhibition, (‘Palimpsest of Psyche’ far right)


PRIMER EXHIBIT/ For the Primer, our studio curated an exhibition of our responses to the research into our architects so far. Ordered chronologically, we used different modes of representation to create a museum of our chosen architects of interest. Each of our pieces started to represent our psyche through architectural representation, which we agreed was a key focus of the studio. As we progressed through the project, I felt it would be important to not only attempt to spatialise Eisenman’s, but critique his work, and create something that responded to current issues within architectural discourse.



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Taxonomy of Eisenman’s proposals for Manhattan PSYCHE CITY\ On reflection on my work for the Primer, I was really interested in how different forms intersect and disrupt one another; I felt the most interesting places where this happened was where the Manhattan grid is sliced and fragmented. For me, this distortion of the grid brings a greater excitement to it, and a sense of multiple narratives. The town planning device of the grid has always fascinated me, in its autonomy and its totalitarianism that doesn’t comfortably facilitate existing buildings, instead demolishing them to allow for the rigid grid. MOVING TO MANHATTAN\ As I focused my research on Eisenman’s psyche and the Manhattan grid, I looked at his

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proposed projects in New York City. Despite his office being located right in the center of the Manhattan, he has never constructed a project there, which, despite his limited volume of built work, strikes me as an incomplete factor to his biography; not to have built a project in his own city. Together with my interest in Manhattan and the grid, a project in New York seemed an exciting one, to ‘complete’ Eisenman’s biography as it were, whilst at the same time critiquing it, allowing my own design ethos to penetrate Eisenman’s. I made a taxonomy of Eisenman’s competition entries for projects in the city, and began to research the ideas behind them, to get a sense of his interests surrounding New York.

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Mapping Eisenman in Manhattan (opposite) 圀漀爀氀搀 吀爀愀搀攀 䌀攀渀琀攀爀 䤀渀渀漀瘀愀琀椀瘀攀 䐀攀猀椀最渀 倀爀漀瀀漀猀愀氀㨀 ㈀  ㈀

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䘀匀䴀 䔀愀猀琀 刀䤀瘀攀爀 倀爀漀樀攀挀琀㨀 

FSM East River Project, Eisenman, Meier

Concept Palimpsest

World Trade Center Proposal, Eisenman, Meier, Gwathmey, Holl

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Manhattan grid, Upper East side EISENMAN’S NEW YORK\ Eisenman’s work in Manhattan predominantly features exploration and manipulations of the grid. The grid is a defining feature of New York City as well as almost all of Eisenman’s work, as it features in his excavation projects just as much as the early manipulations of the grid in his houses. Eisenman’s fixation with the grid and inability to escape it in his architecture shows how deeply rooted in him it is, as a result of it being such a prevalent feature in American city planning, most explicitly in Manhattan. It was for this reason, therefore, that the grid became the second key focus of my project; understanding its nature and its impact upon the city as an urban device. EARLY SPECULATIONS\ One of Eisenman’s projects in Manhattan which did deal with more meaningful subject was his proposition for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Together with Richard Meier, Steven Holl and Charles Gwathmey. Here, references to trace, erasure and loss are contained in

a scheme that uses symbolism of the void, grid and shadow to reflect and deal with the tragic events of 9/11. Whilst the scheme feels underdeveloped and perhaps reductive, I was interested in the way in which it starts to deal with something meaningful, whilst still proposed as a vital part of the current city in its program. In a collage, I began to re-imagine Eisenman’s East Side project as a palimpsest of layers of meaningful traces of the location and program in was dealing with, overlaying historical maps and lost architecture of the site, together with drawings of Washington and Jefferson’s houses, from which much of contemporary America’s housing typologies are derived. This was a helpful process for me, and forced me to think carefully about specifically which traces I was trying uncover, and whether I could be more precise and site specific in what I chose, as opposed to selecting things that were arbitrary, which was something I wanted to counter in Eisenman’s process.

World Trade Center development, Libeskind


World Trade Center site, February 2017



One World Trade Center, Childs

World Trade Center 3 & 4 under construction, Rogers & Maki

DECONSTRUCTION AND TRACE\ On researching how I might begin to deal with traces and memory architecturally, I looked at ways architects have dealt with the Holocaust in built work. Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin as well as Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe both evoke the sense of destruction, uncomprehensability and tragedy of the events of the holocaust, in a way that serves to remember them, as opposed to forget. I began to research deconstructivism as well as Derrida’s interpretation of Plato’s ‘Khora’, which alludes to a third type of space, between the conceptual and the fully material. Eisenman and Bernhard Tschumi both explore how this space might be created architecturally in the respective projects at the Parc de la Villette in Paris. Eisenman suggests an unreachable space as an illustration of Khora, whilst Tschumi uses symbol in the form of follies that derive from a cube. The un-inhabitability of many of these follies ties in with Eisenman’s theory on how this might be created. It struck me that incorporation of this ‘Khora’ could be a way to construct meaning itself within my scheme. Inspired by Libeskind’s project in Berlin, by the way it embod-

ied meaningful traces of such a monumental and disturbing event, I was interested to research his project for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which is currently being built. It seems that here the scheme has been continually diluted, to become nothing more than a memorial (albeit well-considered) surrounded by generic skyscrapers, consistent with the capitalist reproduction of the international style that is prevalent across nearly all of Manhattan. It feels to me as though the grid and the capitalist system it inhabits served to partially erase trace and memory of destruction, even on the location of the city’s largest ever tragedy. This led me to the desire to create an architecture that evokes traces of destruction in New York City. I was inspired by the writing of Max Page who argues that “Humans need vicarious disaster... because it gets our attention, provokes us to sort through the empire of images that forms our world, and to foster understanding of that world”. In his book The City’s End he catalogues ways in which Manhattan’s destruction has been imagined in literature and film, and the ways in which this exposes the city’s psyche, I was intrigued to see if these could be made spatial, in an ‘artificial excavation’.

Concept Axonometric, ‘Psyche of a Skyscraper I’

SYNTAX AND NOTATION\ As a way of thinking about how to represent one of these tales spatially, I looked at Daniel Libeskind’s micromegas. Enigmatic in their design, I was intrigued how the build up of symbolic notations began to build up a spatial representation. Inspired by Tschumi’s follies at the Parc de la Villette, I began to create architectural symbols derived from key themes and concepts from the story of King Kong’s rampage through Manhattan, a story which conveys humans attempted control of nature, the exploitation of performers, as well as protection. The elements created were a first attempt at imagining the creation of ‘Khora’, through architectural symbols. BUILT DECONSTRUCTION\ In proposing how the symbols I had created might become an architectural intervention, I positioned the elements I had created around the Empire State Building, in reference to the culmination of the King Kong story. The parasital intervention that disrupted an existing building was an interesting one, in the way that it actively destructs and protects the existing, critiquing it in it GC3.1+.2+.3

King Kong notation

differing architectural form. SUPREMATISM AS REPRESENTATION\ I created a painting which showed the design in perspective, investigating how it worked spatially and how it might be inhabited. For the painting, I was influenced by the early paintings of Zaha Hadid, which was itself influenced by Russian Constructavists and Suprematism. I felt that this bold and expressive form of representation helped convey an ‘other-wordlyness’ in the design, that moved towards expressing the idea of ‘Khora’. On reflection on this early proposal, I again felt that the traces I was excavating were perhaps too arbitrary and abstract to convey the meaning I was interested in. Due to this, I began to research actual buildings that had been destroyed and/or replaced in New York, as these would not only have a more spatial beginning point to excavate and re-imagine, but also would no-doubt contain actual human stories of displacement and erasure, that would carry far more emphatic meaning. I felt that these traces could convey greater sense of New York’s psyche. Concept Painting, ‘Psyche of a Skyscraper I’ (opposite) 34


Seneca Village Mapping



Midtown from Central Park UNCOVERING TRACE IN MANHATTAN\ On researching New York’s history in more detail, especially with regards to its city planning, one of the interesting events I cam across was the clearing of Seneca Village; a legal settlement inhabited by black and Irish immigrants, who were forced to move out in 1857 to allow for Central park. This reinforces my hypothesis regarding the grids use as a planning tool which is inhuman, as opposed to building around the settlement, the straight lines of the gridiron plan leads to the logic of ‘deleting’ things which get in the way. The fact that those forced out were immigrants and likely amongst the poorest in the city is also notable, as often those most affected by new development in cities are the poorest. I was interested whether this ‘clearing’ of was a trend in Manhattan.

