beyond the grey zones
inbetween the inbetween
inbetween toward the inbetween a fickle architecture
taryn bone sci_arc m.arch one 2011-2013
design studio (ds) hyde park branch library 10 adolf loos: steiner house 18 silver lake residence 24 chelsea performing arts tower 34 robin hood gardens transformation 48 downtown urban housing 54
cultural studies (cs) the rise of the neo-humanists? 66 research paper: todai-ji temple 68 el lissitzky: less talk, more action 60 from composition to field 72
visual studies (vs) analytique 76 civitatem 78 tile studies 80 marginally interesting
applied studies (as)
concrete experimentation 88 from objects to forms 96 squished 98
Introduction 1 Introduction 2
grey area 1. a subject or problem that people do not know how to deal with because there are no clear rules. 2. an area or part of something existing between two extremes and having mixed characteristics of both. 3. an intermediate area; a topic that is not clearly one thing or the other 4. a situation in which the rules are not clear, or in which you are not sure what is right or wrong
This collection of work responds to the neglected grey area. It abandons convention to address the problems of inbetween spaces, which others are unable to grasp. It gives character to the area found between two extremes by heightening its articulation and allowing its presence to be perceived beyond its own space. It attends to zones which are found between extremes, creating unique conditions. It clarifies situations in which others are unsure through legitimizing distinct elements. This is my architecture, and it manifests in the interstitial space.
fickle 1. changeable in purpose; capricious 2. not constant 3. liable to sudden, unpredictable change 4. always changing synonyms: changeable; unpredictable; variable; whimsical antonyms: constant; faithful; stable
A move toward my thesis is the idea of what a fickle architecture is. Often thought of negatively, the term fickle has the positive interpretations of change, variety, and whimsy. In a disposable world, the intention is not for â€œthrow awayâ€? architecture, but, rather, a variable architecture. Fickle architecture will not have to be replaced because of its inherent flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of its users. I do not yet know how this architecture will be made, how it will look, or if anyone has asked these questions in the past. The next year will be spent discovering the answers to these queries, culminating with the beginning of a fickle architecture.
toward a fickle architecture
diagram of how interior forms were derived
Fall 2011 Instructor: Darin Johnstone 4 Le ve l 3 Le ve l
2 Le ve l
Borrowing from one of my architectural heroes, Rem Koolhaas, I also aim to “give form to the program.”
This is apparent in the library project where typically hidden programmatic
elements of offices, bathrooms, and storage rooms are encased within the architecture and brought to the center of the building, forcing the reading areas and circulation between
1 Le ve l
Le Lev ve e l3 l2
Le ve Leve l4 l3
Le ve l
these masses and the exterior.
The formal intent was to utilize the precedent of Tony
Smith’s “Smug” sculpture to reference geometry and inherent interactions within the form of the library.
From this arose the opportunity to reference the latent geometry of the
interior forms in a skin, providing structure as well as helping to visually break up the mass.
Le L ve ev l2 e l
los angeles library hyde park branch
Le ve l1
top view of tony smith transformation
top: elevation of tony smith transformation bottom: section of tony smith transformation
1. children; 2. adult; 3. garden; 4. reading room; 5. reference; 6. librarian office; 7. comm room; 8. friends room; 9. circulation; 10. teen; 11. menâ€™s restroom; 12. womens restroom; 13. new books/magazines; 14. main entrance; 15. staff restroom; 16. staff lounge; 17. work room; 18. storage; 19. janitors closet; 20. electrical room; 20. temporary meeting space
ds 14 1
from top to bottom: longitudinal section; transverse section through garden atrium; transverse section through central corridor.
top: 1/8â€? sectional model, view of back entrance bottom: 1/16â€? scale model of entire library
initial diagrams for possible program layout. 1. idea of a centrally contained continuous functional poche surrounded by public space; 2. square sheared by geometry derived from baroque church mixed with tony smith transformed grid
left: multiple spatial analyses of the steiner house based on geometric and proportional relationships
raumplan analysis steiner house examine the elements of Raumplan. The most useful and interesting aspects of Loos’ Raumplan are its use of forced movement within plan and section, clear front to back articulation of spaces, and the use of the envelope as a container holding individualized spaces. Since reading Loos’ manifesto “Ornament and Crime,” I have had an affinity for his concepts and a desire to further analyze his drawings and spaces. In my analysis I broke down aspects of Raumplan as a whole through Loos’ multitude of projects focusing in particular on the Steiner House.
