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MI L ES TO N E I Kaiho Yu

MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE | S OUTHERN CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTURE


Contents I

NTRODUCTION

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ROJECT

Redefining A “Project” Resmoke 2 Misreading I Grid 14 Misreading II Fish 36 Turducken 42 Monster 45

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HEORY

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28

The Successor 76 Reexamining the Possibility of Another Absolute Architecture 80 A Retrospect of the Concept of Architecture 86 A Study of Ledoux’s Translation from Drawing to Building on Theatre of Besançon 92

S

TUDY

Letter “n” Rotation

104 112

Village, City and Town Tou-kong 124 Crystal Palace 126 Wall House II

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INTRODUCTION


Redefining a project

In Log 28, Pier Vittorio Aureli and Peter Eisenman discussed about the defination of project. PE: I believe you do have a project. PVA: A project is a lifelong; if you see it, you will see it only at the end. PE: In heaven. PVA: In heaven. Or maybe others will see it. In the meantime you have to be the commander of the field. Like a military strategist, you have to constantly research the field where you are operating. You cannot be naive about that.

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PROJECT


Figure 1. Smoke, Tony Smith, 1967.

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Resmoke Advisor: Constance Vale (1GA Studio, Fall 2014)

“Shape is graphic,” declared by R.E. Somol, “Avoiding the rhetorical excess of geometric form or expressive mass, shape exhibits the immediacy of the graphic.”1 By extracting the wire-frame of Smoke, the sculpture by Tony Smith,  the initial shape is being graphiclized. Nevertheless, during this procedure, the possibility of reading the sculpture as both regular and irregular is vanished. This project starts with investigating a clearly defined spatial system, then use various ways to refigure the geometry, including rotating and chopping. The whole process is named as “resmoke,” which plays with different geometric results in one set of rule. Using different way to represent the geometry, including model, plan and axonometric drawing, all the families gain the same quality exited in Smoke.

1. R.E. Somol, “12 Reasons to Get Back into Shape,” in Content, eds. Rem Koolhaas and OMA (Cologne: Taschen, 2004), 86-87. 3


Figure 2-3. Wireframe and section of rotated Smoke.

Figure 4-69. Plan of 66 Resmoke prototypes, based on different rotation angels and tranversal surfaces.

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Figure 70-71. Wireframe and section of rotated Smoke.

Figure 71-136. Axonometry of 66 Resmoke prototypes, based on different rotation angels and tranversal surfaces.

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Figure 137. Axonometry of three families.

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Misreading I Advisor: Constance Vale (1GA Studio, Fall 2014)

Pointed out by Walter Benjamin, the “aura” of the art work has been eliminated under the technique of reproduction, this project started with Tony Smith’s Smoke, and traced back to the misreading of two-dimensional drawing. David Michael Levin had defined two modes of vision, the assertic gaze and the alethic gaze, the assertic gaze is fixed, unchangeable and defined, however the alethic gaze is much more democratic and flexible. In the history of Abstract Art, El Lissitzky had emphasized on the possibility of constructing space in front of the surface as well as in depth used axonometry for the critique of one-eyed perspective. But is this possible that the axonometry began the new Medusa’s head and unavoidably petrified the view of architects? This project is not an antiocularcentrism criticism, but a stagy finding new possibility of space, and trying to transform the geometrical “aura” of Smoke into a new form.The misreading becomes important here, during the misreading, the observers could reconstruct the space not only in there mind, but also physically. This project deals the misreading of 45 degree axonometric drawing, using the Smoke as a prototype and generated figured families and wireframe (which is produced by misreading of plan as a hexagon), when placing figure families in the wireframe, edges are overlapped in axonometry, a new space is created after a series of deconstruction, surfacing and solidify.

1. Levin, David Michael, ed. Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision. Univ of California Press, 1993. 9


Figure 138. Flat rendering of misreaded-family.


Figure 139-146. Axonometric diagram of six resmoked families.

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Figure 147-152. Flat rendering of three resmoke families which are being misreaded, before and after.

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Figure 153. Song, Agnes Martin, 1962.

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Grid Advisor: Constance Vale (1GA Studio, Fall 2014)

The basic form of library is composed by an exterior object and an interior object. The exterior generated from the figure families from Resmoke and went through a serious of three-dimensional rotation. The prototype of interior object is the cube on point, then it grew up following the exterior boundary. By redefining the “open program” and “close program,” all the complexities were put inside the interior object, well the first floor of exterior object could achieve the purity and sublime. The hanging effect of interior object indicated the monumentality of books. The grid system on the facade comes from the Song (1962) by Agnes Martin. The gird here functions both as landscape-like-facade and module of furniture arrangement on the floor plan.

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Figure 154-156. Program diagram of library (circulation, bookshelves and wall).

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Figure 157. Sketch model made by rainbow sheet with laser-cut facade.

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Figure 158-159. Flar rendering of library elevation, fold and unfold.

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Figure 158. North elevation of the library.

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Figure 159. East elevation of the library.

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Figure 160. North section of the library.

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Figure 161. East section of the library.

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Figure 162. Sectional axonometry of the library.

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Figure 163. Spherical section in axonometric view of the library.

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Figure 166. Rendering of misreaded figure.

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M i s r e a d i n g II Advisor: Margaret Griffin (1GB Design Studio, Spring 2015)

This project starts with the tessellation extracted from M.C. Escher’s Square Limit, by using the misreading on two-dimensional axonometric drawing to transfer it into three-dimensional space. Though inspired by Lissitzky’s emphasis on the possibility of constructing space in front of the surface as well as in depth uses axonometry for the critique of one-eyed perspective,1 the axonometry here is more a bounding box than a form, it helps to divide the pattern into three types, figure, semi-figure/ground, and ground. With a series manipulation including projection, extrusion, loft, and trim, the monolith gains its quality of being both legible and vague. 

