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Unrealistic Scenarios

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

Jose Antonio Castaneda Tutor: Phil Watson 27th June, 2011 Project Report

M.Arch Architectural Design Bartlett School of Architecture University College London

Unrealistic Scenarios

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.� Ecclesiastes.

Contents Introduction

Page. 4

Part I. The Theoretical Concepts


Evolution in Respect to Technology


Technology and the Esscence of Architecture 9


Recognizing the Existence of Simulations 11


4. Experiment: Simulation and Hyperreality in 12 Times Square, New York

Part II. The Project Development

5. Objetives



The Importance of the Old Styles 19

7. Tactics, Creating Hybrid Scenarios 20 within the Cyberspace 8. Plastic City Scenario



Development of Design Tactics and 30 Methods

9.1 Natural Methods


9.2 Design Tactics


10. Pieces of Narrative



Religion and Superstition of Gagoyles 35

11. References


A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

+ Opposite: Detail of Masons and Crane at a Building Site, 14th-century miniature, Venice, Gallerie Franchetti. Source: Building the Great Cathedrals


In the search for a radical and substantial change in the field of architecture, new alternatives are explored in order to return [ ] architecture to its essence by speculating on new architectural topologies that cross the borders of time and technology. This report is divided into two sections. The first part is the theoretical basis of the project, and this is seen as a restating of Heidegger’s question concerning technology to that of architecture. The shift in focus of the question is to place architecture in a developing series of technological connections and simulations as in Baudrillard (1994a). The intention is to question the process by which architecture was practised and developed and to interrogate this as a simulacrum that is embedded in the contemporary environment, where the true essence of architecture has been abandoned. A proper understanding of these concepts is of great importance as they provide a method for a critical review of contemporary practices. The model of the city is used as a contemporary site.

+ Below: A treadwheel crane used during Roman times and the Middle Ages in the building of castles and cathedrals. Source: pedia/commons/3/33/Treadmill crane.jpg

The ´blended space´ becomes the basis for a landscape to be explored with natural processes that exist outside of the idea of typologies and technology and can exist continuously in their distinctness. The design is meant to attach inputs to sections of typologies using natural processes, such as vibrations, expansions, contractions, erosions; these processes feed the simulations altering the spaces with movement in light and shadow to construct new space geometries. Existing geometries are used in a performance to construct alternative compositions that may exist in the simulacrum.

The second part of this report explores the ‘plastic city’ as a metaphorical construction where different ´input spaces´ converge. Architectural typologies are used to construct overlapping objects based on time and differences in technology. History, culture and politics of the place are explored and traced in order to establish essence that is to be explored as an architectural proposal. 04

Unrealistic Scenarios

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

Part I

Theoretical Concepts

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

+ Opposite: Santiago Ribeiro, ‘ Surreal Mass Production Painting’ Source: tured/surreal-mass-production santiago-ribeiro.html

1. Evolution in Respect to Technology Philosophers and architects have, through history, studied the relationship between ´humans´ and ´technology´ in order to define the limits within which the practice of architecture is carried out. The study of this relationship is of great importance for the development of this architectural research. This is because the very ´essence of architecture´, as explained by Heidegger (1954), has been directly influenced by the development of technology in societies through the practice of architecture as well as the architect. The evolution of ´societies´ has been in parallel with the evolution of ´technology´. These conditions and the morphological changes are the basis of this thesis: how we inherit iconography and symbols embedded in the translation of objects, space and form. Christian doctrines, which date from before the Renaissance in Europe, form the basis of one of the first documented societies that explored ´technology´ in relationship to its doctrine as well as its theology. This relationship affected the development of architecture during this period, achieving a great mastery in the creation of temples of worship to deities. However, over time, many other technological historians, as well as other German philosophers such as Marx, studied the same relationship and reached different conclusions. Some, came to understand ´humanity´ only as a ´standing reserve’ Plamenatz (1992), where ´humans´ are seen only as a tool for the development of society.