As a precedent for a single family residence project, I looked to the works of Adolf Loos to
Spring 2012 Instructor: Jonah Rowen
left: architectural drawings of the steiner house below: transformation from palladioâ€™s villa cornaro into loosâ€™ steiner house
axonometric breakdown of the functions of raumplan: individual compartmentalization of space, relationships of doors and windows within the space, building as an object/container, and forced movement in plan and section
silver lake residence: the tension between raumplan and plan libre Spring 2012 Instructor: Jonah Rowen Raumplan is: the interior reflected on exterior container which holds and emphasizes precise compartmentalized spaces. Of these, there is always a meaningful center to the house of which
circulation through space allowed by no reliance on load bearing walls. This project deals with interpreting certain elements of Adolf Loos’ Raumplan and reconciling them with aspects of Le Corbusier’s Free Plan. In the project, the tension of discrete, yet free space stretches between two similar, but distinct facades. There is a clear front to back reading diverted by vertical movement where the atomized space indicative of Raumplan can be seen in the transverse sections. Likewise, the expansive free movement known by Free Plan can be seen in longitudinal section. Like Raumplan, this project holds a meaningful main living area off of which all the other spaces grow. As Loos once said with regard to Raumplan, “There are no floors, just connected rooms; the transition between rooms must be imperceptible.”
Plan Libre, similar to Raumplan, has clear front to back movement, but differs in the free
all other rooms atomize off of. Raumplan intentionally exhibits multiple readings of space.
1.outdoor space; 2. back entry; 3. dining; 4. kitchen; 5. living; 6. main entry from silver lake blvd; 7. open circulation spaces; 8. master bedroom; 9. upstairs living area; 10. bathroom; 11. bathroom; 12. bedroom; 13. entry from first floor; 14. open to below
ds 26 8
top: section AA bottom: section BB
top: model depiction of circulation in loosâ€™ steiner house bottom: model representation of idea of circulation as a pathway and mediator between a two bar type structure, allowing for horizontal and vertical pavilionization
top left: development model representing the connection of facades to the extrusions top right: model representing the intersections of the extrusions bottom: final model on site, view from silver lake boulevard
top: section FF bottom: section DD
top: section EE bottom: section CC
chelsea performing arts tower: manhattan Fall 2012 Instructor: Marcelo Spina In collaboration with Johnny Ng This project aims to create a highly articulated interstitial space between the masses of program (theaters) and the sculpted orthogonal exterior. This glazed facade takes cues from Koolhaasâ€™ work on the Seattle Public Library in its sharp angles and particular vantage points. All public programming within the tower is found in the space between, allowing theatergoers
*This project was chosen to move forward into DD during Spring 2013. I was the project manager of my team, all drawings not produced by myself are noted as such.
below, all the while collecting beautiful views of the city through the encompassing glass.
to experience the giant, seemingly floating masses above and the architectural chasms
1/8â€? sectional model built entirely of basswood
classic theater FF+160’-6”
main theater lobby FF+82’-7”
rehearsal space FF+47’-3”
music library FF+30’ high line FF+22’
outdoor theater stage FF+9’-5” entry FF+0’
multiform theater FF+120’
1. lobby; 2. street entry; 3. ticketing; 4. coat check; 5. loading dock; 6. storage
1. high line entry; 2. cafe; 3. outdoor theater; 4. BOH; 5. men’s restroom; 6. women’s restroom
1. theater foyer; 2. multi-form theater
1. offices; 2. theater foyer; 3. backstage; 4. classic theater; 5. foyer with a view
opposite page: perspective view from high line park side below: primary structure axonometric; secondary structure and enclosure axonometric
opposite page: interior perspective of interstitial public space this page: photograph of sectional model; process diagrams
opposite page: aerial view from tenth avenue side below: 3D details by Cheng Feng Lin; 2D detail of concrete wall to roof by Freesia Torres
6â€? GFRC PANEL
waterproofing membrane gutter liner
METAL PIPE GUTTER (DRAIN) WATERPROOFING
METAL DECKING W24X80 STRUCTURAL MEMBER
aluminum mullion reinforced steel frame
dual glazed insulated glass seismic support steel
precedent transformation: from robin hood gardens to downtown los angeles Spring 2013 2GB Studio Instructor: Ramiro Diaz-Granados In collaboration with Garrett Santo The transformation of Robin Hood Gardens onto a more urban site in downtown Los Angeles began by analyzing the massing strategy on its large site. It was determined that it began as two bars, sculpted and bent by site conditions. One bar became compressed due to existing buildings, forcing
bars were placed as two towers, then bent based on local height restrictions and site bounderies. Le Corbusier’s Unite begins to come in the transformation project, by the “feet” appearing as giant piloti and the garden moving from the ground in RHG, to the sky. Keeping true to RHG’s streets in the sky they were further opened up onto the roof garden. The contorted figures allow more direct interaction between the two towers, a critique of RHG in which the bars were highly disengaged from one another. The concept of framing was maintained by encasing both the ground and the roof garden with units. The interlocking unit logic stayed true horizontally, becoming bent at the joints. In the vertical condition, the plans become the sections as the units change from two stories to three, maintaining their square footage and dual access from the now vertical street of the elevator. Through the height shift of each tower, every unit gets an equal view of each side of the city.
able to fit into the new site. Since the Los Angeles site enables more vertical conditions, the two
its unit logic upward. Using the same transformative techniques on the existing bars of RHG, it was
axonometric diagram describing the repeatable interlocking unit logic of robin hood gardens
top: serial sections showing original RHG unit interlocking logic bottom: tranformed vertical and horizontonal interlocking logic
spring and main urban housing: downtown los angeles Using the interlocking unit logic found in the precedent study of Robin Hood Gardens, this project developed from the idea of multiple variations in social interaction within one cohesive housing unit.