220 Central Park South, Stern

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Concept Axonometric, ‘Psyche of a Skyscraper II’ (opposite)


432 Park Avenue Bathroom

ARTISTIC INFLUENCES\ During the project, I undertook a visit to Manhattan, to see some of the sites, buildings and other places relevant to my research. I visited the Whitney Museum of American Art, where I came across a series of work under exhibition title ‘New York Portrait’; work attempting to capture essences of New York’s psyche. Some of the work included references and material very relevant to my project. The most interesting work I came across was by artist Leidy Churchman, who paints using the reference of a photograph, depicting the view from Rafael Vinoly’s 432 Park Avenue, recently completed to be the ‘Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere’, which is the name of the work. The painting exaggerates the colour in the scene and captures the elegance of the bathroom and the shimmering skyscrapers in the distance with meticulous precision, enhancing the luxurious character of the building. The composition is both ‘inviting and disconcerting, hinting at the building’s controversial status as a symbol of the glaring divide between the ultra-rich and ordinary New Yorkers’. This problem of luxury high-rise towers causing division in New York interested me greatly, and became one of the key

432 Park Avenue, Vinoly

Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere,Churchman

focuses of my project. MIDTOWN AND THE LUXURY HIGH-RISE/ Alongside my research of 432 Park Avenue, I began to look more widely at Midtown and is residential development. The next addition to ‘Billionaires Row’ (the collective name for ultra-luxury residential skyscrapers in Midtown) is to be 520 Park Avenue. Expected to be completed in 2017, the Robert AM Stern building is to include a $250 million ‘quadruplex’ apartment. Other than the eye-watering price tag, these buildings cause debate due to their overshadowing of Central Park, and media including the New York Times consistently express concerns that the apartments are bought for the purpose of tax avoidance, money laundering, or the storing of wealth. On top of this, many of the apartments in Midtown are only occasionally occupied, performing as ‘pied-a-terres’. Due to this, much of the development of Midtown shows no concern for the social fabric of the city, but are just concrete storages of wealth, ‘trophies’ of the rich. This brings in to question the very nature of what architecture is in Manhattan, as it seems to be shifting from a shelter for the human, to a place no longer required for living.

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Trump Tower, NYC

Trump World Tower, NYC

DONALD TRUMP AND THE CITY OF THE RICH\ My research of Midtown’s history as the location of much of Manhattan’s luxury housing led me to the influence of Donald Trump on the city. Adam Curtis highlights Trump’s influence in his documentary ‘Hypernormalisation’. Around 1975, when New York was on its knees; crime ridden and financially bankrupt due to the mass exodus of the middle class from the city, ‘Trump realised that there was no future in building houses for ordinary people, because all the Government grants had gone... Trump started to buy up derelict buildings in New York, announcing that his was going to transform them into

Trump International Hotel & Tower, NYC

luxury hotels and apartments... In return, he negotiated the biggest tax break in New York’s history, worth $160 million. Donald Trump began to turn New York into a city for the rich.’ The Trump Organization still owns over half a dozen buildings across Manhattan including three in Midtown. Several of his developments have caused controversy and lawsuits for his illegal eviction of current tenants, lack of maintenance and destruction of artifacts from buildings to make way for his own. These presented me with meaningful and spatial ‘traces’ which tell a story of erasure and sterilisation of the city, to make way for the rich.

Donald Trump Manhattan mapping (opposite)

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Donald Trump, ‘Hypernormalisation’, Curtis




Fred Trump Brooklyn mapping (opposite)


Fragments of erasure and replacement

MAPPING TRUMP\ On compiling examples of the Trump Organization’s development I mapped out their owned properties over the city, researching their history and current status. I began to model the buildings that the Organization has built, bought and destroyed to compile a taxonomy of meaningful traces, spatial elements that would inform the development of my project, helping me to translate research and critical thinking into a spatial response. As well as researching Donald Trump’s activity in Manhattan, I traced the Trump Organization’s history back to Donald Trump’s father, Fred. Fred Trump developed large parts of Brooklyn

and Queens, creating row houses and giant apartment blocks, predominantly for the middle classes. The empire that Fred Trump created not only paved the way for his sons overtaking of Manhattan, but also contains controversy of its own, with lawsuits regarding racial discrimination in the awarding of apartments. These lawsuits, which achieved a settlement with the Trump Organization, evidence further clearance and the attempted sterilisation of the city by large scale developers, a trend that I found evidence of in Seneca Village, and has continued into the present day, evidenced by the hyper luxury skyscrapers of ‘Billionaire’s Row. GC2.1+.2/ GC4.1+.2/ GC6.3

Mapping New York City protests against Donald Trump TRUMP TOWER/ Donald Trump’s flagship development in Manhattan is Trump Tower, situated on 5th Avenue in Midtown. Trump considers this to be the ‘first super-luxury residential skyscraper in Manhattan’. By including some mixed-use, a 5 storey public atrium, as well as purchasing air rights to the building adjacent, Trump Tower was approved to be build considerably taller that was previously permitted for the area. In doing this, the building set a trend for luxury skyscrapers in the area finding ways around the city zoning laws to be built higher and higher, commanding exponentially rising price tags. In this way, Trump has been the catalyst for Midtown’s development into the luxury playground it is today. PROTESTS AND COUNTERING NORM/ In re-evaluating the project in respect to Eisenman, focusing on his Cities of artificial excavation, I began to re-appropriate his methodology, by gathering meaningful as opposed to arbitrary traces, so that my project would be critically and socially minded, as opposed to being an exploration of the design process through the collision of arbitrary traces. I had already mod-

Protesters of Donald Trump outside Trump Tower, NYC

eled traces of Trump’s development, but wanted to collect further spatial traces to disrupt them, in the hope that I could generate a alternative building typology to counter that of the luxury high-rise tower. My idea was to disrupt the towers and create a different residential building type altered from the rest of midtown in both the way it worked spatially, but also the people it accommodated. I was interested in the idea of creating spaces for ‘typical New Yorker’, the working and middle-classes who are being priced out of their own city. Due to the desire to counter Trump’s development, I was fascinated in the public response to his successful campaign to become President of the United States, where his rise from Property Tycoon to Political figure sparked millions around the world to protest not only his policies and remarks, but also the developments which built his wealth. I researched and mapped the routes of protest marches against Trump in Manhattan, with the intent to use the protests to counter Trump, to create a project to challenge his development.

Mapping of a protest route against Donald Trump in Manhattan (opposite) 44


Exploded development axonometric (opposite)

Development axonometric

Development plan

01\Building Plan:-1:100

TRACES OF ERASURE\ Using the traces that I had gathered, and applying Eisenman’s methodology from his City’s of Artificial Excavation, I produced several iterations of a design idea, that proceeded my final scheme. Using Eisenman’s methods of palimpsest, scaling and distortion amongst others, I designed an expansive, predominantly horizontal megastructure which spread through midtown, cutting into buildings and providing a new series of levels at which to experience the city. Along the new streets were fractured fragments of the Trump Organization’s development, intended to be re-appropriated as social and lower income housing. I had several problems and reservations regarding this response, which led to the change of approach for the final scheme. 02\City Plan-1:250



Development section, 5th Avenue




Development perspectives

TRACES OF ERASURE CTN\ Despite the reuse and re-imagining of Trump’s development in Manhattan to counter the grid and luxury high rise residential towers, I uncovered several issues with both the design as well how it conveyed the narrative of my thesis. On a practical level, the dense nature of the structure spanning through the streets would both overshadow and remove people from the current city level. As well as this, translating Trump’s architecture directly whilst trying to inhabit it differently would be impossible, as, despite the fracturing, the layouts would dictate a similar function and most likely similar wealthy buyers. Spaces similar to this exist within the city - most notably the High Line, which despite being a magnificent public space, has encouraged luxury housing to surround it. In Manhattan, it seems, as a great new space is created, luxury housing inevitably follows. To counter the seemingly in-supressable development of luxury high-rise, I decided to tackle it head on, using a different set of Eisenman’s projects to do so.