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Figure 167-172. Diagram showing the transformation of M.C. Esher’s tessellation Square Limit.

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Figure 173-176. Inside Volume created by the sweep of tessellation.

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Figure 177-180. Quarter section in axonometric view.

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Figure 181. Made in Heaven, Jeff Koons, 1989.

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Fish Advisor: Margaret Griffin (1GB Design Studio, Spring 2015)

Q: Why fish? A: Fish are iconic. A: Fish are slippery. A: Fish are yummy. A: Fish are smily. A: Fish are dirty. A: Fish are erotic. A: Fish are movable. A: Fish are bendable. A: Fish are twistable. A: Fish are hot. A: Fish are cold. A: Fish are silver. A: Fish are gold. A: Fish are women. A: Fish are men. A: Fish are amazing.

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Figure 182-213. Fish No.1 - Fish No.12, elevation rendering with its reference image.

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Figure 214-237. Fish No.1 - Fish No.12, golden spary paint on ABS model.

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Tu r d u c k e n Advisor: Margaret Griffin (1GB Design Studio, Spring 2015)

The study begins from fish, which has both special figure (fin and tail) and general figure (its body), thus a single fish could be applied to any kind of transformation, it could be chopped, twisted, bended in the same time maintaining its own legibility. The space is generated by introducing another fish into the system, multiple figures have the ability to create narrative, moment and relationship. The agglomeration of fishes is another way to disfamilize the figure while keeping its special parts,  At first I used fish as a prototype to do a series of figure study, including using a single fish to chop, twist, bend to achieve some specific quality, and using multiple fishes to generate moment  The next step of this project is to put several figures together into a turducken condition. The fish outside is the most iconic, and the second and third layers are becoming more and more vague as their fins and tails are vanished, make them less legible. The difference between fish and blob is that fish have both iconic figure and general figure, so that they can be used to create different hierarchy and themselves can be used as a reference for us to read spacially, like the perpendicular lines in axon. And in this way, the quality of figures could be translate into the quality of space.

Figure 238-239. Frount and side elevations of Turducken.

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Figure 240. Section cut A.

Figure 241-252. Figure-ground diagram of section cut A.

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Figure 253. Section cut B.

Figure 254-265. Figure-ground diagram of section cut B.

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Figure 264. Section cut C.

Figure 265-276. Figure-ground diagram of section cut C.

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Figure 277. Physiognomy Of Humans And Animals, Charles Le Brun, 1586.

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Monster Advisor: Margaret Griffin (1GB Design Studio, Spring 2015)

The four monsters are generated from the prototype of fishes. The project is about using animation smear to distort the figure, in order to make it less legible. The technique of animation is not just being used as a way to represent different figures, but to discompose and rebuild a new figure. Coming from different conditions of fish, varied in color, orientation, size and shape, the animation technique is used to transform one fish into the other, by extracting the middle frames produced by the animation from two elevations and one plan. The precision of model building has a great impact on figure. Two different resolutions are applied in here, one is by 75 control points and the other is by 1,000 control points. Two figures intertwine each other, thus the common space, aka boolean union, becomes the living space for the house and the boolean split becomes the pooch, functioning as circulation. Inside the house, there is a even low resolution figure that is built by 25 control points, hanging inside the house. This turducken condition convey the house with a misreading of inside and outside condition.

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Figure 278-325. Seven screenshots and its overlay image of animation smear in two elevations and plan view.

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Figure 326-371. Seven screenshots and its overlay image of animation smear in two elevations and plan view.

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Figure 372-373. Monster No.1, front and side elevations.

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Figure 374-375. Monster No.2, front and side elevations.

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Figure 376-377. Monster No.3, front and side elevations.

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Figure 378-379. Monster No.4, front and side elevations.

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Figure 380-383. Smearing Monster No.1-No.5, front elevation.

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Figure 384. North Elevation of House.

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Figure 385. North section of House.

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Figure 386. East section of House.

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Figure 387. First floor plan.

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Figure 388. Second floor plan.

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Figure 389. North elevation of model made by chipboard.

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Figure 390. Southeast elevation of model made by chipboard.

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THEORY


The Successor Advisor: Todd Gannon (CS2101, Fall 2014)

The sculpture in LACMA by Tony Smith, Smoke, is an appropriate prototype with architectural development and understanding potentialities. Unlike the influence from painting, such as the cubism to modern space, what sculpture could involved to, is way more vigorous and essential. Michael Fried already mentioned about how shape functioning in sculpture and painting, “shape is a fundamental property of objects and shape as a medium of painting.”1 The spatial property of sculpture enables it to be misread, and endows the possibility of further development. Lacking of objecthood, modern sculpture, especially the Minimal Art, is inseparable with beholders. Especially for Tony Smith who even frankly indicated that his work is neither monument nor object. The rejection of the monumentality is interesting – should not the sculpture follow the logic of monument, which is a kind of siteless, or homeless, an absolute loss of space. If we compare the Smoke with the pyramid, it’s obviously identical, pure, self-referential and even geometrical. So why does Smoke has more (or we can say literal) potential impact on modern architecture? Donald Judd used the word anthropomorphism to imply the singleness of modern sculpture, whereas in the case of Tony Smith, I would rather use cinematic instead of anthropomorphism to enhance its fragmentized character. Fried also mentioned that the experience of literalist art if of an object in a situation – one that, virtually by definition, includes the beholder.2 Once we put a people near or inside a sculpture, scale begins to matter, because it turns into an experimental field at that moment, whether it intended to or not.