Within one building mass, four distinct neighborhoods developed,
each containing one unit type, each type had its own distinct shape, allowing for variation in social space within the neighborhoods. Here, the interstitial architectural space is found in the seams between neighborhood masses. These seams contain within them all of the building circulation. Though there are two seperate main entrances and lobbies, these “cracks” between neighborhoods allow for movement through the building as a whole, as well as give visual understanding of the separation of masses. Additionally, the louvered “grille” system allows light and air into the units, simultaneously evoking the visual continuity of one cohesive building.
This studio allowed the opportunity to alter the concept of housing in an urban environment.
Spring 2013 2GB Studio Instructor: Ramiro Diaz-Granados In collaboration with Garrett Santo
1. live/work units commerical space; 2. main lobbies; 3. one bedroom units; 4. maisonettes; 5. bike storage; 6. mail room
1. two bedroom units; 2. public space; 3. maisonette; 4. live/work units; 5. one bedroom units
this page: sectional model showing spring street facade opposite page: sectional diagram indicating spatial qualities of each neighborhood and the spaces inbetween
opposite page: exploded axonometric showing each component: massing, units, internal terraces, grilles this page: photograph of sectional model
The Rise of the Neo-Humanists? Fall 2011 Instructor: Todd Gannon
“The problem is that now the only way left in the search for the authentic is the search for the eccentric.” -Manfredo Tafuri Architecture can be envisioned in many ways: in the context
of intelligent critique, as a form of art, or rather an environment meant for people. In a world full of technology changing the discourse in almost every field on a daily basis, the obvious thought is that our world would become less humane and more virtual (think more video game, less Deleuzian.) There are, however, many contemporaries in the field of architecture that are calling for the utilization of these new digital constructs as tools rather than as a new style of architecture. These neo-humanists will shift the discourse in architecture from a purely autonomous and quantitative attempt to a more humanistic approach. Perhaps the most humanist approach is that of projective architecture as described by Somol and Whiting. Humanist in the sense of having a desire to respond to a population’s social and economic needs by designing the environments where they live, work and play in attempt to affect the local politics. This is something accomplished by the architect, who is no expert on any of these issues, but rather an expert on design. Projective architecture does not attempt to solve societal problems, but rather to create environments where people can interact with each other and their surroundings to escape the pitfalls of society. In this sense, Diller, Scofidio, and Renfro’s (DS+R) Blur Building could have been a perfect example of virtual Neo-Humanist architecture if it had been allowed to follow through with its intended digital interactive components as mentioned in Gannon and Hayles’ “Virtual Architecture, Actual Media.” Sylvia Lavin is another example of a Neo-Humanist. She believes that pure abstraction in architecture is banal and representative of free corporate expansion. Minimalism is not humanist, as Sylvia points out, because it is blank, meant merely as something you bump into when you back up to see art (or in the case of capitalism, when you back up to decide which item you wish to purchase at one of the million department stores in any given city.) Minimalists align more with the Sensationalists because the intent of minimalism is to shock, which makes it anti-human.
Instead, Lavin seeks architecture as environments that offer human proportions and feelings to the people who encounter the building. In the case of the MOMA, the museumgoer is seen as an obstacle that is required to be constantly and swiftly moved along toward the gift-shop at the end because, after all, this is capitalism, and modern architecture epitomizes our capitalist ways. Tafuri made this same argument with his observation that capitalism would not allow for a humanist approach to manifest because the focus is on the production of capital, therefore overlooking the human experience. Lavin suggests that in spite of our capitalist environment (here a museum), with a little care and the human touch (in her case, that of a digital art experience), humanism can be achieved. Wes Jones, unlike Somol and Whiting, is not fully against digital production and critical architecture in his search for the NeoHumanist approach, he disagrees primarily with the pure quantitative approach of parametricism that Patrik Schumacher advocates. Neohumanism, according to Jones’ theories, is achievable by utilizing new digital techniques while allowing the architect full reign to make his/her own decisions—in other words, Jones calls for the human touch. This is a valid argument because an algorithmic approach would rarely, if ever, produce something on its own that is conducive to human proportions and interactions. This exemplifies the fact that neo-humanism calls for digital technology as a tool and not a way of life as well as that it should not hinder and not take the human or the architect out of the design process. Andrew Zago sides with the neo-humanists only in his strife for utilizing technology as a tool rather than a way of design. Zago calls for contemporary architects involved in developing new architecture to become masters of technique rather than believing that computational design and fabrication tools are a self-justifying methodology. Mastery of quality is crucial in the digital age where every new high school graduate can create anything they can imagine with computer programs. This is not to say that Zago or any of the neo-humanists are anti-digital, but all realize the mistake of relying on these new digital technologies rather than relying on their own mastery of architecture. Despite the aforementioned similarities Zago has with the neo-humanists, his quest for the awkward calls for something which is not humanistic at all. The awkward is a place between the purely digital and the neo-humanist. It is a place where there is no need for
Greenberg, Clement. 1988. “The Collected Essays and Crticism: Perceptions and Judgements.” Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Hayles, N Katherine and Todd Gannon. 2009. “Virtual Architecture, Actual Media.” Jones, Wes. 2010. “Big Forking Dilemma: Contemporary Architecture’s Autonomic Turn.” Harvard Design Magazine. Volume 32, Spring/Summer 2010. Pp. 8-17. Lavin, Sylvia. 2010. “Kissing Architecture.” Point. Princeton University Press
Meredith, Michael. 2011. “For the Absurd.” Log 22. Somol, Robert and Sarah Whiting. 2002. “Notes Around the Doppler Effect and Other Moods of Modernism.” Perspecta, Volume 33. Pp. 72-77. Tafuri, Manfredo. 1969. “Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology.” Contropiano 1. January-April 1969. Zago, Andrew. 2010. “Awkward Position.” Perspecta, Volume 42. Pp. 209-223.