The High Line, NYC



Trump Accelerationism diagrams (above and opposite)

House IV, Eisenman CHANGE THROUGH ACCELERATION/ After studying the origins of luxury high-rise in the city, as well as the concerns about its recent state, it struck me that it was important to speculate what might yet happen in Midtown if its development carries on the same trajectory, in particular what Donald Trump might hold in store for the high rise residential playground that he arguably began in 1975. It was important to seriously consider the concerns over luxury residential building, and to begin to critique the subject more critically and subtly from ‘within’, in the hope of exposing its flaws, and investigating whether it could ever change. In considering these questions, I was introduced to the concept of ‘Accelerationism’, the idea that instead of rejecting capitalist production, we should embrace and accelerate it. The concept of Accelerationism has been adopted by both the right and left political schools of thought. The right using it positively, to unshackle capitalism to unleash its full potential. In opposition, there are also those on the left who believe that if this were to happen, the effects would be so detrimental that capitalism would fail so spectacularly that there would be no other option than revolution, and subsequently a new model political and economic model would have to be adopted. The idea of ‘Accelerating Midtown’

was a fascinating one, which would address the subject of my thesis head on. In considering how to apply this concept, born in the world of economics, to the field of architecture, Eisenman became as very important reference, in particular his house series. My reading of the houses was that Eisenman used multiple techniques of manipulation to create complex variations derived from the 3x3 gridded cube. A way of looking at this is that he took the simple elegance of the grid identified by Colin Rowe in Palladio and Le Corbusier’s work, and subsequently manipulates it to its limits and beyond. He then applies very conventional programmatic layouts to the manipulated volumes, infamously resulting in houses that don’t function in the way one expects. This stretching can be seen as accelerating the gridded logic of the villas identified by Rowe to their limits, till the logic ‘breaks’ and reprogramming becomes the only option - indeed several of Eisenman’s houses have gone on to function in different ways than they were designed. What I did was to apply Eisenman’s approach to Trump’s luxury high-rise towers, to explore through Accelerationism what the future might look like for Midtown, and whether cracks might start to show within its inherent logic, sparking the break down, and ultimately the changing, of the current system.

Midtown 2017

Proposed Midtown 2020

Accelerated Midtown 2030

The primary function of New York’s apartments is shifting towards pure storage of capital, as opposed to a place for human inhabitation. My project accelerates this, resulting with a critique on both Eisenman and Manhattan, in that the logical endpoints of their respective architectures are merely storages of money, vaults that are bought purely as commodity, where inhabitation is not only unconsidered, but irrelevant.

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Proposed Midtown 2020, National Geographic



Accelerated Midtown 2030, elevation

ACCELERATING MIDTOWN\ Rampant capitalism attempts to push labour to the absolute minimum in search of greatest economic gain, and Eisenman’s arbitrary processes of rotation, mirroring and repetition give a perfect method to enable this. My initial acceleration attempts of Midtown were done at the urban scale, where the immediate effects on the city would be visible. I researched the proposals going ahead in the area over the next 10 years, and produced a massing model of them situated within their context, evaluating the impact of their size and scale within the city. The height of the proposed skyscrapers is growing exponentially in Manhattan, and therefore I continued this trend for my speculation a further 10 years development, particularly focusing on Donald Trump’s Organization, who since becoming President has seen his brand grow exponentially, indicated quickly by the growing popularity of his golf courses. He has also

declared that rather than developing overseas, which the organization has concentrated for the past 2 decades, they will only building in the United States. This move suggests that Manhattan, Trump’s birthplace and most developed area, will be a significant target, with the luxury housing district of Midtown very likely to be receiving some attention. My speculations involved the translation of Eisenman’s concepts of scaling, rotating, inverting and montaging elements of Trump’s buildings, to create larger, more extensive variations of his development portfolio. The primary function of New York’s apartments is shifting towards pure storage of capital, as opposed to a place for human inhabitation. My project accelerates this, resulting with a critique on both Eisenman and Manhattan, in that the logical endpoints of their respective architectures are merely storages of money, vaults that are bought purely as commodity, where inhabitation is not only unconsidered, but irrelevant.

Trump Variations I, floor axonometrics (opposite)

House I diagrams, Eisenman

Trump Variations I, axonometric

THE TRUMP VARIATIONS\ After generating a speculative acceleration of Trump’s Midtown, I wanted to focus my study on the development of one tower. By doing this, I could develop a single building all the way through to its structure and internal layouts, in doing so uncovering the flaws and issues arrived at by accelerating Manhattan’s current trend using Eisenman’s logic. The aim of the project became the acceleration of Manhattan and Eisenman’s logics to their endpoints, in doing so critiquing both. The building I chose

to accelerate was Trump Tower, the epicentre of Trump’s luxury empire situated on 57th Street (so-called Billionaire’s Row); in this way, Trump Tower became a ‘trace’ in the Derridian sense, the ‘sign’ of Manhattan’s luxury housing. The scheme began by manipulating the building at both macro and micro scales, according to Eisenman’s logic for each of his houses; these tests informed the final tower, a kilometre-high skyscraper occupying an entire Manhattan block, its name: ‘1009 Midtown’. 54


THE TRUMP VARIATIONS\ After generating a speculative acceleration of Trump’s Midtown, I wanted to focus my study on the development of one tower. Through this, I could develop a single building all the way through to its structure and internal layouts, in doing so uncovering the flaws and issues arrived at by accelerating Manhattan’s current trend using Eisenman’s logic. The building I chose to accelerate was Trump Tower, the epicentre of



Trump’s luxury empire situated on 57th Street (so-called Billionaire’s Row); in this way, Trump Tower became a ‘trace’ in the Derridian sense, the ‘sign’ of Manhattan’s luxury housing. The process began by manipulating the building at both macro and micro scales, according to Eisenman’s logic for each of his houses; these tests informed the final tower, a kilometre-high skyscraper occupying an entire Manhattan block: ‘1009 Midtown’.

Trump Tower Variations I axonometric (opposite)

House II, Eisenman

Trump Variations II, floor diagrams

HOUSES I+II\ Working through Eisenman’s house series chronologically, I began the Trump Variations by looking at the earliest houses, attempting to determine the moves and manipulations that he had made in their design. I did this in the way that I had employed for the entire project, reading Eisenman’s own writings as well as gaining critical distance through the writings of others. As well as this, I simply read the drawings, as the plans and sections in particular helped me identify patterns and moves that the signature

axonometrics disguise. Both House I and II, for Eisenman revolving around syntax and sign of architectural elements, can be traced back in their design to simple symmetry and mirrored reflections. I performed some of the more easily discernible moves to Trump Tower at the whole building scale, as well as to a single floor plate. The collision of walls, columns and other building elements quickly occurs, giving a sense of the uninhabitability that Eisenman’s houses posses. 58


Trump Variations III, floor diagrams

HOUSES III\ House III contains the most obvious as well as possibly the most disruptive major moves made in any of the house series. A 45 degree rotation creates an ‘uninvited guest’ that invades the building before the occupier has even set foot within. I carried out a similar move to a typical Trump Tower floor plate, to set up the same kind of tensions generated in House III. Throughout the process of performing these studies, I stuck as close as possible to Eisenman’s

modes of representation; typically using monotone axonometric drawings. I also showed each stage of the manipulation through a series of diagrams as Eisenman does, as he often declares that the diagram is more important than the final building. It is this approach that I believe has been adopted by developers and much of the architectural profession to its detriment, favouring arbitrary manipulations over 60 considered and rigorous design.


Trump Variations III, axonometric

House III, axonometric, Eisenman



Trump Variations VI, diagrams (opposite)

Trump Variations X, floor diagrams

House VI, painting, Eisenman


HOUSES CTN\ I continued with the tactic of using Eisenman’s houses to obtain a ‘toolkit’ of arbitrary manipulations, developing studies of Houses IV through to X, representing all my findings at multiple scales and levels of detail. Following the production of these variations, I studied the outcomes, in particular where the proposals begin to fail (i.e. rooms become boxed in with no doors), and where

they begin to reflect the way in which developers influence design (bathrooms are aligned off kitchens etc). It is these moments and subtleties where the success of the method and the critique of the thesis lies. For it is the ‘cracks’ and flaws that appear within the design where Accelerationism to cause revolution succeeds, as each one is a step toward the 64 downfall of the luxury apartment’s domination of the city.

Trump Variations X, axonometrics

Trump Variations X, diagrams


1009 Midtown, Column development

1009 Midtown, Primary wall development



1009 Midtown, Circulation development

1009 Midtown, Floor plate development

FINAL DIAGRAMS\ My final proposal iterated upon the initial studies obsessively, manipulating at the floor plate and Trump Tower scales, but also going larger to the urban scale, exploring how the scheme inhabits the Manhattan block. The decision I took was to duplicate the tower so that the building occupied an entire block, thus creating the scenario the Koolhaas salivates over in Delirious New York, where ideas are allowed to rise up unregulated and uninterrupted on their own marble plinth, each the size of a Manhattan block.