Architecturally, it implies that the intellectual and creative part of the architect is less important than the artisans’ skill and technology. Society is measured in terms of technology as an extension of its relationship with locations. The question concerning technology becomes an issue in relation to architecture and in its locations within new technologies.

+ Below:

Robert Maloney ‘ Mass Produc tion’ , mixed media. Exhibition ‘ On the Grid’ , 2008

Source: hibitions/view/4387/robertMalone y__sean_thomas_on_t.html


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s :

2. Technology and the Essence of Architeture The lack of understanding of the definition of ´essence´ (eidos) within the context of ´technology´ was a big concern to Heidegger (1954). Societies have based their understanding of things in relationship to ´technology´, as if ´technology´ is the last result of things. The reason why ´technology´ has appropriated the innermost ´essence´ of things and human practices including architecture is described in the paper ‘The question concerning technology’; here Heidegger states that ‘the essence of something is what it is that unfolds essentially, and what endures´. If architects are mentally unaware of the meaning of the ´essence of architecture´, they become excluded out of the field, since they are not able to delimit the scope and limitations within the practice anymore. As the architect loses control over the practice of architecture, everything that is developed within his or her practice responds exclusively to external needs such as capitalism and socialism, practices that, at the same time, are based on industrialization and mass production systems. Thus, architecture becomes corrupted. And, as a result, the architect has to meet the standards imposed by the economic system, leaving aside their creativity, and especially, the essence of their profession, which then ceases to be architecture.


As a result of this loss of meaning or intention, architecture must be re-evaluated as well as rethought, and analyzed from a different perspective that fits within contemporary societies and global politics. An appropriate understanding of the term ´essence´ is perhaps one of the most important considerations.

In order to explain the concept of ´essence´, for instance, the example of a brick-house (ibid): “Its essence is nothing similar to the form of a house. A house of any type, for any reason could be destroyed or being re-made and it does not endure. The ´essence´ is ´houseness´, the qualities that determine why it is called house. These qualities endure through time and all houses.” This means that the essence of architecture is nothing architectural. Therefore, to understand what is truly the ‘essence’ of architecture, requires us to break down what is meant by the term ‘architecture’, how it changes over time, and to reinterpret this essence and the place of the humanities in relation to it. When architects truly come to understand this concept, they will be free to develop real architecture, within the limits that they choose, leading their practice in the most suitable directions that will be targeted at them and society as in Raja (2011). The practice of architecture can be re-invented and re-interpreted once the concept of ´essence´ is clear. Architects may then be able to retract the possibility of being the main actors within the development of their own architecture, and, at the same time, encourage a free practice, based on nature and philosophy.

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

+ Opposite: Wiley Skewes, ‘ Repetitive Chi nese Buildings’ Source: wileys-photography-gallery-4.html

+ Right: ‘ Book of Modern Homes and buil -ding Plans’ Source: Rob Schweitzer and The Arts & Crafts Society.

+ Right:

Folkform, “ Handmade Mass Production’ , 2011.

Source: R /23/handmade-mass-production by-folkform/


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s : + Opposite: Fritz Lang, Photograph of Broad way (1924) Source: http://www.aggregat456com/2010 /06/impure-opticality-or-when- urban-screens.html

3. Recognizing the Existance of Simulations The theory of ´simulations´ approached in Baudrillard (1994a) ´is a subject of importance within the development of this research. Its importance lies in the relationship between ´simulations´ and the ´economic structures´, which considerably affects the practice of architecture. According to this theory, nowadays, our society is being developed within a ´simulation´, with the real being replaced by a hyperreality, based on symbolisms and signs. The structures developed in the creation of these ´simulations´ are part of the apparatus of daily life and people remain practically unaware of their existence. In Baudrillard’s (1972), concern is expressed about consumerism, directly related to the existence of a simulation. The development of new software and new forms of mass production, ie rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing are new methods of producing copies which in themselves have no special value since they copy without an original to support them. This form of contemporary architectural practice becomes a ´hyperreal´, and leaves aside natural and philosophical attributes. One can see the same kind of architecture all over the world, as it propagates further simulations. The architect becomes an artificer of ´simulations´ in order to fit within the economic system that controls the whole simulation.