One way to describe the humanist versus the purely digital or critical approach to architecture would be going back to Greenberg’s argument of kitsch versus avant garde. One may consider the new algorithmic architecture to be the avant garde today because of their seemingly new approach to creating architecture through digital media, but according to Greenberg, mechanical reproduction is what brought kitsch to life and now more than ever before we have the most quality means of reproduction. The digital approach to architecture without any humanist care is kitsch. Who then are the avant garde today? If it were to be anyone, it would be the neo-humanists because in a society that is so utterly digital laden, these young contemporaries are calling for a way of the past; in other words: anti-capital, pro-society. In our highly capitalistic civilization this is a new, avant garde idea. The kitsch today (parametrics and other forms of digital architecture) lacks the human touch and will make society crumble if given the go-ahead to reproduce itself all around town. The neo-humanists, specifically Wes Jones, Sylvia Lavin, Robert Somol, and Sarah Whiting, can do something for society by their new approach to humanism. This is the attempt of Somol and Whiting’s projective architecture, Lavin’s thesis of “kissing,” and Jones’ “big dilemma.” These current avant gardes have the potential to better architecture, perhaps society as a whole if they can maneuver through the logistics of our current political weaknesses. The ideas are there, and that is the first step. If the economy turns around and building begins again, these kids, and the many others who will exist at this time will begin a new era in architecture. Why the departure from critical architecture? As the strongest contemporary promoter of architectural autonomy, Peter Eisenman is undoubtedly baffled. There comes a time when the world has focal shifts and the needs of the society change and that is what has been occurring in the post 9/11 world. At this point, people are so scared of everything that it makes zero sense to plop scary architecture, often nonconducive to the human scale, into the landscape and force the timid souls to live, work, and play in it. Now is the time to bring a new humanist movement to the world. We have been through a terrible recession where building practically ceased and now we find ourselves at the apex of the revolution which Tafuri was seeking. If this turns out to be the case, then the time will come for the neo-humanists to truly emerge.
critique, yet it is not projective. The awkward does not conform or act against anything else, and it does not allow itself to be compared to anything else. It is…awkward. Interesting to this is the idea of the simulacra, in which the differences are the most important in determining simulacra from a copy. What is the awkward then if it refuses to be compared? Zago explains the awkward as a series of inexplicable instances that harness unpredictable effects. Based on the definition that Zago lays out, Tafuri would align with the awkward because of his believe that eccentricity is the only form of authenticity. Tafuri was a proponent of humanist architecture, but he would have never sided with Somol and Whiting’s projective architecture because he believed that humanism could only succeed when building ceased and there came a revolutionary period. Is this why humanism is making a comeback? Are we now in this time of revolution? With the post 9/11 downturn of the economy and the imminent halt in almost all domestic building followed by almost non-existent middle class and most currently, the Occupy movement, perhaps this is the exact era that Tafuri was arguing for. In which case, he would support the neo-humanists. Another aspect of Tafuri’s argument, which enlightens the side of the neo-humanists, is when he states that industrialization, while attempting to help society, actually ruins it. Today, parametricism could be seen as this new industry. Expected by Schumacher to be utilized as a more efficient way to create architecture, the sameness of it all could eradicate the humanity of cities. While striving to be autonomous these critical-digital architects could actually make architecture unnoticed and blasé. Another possibility is architecture so awkward that humanity feels juxtaposed in their own environments that they become uncomfortable and ruined. Is this the intention of such god-complex architects as Eisenman, Schumacher, Hadid, and previously Le Corbusier? Or is the anti-humane a by-product of their search for autonomy (in the case of Eisenman and Corbusier) or for interesting form (Schumacher and Hadid)? Where does Michael Meredith stand with his article “For the Absurd?” He sees the reach for purely critical architecture as extreme and ridiculous. He calls for a new manifesto for architecture and new possibilities for experimentation within architecture, and perhaps this will come. Mostly, however, the way in which he writes the article is his obvious humanist approach. He writes in an satirically easy way, reminiscent of the way Jeff Kipnis writes, and by doing so brings the human aspect back into architectural debate.