I was interesting in projecting New York to this end that Koolhaas predicts for it, considering the social and economic implications that its logic would ultimately lead to. The diagrams were the prominent design tool for the building, with the structure, circulation and wall layouts all developing independently; this also acts as a critique on firms such as BIG who rely on the diagram to portray their projects. The collisions and complications arising out of this tactic for such a complex building became evident as I zoomed in. GC1.3/ GC2.1/ GC7.2/ GC8.1+.2

1009 Midtown axonometric

MI Axonometric



Close-up of Midtown axonometric

1009 MIDTOWN\ The final proposal had the name ‘1009 Midtown’, to be used for marketing purposes as is common with most Manhattan apartment towers. The name derives from the number code of the block that the building occupies. As well as duplicating manipulated forms of Trump Tower across an entire block, the duplications occur vertically as well, rotating and colliding on their way up to form a tower of 1000 metres or 1 kilometre high. This would make it the tallest building in the world, completing Trump’s ambition to

1009 Midtown, Massing development & Zoning diagrams

achieve this feat, as well as making it a dominant figure on Manhattan’s already densely populated skyline. The idea of towers raising near-infinitely towards the heaven is one that I explored in my Metropolitan Imaginaries project, where a series of towers serve as a monument to the culture of work within OMA in Rotterdam, as well as the psyche of its founder: Rem Koolhaas. Capitalism’s driving of architecture to the large and inhuman is an interesting one, and one which is countered in my Spectres of Utopia and Modernity project.

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Model photograph showing 1009 from 57th St. looking east



Model photograph showing 1009 from above

Model photograph showing 1009 & Central Park

TRUMP THE BRAND\ According to their website ‘Trump Luxury Real Estate redefines what is meant by luxury living, built to be the absolute best in the world.’ For developers such as the Trump Organization that dominate New York’s development scene, it is the portrayal of luxury in the brands image that is a key focus. As well as deriving the logo for my proposal from that of Trump, I also considered them for the representation of my project. Already well versed in the slick, axonometric line drawings of Eisenman, I took on a black an gold colour scheme to portray the sickly luxury exhibited

by Trump in his buildings exteriors and interiors, especially in the gold glass facade of his tower in Las Vegas, and the ornate interiors of his Trump Tower penthouse. As well as in the logo and the drawings, I carried this colour scheme right through to the models representing the project, with the focus on producing exhibition pieces that would be included in a showroom for the project. The idea of producing marketing -esque drawings and models was one I carried through to the final presentation of the work, building a ‘marketing showroom’ complete with glossy drawings and custom plinths.

The Trump Organization logo

1009 Midtown logo

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Close-up of section COMPLICATIONS\ The section gives a sense of the complexity and complications the arbitrary manipulations that Eisenman’s methodology bring to a building of this size and nature. The building rises up in 3 independent but interconnected towers, to allow the maximum amount of corner apartments, which command the highest asking prices due to their expansive views. This meeting of economic and Eisenmanian logic is key to the process of Accelerationism of the design, where both factors harmonise to generate the most intense outcome. The incoherence of the circulation

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causes lift and stair cores to become skewed and disconnected, crashing through the middle of apartments. The structure is confused and over-complex, with multiple systems interfering with one another, to appear over and under engineered at the same time, again interfering drastically with apartment layouts. Large atriums and voids are formed at random, reflecting the requirement by the NYC planning department to provide privately-owned public space within buildings to allow larger Floor Area Ratios, one of the many loopholes developers exploit for greater financial gain.


1009 Midtown section



Close-up of section (opposite)

Close-up of apartment in section


1009 Midtown interior axonometric



Close-up of interior axonometric

ENCOUNTERING PROBLEMS\ On zooming in to a smaller portion of the building, the individual apartments and their layouts become apparent. At this scale, the disruption caused of the circulation and the structure is seen even clearer, as well as the disruption of the internal walls. Apartments crash into one another, with boundaries difficult to define and rooms sliced in two. The building features direct

references to Eisenman’s houses, with the tropes of the split bed and columns through tables visible throughout. New issues arise, with toilets appearing in living rooms, kitchens inaccessible and privacy between spaces minimal. Eisenman’s logic is seen to disrupt Manhattan’s at this scale; most notable where the arbitrary columns and walls begin to block the views that make these apartments so valuable.

Close-up of split bed in interior axonometric

Split bed, House VI, Eisenman

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Close-up of interior axonometric (opposite)

Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere,Churchman

Bathroom perspective, 1009 Midtown

BEHIND THE PHOTO\ The disruption caused at human level can be seen most clearly in the perspectives, where although little appears wrong at first, obscured views and incoherent layouts undermine the attempted portrayal of luxury living. I assembled the perspectives to read in a similar way to the marketing photographs and the subsequent artworks that critique them, using lurid colours and luxurious textures to reflect the apartments. The tension between the representation of Eisenman and developers such as Trump is most GC3.1+.2+.3/ GC5.1

evident in this image, as it combines obsessive line drawings with the photographic reality features in marketing images. This tension draws focus to considering how Eisenman’s schemes have to be inhabited in the real world, and can’t remain just drawings as perhaps he would like them to be. In reciprocal, lines draw attention to the meticulous precision and economic calculation behind the glossy photographs of luxury apartments, exposing their nature, which is more to do with storage of capital as opposed to luxury living. 78


1009 Midtown Apartment #1653 Drawings


MARKETING THE APARTMENT\ The final large banner I produced was a full suite of drawings for a typical apartment within the scheme, costed at $76,000,000 at $10,668 per sq ft . These were executed in a marketing style, with bold colours and multiple labeled views marking up what at first seems as fairly typical composition. Again, on closer

inspection, the flawed logic of the image is seen upon closer 81 inspection with discrepancies in the design both minor and major throughout the layout. The use of more conventional plans and sections exposes some of the problems in more explicit detail than in the mysterious axonometrics, as is the case with Eisenman’s houses.

Close-up of apartment axonometric

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Apartment #1653 section



Close up of upper floor plan

Apartment #1653 diagrams

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Bedroom perspective, 1009 Midtown

Trump family portrait

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THE TRUMPS IN PORTRAIT\ As well as marketing material for other luxury apartments in Manhattan, I looked at Trump’s own marketing, both for his developments and himself. The most interesting series of images I came across were a series of photographs taken of himself alongside his wife and son. This series portrays the family alongside luxurious as well as ridiculous items and furniture, gilded tables, ceiling murals, and the large toy lion seen in the photo above. Along-

Apartment #1653 plans

side these objects of lurid wealth, set amongst the backdrop 85 of extensive views across Manhattan, the other thing most evident in the photographs is the apparent division between Trump and his family, who is nearly always depicted away from his wife or child. In this way, the Eisenman tropes begin to represent the Trumps themselves, speculating on the unsocial conditions that living with such power and wealth can create.

1:5000 Model with drawings and video in background



Final Presentation

MARKETING THE PROJECT\ For the final presentation of the project, I felt it was important to represent my work in a different way to the conventional pin-up at architecture schools. The display was set up as a marketing booth, enclosed on three sides with black panels, models sat atop custom-built plinths, with drawings printed on glossy paper. This gave the scheme a sense of the attempted luxury portrayed by developers for new towers, enhancing the project’s narrative as an accelerated version of a New York developer’s vision.

