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on faciality

"Significance is never without a white wall upon which it inscribes its signs and redundancies. Subjectification is never without a black hole in which it lodges its consciousness, passion and redundancies. Concrete faces cannot be assumed to come ready-made. They are engendered by an abstract machine of faciality ( VISAGEITE), which produces them at the same time as it gives the signifier its white wall and subjectivity its black hole. The face is a surface. the face is a map, even when it is applied to and wraps a volume, even when it surrounds and borders cavities that are now no more than holes. Facialization operates not by resemblance but by an ORDER OF REASON" For the past ten years, architecture has arguably witnessed glorious moments of utter tectonic confusion, generated by the complete disengagement of the facade texture and message from the program sheltered within the building. Alan Colquhoun in his article “The facade in its modern variants” further augments this argument: " According to 18th century French academic theory, the façade of a building should reflect its programme and purpose; a doctrine that was adopted in toto by the modern movement. One of the main differences is that the façade ceased to be an allegory and became a symbol. The building is thought of as transparent and fluid, and should not be divided into rigid compartments or bounded by solid walls. This fluidity also has an ethical component. It symbolizes a non-hierarchical democratic society. Spatial boundaries are symptoms of social oppression." Perhaps is neither gratuitous nor fortuitous the sudden emergence of such culture of tessellation as means of articulating curtain walls after the unforgettable tragedy of 9.11, as well as during a strange age of artificial globalism, also expressed through Olympic games organized by the People's Republic of China, whose political container and content contrast drastically in terms of democratic essence. We have no other option than recognizing the fact that our current curtain wall technologies do allow for an extreme freedom in manipulating the glazed envelope. Along with such freedom, the ever-diminishing restrictions do transform the glazed skin into a perfectly blank canvas on which we are able, more so than ever to operate in order to encode our message.

The aesthetic technique of wrapping geometry around faceted buildings as a facialization apparatus renders buildings both faceless and unapproachable. The lack of apparent hierarchy, or to paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari, "order of reason" perpetuates the myth of the interior and situates architecture in a halo of cache, uncertainty and apparent equality. Equality is not necessarily deriving from the mono-genomic DNA of the tessellation, and does not necessarily reflect a social-political message of uniformity and harmony, but merely disseminates equal confusion about the content. The iniquitous proposal that such gift-wraps put forward is both delightful and deceitful. We not only accept such a level of abstraction and control of perception but take pleasure in de-coding it, as an intellectual exercise in visual logics. Not to waste any time henceforth, the reading I am proposing in the mindset of faciality is striving to read the tiling through understanding the relationship between pattern and frame, as well as the choice of genome for generating such pattern. In the first case, there are a few strategies that can be observed: - The pattern obsessively wraps around the solid, regardless of the inclination of the surface, be it vertical, horizontal or sloped, looking for a seamless resolution. This strategy makes the corners disappear and dissolves completely the concept of axial perception or main facade. The program is not only inactive but hidden, as if the building had no interior. The contained becomes dissociated from the subject. (Prada) - The pattern simply asserts itself apparently without regard to edges, negating their importance and existence as entities meant to articulate the building. The massing becomes crudely a fold-up of flat elements whose patterning and shape happens before-hand on the horizontal plane. (Seattle) - The pattern is not only driving the reading of the massing, but also the massing itself. In these cases, the entire tectonic system of the building is subjected to one governing rule, making the distinction between the wrap and body almost indecipherable. The skin becomes the body, as in the case of the Hearst Tower. - The pattern is making an attempt at creating an ostensible variation, while keeping the structure of the curtain wall within reasonable constructability boundaries. The Water Cube Beijing is a perfect example of such procedure, where a thorough space-packing, a slightly random cutting operation and an optimization procedure create a balance between randomness and repetitiveness hard to achieve through traditional self-similar two-dimensional tessellations. In all cases, one common avoidance is any overlap or even slight indication that such ensemblages directly carry loads to the ground. The buildings become fully detached from gravity. There is no one to one relationship between gravitational forces and direction of the mullions. In cases such as Prada, even the orientation of the diamond-shape pattern is oriented in such way that visually seems to be prone to folding onto itself. Such choice of figures is not haphazard, as the tendency is to stretch the figure as close to a circle as possible. Through this technique, the tessellation joints themselves seem to be read as detached from any structural role, the pattern loses directionality, and becomes visually impervious.

RGM


watercube The pattern is making an attempt at creating an ostensible variation, while keeping the structure of the curtain wall within reasonable constructability boundaries. The Water Cube Beijing is a perfect example of such procedure, where a thorough space-packing, a slightly random cutting operation and an optimization procedure create a balance between randomness and repetitiveness hard to achieve through traditional self-similar two-dimensional tessellations.


WEAIRE-PHELAN SPACE PACKING


prada The pattern obsessively wraps around the solid, regardless of the inclination of the surface, be it vertical, horizontal or sloped, looking for a seamless resolution. This strategy makes the corners disappear and dissolves completely the concept of axial perception or main facade. The program is not only inactive but hidden, as if the building had no interior. The contained becomes dissociated from the subject.


seattle public library The pattern simply asserts itself apparently without regard to edges, negating their importance and existence as entities meant to articulate the building. The massing becomes crudely a fold-up of flat elements whose patterning and shape happens before-hand on the horizontal plane.


hearst tower The pattern is not only driving the reading of the massing, but also the massing itself. In these cases, the entire tectonic system of the building is subjected to one governing rule, making the distinction between the wrap and body almost indecipherable. The skin becomes the body, as in the case of the Hearst Tower.



Razvan Ghilic-Micu_PEG_Faciality