Todai-ji Temple Complex: Nara, Japan Spring 2012 Instructor: Dora Epstein-Jones
In central Japan there lays an ancient city called Nara. The Nara period was a time at the turn of the 8th century during which there were huge advances in Buddhist temple size, elaboration and number, according to Alexander Coburn Soper, III. Similar to Korean and Chinese predecessors, the Japanese temple does not stand alone. Instead the temples are built into magnificent complexes with a main centralized temple surrounded by many other building types, creating an axial movement through the complex. Such a technique is often seen with temple types throughout Western history. Inside Japan’s ancient Buddhist city, there can be found what is referred to as the “seven great temples of Nara.” One of the great temple complexes of Nara, named Todai-ji, houses what is still the largest wooden building in the world, the Daibutsuden, or as it is more commonly called in the West, Great Buddha Hall. In his article, “Some Aspects of Japanese Architecture” Walter Dodd Ramberg describes how Japanese architecture consists mostly of post and beam construction using only wood, even though a plethora of suitable stones for building can be found throughout Japan. Considering that the accidental burning down of structures was a persistent problem, it is intriguing that the ancient Japanese constructors chose to build only in wood. Was it merely out of tradition, based on an established knowledge, or was it the Japanese artistic tendency towards the natural? Within this debate, there is also a sense that geographical isolation allowed Japan to develop its own cultural identity separate from that of its early Chinese influence. This paper will thoroughly detail the formal aspects of the Daibutsuden, emphasize the importance of the roof in Japanese architecture, discuss some of the buildings housed on the Todai-ji compound, and compare the building types of Japan to those of the West. The Daibutsuden Erection of the Great Buddha Hall began in 747 CE and was completed in 751 CE. The creation of the Great Buddha Hall, in Soper’s view, was an attempt by Emperor Shomu-tenno to make one focal point for Buddhism. Therefore, the Daibutsuden was meant to be a shrine and “realm protector” to the great Vaircana (the Buddha of Universal Sunlight.) In “Temples of Nara and Their Art,” Ooka points out that the reason for the temple’s enormous size is the fact that it was built to house a sixteenmeter (52 feet) high image of Vaircana. The completion of The Great Buddha Hall marked the first time in history that a building had reached such heights (Fig 1). In addition to the completion of Daibutsuden at Todai-ji being a new
architectural achievement, it is also believed to have been a great engineering feat. Modern research shows that once a hill, which was the height of the Vaircana statue, stood at the exact location of Daibutsuden. According to Kakichi Suzuki, the hill was leveled before The Great Buddha Hall could be erected. The Great Buddha Temple of Todai-ji cost so much to build in the 8th century that Japan remained fiscally and emotionally exhausted so that most built after was less ambitious in its architectural and engineering aspirations. According to Soper, the critical dimension in any Eastern building is its depth because of the dependence upon the length of timber for its girders. This potentially caused much of Japan’s great economic drain following the erection of Daibutsuden. The Roof of Todai-ji Complex Perhaps the most significant formal aspect of the Japanese Temple type is found within the structure of the roof. It is here that a building of such high status can be tectonically expressed through its bracketing system. According to Mary Neighbour Parent in “The Roof in Japanese Buddhist Architecture,” various complexities of bracket systems are used where the wall purlins and transverse beams join the pillars, strengthening the point at which the three components connect (Fig 2). This tectonic device plays the dual purpose of creating an aesthetic exterior, as well as a magnificent interior devoid of a traditional ceiling (Fig 3). The three bracketing system is common among Japanese Buddhist temples during the Nara period. However, according to Parent, the six-stepped bracket system is characteristic to Daibutsu style (sometimes erroneously translated as the “Indian” style, though no traces to India can be found), built by Chogen during the restorations of Todai-ji at the latter part of the 12th century and currently found only in the Main South Gate and the Great Buddha Hall at Todai-ji (Fig 4-5). This system utilizes big solid wedges at the corners to create the characteristic strongly curving eaves, as seen in the Todai-ji belfry created a generation later (Fig 6). It can often be observed that temples with strongly curving eaves are tectonically accentuated with the addition of more curling elements at the corners of the hip on the roof. This adds a further aesthetic to an already intriguing tectonic device. These curling portions can be seen on the restoration versions of the Main South Gate, the Great Buddha Hall, and the Belfry at Todai-ji. Ramberg states that there has been little variation in form for Japanese building from the temple type due to similar building techniques, with the exception of the roof. He reinforces this argument by stating that the accomplishment of the Japanese architect is through his or her “quality of craft and deft manipulation of the traditional vocabulary of architectural forms.” Since the roof is of such importance to ancient Japanese architecture, a
Inoue, Mitsuo. “The Baroque Tendancies in the Horyuji Style of Architecture.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, May 1969. Pg 124-132. “ Interior Space.” Japan Architect, June 1964. v 39, pg 44-67. Omari, Kenji. “ Great South Gate of Todaiji.” Japan Architect, May 1965. v 40, pg 80-89. “On the Belfry of Todaiji Temple.” Kokka, December 1934. v 44. Pg 327-349. Ooka, Minoru. Temples of Nara and Their Art. 1973. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill/Heibonsha