The presentation was complete with an introductory video complied of shots exploring the building’s interior as well as viewing it from across the city. Clips of Eisenman’s lectures and interviews were stitched together so that he ‘presented’ the building, with the result being used to introduce my project. The video not only ‘markets’ the scheme, but also helps convey my reading of Eisenman, full of contradictions and confusion, who whilst known for his research and writings, is largely corporate in his operation. GC8.1

Stills from marketing video



Site plan

Zoning diagram

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Thesis Project - Program 2016 Tasks










Stage 0 - Strategic Definition STUDIO SELECTION Client Meeting - to identify business case Establishing Program - initial definition


Project Team Assembly - inquiries Site Appraisal - visit and initial assessment Pre Application - initial discussions Strategic Brief - completion and exchange Stage 1 - Preparation and Brief Design Team Meeting - role definition Project Execution Plan - completion and exchange


Establishing Program - review Initial Project Brief - completion and exchange PRIMER Define Technology Strategy and Circulate Site Survey - define & exchange


Feasibility Study - completion and exhange Pre Application - developed discussions Stage 1 Report - completion and exchange Stage 2 - Concept Design Design Team Meeting - finalising program and co-ordinating information Design Strategy - program & cost considerations


Final Project Brief - completion and exchange Site and Program Research - completion and exchange VIABILITY REVIEW Initial Concept Design - completion and exchange


Pre Application Planning Consultation - meeting & review Public Consultation - meeting & review Continued Concept Design - completion and exchange Sustainability Strategy - preparation

* *

Preliminary Cost Information - calculation and discussion Construction, Health & Safety Strategy - discussion and initial definition Maintenance and Operational strategy - preparation Initial Concept Design - completion and exchange Stage 2 Report - completion and exchange Stage 3 - Developed Design Design Team Meeting - co-ordination and responsibility review Research Conclusions - third party consultations


Developed Design - completion and exchange Sustainability Strategy - review and update Preliminary Cost Information - review and update Construction, Health & Safety Strategy - review and update Maintenance and Operational strategy - review and update Planning Application - completion Stage 3 Report - completion and exchange Stage 4 - Technical Design Design Team Meeting - co-ordination and responsibility review Cost Information - review and update

Gantt chart of thesis project program


Construction, Health & Safety Strategy - review and update Detail Planning Application - completion and submission

Structural Engineer's Package - completion and exchange

Mechanical and Electrical Engineer's package - completion and exchange Tender package - completion and submission Building Regulations Submission - preparation and sumbission


Stage 4 Report - completion and exchange

SYNOPSIS\ This submission took the form of a detailed and illustrated report, also featuring a project program, which addressed the issues that would arise if my thesis project were to be built. My report covered the subjects of professionalism; clients, users and delivery of services; legal framework and processes; practice and management; and building procurement; giving a synopsis of how each of these would be considered for the realisation of my New York skyscraper. Alongside this were two more detailed discussions of especially important professional practice issues relevant to my project; how New York’s Planning operate in relation to the construction of high-rise towers in Midtown, and the aspects of a project that a developer such as the Trump Organization values most. The report gave me useful insight into the prevailing culture of building luxury high-rise apartment blocks in Manhattan, which contributed to the understanding of issues I was dealing with in my thesis. It also gave me a chance to apply what I had learnt regarding professional practice throughout my experience in office and in this module.




City panoramic, showing group masterplan

ROTTERDAM\ The site for this project was in close proximity to the recently developed Wilhelminapier, and I felt that it was important to react to; both its physical form and degree of success as a masterplan. In our masterplan we created a scheme which responded to the verticality of ‘Manhattan on the Mass’ Wilhelminapier, whilst generating more density, something it lacked, which we felt had led to its current empty, uninspiring atmosphere. This tactic is intended to create a ‘culture of congestion’ which Rem Koolhaas writes about generating in his competition entry for Parc de la Villette,

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which became a key precedent for our studio’s masterplan. Rotterdam’s identity as modern ‘metropolis’ is largely due to its modern rebuilding following substantial damage in WWII, which erased the heart of the city. The unique, polder landscape of Rotterdam with tall, modern buildings is at high risk of flooding - with some parts of Rotterdam 6m below the ever-rising sea level. This was a contributing factor toward our floating ‘city within a city’; an autonomous masterplan which is read at first as something that is completely contextual, but is intended to rise with the sea above the current city.



City panoramic, showing group masterplan

Group Manifesto & glossary of terms (opposite)

Symposium model, 12 strips in site

MANIFESTO\ For the symposium early in the project, our group produced a 1:1000 perspex model that showed our early intentions for the masterplan: an autonomous island in the Maashaven Basin comprised of 12 adjoining strips, each 50m wide, with each student occupying a strip with their individual proposal. The scheme was a ‘social condenser’ which drew on the work of the Constructavist Movement and Rem Koolhaas Parc de la Villette competition entry. Our aim was to create a ‘culture of congestion’ horizontally across the strips, as well as unprecedented events at the boundaries between contrasting programs. Alongside this we each produced an initial 1:250 diagrammatic plan of strips on the island. These were our first GC4.1/ GC5.3/ GC7.1

drawn responses to the metropolitan fragments we had identified through not only visiting the city, but also reading Patricia van Ulzen’s book ‘Imagine a Metropolis’, which examined the generic metropolitan image of Rotterdam between 1970-2000. We then produced a Manifesto, which included the 13 stages in which the masterplan was defined, with a clear and concise explanation of each. At the back of the manifesto we included a glossary of 38 terms, with each term given a specific definition in relation to our studio’s project. The idea to do this derived from the ‘dictionary’ running through Rem Koolhaas book S,M,L,XL, in which he attempts to establish a ‘Koolhaasian’ language which goes towards grounding his ideas. 96




Rem Koolhaas

De Rotterdam

OMA & REM KOOLHAAS\ My research of Rotterdam’s culture of work derived from Patricia Van Ulzen’s text ‘Imagine a Metropolis’ in which a key quote emerged: “Willem Jan Neutelings of Neutelings Riedijk Architects praises the slogger’s mentality of Rotterdam, pitting Amsterdam against it as a leisure city: ‘(...) Amsterdam is really a city for culture, leisure and tourism. Rotterdam is really known as a city of workers, related to the harbor. So, this particular atmosphere, which is rougher on the level of architecture, but also on the level of the people, makes it a very pleasant, inspiring city to work in.” In contrast to Neutelings, who worked for OMA in Rotterdam, Koolhaas also talks about the Rotterdam as a dull, boring and grey city to work in, which he believes makes it the perfect city of work with little distractions. My reading of OMA’s office was that, in the ‘dull’ city of Rotterdam, it is framed as an exciting and dynamic presence in contrast - which leads us to view the culture of work - particularly that of OMA - as one of the main strengths of the city. Through my research of the practice, one thing that I was intrigued by was their use of the diagram, as a way of not only OMA ‘launch projects’ taxonomy (opposite)

a tool to help explain building proposals, but also as an analytical and reflective tool of the firm itself. This is demonstrated most explicitly in Koolhaas’ book S,M,L,XL in which diagrams and charts displaying data about OMA are taken almost to a point of self-obsession - a graph depicting Koolhaas’ number of nights in hotels as well as miles flown for the practice a notable example. This self-diagramming of OMA led me interrogate the culture of work within OMA through diagram myself focusing on two key strands which interested me most about the firm - it’s ‘starchitect’ alumni and the intense amount of hours required to be worked by all its staff. I was drawn to research the key architects that have left OMA as I saw an element of tension in the departures, between the dictatorship of Koolhaas and the breaking away of talented architects that leave the near ‘regime’ of the practice. I took particular interest in buildings where the ‘alumni’ had left during or immediately after the project, where the building they worked almost becomes a ‘monument’ to them and their time at OMA, a building which served to launch their individual careers - often the start of their own firm. GC2.1/ GC7.1

City of the Captive Globe, Koolhaas

Concept Plan



Site perspective THE DIAGRAM\ Following my research, I produced my own diagram of OMA, which was a re-imagining of Koolhaas’ ‘City of the Captive Globe’ - an appendix in his early text: Delirious New York’ his manifesto for Manhattan and his vision for the city. The City of the captive Globe is described by Koolhaas as ‘devoted to the conception and accelerated with of theories and proposals, and their infliction on the world’, with each theme built upwards off a granite block. Within this, the globe gains weight with the ideas of the testing ground spanning out from it. For my critical reinterpretation of this diagram, I laid out the buildings from my taxonomy in a timeline, with their position within it dictated by project dates and the buildings use. These are overlaid over the original Koolhaas grid of the City

of the Captive globe, with the globe itself centred on the year 1975, the founding date of OMA. By this move, the globe, which swells in ego with the creations of the city, begins to reflect my observations of Koolhaas, whose stature and ego transpires to grow with each successful building and architect protégé over time, despite his denial of ‘starchitect’ status. The building diagrams overlap and create tensions between each other and the grid itself, representing the tensions between the individual architects. To give a volume to the diagram, I generated a formula to speculate how many hours each architect, collaborator and intern I was recording had worked for OMA over its history, giving mass to different areas of the diagram, with 1m2 surface area of the facade representing 100 hours worked by an individual on that project. GC2.1+.2/ GC3.1+.2+.3/ GC7.1