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The presence in time and space is an essential idiosyncrasy for artwork according to Walter Benjamin, which separates it from the even the most perfect reproduction. By magnifying the time and space character with beholder’s experience, Tony Smith created the cinematic effect in his work, though subtle, however crucial enough to postulate a spiritual experience in architecture. The cinematic effect is beyond the object itself, by generating the relationship spatial between beholders and the sculpture, thus the relationship inside the space could become more complicated. A superior space should allow events happening inside, and Bernard Tschumi already pointed out in his book, Manhattan Transcripts, there is a possibility to transform events into spatial forms. Thus the Smoke sculpture acquires the architectural potentialities, and somehow becomes not only a prototype, but also an inspiration. The next problem is – how can it generate successors under the architectural context. Andrew Zago mentioned, “what’s needed today is a postironic authenticity, an approach that is mindful of the pitfalls of authenticity, yet willing to risk them in a new formulation.”3 The procedure of transforming authenticity into copies or simulacra enjoyed a long history, and it is almost everywhere no matter architectural schools or offices. Once we have a prototype or source of inspiration, what we need to do is though a series of transformation applying the original one into the architectural context. The “postironic authenticity” Zago brought out, is actually towards to simulacra, no longer authenticity. Gilles Deleuze made a clear definition between copy and simulacrum in his essay, Plato and the Simulacrum: “Copies are secondhand possessors, well-grounded claimants, authorized by resemblance. Simulacra are like false claimant, built on a dissimilitude, implying a perversion, an essential turning away.”4 The manipulation of Tony Smith’s sculpture is betraying its own genealogy by loosen it from its original expression and the way it represented. Nevertheless, as the successor of Smoke, the core value of the three-dimensional sculpture is unchangeable, the shape, which remains to be authenticity. The way architectural students make the transformation of Smoke could compare with the traditional Chinese paintings, by Wen Fong’s definition in his essay, The Problem of Forgeries in Chinese Painting: 1. Mu, a trace; 2. Lin, a loose relative; 3. Fang, an adap74


tation; 4. Tsao, an invention.5 While “Mu” is an exact copy of a precedent, “Lin” is described as loose copy, or a family of copies with iterations of the same precedent appearing like a “flock of geese.” “Fang” then, moves away from exact copying and includes adaptation and “ Tsao” involved real invention. Through drawing (making the Smoke into two-dimensional plan), rotation, cutting and replanting, we made different copies of the prototype, and in the last, the “Tsao” (inverntion) part, the successors are not copies anymore, but simulacra. Tracing the authenticity, is defining the essential part of the original sculpture, in the Smoke case, are the central lines and shape. Unlike tracing paintings, this step is an information filtration, about how we translate the three-dimensional object into two-dimensional plan. By omitting information intentionally, we put the successors into a vague position – both resemblance and implying a perversion. A loose relative is the way we deal with information that we kept. Changes here are slight but influential, slight enough to alter its whole characteristic, but not affecting the core value. As I already mentioned before, lacking the objecthood made the geometry altering of Smoke legible. Adaptation is a total change of its context. We take the successors out of the region of sculpture, into architectural discussion, thus the potentiality of the prototype should be considered again. In this case, would we represent the cinematic effect of Smoke in the different scale of architecture? Invention is the part how we deal with the problem, till then, the boundary of copies and simulacrum finally become clear, and the simulacrum could incarnates into the real successor.

1. Fried, Michael. Art and objecthood: essays and reviews. University of Chicago Press, 1998. 2. Ibid. 3. Zago, Andrew. Real what? Log. No. 5 (Spring/Summer 2005), pp 100-104. 4. Deleuze, Gilles, and Rosalind Krauss. “Plato and the Simulacrum.” October (1983): 45-56. 5. Fong, Wen. “The Problem of Forgeries in Chinese Painting. Part One.” Artibus Asiae (1962): 95-140.

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Figure 391. OMA (Zoe Zenghelis): The City of the Captive Globe, 1976 (Zeichnung, 32,9 x 46 cm) Š DAM

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R e e x a m i n i n g t h e Po s s i b i l i t y o f A n o t h er Absolute Architecture Advisor: Todd Gannon (CS2101, Fall 2014)

Tracing the idea of city, Pier Vittorio Aureli proposed the concept, absolute architecture. He indicated that absolute not in the conventional sense of “purity” but in its original meaning as something being resolutely itself after being “separated” from its other.1 While dealing with the relationship of architecture and language, the same phase could be brought out and defined again—is there another kind of “absolute architecture.” More specifically is, under the context of modernist discourse, is there a well-defined language system (but not dialect) could be abstracted, and establish its own absolute discipline. Autonomy or the State of Anarchism Peter Eisenman in his famous essay Aspect of Modernism shouted himself hoarse stressing the concept of modernism, compared the architecture with Abstract Art and the non-narrative writer James Joyce, and brought us the conclusion that modernism architecture is self-referential and owns its non-humanism autonomy.2 If we analyze the derivation with a political view, the first ambiguity appears, the condition of objecthood in architecture is a sign of autonomy or the state of anarchism? Who rules? Is it conscious or unconscious? And is the modern architecture governing itself or still under the situation of confusion although everything seems to be gathering around tightly? Following Eisenman’s argument, modernism could be regarded as a sort of anti-anthropocentric criticism, and in this way, its discipline is not self-referential but being directed and driven. “Simi77


larly, any column, wall, or beam, while it may be saying something about architecture and statics, is not per se a sign either of itself or any general category which could be considered architecture. It is merely a column, wall, or beam.” Knowing clearly that simply constructing the elements (word in the metaphor of language by Charles Jencks) could not arrive the autonomy; therefore the subjectivity (or we say syntax) of architecture is desperately needed here. The linguistic meaning of language needs to be clarified before the next step. Under the state of anarchism, meaning could be translated and expressed; nevertheless, the language system would only being built with grammar and sentence structure, without it, the language/architecture would fall down to a nihilistic condition. Form and Function The bifurcation comes to form and function, where the affiliation always sticks like a limpet. Robert Venturi in his book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, pointed out that there is no way to separate form from meaning; one cannot exist without the other.3 But what part of role does function play? Robert Venturi used Cleans Brooks’ expression of art—the ultimate task of artists is to unify the experience, and turn it back to us—to draw the connection with the complexity of architecture, “The calculated ambiguity of expression is based on the confusion of experience as reflected in the architectural program. This promotes richness of meaning over clarity of meaning.” So the complexity is not purely generated by form itself, but the collage-like experience of human beings and the world. Function is no longer a precise expression here, as the situation of architecture is ambiguous and various, it’s hard to draw a clear line between function and other factors. Function had lost its protagonistic meaning. The so-called affiliation relationship is not legible in the complex system, because not all factors could be quantified and logical. And Rem Koolhaas, as a final judgment, ultimately proclaimed that architecture liberate from the obligation to construct can be become, in fact, the diagram of everything (once in Content, and once in La Biennale di Venezia, 2014).