These persist and carry over into other areas, such as advertising, fashion, sexuality, electronic and communication media. The proliferation of commodities multiply the quantity of controlled signs and spectacles that are in direct relationship with this hyperreality and produce a continuous proliferation of sign-value (as seen in the Times Square case study). The problem is that not all these signs within the simulation have a real intrinsic value; instead they become embedded in the ´status´ of the object. In order to take control of our own decisions, it is important to understand that ´simulations´ are produced in different ways from one another, and are created with different purposes. Baudrillard (1994a) divided the ´simulation´ into four stages. The first stage of simulation is supposed to be the reflection of a profound reality, i.e. ´the resulting image out of the simulation [it] is a faithful copy of the original´. The second stage of simulation is the one that tries to distort a ´profound reality´, which means it is a bad copy, and, by its nature, endeavours to deceive. The third stage masks the absence of a profound reality, where the simulacrum pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original. The fourth stage is pure simulation, in which the simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever.

Note: The generation of models of something real that has neither origin nor reality: a ‘hyperreal’ as stated by Baudrillard (1954)

For a Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture + Below: Photography of Times Square March 2011.

4. Experiment: Hyper reality in Times Square, NY Technology´ and ´simulation´ were further explored by referring to these questions in relation to Times Square, New York. The boundaries of the research were expanded to address different questions, unmasking the ´simulation´ that ceased to be interesting in itself. This led to exploring deeply inside other kinds of relationships within the simulations – the relationship between styles and symbolism is now intended to include the effects that light, movement, time and shifting/altering of construction have over the system of simulations. The inclusion of new systems and methods is incorporated in the environment of the others. The gaps and elisions between the two start to form the focus of the inquiry. Many buildings in Times Square have been mutilated in order to meet the standards established by the simulators; many buildings have been changed, patched, cut, or have been amputated to fit many parts of the simulations. Thus, part of their architectural essence (which is extracted from its function, Heidegger) has been degraded. Steel beams have been embedded on their walls to support the giant screens, and now cover the view from the street to the original facade of the buildings. Now, the ´skin´ of the buildings consists of these mechanisms. A building never reaches an architectural essence by itself, as it only becomes a support for economical practices. Everything that is involved in this complex process is monitored by expenditure and the use of capital, as in Frampton (2002) and has nothing to do with essence


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s : + Right and Opposite: Drawings of the Process during the experiment done during the 2nd term ‘Simulacra in Times Square’ .

of architecture, or any human essence at all. Nevertheless, for Woods (1993) this kind of scenario provides the opportunity to define precisely the ideal role of the architect and the author uses the context of work in Sarajevo, Havana and San Francisco to describe this, responding to destruction brought about by conflict, economic sanctions and natural disasters, as in Raja (2011). In ‘Twenty Tactics for a New Practice’, Woods proposes that “The damaged city can be a model for all cities suffering the unpredictable and violent changes brought about by continuous technological innovation and the rapid social and political changes it causes”. The selection of the site became part of the project itself. As in Woods´ context, the site should contain features found in a city, a building or part of a building that has in part been destroyed, abandoned, maimed or mutilated. The very moment of destruction defining the limits of the architectural practice and allowing the easier reconstruction of the original piece by natural means, and with an appropriate use of technology. The destruction of the original simulacrum may give a new meaning to the piece to be intervened with and will transfer all the history and narrative that it contained into the final architectural proposition.


+ Right and Opposite: Drawings of the PlanView ‘Simulacra in Times Square’ .