Office perspective

Hotel room perspective

My final scheme became a monument of time given to OMA. Rem’s time forms the plinths, the key architects are monumentalised in grand atriums on top of the them, but the hours worked by the rest of the interns and collaborators on those projects dwarfs both of these, represented by massive towers that stretch almost infinitely toward the heavens. The outcome’s monumentality recalls Koolhaas’ early paper projects, particularly those included as appendixes in Delirious New York - namely the Sphinx Hotel and the New Welfare hotel. I drew heavily on the representation of these projects for the representation of the project, reinterpreting the original references used in this imagery - including the raft of Medusa and the story of the pool; the raft perhaps referencing burnout of former OMA employees, escaping in the same way as those using the raft to escape the stress of the city in Koolhaas’ depictions. The offices in the scheme recall the intensity in terms of both productivity and working hours of the Central Business District skyscrapers born in the United States,

compacted on identical floor plates stacked vertically create the culture of congestion together with the flexibility that Koolhaas describe in the skyscrapers of New York. They have an energetic, dedicated atmosphere that reflects the culture of work withing Rotterdam. The verticality together with compact floor plates emphasises, pressurises and heightens this condition, creating a ‘hyper-work’ aura, like that of OMA. In the ‘Generic City’, Koolhaas states that the hotel is becoming the generic accommodation of the city: “That used to be the office - which at least implied a coming and going, assumed the presence of other important accommodation elsewhere. Hotels are now containers that, in the expansion and completeness of their facilities, make almost all other buildings redundant ... The hotel now implies imprisonment, voluntary house arrest.” The imagery bears reference to OMA co-founder Madelon Vriesendorp’s paintings in the ‘Manhattan Project’ series which illustrate Delirious New York. Project Axonometric (opposite)

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Welfare Hotel, Koolhaas



Perspective showing group masterplan behind Wilhelminapier



Site plan showing the group masterplan in the basin

Due to the autonomous, stripped nature of our masterplan, with each strip containing widely different themes and programs, the project as a whole had become almost a series of ‘petri-dishes’, which gave each individual scheme a linear site in which to sprawl out on. As our buildings began to develop we worked as a group in accordance with the masterplan, to ‘re-articulate’ our designs to respond to the strip directly adjacent to it, as well as the plan as a whole. This lead to buildings being aligned, interesting spaces being created, and the exploitation of voids in sparsely populated areas of the site. These design moves derive from the ‘unprecedented events’ that Koolhaas talks about in the Parc de la Villette competition scheme, and lend the masterplan areas of visual and program-

Ariel view of my strip

matic coherence, as well as some areas of tension - which is almost more important to the masterplans nature, as part of its commentary on what defines a metropolis. The autonomy of the strips is interrupted by a boulevard which perpendicularly dissects all 12 strips. This links the site, emphasising the stark changes in program for those travelling along the island. The boulevard links the masterplan back to the Maashaven Metro stop, which connects the island back to its wider context, along with a cycle path from the Katendrecht to the Tarwewijk. With its density and verticality, our masterplan directly responded to the Wilhelminapier, and together with it starts to shift Rotterdam’s architectural centre to the Kop van Zuid. GC4.2/ GC5.3

Interior photograph from the OMA addition looking towards the Mies original

Building plan, OMA



Exterior photograph of the McCormick Tribune Center, OMA

S5: TOOLS FOR THINKING SYNOPSIS\ This essay questioned whether it possible for a building’s original reading to be forgotten or lost in translation over time, resulting in a mis-reading, and whether an intervention by a different architect can cause a re-reading. I explored this question through looking at OMA’s addition of the McCormick Tribune Campus Centre (1997-2003) to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Commons building (1953-54), the amenities centre of Mies’s campus at the Illinois Institute of Technology (1943-57) in Chicago, Illinois. The essay questioned the nature of OMA’s project, specifically in its relationship to the existing Mies building, stating that it could be seen as a ‘parergon’, in terms of Derrida’s writing on the parergon in The Truth in Painting. The idea that an addition to an existing building can more than just enable further program, but can change the very nature of the space it intervenes with is one that fascinates me, and is something explored further in Spectres of Utopia and Modernity.





Merchandise Mart, Chicago

Lincoln Center, NYC

GrootHandelsgebouw, Rotterdam

Building diagrams, Meier


Groot HandelSgebouw Groot HandelSgebouw 111













Groothandelsgebouw diagrams BEGINNINGS\ For this project, we chose a building in Rotterdam built in the ‘Modern’ era. I selected the Groot Handelsgebouw; designed as a wholesale building immediately after WWII by Hugh Maaskant and Willem van Tijen, the building now operates as offices for over 100 companies, a program which I kept, whilst making significant changes to the way in which it worked. Whilst studying the building, I was drawn to the relationship between the building’s heavy concrete frame and its window-panel infill. After studying buildings of the modernist period which had bold, honest structural frames, I read the structural frame as the ‘truth’ of the existing building, which the decorative infill panels took away from, particularly

on the east facade, where the panels protrude in front of the columns. While this building appeared to have some of the tell the tale signs of a modern building, they appeared to be mere tropes of Modernism, which had become confused with the ornament of shops fronts. I believed this architecture was more closely associated to the ‘Mannerist Modernism’ described by Robert Venturi in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, and seen in the architecture of Philip Johnson among others at the Lincoln Centre, New York. I felt that these decorative panels had in part led to the buildings facades as reading as very still, quiet and uninspiring, far from appearing a ‘bustling hive of activity’, which Maaskant intended the building to be. GC2.1+.2/ GC4.2/ GC5.3/ GC7.1+.2

Constructavist drawing, Chernikov

Construction photographs of the Groothandelsgebouw

Groothandelsgebouw, existing section

Groothandelsgebouw, existing upper floor plan



Groothandelsgebouw, existing elevation

Groothandelsgebouw, existing frame elevation

THE FRAME\ Following my initial observations on the building’s frame and infill, I found there to be much more dynamism in the construction photographs, which show the buildings in-situ concrete frame before the decorative panels were inserted. Therefore, I made the decision to remove the decorative window panels from the existing building. Following the exposure of the frame, I began to look at the work of the

Constructavists, as well as explore the origins of the structural frame in Chicago. Reading Colin Rowe’s essay on the Chicago Frame drew my attention to how the structural frame can ‘puncture’ space as opposed to shape it, and the drawbacks that this had in many of the early skyscrapers of Chicago. Due to this, I wanted the structural frame of my building to shape the layout of the design, reinforcing and not infringing it. GC2.1+.2/ GC3.1+.2+.3/ GC7.1



METU School of Architecture THE LABYRINTH\ After analyising the building in both plan and section, the repetitive nature of the column grid was clear. This led to the building being very rigid and monotonous in both plan and section, with no level changes moving through the building, and very little variation in spaces, both internal and external. Referring to the dynamic nature of the structural frame in Constructavist artwork as well as building precedents (included the METU Campus architecture building), I began to subtract from the building, both in plan and section. The aim of this move was to open the building up more to the city, as well as internally, which would allow more air and light deeper into more varied internal and external spaces. In designing the intervention to the building I studied closely the readings and buildings of Aldo van Eyck, in particular his writings on the vast number and twinphenomina in architecture and his Amsterdam orphanage project, which was a clear expression of his theories in these texts. Van Eyck states that in buildings with repetitive elements, the

Amsterdam Orphanage, Van Eyck original element must be of sufficient quality to be repeated - to avoid monotony of the element within the building - something I felt the original buildings module lacked. Once an initial module is designed, it can be repeated throughout the rest of the building in various configurations. Van Eyck believed that if the initial set of elements in the initial module could be related to and understood by someone within the building, before being rolled out in complex and varied patterns throughout, the individual would relate to the building more deeply, through understanding of a complex whole, a ‘labyrinthine clarity’ which avoids monotony but does not overwhelm with disorientation. These complex patterns allow more variation in plan and section, which creates a more diverse sets of spaces for the occupant to experience. Van Eyck valued these qualities in as he felt it addressed an ‘emotional functionalism’ concerned with the well being of the individual, as opposed to the ‘strict functionalism’ characterised in many modernist projects, which could alienate the occupant.