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Less is What So now if we pursue the less, the question would become: Less is what? Numerous arguments generated by this simple question, and here, it is the best medium for a more specific quantified standard for form and function. Wang Shu emphasized the inspiration part of modernism is that, there is no hierarchy of language spectrum in the spatial structure, every detail is important. “The architectural language is a web, when it was drag something we familiar with from the life, it is missing more at the same time. When architecture endows life with a standard appearance, it might neglect the essential meaning of life: personal experience, confusion, fragments, and numerous details.” The motto of minimalism, “Less is more,” influenced the design industry as well as architecture for a long time. With the aesthetic and socioeconomic meaning at a specific historical context, minimalism has its destructive character, but will it be the same if the context is changed? The language would not be totally understood once divorced form the context, nether can the minimalism architecture. The content that being reduced are depending on the problem they try to encounter. No matter it is less is more, less is bored or less is enough, the discussion must base on a translatable system as well as being purified and separated carefully, because the hierarchy is being largely diminished. Purify and Separate After the bubble diagram developed by Harvard students in the 1950s as a sort of semantic mimesis—the most powerful iconographic forms of architectural thinking—as Pier Vittorio Aureli set in his essay, After Diagrams, it is fair enough to treat diagram as the visionary language of architecture.4 In the realm of diagram, they do acknowledge the complexity and contradiction, but in the same time, they idealize it and recreate by virtue of their own logic. Towards the absoluteness of an architectural language, purify and separate is needed. Purify means define and categorize the essential aspects of architecture by setting different layers of context, but 79


Figure 392. Hand drawing of Ningbo History Museum, Wangshu, 2003-2006.

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not stuck in the condition of complexity. Separate means to endow every layer with individual consideration but not tracing the potential relationship. The system would only be built if every part of it has its autonomy, but not under a mass condition of anarchism. The language of another absolute architecture is difficult to generate from the mire of modernism, nor post-modernism. A new paradigm should be proposed; no matter it’s under the urban discourse or the subjectivity of architecture.

1. Aureli, Pier Vittorio. The possibility of an absolute architecture. MIT press, 2011. 2. Eisenman, Peter. “Aspect of Modernism: Maison Dom-Ino and the Self-Referential Sign.” Oppositions 15-1 (1979): 118-128. 3. Venturi, Robert. Complexity and contradiction in architecture. Vol. 1. The Museum of Modern Art, 1977. 4. Aureli, Pier Vittorio. “After Diagrams.” Log (2005): 5-9. 81


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A Retrospect of the Concept of Architecture Advisor: Todd Gannon (CS2101, Fall 2014)

As literature is irreducible to books, architecture is irreducible to buildings.1 -Andrew Zago and Todd Gannon The “real architecture” only exists in the drawings. The “real building” exists outside the drawings. The difference here is that “architecture” and “building” are not the same.2 -Peter Eisenman Although Bernard Tschumi in his essay, The Architectural Paradox, pointed out clearly that when reviewing architectural trends and their connection to art, discussion on space is not a priority (or even pointless). Facing the complexity and vagueness of “post-modernism”, the definition and clarification of architecture and building could not be made without tracing back to the concept of “Architecture”.

Figure 393. Diagram of House IV, Peter Eisenman, 1975.

The first thing is to set the boundary of architecture. Using the same categorization of space, architecture could also being divided into two parts, the space as social production, which leads to the building as materialization of architecture; and the space as pure form, which in a dematerializational way, generates the conceptual architecture and language of architecture. In Tabloid Transparency, or, Looking Through Legibility, Abstraction and Discipline of Architecture, architecture is being considered as the former one, which we could consider as a generalized definition. As the later one, besides the influence of objecthood, it also based on the foundation of spatial theory, that is language preceded spaces, human activities leave trace that may precede language, as Eisenman mentioned in Aspect of Modernism, “Modernism is a state of mind.” 83


These two seemingly unrelated ideologies would be considered at the same time, as Robert Somol advocated, “If architecture has lost its ability to operated in the world, it’s not because architecture has become too self-involved, but because it has not been attentive enough to its own protocols, techniques, and forms of knowledge.” From the perspective of an architectural student, the different conviction of architecture leads to different pedagogies; one is provoking other fields to challenge its own limitation, like GSAPP and Architectural Association, and another is looking back to itself, and tries to influence other disciplines with its own autonomy, like Yale and SCI-Arc. We don’t need to define which is the right way, but using this angle to trace back the knowledge system of architecture is beneficial. In Beyond the Querelle, Bryony Roberts proposed the concept of 84


Figure 394. Spatial City (Paris), Yona Friedman, 1958.