Western Comparisons In the “Evolution of Buddhist Architecture in Japan,” Soper suggests that from the bracketing systems arise a decorative form on the facade, as is apparent in the curling elemnts which mimic the deep curving eaves. He goes on to compare the interior expression of the roof form in Japanese temples to that of the Gothic style in the West. A comparison of the Japanese bracketing system to the Gothic can be accomplished in hypothesizing that the stereonomy of the skeletal structure so indicative of a Gothic Cathedral is more or less the same device as the Japanese bracketing method that makes the roof of such aesthetic importance through purely tectonic decisions. Reading the plan of Todai-ji, particularly the Daibutsuden, one can begin to also see a sense of hypostyle, if comparing it to the early architecture of Western culture. This is due to the required support needed for a building so large with a massive wooden roof above. The center of the building remains unadorned by columns; instead this is where the great statue is placed. The centralized plan can be compared to Western dome churches of the Middle Ages. With no intention of inferring that the Japanese borrowed from the West, instead implying that the idea of open centers is more poetic and less tectonic to any culture in which there is a high regard to that which is holy. Other important buildings in the Todai-ji Complex Though the Great Buddha Hall is the most well known structure at Todaiji, there are many others that hold architectural significance and help establish order and hierarchy to the overall layout of the complex. The buildings that indicated the greatest hierarchy were the pagodas. Unfortunately the great East and West Pagodas were never restored after being destroyed by fires in the 16th century. The seven-tiered majesties are the image generally thought of as ancient traditional Japanese architecture. The pagodas once sat just in front of the Great Buddha Hall slightly to the left and right of it, helping to cast hierarchical importance of the Daibutsuden at the center of the plan. They each had their own corridors and gates and were located outside of the main cloister area (Fig 8). Soper also
Conclusion It is apparent through the formal study of the Todai-ji temple complex of Nara, Japan that there is a certain aesthetic that emerges from particular tectonic moves. Even in a culture which still relies on the simplicity of post and beam structures, there can be found certain intelligence in the spatial aspects of their buildings as well as a high degree of craftsmanship which makes simple moves read all the more magnificently. It has been previously stated that certain building types were standardized during the Nara period and it can be concluded that the importance of the roof in Japanese architecture developed at the same time.
.Parent, Mary Neighbour. The Roof in Japanese Buddhist Architecture. 1983. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill/Kajima. Ramberg, Walter Dodd. “Some Aspects of Japanese Architecture.” Perspecta, 1960. v 6, pg 34-47. Reynolds, Jonathon. “Teaching Architectural History in Japan: Building a Context for Contemporary Practice.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Dec 2002. Pg 530-536. Soper, Alexander. The Evolution of Buddhist Architecture in Japan. 1942. New York: Hacker Art Books. 1979. Suzuki, Kakichi. Early Buddhist Architecture in Japan. 1980. Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco: Kodansha International Ltd. And Shibundo.
believes the pagoda to be a Japanese building type that was standardized during the Nara period and merely repeated with little changes until the 12th century. The Great South Gate is the only building on the Todai-ji complex that still stands in its entirety from the 12th century. It is through the Great South Gate that we can learn about Chogen’s Great Buddha style of architecture. In Ooka’s opinion, Chogen’s main priority was efficiency of construction. He states that Chogen “standardized the building materials, employed a simple method of engineering and made extensive use of penetrating ties,” which were an extremely economical way to strengthen the structure. These later inventions by Chogen make some of the previously mentioned bracketing techniques more aesthetic rather than required for structural purposes. According to Parent, the gate dates to 1199 and is a huge two-story, five-by-two bay building with a hip and gable roof. Soper mentions that the gateway was another building type that was standardized during the Nara period with little changes; however he believes the Great South Gate to be an impressive and individualized instance, partially due to the six-stepped roof bracketing system. The belfry tower at Todai-ji is unique due to the layering of multiple styles in its building techniques as well as exhibiting a drooping verge, which Parent doubts was intended when it was first built because this style is typical of a much later period. According to Parent, the belfry was built by Chogen’s predecessor in the early 13th century and is a mixture of the Zen style from China and the Daibutsu style of Japan. The many aforementioned technical aspects of the 6-stepped bracketing system are what make this belfry unique.
look at the interiors is warranted to see what sort of aesthetic manipulations these tectonic decisions can create. The result is magnificently high ceilings adorned with a complexity of interlocking beams and brackets. These brackets, as can be seen in the image of the belfry (Fig 7), are where the architect took liberties to add aesthetic details. Such details are the scalloped edges on the beam end nosings and the boat style single and double brackets. These brackets assist the beams to further span across the space, but could have more easily been cut rectangular, instead of the aesthetic decision to make them rounded.