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

Experiment: Cyberspace unmasking the Simulacra en Times Square ¨Virtual Typologies of light in Times Square New York¨ It was sought a place where a simulation with economical and political purposes is obvious, and Times Square was found. Here, it was possible to interrogate the way in which the Simulacrum is embedded in the contemporary environment, leaving aside the real essence of the place, implementing a simulation of the 3rd type according to Baudrillard (1954). Once the Simulation that blurs the reality of the place is exposed, (based on the proliferation of signs, markings and spectacular) the foundations were defined, for the experimentation in the cyberspace of an environment that counteract the features of the Simulation by natural means such as light, with the intention of returning the natural aspect to the site, in terms of the cyberspace. Technically, the experiment consisted in the capture of solar rays in different ranges of time, tracing their movement trough the space and measuring their shadows. This, whitin the cyberspace constructed in part, by the physical structures of the buildinds that conform the site. It was obtained measurements of light and shadow of the day June 21, 2011 by means of software simulations. These light rays were captured and then extruded in three dimensions within an arough environment and full of noise. The new three-dimensional geometries were later modified by a sound frequency equal to the one that is given on the site, which reaches measures higher than 80dBA. This modification of the 3d light-traces by the frequencies of sound, smooth the geometries, and on the other hand, allow speculating with the design of a hyperreal world based on natural functions This experiment allows setting the technological groundwork for future explorations into the simulation by natural means. 14

Unrealistic Scenarios

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

Part II

Development of the project

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

5. Objetives

The conceptual part of the project constructs the foundations for the project within the boundaries of ´technology´ and ´simulations´. The inputs to this are everyday constructions that seemingly remain unchanged. These collaborations between changing cultural codes and the geometries of a natural world form the basis of my architectural proposal. This requires the creation of a method within the language to discuss the differences in the reconstruction of the damage city. The idea is to enable a new model for building in the city. It is intended to reconstruct different pieces of architecture, constituting the past with new technologies and natural events. These methods include the use of light and its effect on objects, the transfer of heat and water and the application of vibration, including voice as conversation or narrative embodied in the structure. The structure is the inhabitation of the space and the experiences that are unrecorded in that space. These become the basis of design as the incorporation of shift in a structure as it is reinhabited or revisited over time. New topological constructions are produced that incorporate features of existing materiality shift and the routines of occupation, leading also to the development of new responsive environments, which vary in scale as well as in function. The project develops with the design of a series of reconstructed pieces of architecture that incorporate history, culture, narrative, and natural systems, which are able to respond to the immediacy of the environment. This returns it to the vernacular of Frampton and Woods.

Vernacular does not mean a return to the styles of old, or any style at all; it is simply a return to the architecture for the people of that place, and it is described in their language, and constructed according to their hierarchies or indeed heterarchies, as mentioned in Raja (2011). The features that make these reconstructed pieces of great importance in the world of contemporary architecture are that the creation of ‘hybrid’ topologies represents the opportunity to discuss a narrative rich in history and tradition with everyday contemporary life. Such discussion generates architectural pieces with a high level of aesthetic, and more importantly, a very human content. Technologically speaking, these pieces are also of great interest because methodologies permit the introduction into the same conversation an actual architectural topic, which is about a ´responsive architecture´, that is not simply about technology. It also presents an opportunity to reconsider that part which is sculpted by the system over time as a natural geometry within the inhabited space.

+ Opposite: ‘ Su Sung Water Clock Tower’ Source: /Time/early.html


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s :