“New Ancient”, and he also mentioned that school which focusing on digital form making so much, such as SCI-Arc, is actually continues disciplinary formalism by fusing classical knowledge with emerging technologies. So the trajectory of the development of architecture is actually: Ancient, Modernism, and New Ancient. If we go back to the history trend, the “Ancient” equals to “architectural supplement” (the concept bought by Bernard Tschumi), which is less a piece of architecture than the representation of something else, a space of representation, representing social structure, the power of King and the idea of God and so on. As for the “Modernism”, we could refer back where we defining architecture in a demateriazational way, where Abstract Art and the non-narrative trends influenced architectural ideology, and eager to establish its own autonomy. Bryony Roberts calls it “progressive” because it leads to purification and minimalism, and only in this way, archi85


tecture could gain its language and concept, unlike Robert Venturi who turned architecture back to its own complexity and contradiction. However, the “New Ancient” is a “Doppelgänger” existing between two conditions of architecture. New Ancient is not purely building or purely language/concept. Unlike other paper-architects, such as Lebbeus Woods and Yona Friedman, Peter Eisenman did has his houses built, in his own words, the reason is: “Architecture involves seeing whether those ideas can withstand the attack of building, of people, of time, of function, etc. Tafuri said history will not be interested in your work if you haven’t built anything. I think that’s absolutely correct. If I had built nothing, you and I wouldn’t be talking now.” It could be seen as a compromise to New Ancient, which made Peter not an artist. Once it’s being built, it becomes less modernism, because the selections of site, material and way to construct could hardly to be considered as architectural language. The paradox of space could not be avoided when facing real constructions. Of course Peter Eisenman knows that, but “being talked by public” is not an excuse that could be neglected, it’s an important interface to merge in the society. When Andrew Zago and Todd Gannon saying, “architecture is irreducible to buildings,” they are not meaning architecture do not exist without being built, but architecture could be not being treated as architecture without consider the building issue. It’s not the problem of construction; it’s the problem of choosing whether to be built, and how to be built. Nowadays, the Flat Ontology by Tom Wiscombe and the Big/ Blank/Black theory by Jason Payne could also be categorized as New Ancient, because they are both using the theory from cross-disciplines to challenge the core of architecture. The way Tom Wiscombe is using is more tricky, he was saying: “While recent history suggests that literal importations of philosophy into architecture can be problematic, the framework for a flat ontology to some extent already exist inside architecture: it provides a contemporary update to the discourse of part-to-whole relations and problems of composition.” So the different of New Ancient and Modernism is that the former one is more multianalysised, but they both towards the fundamental issue of things exist in the world. In Tom’s case, the part-to-whole relationship is universal, but he didn’t just apply the knowledge from other discipline, which is not how the dematerialization of architecture deals with things, totally conceptual. He put architecture in a more general genealogy, where the discipline of architecture becomes flexible, and has the possibility to be plug86


in to other disciplines. Follow the trajectory from Rudolf Wittkower, Colin Rowe, Peter Eisenman to Greg Lynn, their core value reminds the same, that is using analytic methodology to deal with architectural issues, but Greg Lynn (even Peter Eisenman) are not only taking it linguistically and play the grammar game like most of the Post-Modernism did, but also to construct a cultural and intellectual project. From their generation, we could see the space is no longer considered as a pure form, but also a social production. One of the reasons of the emerging of New Ancient is that under the complexity of urban and culture, architecture itself can no longer solve the paradox of space, and it has to be discussed under a more widen, more essential way. The interference of other disciplines should encounter this problem by responding architectural core value. The New Ancient is actually providing us a new visionary where we could explore the discipline in an unusual way, although may be risky.

1. From Tabloid Transparency, or, Looking Through Legibility, Abstraction and Discipline of Architecture, by Andrew Zago and Todd Gannon. 2. See Eisenman’s Evolution: Architecture, Syntax, and New Subjectivity, interview between Iman Ansari and Peter Eisenman, http://www.archdaily.com/429925/eisenman-s-evolution-architecture-syntax-and-new-subjectivity/?fb_action_ids=10204971354233803&fb_action_types=og.likes 87


Figure 395. The Eye of Theater (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)

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A S t u d y o f L e d o u x ’ s Tr a n s l a t i o n f r o m Drawing to Building on Theatre of Besançon Advisor: Dora Epstein Jones (CS2100, Spring 2015)

I. Introduction Being one of the most revolutionary architects in the history, Claude-Nicola Ledoux is being discussed from time to time. In the digital era of architectural design, we should rethink the tool we used to design buildings, and the medium we applied to represent architectural projects by looking back to the history of architecture. Being on of the most famous design by Claude-Nicola Ledoux, although Theatre of Besançon is ruined by fire in 1958, it is still a comprehensive case to illustrate the relationship of drawing to building. Even though it is being ruined by now, the significant meaning of Theatre of Besançon does not only existing in construction, but also the metaphysical content and its drawing. So, this essay is going to focus on comparing the as-built building (which is being photographed and recovered through digital model) with the drawing Ledoux made to represent the building. II. History and Background Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was born in 1736 and dead in 1806, “which made him witnessed both to the triumph of Enlightenment over the ancient regime with the French Revolution and to the incipient rise to prominence of industrial over the feudal agricultural economy.”1 In the history of architecture, this time is the beginning of the discussion of modernism. Ledoux is an extraordinary and creative architect in that time, and also a planner of ideal cities. The modernity of Ledoux’s work was first being put under the spotlight by Emil Kaufmann, who named Claude-Nicola Ledoux 89