El Lissitzky: Less Talk, More Action Fall 2012 Instructor: Amit Wolf
El Lissitzky was a notable Russian avant-garde whose progressive work helped stimulate contemporary architecture and whose influence was vital to the beginnings of Modernism. Drawing a parallel between his work as a theorist and a painter, this paper will explain Lissitzky’s aims to prompt societal changes through the arts, as well as examine likenesses between his work and contemporary architecture. Utopian ideas appear throughout Rem Koolhaas’ manifesto Delirious New York. Specifically, his reading of Manhattan from 1890-1940 as a city in which a new culture of thinkers utilized the grid as a laboratory to test “metropolitan lifestyle and pursue architecture as a collective experiment where the natural and the real ceased to exist.” Additionally, Koolhaas’ use of primitive geometries to form most of his buildings, specifically the Seattle Public Library, create immense interiority. In the famous library, these spaces have become a popular sanctuary for the people of Seattle. Rem’s son, Tomas Koolhaas, interviewed a homeless man who takes refuge in the Seattle Public Library. The man says that, “this beautiful building has been a haven for a lot of homeless people. It’s not just having a peaceful and safe place to go, but is helping me to stay optimistic about the future and getting back on my feet.” This is proof that architecture has the potential to encourage social change-exactly what El Lissitzky was aiming for in his work during the 1920’s. The idea that a form of art can elicit social reform is a utopian value discussed by many, but Lissitzky moved the idea forward through the work of his Prouns. “Proun” is an abbreviation of the Russian words ‘proekt utverzhdeniia novogo’, meaning ‘project for the establishment of a new art.’ Lissitzky’s Prouns are Suprematist art which sweep away the illusion of three-dimensional space, replacing it with the idea of irrational space and infinite extensibility in depth and foreground. Suprematism, according to Lissitzky, should not be seen as a style but as a radical technique departing from established modes of representation as well as a responding to advances in theoretical geometry. In his Prouns, the axonometric projection techniques and use of color are at odds, creating ambiguity that defies threedimensional representation. Relying on the psychological part of vision rather than sensation, the Proun conceives of spatial
constructs outside of one’s normal experience. In his paper from 1922, “Proun, Not World Visions, But-World Reality,” Lissitzky states: “Proun goes beyond painting and the artist on the one hand and the machine and the engineer on the other, and advances to the construction of space divides it by the elements of all dimensions, and creates a new many faceted unity as a formal representation of our nature.” This statement directly suggests Lissitzky’s belief in a new art that can generate radical change. Through his Prouns, he set to represent a force that went beyond personality or nationality and would proceed to shape the New World. The ultimate power of the Proun is to create aims in the viewer, not to directly represent infinity, but to make infinity thinkable. El Lissitzky believed that objects, as abstract representations of form relations in space, could direct human action and represent utopian values. The Proun could more actively engage the viewer because it did not rely on fixed perspective and had a strong orderly arrangement of elements. Social reformation as a by-product of art, according to Lissitzky’s point of view, does not rely on artists as individuals expressing their personal feelings, but on a collection of people seeing something advanced in the new art and moving society forward because of it. The most notable quote from Lissitzky regarding this collective movement comes from Nikolai Khardzheiv’s “El Lissitzky-Constructor of the Book” where Lissitzky calls for:
Lissitzky’s intent was not for his art to sit in galleries to be critiqued by the upper-class; instead it was meant to be seen by many and push the whole population in a new direction. He accomplished this by not simply making art, but supplementing the architectural works with theoretical lectures and essays emphasizing the theories behind his artwork. One interpretation of Lissitzky’s ideology is that by creating new geometries and modes of representation which must be viewed from all angles in order to gain the full spectrum of the concept, the viewer’s minds will open up to new possibilities in and out of art. He
K. Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History (London: Thames and Hudson,1992)
T. Koolhaas, REM, clip found on www.archdaily.com, full film to be released in 2013.
“[A] move toward unification with workers and thinkers, technicians and inventors for collective building. It’s time to turn intellectual meetings from the chaos of ideas to factories of actions.”
R. J. Difford, Proun: An Exercise in the Illusion of Four-Dimensional Space, (Journal for Architecture, Vol 2, 1997)
R. Koolhaas, Delirious New York (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1994)
Though they each come from different time periods and use varying means of representation, both Koolhaas and Lissitzky are men whose aims for a higher level of discourse within the profession of architecture allowed them each to indulge in their idealisms without worry or regret.