6. The Importance of the Old Styles ´Gothic´, ´baroque´, ´rococo´ as well as other classical styles are essential to the exploration of this ´responsive architecture´. The importance of the classics has been the subject of study for Deleuze (1992), who stated that “the baroque represents the ultimate attempt to reconstitute a classical reason by dividing divergences into as many worlds as possible, and by making from incompossibilities as many possible borders between worlds”. At the same time, the classic styles represent a great opportunity to reconstruct some of their features analogically into new forms of expression, features such as bold masses, colonnades, domes, light-and-shade (chiaroscuro), ‘painterly’ color effects, and the bold play of volume and void representing a great range of opportunities to explore within the new topologies. The reason why the old styles are chosen in order to be part of these architectural experiments is that they represent some of the most important masterpieces within architecture and art through history. Many of these pieces are lost in time and no one remembers them. Others represent a specific era or a specific artist, and their importance lies in the message that was supposed to be transmitted but that has already been lost. In this dissertation, an attempt is made at discovering these messages and reinterpreting them by new technological means, which allow for the creation of hybrid geometric pieces that cross boundaries in time. This attaches to the hybrid geometries, different historical and cultural events, enriching the narrative, and allowing for the discussion of architecture in more powerful scenarios.


+ Right: The Belford Master, detail of Construction of the Tower of Babel. 1423, London Source: British Library(MS. add. 18850, fol. 15v) Building the Great Cathedrals

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture + Below: Perspective view, experimenting with Hybrid Scenarios. A1 drawing, December 2010.

7. Creating Hybrid Scenarios within the Cyberspace The project is engaged with the development of a new expression of a ´responsive architecture´. In actual terms, this architecture should be able to respond and to adapt to its environment by natural means, and through secondary means be able to create new interior environments. Furthermore, these changes generate new conditions for development within the same pieces for change in relation to cultural, historical and political events. Heidegger’s views on technology as well as Baudrillard’s language in the field of ´simulations´ are used in order to discuss this type of ´responsive architecture´. An archaeologist, at the time of making investigations, discovers the different layers that have been accumulated through time, and on which the present land is based. These layers contain different flows of information, such as different architectural properties, information about the culture of the place at a certain time, and even data about the economy, politics, sexuality and environmental conditions. Those properties give an intrinsic value to the piece to be reconstructed, and provide feedback at the time of the reconstruction.

originality and integrity. ´Blending theory´ is used to create ´unrealistic scenarios´ where new pieces of architecture are reconstructed. The blending theory is useful because it has considerable explanatory power in the description of ´hybrid´ situations, as stated in Semino (2010), and it is precisely this particular case, where multiple inputs of information in cyberspace are mixed in order to experiment with them, crossing borders between the real and the virtual without confusing their limits. The project becomes a speculation about how this kind of ‘responsive hybrid architecture’ crosses borders in time and space, as well as in styles and customs. The virtual hybrid could in future be the base for the creation of a new architectural topology to be applied in the real world.

Hybridization of the topic is explored within what is called ´unrealistic scenarios´ in architecture. Such places exist in ´cyberspace´, and allow us to speculate on unique issues within the field because of the flexibility of combining different topics on a single scenario in order to discuss radical solutions to the problems that actual architecture is facing, such as lack of humanity, 20

+ Below: Perspective view, experimenting with Hybrid Scenarios. A1 drawing, December 2010.


Experiment: ¨Construction of a Blending Scenario with Music and Gothic ¨

+ Above Section View through the Hybrid Scenario created with Music and Gothic Architecture. December 2010.

+ Opposite: Experimenting with Vibrations and delays. Music and the Gothic Tower of Westminster Abbey December 2010.

Experiment based on the mixture of architecture and music. The Westminster Abbey in London and an original musical composition were the inputs used. The abbey was decomposed to obtain their essential architectural elements, and thus able to mix and reinterpret them through the music created. New compositions were made possible thanks to the shift of geometries of the architectural elements, which based their new order in the space on the musical notation of the musical composition. According to the musical notation, each note is assigned an architectural element of the Abbey, then, following the rules of music; each element was modified by the duration of the note within the musical piece, as well as by other musical features as melody, armoni and rhythm. Architecturally they were modified by extrusions, meltings and shifts, based at the same time, on musical effects such as reverbs and delays. So, a new scenario that combines diverse themes was created, and allows the generation of more questions within the field of architecture, where new architectural practices could be discussed. This experiment allows further explorations within this same research, designing new ‘Hybrid’ scenarios that generate new discussion as well as new typologies in architecture. 24

Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s :

8. Plastic City Scenario

The ‘plastic city’ is an architectural metaphor assembled from different inputs that contain different forms or types of information, some natural, others archived or constructed fabrics. These converge in order to reveal the displacements between fabric time and routines to interrogate the actual event and the simulated environment in which it is contained: a form of arcadia where, ´blending theory´ is used as methodology for the development of a constructed metaphor. It becomes a virtual space that contains the structures shared by the different input spaces, as well as its ´blended space´, which contains the material projected from the input spaces, as well as the ‘emergent structure’ of its own,as in Semino (2010). It becomes a virtual place where architectural, cultural, historical, political input spaces and design methodologies co-exist. The first input space reviews art, history and the architecture that converges from these to plan for the possibilities of reconstruction in a specific place, at a specific time. Contained also in this is the cultural information and political organization developed then, so that it leaves the reflected overlapping of layers of information, which give shape to part of the virtual. Thus, returning to life those architectures that have value beyond the aesthetic – that of the artisan in the object.


It also contains information on contemporary ‘modern’ or ‘current’ architectural styles, which generate a contrast within the input space, because of the way some ‘modern architectural practices´ vary in the way they are now designed and built, making an inappropriate use of technology, and leaving creativity to technology, thereby losing value (Heidegger’s analysis). The second input space within the ‘plastic city’ contains the entire ‘original’ that is to be mixed with the first input space. This original layer is based on experiments that incorporate natural means. It covers all the new relationships that are created out of the experiments within the system and the changes over time. Within this input, meanings of technology and simulations are taken into consideration, since this practice must show integrity and coherence with the conceptual part of the project. This input is, therefore, not based on mass production or on a copy of an original. The ´emergent structure´ is the hybrid piece of work that results out of the mixture of the different layers within the blended space, overlapped in order to create a system. Within this system, technology is applied as a means of natural forces/processes in order to create the new topologies of a responsive architecture. + Opposite: Experiment :Plastic City. 841 x 450 drawing, June 2011.

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

+ Below: Detail of Plastic City. A1 drawing, June 2011.

This application of technology triggers a lot of changes and reactions in the composition of the pieces, which then reacts in shaping new elements within the same architectural piece. The new elements are geometries that obtain their value out of the blended space. These geometric shapes later become, by themselves, a part of the system that originally created them, giving feedback to it, creating a fusion of architecture incorporating art and engineering. The system can continue to develop new pieces of architecture to reconstruct a continuously reinforcing adaptive architecture.

Perspective view, experimenting with Plastic City. 841 x 450mm drawing June 2011.

+ Below: Section view, experimenting with Plastic City. 841 x 450mm drawing June 2011.

Experiment: The first steps on the process for the proposal. ¨Revealing geometries within a simulation¨


Experiment conducted during the 3rd term, where the theoretical concepts underlying this research were incorporated in a more coherent manner with the architectural proposal to be developed. In this experiment baroque elements were mixed with geometries based on fractal methodologies.

The mathematical formulas by which the fractal geometries are developed are mixed with baroque pieces, allowing new interpretations of the same piece, and generating an overlapping of different layers of information, ranging from baroque-design, to new fractals geometries.

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

+ Opposite: Detail, overlapping of layers with differences in time and style. A1 drawing June 2011.

9. Development of De- signTactics and Methods The shapes found in nature influenced the designs of classic and pre-modern architectural decorations. Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity. This reference to geometry sculpting – the object of nature in architecture is used as a diagram to blend the inputs to discover new templates between the natural inputs and constructed forms, symbols and iconographies.

9.1 Natural Methods

It is in these diagrams where the captured light is traced and transferred to the object of our study. The light adds new features to the piece due to the effects that it has on them, allowing cross borders in time, since in the same interior environment on the piece it is possible to see rays of light captured from different times. This creates new organic systems within the piece based on lights and shadows.