and the other two French neoclassical architects, Étienne-Louis Boullée and Jean-Jacques Lequeu, as “Three Revolutionary Architects ”,2 and also designates him the father of modern architecture. Ledoux is the most important architect during the transition from Baroque to Neoclassicism, and his projects could be regard as the beginning of the autonomy of architecture. Theatre of Besançon located on 49 Rue Megevand in Besançon. It was designed by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in 1775 and built between 1778 and 1784, and ruined by a fire in 1958. All the drawings of Theatre of Besançon are collected in L’architecture considérée. III. Cinematic Quality Ledoux addresses a functional similarity between the eye and the theatre in the text accompanies his engraving (see fig. 395): “The first frame is doubtless that which you see; it receives the divine influences that encompass our senses, and reflects the worlds that surround us. It is this that composes all beings, embellishes our existence, supports it and exercises its dominion over all of existence.”3 The frame that Ledoux defined in his text is a “transparent mirror that gives structure and composition to the world.”4 By drawing the auditorium within a human being’s retina, Ledoux idealistically implied that the building is the image exists under human’s eye, but not physical existence. In his engraving of the theater and viewer, he suggested an alignment of theatrical and ocular structures. From the second plan of the theater (see fig. 396), we can see the shape of proscenium (also named as “Avant Scene” on the plan) is semicircle, which creates the spacial depth in the iris. Besides, the hierarchy of the arrangement of the theater could also being found in the graving of the eye. Even though it is the perspective view inside the eye, we can still see a clear vertical layer of different element, whether it is functional or decorative. Following the closure of eyelid, the seats, the railings, the Neoclassical relieve and the Ionic columns are being arranged in a trenchant order. From one of the section of Theatre of Besançon (see fig. 397), we can correspond the layout back to the engraving. Unlike the way Ledoux represents light in his other drawings, the superimposing engraving (see fig. 395), the light is not being illustrated in heaver lines to create the effect of shadow, but in 90


Figure 396. First Plan of Theatre of Besançon (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)

the form of rays. The view projected from the pupil is construction the reality as well as connection the visionary image with the physical world. The reality that constructed by the viewer is exactly the concept of Theatre of Besançon. The cinematic quality of the theater allows us to draw more connection between drawing and building. IV. Drawing as Representation Most of the drawings of Theatre of Besançon could be found in Claude-Nicolas Ledoux’s book, L’architecture considérée. Using the combination of plan, section and elevation is a revolutionary movement back in 18th century. From the first floor plan (see fig. 398), we can see that Ledoux was following the basic principle of drawing during that time; he used axes to connect space and behavior. There are two types of 91


axes Ledoux used as a drawing reference, one is the major axes, and the other is the minor/assistant axes. The major axes are used to create the symmetry of form and connect main spaces. In the first floor plan, the layout is eudipleural strictly, including the stage, auditorium, loge, foyer and stairs. And the major horizontal axes are mostly dividing half of the space, like the middle one crossing the center of the plan is dividing the foyer into half, in the same time, creating the open space. There is no poché on the major horizontal axes, as it is dividing the space into two symmetrical ones, wherever it come through leaves open space, functioning as door or window. For the other space not intersecting with the major axes, Ledoux used minor axes to emphasize the opening of window or door. However, the minor axes are not only being used as a sign of symmetry, they are also indicating the thickness of wall and the diameter of columns. For the 14 columns in vestibule, Ledoux used four minor axes to create a highly complex grid system, to emphasize the order of columns as well as their relationship to each other. The grid system Ledoux applied on the plan is not the reference 92

Figure 397. Section C of Theatre of Besançon (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)


Figure 398. Second Plan of Theatre of Besançon (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)

of design (which means it is not created before the design), but the indication of spacial arrangement that is being layout and adjusted with the circulation and function, some of the axes are also work for the geometrical quality, such as create symmetry or generate circles and squares. Although Ledoux claimed that the way he arrange the plan is following the purity of geometry to show the respect to the pure semi-circle and the authority of ancient Rome. It’s still arguable that social statues are distorting the spacial arrangement. The section A is cut by one of the major axes (see fig. 399), compared with the rendering of the same section in the axonometric view (see fig. 400), we can understand how Ledoux represent the depth of space on drawing. The shadow is still playing a crucial role on the section; it is being used to differentiate the functional space and structural space. By applying the pure shadow on the wood structure on top of the building as well as the background 93


stage, the hierarchy of visual language is emerged. The structural part of the building is remaining on its two-dimensional representation, flat but containing the detail of how the operation system works. From the black background composed by lines, the structural details could be read clearly, including the joints of beam, the truss system, the operation of proscenia, and the connection of background stage. For the functional space, Ledoux projected the 45-degree light from right to the auditorium, thus the shape of the auditorium could be represented in the three-dimensional view. In analyzing the render Joseph-Louis Duc in Colosseum Restoration, Anna Neimark argued that, “The shadow then, as an ‘oblique projection,’ is a kind of axonometric drawing cast against the vertical plane of the elevation.”5 The line drawing in Ledoux’s project can also be regard as ink and wash drawing made by Joseph-Louis Duc, indicating the elevational quality of the building. One explanation of this drawing technique is that it is the most convenient way for Ledoux to finish the drawing, due to the tool he used in that time. But when I was comparing the rendering im94

Figure 399. Section A of Theatre of Besançon (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)


Figure 400. Section B of Theatre of Besançon (Ledoux, Claude-Nicolas, and Daniel Ramée. CN Ledoux, L’architecture: edition Ramée. Vol. 851359096. Princeton Architectural Press, 1847.)

age (see fig. 400) with the section drawing, another thing I realized is that its hollow space enables the light to penetrate inside the building, such effect can also be found in other section of Theatre of Besançon (see fig. 307). Cochin highly compliments the model of auditorium: “The auditorium of Theatre of Besançon is a breakthrough that changed the Italian model of theatre and becomes the prototype of the ‘modern’ auditorium. He gave the auditorium with a semi-circular forma and replaced the boxes by amphitheatrically balconies; he also provided seats in the parquet to eliminate the disturbance caused by people standing there; and removed the orchestra from its place between stage and audience, making it invisible to the public.”6 With this farseeing thought on the shape of auditorium, Theatre of Besançon became the first theatre to screen the musicians in an orchestra pit. However, the section B (see fig. 400) represents the other kind of Theatre of Besançon. Ledoux applied the same shadowing technique for the structural space, in the main time; the stronger 95