Demolition, exploded axonometric (opposite)

Noah’s Ark, Blom

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Painting, Mondrian

Central Baheer, Hertzberger

No-Stop City, Archizoom

1 person module, ‘Kit of parts’

THE MODULE\ Following Van Eyck’s writings of twinphenomena; countering the big with the small and the vast number, it was imperative that the small details were designed well, so that they are enough quality to be repeated without become monotonous. The first infill component I designed was a 1-person working module. This was the first in a series of modules all to be constructed from the same set of parts. The module was separated both acoustically and thermally, so as to create a specifically controlled environment for the occupant. These

modules would then be dispersed throughout the building with an internal ‘street-scape’ in-between. The aim was to create a module suitable for focused work, with the street-scape suitable for noise, encounter and relaxation, without the two very different requirements of these spaces diluting one another, as they do in most contemporary offices. The design of the module was heavily inspired by Mondrian and the artists involved in the De Stijl movement, who used grids to create dynamic and varied compositions. 116


1 person module, exploded axonometric

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Kahn’s furniture and Le Corbusier’s Modular Man

Artificial light/ power

Natural light

MODULAR WORKING\ The 1 person module has interior dimensions of 1475x1475mm, so that 2 fit within the new column grid and 4 fit within the existing column grid. For a space of this size to be both a comfortable environment to work in, I referred to Le Corbusier’s Modulor as well as recent ergonomic desk work studies to determine furniture heights within. The aim of the module was to design a utopic workspace, which is closely related to the human body to create a feeling of intimacy, within a vast building. The desire to have

Climate control

bespoke joinery within the module came from a wish to create a sense of specific fitness for purpose, with quality in mind, in a counter act to low quality, default furniture that populates many offices spaces. For this, I drew on the designs of Louis Kahn furniture at both the Fisher House, and Exeter Library. I felt that both of these captured the sense of utopic work space I wanted to create, with close attention to detail, material and natural light. The planes and visible structure in my own furniture also was influenced by the De Stijl movement. 118


1 person module furniture, construction axonometrics

Furniture Assembly

Furniture Assembly

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Further building modules at varying sizes




New-build facade detail

New-build facade elevation

NEW BUILD\ My structural infill aimed to set out to complete a complex landscape along with the remaining building, that the module could be dispersed throughout, to generate emotional functionalism in the building. The new build is at half levels to the existing, approaching and occasionally connecting to the old building, whilst shaping a diverse series of urban spaces in-between. I devised the new structure to be set out on a grid of 3.6m column centres, half that of the existing buildings

7.2m column centres. This move was to break the building down from what I felt was a very much an automobile scale, to a smaller human scale. The new buildings and spaces in my proposed start to resemble the old city to the north of the station as opposed to large masses and voids to the south. This was an intentional move to create at atmosphere within the plot which felt more like the dense bustling spaces of the old town, and less like the sparse voids of the new.

Intervention axonometric (opposite)

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Constructavist drawing



Proposed Ground floor plan

Amsterdam Orphanage, Van Eyck

Ford Foundation Building, Roche



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Proposed Upper floor plan

External perspectives

New build intermediate floor detail 1:20 CIVIC REALM\ Some of the larger public spaces created has more of an open, civic feel, with lots of space for events and activities, possible for large social gatherings, making it a valuable space for the city - for tourists and residents alike. The materials for the exterior make up a palette of natural materials, with different surfaces defining different kinds of space. The quality of the materials define the spaces as Site plan (opposite)

monumental places of gathering and encounter in the city. For the new build elements I used a steel structural frame. To emphasise the structure as the ‘truth’ of the building I wanted the steel structure to be read both externally and internally. To achieve this without creating a cold bridges through the structure, I used two C beams, mirrored to work like an I beam, with rigid insulation in between to create a thermal break. GC2.1+.3/ GC4.1+.2/ GC5.1+.3

Intervention to existing facade detail

Intervention to existing facade elevation

PROGRAM\ In the upper floors of the building modules can be rented by companies and laid out in infinite configurations according to their requirements. My layout of the 3rd floor plan was informed by some of the complex patterns of the Dutch Structuralists, including Herman Hertzberger at the Centraal Beheer. The street-scape in between is open to all who work in the building, giving it the genuine interaction, buzz and atmosphere of an intimate street-scape in the city. Here,

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occupants of the building can relax, eat lunch, converse and interact, without disturbing people working in the sound-proof modules. These in-between spaces are populated with movable seating, games tables and other street furniture, to create a dynamic and varied environment. The street-scape not only provides a landscape for employees to get to know each other better, but also business people from different companies to network and discuss collaboration possibilities.

Central Baheer details, Hertzberger



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Upper Floor Plans Joe Dent ~ Spectres of Utopia and Modernity


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Floor - 1:1000 7th Floor4th - 1:1000



3rd Floor - 1:250 8t

Upper Floor Plans Joe Dent ~ Spectres of Utopia and Modernity

3rd Floor - 1:250

Floor plans 1-8 1st Floor - 1:1000

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Floor - 1:1000 6th Floor -2nd 1:1000 0 1 2






Upper Floor Pla

Joe Dent ~ Spectres of Utopia a

Proposed long section

LEVELS\ Through my subtraction and subsequent intervention to the building, I created a much more dynamic section, in which the spaces and spatial transitions and much more varied and meaningful, with a greater change in levels as well as visual and physical connection between them. The close attention to level change is not limited to the inside of the building but also articulated in the public realm to create more meaningful spaces. In this way, the building is an exciting landscape for the modules to be set into, right in amongst the bustle of the building, yet separated thermally and acousticalGC1.1/ GC5.3/ GC7.1+.2/ GC9.1

ly, for an optimal working environment. The new facade in the existing structure is set back from the original position, this move was primarily made to declare more emphatically the original structure of the building, to achieve an effect much closer to the construction photographs that show the bold frame as the principle element of the building. This also allows insulation to wrap on the inside of the existing columns, creating a thermal break to stop the existing cold bridge. The cold bridge of the exposed floors is resolved by insulating both the floor and the soffit, so each space is insulated individually. 130


Amsterdam Orphanage, Van Eyck

Facade intervention detail

Salk Institute, Kahn

Ford Foundation, Roche

Central Baheer interior, Hertzberger

New build facade detail

ENVIRONMENT\ The integrated section shows the visual and physical connectivity between the half levels of the new build structure alongside the existing, as well as the environmental considerations of the street-scape. Air vents running along the top and bottom of the facade allow single sided and cross ventilation in areas of up to 6m and 10m respectively. In areas larger than this, joinery units which act as heating, contain a mechanical ventilation system for that space. The streetscape can then be heated via a heating unit within the seating, as well as by the solar gain possible from the large areas of glazing. Plant can be positioned in the half height spaces at ground level in the new structure, which can all be accessed from the exterior as well as interior. For any larger plant that requires more room, modules can easily be removed to create GC1.2+.3/ GC.1+.2/ GC7.1+.2/ GC8.1+.2+.3/ GC9.1+.2+.3/ GC10.3

space. The services of the building all revealed, running along the buildings exposed frame. This means that modules can be simply ‘plugged in’ to the services via the frame, and therefore the frame becomes the ‘life support’ of the building in more than just its structural capacity. The join between the new and the old building is made by a steel beam that reaches out and joins onto the existing column at its midpoint. This clear join enables the new build to be read as simply sitting alongside the old, touching it but not permeating into it. Together, the two structures create a harmonious and dynamic landscape for the modules to be dispersed throughout. Due to this, it is the clearly perceived parts of the modules that are the same throughout the building and therefore unify it, satisfying the individuals understanding of the whole, through the individual. Integrated section (opposite) 132


New build facade and module detail

New build facade and bench detail



Interior perspective

DETAILS\ For the new build elevation, it was possible to use different section of steel to allow the structural frame to be read inside and out. The width of the steel elements, nearly 3 times thinner than the concrete columns of the original, help define the new structure from the old. C beams were used to create depth and shadow in the elevation, avoiding the ‘flatness’ of many contemporary building constructed in a steel frame. The columns on the interior were ‘+’ section, to allow the modules’ corners to fit easily into them, and to emphasize the grid within the building. Due to the design’s complexity, adaptability and infinite configurations, the building becomes a really dynamic and varied series of spaces that will change throughout the day as well as over the years. Opening the

building up to create more facade area allows more ventilation and solar gain, but also direct sunlight into the building, to make it much more connected to the outside world as the light changes over the course of a single day. Through tackling the building at a diverse range of scales, from the urban to the individual, I have attempted to unlock the building’s vast possibilities, breaking away from the repetition and autonomy that characterized the building before. The bespoke and innovative program of the building also allows it to be much more agile in adapting to businesses needs. This new way of working feels appropriate to be tested in Rotterdam, characterised as a ‘city of work’. This design attempts to transform the nature of work from a dry, stale state, to one that is vibrant and full of life.