Likewise, the use of water, as a natural technological method for the transfer of forces. In these ´hybrid systems´, water is applied to activate other mechanisms within the same system that are in a different place. This ‘infects’ different parts of the piece with other processes simultaenously transmitting information that enriches the ‘blended space’. The application of vibrations in the system is used to amplify some of the features that make this piece, and which are intended to instill greater importance. These amplifications use some of the properties of sound such as echoes, delays and reverberations, through which it becomes possible to explore new geometries within the Simulacra.

+ Next Page: Ta prohm Cambodia. Door sur rounded by silk cotton tree roots encased by strangler figs roots. Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.comqzXkMaz 1jeM/TdwBac77CJI/AAAAAAAA Des/BlnZPADt_DA/s1600/2011 0214_Cambodia_1547+Ta+Prom jpg 30


A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture + Left and below: Semicovered strees in Africa. Light and Shadows. Source: Architecture without Archi tecs. 1. Chasseloup-Laubat 2. Marcel Griaule

9.2 Design Tactics

On the other hand, the works of the artists Jansen and Toledo convey the practice of ideas as they deal with the practice of design. They construct movement within movement time, within time objects, within objects as a method of revealing essence by blending the natural with the composed environment. The various tactics used by these two artists give greater depth to both the natural technology used within this project, and the inclusion of the narrative to provide feedback. Technologically, they give a new perspective on the functionality aspect of the system, allowing several parts to work at the same time within the same piece, informing the piece and enabling the development of the ´responsive architecture´. In the case created by Jansen, technologies that transfer the information by mean of natural sources such as wind, seem to come alive when they work properly together. The work of Toledo on the otherhand, inform the practice of design as well as the system, however in a more narrative sense. His pieces of work transport to a different era than the one when these original pieces were created, bringing new features to the narrative. His works represent a primitive but rich type of parametric geometry created without the help of any software. Each of the overlapped layers that conform his work, represent a parametric layer, while at the same time, it captures a layer of information and narrative collected in time. ´La Lagartera´ is the best example of this, and constitutes a very important design reference for the development of this project.


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s : + Left: Francisco Toledo ‘Pajaro Rehi- lete’, high temperature ceramic 1982. Source: flash/zse1.htm

+ Below: Francisco Toledo ‘La Lagartera’ An enormous clay-coloured, plas ter textured sculpture, which de picts an alligator surrounded by lizard scales, captured in differ ent times. This sculpture rep resents an important reference of a humanized parametric design, rich in narrative and context, built entirely by hand. Source: node/8594633


A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture + Below: Gorup of argoyles on balcony, southwest corner, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Amiens, France. Source: Rebolt J. B. 1997.

10. Pieces of Narrative

The first steps towards the integration of this project as it relates to technology and simulations within a ´blended space´ have been defined in the preceding sections. In this section, the study of some of the pieces that are of interest for the development of the new architectural proposal is carried out. In this sense, the ´Gargoyles´ are explored as pieces of architectural sculpture with a rich narrative due to its relation with religion, its historical origins, its architectural features and the technology used in its implementation. Their history dates back to the Gothic period, but comes to more recent periods with the grotesque sculptures designed by Gaudi in his project of ´La Sagrada Familia´. The combination of features between mythology and reality, make a powerful landscape that allows for a first attempt into the reinterpretation of the ‘pieces’ with the purpose of exploring the ´responsive architecture´ as described before.

+ Left: Working kion gargoyle after rain south side, Cathedral of Saint of Pierre et Saint-Paul, Troyes France Source: Rebolt J. B. 1997. 34

Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s :

This symbolism precisely has special value for the discussions within this project of the sculptor architecture, and indeed this architectural proposal takes as an input, the narrative behind these pieces.