contrast of space exists on the rooms (including loge and foyer) and auditorium. The auditorium is shown in the oblique perspective view, rather than a drawing to represent the technical or measurement aspect of the building, Ledoux is creating a scene of the interior. In the perspective view, as the hollow space of the auditorium remains in the center (in most Ledoux’s projects, the geometrical center is always hollow, but it is still functioning as an important space, either outdoor, circulation or public service), thus the texture becomes an important factor to transform the spacial information. In the section B of Theatre of Besançon (see fig. 400), Ledoux placed the perspective view in the center of the whole drawing, to endow the centrality of the whole drawing. The centrality in section could also be recognized as one of the most important quality of Neoclassicism drawings. If we compare three section of Theatre of Besançon (see fig. 397, 399, 400), we can understand why Ledoux would choose these axes to cut the building. In section A, we could understand the depth of the center space, as well as the arrangement of circulation and how the section could be feed back to plan. In section B, Ledoux is representing the urban context, the poché of building and the scene of auditorium at the same time, but the layout of drawing creates a hierarchy. In section C (see fig. 397), Ledoux showed the order of Theatre of Besançon, indicating the autonomy of architecture itself, under the context of Neoclassicism. From the pictures of the elevation of Theatre of Besançon (see fig. H, I), we can still see the influence by Classical architecture, including the columns and geometric order of windows. In the elevation Ledoux drew in his book L’architecture considérée, the elevation is representing in the perspective view, containing the urban context and the environment with figures. The paradox of Ledoux’s project is obvious in this drawing that in one hand, he still can’t fully avoid the ideology of the tradition, in the other hand, he tried to illustrate the project though another representation. V. Translation from Drawing to Building Robin Evans mentioned in his essay, Transformation from Drawing to Building: “Of the work beyond the pale of architecture—earth art, performance, installations, constructions—which nevertheless deal with recognizably architectural themes, several are remarkably 96


not just for the fact that they make little or no use of drawing, but for the impossibility of their development through this medium.”7 In Ledoux’s projects, drawing is the only medium, either for representation or practical building. In the late 18th century, the design was just started to be teachable, and the medium of communication, drawing, is useful for professional architects to design. Also, as the unique of drawing, all the developments were happened on the paper. As Robin Evans mentioned in his same essay when he was trying to analyze the elevation of project for the Campanile of S. Maria del Fiore, “Through the miracle of the flat plane, lines transfer with alacrity from paper to stone and the wall becomes a petrified drawing, inscribed or embossed to lesser or greater degree.”8 The same degree of translation is also obvious in the drawing of Theatre of Besançon, especially all the documentary drawings are made by pure lines, thus boundary and plan could be represent by different density of lines. VI. Conclusion The research of Theatre of Besançon is closely attaching the architectural discourse happening today, because both Claude-Nicola Ledoux and the theater itself represent a shift change of paradigm and the medium of architecture. By understand how Ledoux think architecture through drawing, can we rethink the tools and representation techniques we are using today, to see the limits and opportunities.

1. Schuman, Tony. “Utopia spurned: Ricardo Bofill and the French ideal city tradition.” Journal of Architectural Education (1986): 20-29. 2. Kaufmann, Emil. “Three Revolutionary Architects, Boullée, Ledoux, and Lequeu.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1952): 431-564. 3. Ledoux, “Coup d’oeil du théàtre de Basançon,” in L’architecture considérée, 373. 4. Camp, Pannill. “Theatre Optics: Enlightenment Theatre Architecture in France and the Architectonics of Husserl’s Phenomenology.” Theatre Journal 59, no. 4 (2007): 615633. 5. Neimark, Anna. “On White on White.” Log, No.31(2014): 62-66. 6. Cochin, C. N., Voyage d’Italie 1: 21; 3: 184, Paris, 1758. Arnaldi, Enea, Idea di lin teatro, Vicenza, 1762. 7. Evans, Robin. “Translation from Drawing to Building (1986).” Translation from Drawing to Building and Other Essays: 152-188. 8. Ibid. 97


STUDY


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Figure 401. Tracing “n” from Roman du Roi.


Letter “n” Advisor: Anna Neimark & Matthew Au (VS4101, Spring 2015)

Robin Evans argues in his famous essay, Translation from Drawing to Building, that “Of the works beyond the pale of architecture — earth art, performance, installations, constructions —which nevertheless deal with the recognizably architectural themes, several are remarkable not just for the fact that they make little or no use of drawing, but for the impossibility of their development through this medium.” This project is to rethink the power and ability of drawing, and how it can affect the form of figure. The transformation deals with three different types of figure, mimetic figure, contrapposto, and nearly legible. The mimetic figure could be trace back the the way Karl F. Schinkel used The Origin of Painting to argue that the subject-matter is generated after drawing. The parallel projection is the origin of elevation. The letter “n” from the Romain du Roi is indicating that tracing is a way to represent. The contrapposto is by giving the figure a slightly oblique to gain the dynamic quality of the entire system. The projection, which corresponding to the extrusion operation after these sets of differneciality could reduce the instability of the whole system. In the corner elevation and axonometry, the “n” becomes nearly legible that in the three-dimensional space, it can even be read as “m”.

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Figure 402. Contrapposto “n”

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Figure 403. Plan of projected “n� from two perpendicular elevations.

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Figure 404. Corner elevation of projected “n”.

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Figure 405. Brid-view axonometic vector rendering of projected “n”.

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Figure 406. Brid-view axonometic vector rendering of projected “n”.

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Figure 407. Worm-view axonometic bitmap rendering of projected “n”.

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Rotation Advisor: Emmett Zeifman & Matthew Au (VS4100, Fall 2014)

The project is discussing the representation of rotation in both drawing and model. In the diagram of rotation, different notations and line weights are used to illustrate the priority of geometric transformation happened during the rotation, and also the order of rotation. In the model of rotation, different materials, styrene and wax, are used to build and cast the geometry generated by the process of rotation. By scanning the model in different way, the form is being distorted again.

Figure 408. Scanning image of wax-cast model based on the rotated geometry.

Figure 409-417. Diagram of rotation.