GC1.2+.3/ GC5.1/ GC8.1+.2+.3/ GC9.1+.2+.3




View through installation (opposite)

Installation 1 in space & carabiner detail INTRODUCTION\ For me, this project centred around the space, or void rather, between architectural representation and architecture itself. I say this based on the two mediums we have primarily worked in - Installation and Virtual Reality - being not quite ‘architecture’ in themselves, as they do not for example ‘shelter’ or ‘function’ in the traditional sense. However, I believe they are certainly both beyond ‘representation’, as they are both spatial in their own right, and do not act as an imitation or precursor to something else. My reflections are broadly split in to two parts; the implications involved in exploring this void, and how I believe this ‘space between’ is valuable and under-exploited within the architectural sphere. For a comprehensive investigation into expanding on conventional architectural representation, it was necessary GC3.1+.3/ GC7.1/ GC8.1

Mallory drawing, Stasus for us to not only research through reading about the subject, Everest Death Zone Project Proposal but also researching by design. In being creative, it allowed us as a group to expand our thinking by following our own interests and instincts throughout the project. By using the Everest Death Zone (EDZ) as a subject, so rich in its content and possibilities, we had the ideal project to take beyond conventional representation and start to lend the themes spatial and fully architectural qualities. By researching through design, it struck me how complex and diverse the process of the project came, in comparison to my previous research projects. In having to organise venues and events for our exhibitions, as well as ordering expensive equipment and learning complex software for the VR, the work involved is substantial, and therefore was meticulously recorded and evidenced in our document. MALLORY




Installation 2 in space during a presentation EXHIBITIONS\ The constraints of the spaces, budget and time that we had no doubt shaped the project immensely, sometimes in the restrictive sense, but often acting as a catalyst. The space in the Tyne Bridge tower used in the second exhibition, for example, later informed our final virtual reality environment, its drama and sense of human endeavour in its construction, helping to convey themes of this nature in the virtual experience. Due to the fact that we centred our whole investigation with only the EDZ used as the ‘test’ as it were, we have only begun to scratch the surface in creating new types of space, alluded to in my essay as ‘Approaching Chora’. I am hopeful that more projects within Newcastle’s Architecture school will build on what we have done in future

Axonometric of Tyne Bridge tower

years. One of the main enjoyments and benefits to partaking in this project was the chance to not only design but build something physical at a 1:1 architectural scale, something that is all too rare in architectural education. As we found particularly in our second exhibition, projects like these are great for engaging the wider community with architectural ideas; demonstrating that architecture can mean so much more than just the generic buildings they experience every day. Both exhibitions also introduced us to artists and other people in both the historical and creative spheres, with some of the fascinating discussions we had with academic researchers and enthusiasts alike invaluable to the enhancement of our paper.



Installation 2 during screening of The Epic of Everest

GC3.1+.2+.3/ GC8.1

Installation 3, virtual reality in use

VIRTUAL REALITY\ I was interested in researching VR in this project, partly due to my reservations surrounding it, concerns centred on whether the technology is developed enough to convey a ‘near reality’ experience, and the ethical implications behind inhabiting such close imitations of reality. What I found most interesting in our project, was that we set out not to create an experience as close to reality as possible, but one that was intentionally abstract, trying to convey complex and intangible concept and themes. I believe that when embracing the virtual and the abstract, virtual reality can unlock an amazing part of its potential, creating virtual environments that architects could only dream of creating in reality. Once VR is set up, constraints of space, budget and even the laws of physics are rendered moot by the vast and

Isometric of the virtual reality environment

unconstrained possibilities that exist within the creation of a virtual experience. Although we only started to unlock VR’s potential in this nature, it is no-doubt a fascinating area to explore, for not only game developers and artists to explore, but architects too, as the medium of VR is inherently spatial. Overall, I believe that the further exploration of the gap between architecture and its representation holds near infinite possibilities that can subsequently benefit spatial thinking and making of all kinds. Those exploring this gap should not fear cross-contamination of mediums, demonstrated in our project through the infiltration of our installation into our VR experience, as it can add richness, as well as blur boundaries within architecture and representation, generating exciting new experiences and possibilities in doing so.



Plan of the virtual reality environment

GC3.1+.2+.3/ GC7.1

Video stills of virtual reality experience



GC1 Ability to create architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements. GC1 The graduate will have the ability to: 1.1 prepare and present building design projects of diverse scale, complexity, and type in a variety of contexts, using a range of media, and in response to a brief; 1.2 understand the constructional and structural systems, the environmental strategies and the regulatory requirements that apply to the design and construction of a comprehensive design project; 1.3 develop a conceptual and critical approach to architectural design that integrates and satisfies the aesthetic aspects of a building and the technical requirements of its construction and the needs of the user. GC2 Adequate knowledge of the histories and theories of architecture and the related arts, technologies and human sciences. GC2 The graduate will have knowledge of: 2.1 the cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings; 2.2 the influence of history and theory on the spatial, social, and technological aspects of architecture; 2.3 the application of appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects, demonstrating a reflective and critical approach. GC3 Knowledge of the fine arts as an influence on the quality of architectural design. GC3 The graduate will have knowledge of: 3.1 how the theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural design; 3.2 the creative application of the fine arts and their relevance and impact on architecture; 3.3 the creative application of such work to studio design projects, in terms of their conceptualisation and representation. GC4 Adequate knowledge of urban design, planning and the skills involved in the planning process. GC4 The graduate will have knowledge of: 4.1 theories of urban design and the planning of communities; 4.2 the influence of the design and development of cities, past and present on the contemporary built environment; 4.3 current planning policy and development control legislation, including social, environmental and economic aspects,

and the relevance of these to design development. GC5 Understanding of the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment, and the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human needs and scale. GC5 The graduate will have an understanding of: 5.1 the needs and aspirations of building users; 5.2 the impact of buildings on the environment, and the precepts of sustainable design; 5.3 the way in which buildings fit into their local context. GC6 Understanding of the profession of architecture and the role of the architect in society, in particular in preparing briefs that take account of social factors. GC6 The graduate will have an understanding of: 6.1 the nature of professionalism and the duties and responsibilities of architects to clients, building users, constructors, co-professionals and the wider society; 6.2 the role of the architect within the design team and construction industry, recognising the importance of current methods and trends in the construction of the built environment; 6.3 the potential impact of building projects on existing and proposed communities. GC7 Understanding of the methods of investigation and preparation of the brief for a design project. GC7 The graduate will have an understanding of: 7.1 the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals; 7.2 the need to appraise and prepare building briefs of diverse scales and types, to define client and user requirements and their appropriateness to site and context; 7.3 the contributions of architects and co-professionals to the formulation of the brief, and the methods of investigation used in its preparation. GC8 Understanding of the structural design, constructional and engineering problems associated with building design. GC8 The graduate will have an understanding of: 8.1 the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design; 8.2 strategies for building construction, and ability to integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction


techniques; 8.3 the physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems, and the environmental impact of specification choices. GC9 Adequate knowledge of physical problems and technologies and the function of buildings so as to provide them with internal conditions of comfort and protection against the climate. GC9 The graduate will have knowledge of: 9.1 principles associated with designing optimum visual, thermal and acoustic environments; 9.2 systems for environmental comfort realised within relevant precepts of sustainable design; 9.3 strategies for building services, and ability to integrate these in a design project. GC10 The necessary design skills to meet building users’ requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations. GC10 The graduate will have the skills to: 10.1 critically examine the financial factors implied in varying building types, constructional systems, and specification

147 choices, and the impact of these on architectural design; 10.2 understand the cost control mechanisms which operate during the development of a project; 10.3 prepare designs that will meet building users’ requirements and comply with UK legislation, appropriate performance standards and health and safety requirements.

GC11 Adequate knowledge of the industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings and integrating plans into overall planning. GC11 The graduate will have knowledge of: 11.1 the fundamental legal, professional and statutory responsibilities of the architect, and the organisations, regulations and procedures involved in the negotiation and approval of architectural designs, including land law, development control, building regulations and health and safety legislation; 11.2 the professional inter-relationships of individuals and organisations involved in procuring and delivering architectural projects, and how these are defined through contractual and organisational structures; 11.3 the basic management theories and business principles related to running both an architect’s practice and architectural projects, recognising current and emerging trends in the construction industry.


Joe Dent / Part II / MArch Architecture Portfolio / Newcastle University  
Joe Dent / Part II / MArch Architecture Portfolio / Newcastle University  

Work from Stage 5 + Stage 6 for the fulfilment of the MArch Architecture program at Newcastle University. Features design projects in New Yo...