10.1 Narrative on the Superstition of Gargoyles Within the field of architecture, Gargoyle in the strict sense, is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, as in Rebold (1997). At first, they were created only to meet specific technical requirements in the ancient cathedrals, most often applied to medieval work around the 13th century. Through time, their role started changing, and began to be used as decoration as well, because of its high aesthetic content, which was related to superstition. Thus, they acquired a different meaning based on religion and superstition, a quality that allowed them to get more powerful symbolism beyond the physical limits of the object and its function. Religion used gargoyles as a representation of evil. It is thought that they were used to scare people into coming to church, reminding them that the end of days is near. It is also thought that their presence assured congregants that evil is kept outside of the church’s walls as stated in Camille (2009). This religious superstition materialized in the form of Gargoyles, provides this project with pieces rich in narrative, which allow for the reinterpretation in their design, based on the myth of ‘how gargoyles drive off evil’. This Myth includes ideas as the Gargoyles can stand guard and ward off unwanted spirits and other creatures. It is believed that they come alive at night when everyone’s asleep so they can protect you when you’re vulnerable and that they return to their places when the sun comes up, Rebold (1997). 35

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture + Below: Winged monstrous dog, Cathe dral of Santa Maria, Milan. Source: Rebolt J. B. 1997.


Unrealistic S c e n a r i o s :

Genosko G. 1994. Baudrillard and signs, Signification ablaze. Routledge.

11. References

Heidegger M. 1954. The question concerning technology. Essay by M. Heidegger. Marcos C. Salvador P. A. Unit 20, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia.

Adam S. 2007. Heidegger for architects. Routledge.

Nicholson B. 1990. The appliance house. Cambridge Mit Press.

Baudrillard J. 1994a. Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Plamenatz J. P., Plamenatz M. E. 1992. Man and society: Political and social theories from Machiavelli to Marx: Hegel, Marx and Engels, and the idea of progress. Vol 3, Longman.

Baudrillard J. 1972. The system of objects, for a critique of the political economy of the sign, and the consumer society. Translated by C. Levin, Saint Louis: Telos, 1981.

Plamenatz H. Marx and Engels. 1992. Man and Society: The idea of progress. Vol 3. p. 301.

Borges J. L. 1946. On exactitude in science. One-paragraph short story published by J. l. Borges.

Raja, K. 2011. ‘The question concerning architecture: essays on architecture’s essence’. (2011).

Camille, Michael. 2009. The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Rebold J. B. 1997. Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings. New York: Abbeville Press. p. 6–8.

Definition of baroque. wiki/baroque. (accessed 24 May 2011) Deleuze G. and Guattari F. 1977. Capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze G. 1992. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. trans. Tom Conley.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p. 81. Frampton K. 2002. Labour, Work and Architecture: Collected Essays on Architecture and Design. Phaidon Press. 37

Semino E. 2010. ‘Unrealistic scenarios, metaphorical blends and rhetorical strategies across genres’. thesis. Lancaster University, UK, Time. eStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Woods L. 1992. Anarchitecture architecture is a political act. John Wiley & Sons. Woods L. 1993. Pamphlet architecture 15: War and Architecture. Princenton Architectural Press, Radical Reconstruction.

A Disscusion of a New Responsive Architecture

Additional References in art, literature and design Borges J. L. 1941. The Circular Ruins. Ettlinger O. 2008. In Search of Architecture in Virtual Space. Paper. University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Icher F. 1998. Building the Great Cathedrals. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers. Jansen T. 1990- . Strandbeest. http://www. (accessed november 2010) Kafka F. 1915. The Metamorphosis. Kafka F. 1925. The Trial Rudofsky B. 1964. Architecture without Architects. Academy Editions London Smythies J. Space, Time and Consciousness. Spiller N. 2000. Maverick Deviations. Neil Spiller Architectural Works (1985-1998). WileyAcademy. Toledo F. 2008. Sculpture of ´La lagartera´. Monterrey Mexico. Toledo F. interim.htm (accessed from march 2010)


Unrealistic Scenarios  

Discussion for a new Responsive Architecture. Final dissertation at UCL

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