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Figure 418. Scanning image of styrene model based on the rotated geometry.

Figure 419. Scanning image of a moving styrene model based on the rotated geometry.

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V i l l a g e , C i t y a n d To w n Advisor: Ilaria Mazzoleni & Russell Fortmeyer (AS3121, Spring 2015)

Colour, defined as a visual perceptual property, is derived from a spectrum of light that interacts with the eye’s sensitivities to light receptors. How we see objects’ and materials’ colour is based on its properties of light absorption and reflection. The project is a series of framed light paintings. A trio of 24” by 24” frames are constructed out of 1/4” medium high density fiberboard (MDF). Each frame has a 21/2” border, and a depth of 6”, which allows for layers of LED strip lights to be taped to the sides of the frame. Inside each frame is a pattern printed on mylar. The pattern is derived from an earlier mock-up of the misreading cube. Furthering our experimenting, the misreading cube illustration, created in RGB mode, is changed to CMYK. Then it is split into four channels, and each channel changed into bitmap, before converting everything back into RGB colour mode again. The breaking of the shape and these steps create a pattern that is rich with a variety of colours and densities between colour blocks. When the pattern interacts with the LED light strip, it becomes not only the pattern, but a filter. Different colours of the LED strip filter different parts of the pattern, so that as the light changes, the pattern appears to change. Figures within the pattern appear to disappear, or shift in depth within the frame. Within three frames, a multitude of paintings are created -- in one frame, different landscapes can be seen.

Figure 420-430. Process image, including the original RGB drawing, splited channels, and bitmap channels.

The site aids in this perception, as the placement in a smaller room is much like a small gallery, and the distance between the installation and the viewers – most passing through in the hallway, helps create the illusion of depth. 119


Figure 431. Village, City and Town. Mylar print with LED strip behind. Photo taken in SCI-Arc small gallery.

Figure 432-434. Pattern generated by the transformation.

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Figure 435. Exploded axonometry of Toukong system.


To u - k o n g B r i d g e Advisor: Pavel Getov (AS3100, Fall 2014)

In History of Chinese Architecture, Liang Ssu-Ch’eng mentioned that the Tou-Kung is the most repeated components of the entire architecture in ancient Chinese. It became the basic module of buildings at Song dynasty, which made China the only country which had really brought the building modularization into effect. Unlike the study of European architecture, the study of Chinese building is primarily of its anatomy, Tou-kung being the the fundamental part of wooden structure is representation of the development of Chinese buildings. Although its form came from chapiter, it had became an independent construction member since then, with its own structural and decorative function. In the structure system, its space frame is similar to the modern space. In its later period, the decorative meaning of Tou-Kung became much more significant, the components became dexterous and slim. Tou-kung is also different from the western load bearing system. It uses simple capitals to receiver a direct weight and transfer it to the column. Setting on a large square block on the top of the column, there are set into that block crossed arm spreading in the four directions to support upper members in balance. The proportion of each and all parts of a building is measured in terms of the ts’ai (5, 13, 17, etc.), its multiples and fraction. Each tier of cantilever arm, either Hua-Kong or an Ang, is called a T’iao. A set of Tou-kung may be made of from 1 to 5 T’iaos.

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C r y s t a l Pa l a c e Advisor: Pavel Getov (AS3100, Fall 2014)

Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene is a plastic better known as ETFE. It has a high melting temperature and therefore strength over a wide temperature range. Additionally, its chemical, electrical, and high energy radiation resis- tance properties make it an ideal tensile building material where some level of transparency or flexibility is desired. These properties, compounded with its self-cleaning (nonstick) surface and recyclability, are representative of the far reaching implications of contemporary material invention. During the time of its construction, the Crystal Palace relied heavily on prefabicated, identical units. The modularity of the project made it easier to construct, but it was also restrictive. Each module of the elevation, for example, incorporated glass that was cut at exactly the same size, leaving no room for variation. Also, by using materials such as glass and steel, the eleva- tion of the project was extremely rigid. By replacing glass and steel with ETFE, the nature of the facade is completely different. The facade is now has the ability to vary from module to module. Every module does not have to be the exact same shape or size when using ETFE. As shown in the drawings of the new facade, there is a variability in the sizes of the modules, which was some- thing that was not feasible when the Crystal Palace was built. In addition to the variable sizes of the modules, the facade itself is given a particular flexib- lity with the usage of ETFE. The undulating nature found in many contempo- rary projects that utilize ETFE is a funciton of the material’s flexibility. All in all, the proposed intervention to use ETFE was an attempt to give the facade of the Crystal Palace a certain flexibility and variability that was not present nor nearly as feasible when it was constructed. Figure 436. ETFE model.

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Figure 437-439. Grid diagram of Wall House II.

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Wa l l H o u s e I I Advisor: Margaret Griffin (1GB Design Studio, Spring 2015)

The note of studying Wall House II: - Historical context: the Wall House is designed in the late sixties and early seventies, after the serious of three projects called Diamond House. The geometric form of a square that is rotated and transformed into a wall. - Area: 12,000 sft, outside a garage. - Color: green for sleeping, purple for cooking, violet for dinning, red for study, blue for washing, and yellow for storage. Grey for wall, staircases and the corridor. - Function: “On the right side of the wall we have the utilitarian functions: the stairs, the storeroom, and the bathroom.  On the left hand side of the wall we have life functions: eating, living, and sleeping… I think is shaped like a musical instrument.” (John Hejduk) - Qualities: staircase as an interrupted perception; movement of our body; disequilibrium; clearly defined  spaces; impossible to stop moving; movement on both horizontal and vertical; the way spaces are related; disoriented; cinematic effect.

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Figure 438-461. Figure-ground diagram of Wall House II.

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Milestone I, Kaiho  

First year work in SCI-Arc MArch1 program

Milestone I, Kaiho  

First year work in SCI-Arc MArch1 program

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