S. Lissitzky-Kuppers, El Lissitzky: LIfe, Letters, Texts, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968) V. Margolin, The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy 1917-1946, (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997) M. Tupitsyn, “After Vitesbk: El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich, 1924-1929,” Situating El Lissitzky ed. Nancy Perloff (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2003), 177-193
In Delirious New York, Koolhaas mentions the X, Y, and Z building additions to Rockefeller Center as being at the end of the alphabet. He states that after Z comes A again, because “the implosion of these universes is like that of the original 100 story building and perhaps merely the beginning of a new alphabet.” Comparing this statement to what is known of Lissitzky’s fascination with infinity and utopian ideals, an obvious connection between these two architects can be made. While Lissitzky did not practice architecture in the same way that Koolhaas does, the influence of his architectural paintings and his many theoretical writings helped to advance geometry, artistic expression, and architecture toward a new spectrum not seen prior to his efforts. Lissitzky’s work says much with so little (which can also be said for Koolhaas’ geometries in most of his built work). In Delirious New York, Koolhaas recognizes the influence of Lissitzky on America, not directly, but in the passage titled “Confusion”: “1932 is a time of iconographic convergence between the USSR and the USA. The style of Communism and the style of Capitalism--two parallel lines that might be expected to meet in infinity, if ever--suddenly intersect.”
transmits this utopian thought by reflecting the geometrical idea of infinity using axonometric projection. Lissitzky sees the move from perspectival representation to axonometric as part of the new form of art which will move society forward. As he stated in his 1922 lecture “New Russian Art”, “The Futurists shattered the single vanishing-point of the lines of perspective and scattered the fragments all over the canvas. Suprematism swept away all the fragments and opened the way to infinity.” Lissitzky further states, “Perspective limits space, it has made it finite, closed.” (Fig 1-2) Thus far, the discussion has focused mainly on the social impact of the Proun, but it is important to note the architectural quality of Lissitzky’s paintings. These architectural compositions are of planes and volumes seen in space obliquely from above. Because of this axonometric view mixed with the specific colors, the Prouns have an unusually powerful spatial effect. Lissitzky believed that his forms could “shape values about the built environment without literally depicting buildings as such. (Fig 3-4) The axonometric representations of these new forms are likely precedents for many Modern architectural ideas-- readings of his paintings are highly architectural since he was trained as an architect. Kenneth Frampton points out the Constructivist qualities of Le Corbusier’s entry for the League of Nation’s Building which came only two years after Lissitzky’s “Wolkenbügel” project. Wolkenbügel was a skyscraper office block for Moscow that was never realized but its raised volumes which float above the city embody more utopian qualities than the compared project of Corbusier. (Fig 5-7) While many tend to lump the Productivists and Suprematists in with Russian Constructivism, Margolin claims that Lissitzky was actually a Productivist because he put more importance into the capacity for objects to embody ideals than to perform a useful an object to identify it as a marker of human thought. Though Lissitzky never officially aligned himself with the Communist Party, his leanings for a collective society were evident through, for example, his reduction of the pictorial construction in his Prouns to universally comprehensible elements.Phenomenal utopia, as Malevich coined the term, is the idea of transcending an object to identify it as a marker of human thought. Though Lissitzky never officially aligned himself with the Communist Party, his leanings for a collective society were evident through, for example, his reduction of the pictorial construction in his Prouns to universally comprehensible elements.
between composition and field Spring 2013 Instructor: Peter Zellner
The grid is what brings Koolhaas to claim Manhattan a utilitarian polemic. A field of pre- determined blocks that could stretch to infinity is inherent within this grid, despite Manhattan’s natural boundary conditions. Manhattan is a perfect example of Stan Allen’s definition of a field as “treating constraints as opportunity, working with and not against the site.” Venice, on the other hand, is a city with similar natural boundaries to Manhattan which take on an
system. The two cities are clear in their differences of how they formed into their current conditions: Venice more naturally from clear bounding conditions, Manhattan as a powerfully planned man-made device. My interest lies in what could occur when two opposing forces begin to transform into one another. A deeper routed interest in finding this mediatory form would be to see if a new type could be discovered. The outcome for Venice was to be expected: a gridded patchwork formed between canals. Manhattan’s tranformation was more dramatic than I had hoped, with its large diversity of block patterns, some very small and oddly shaped, others stretched in many directions, all awaiting a new architecture to be placed within.
iconic waterways sculpt the city and its architecture into shape. Venice is a closed, autonomous
opposing compositional form. Unable to be read as anything but a composition, the forces of the
analytique of a toy bug Fall 2011 Instructors: Andrew Zago, Jonah Rowen, & Dwayne Oyler
Spring 2012 Instructor: Volkan Alkanoglu In collaboration with: Scotty Carroll, Garrett Santo, & Jordan Squires
civitatem The Civitatem people, once a universally rational body, followed a strict logic in laying out their metropolis. They called it Cogitavit, and every aspectâ€”from the smallest window to the tallest tower obeyed their predetermined axiom. Never mind whether a visitor approached from the North, South, East or West, she felt an instant understanding for the township and its people. As whispers spread and letters dispersed, Cogitavit reached its boundaries on all sides as masses from near and far sought out the stability of such a place. Tangible reason accumulated atop itself. For a short while, the Civitatem were satisfied with their lucid city. The region, however, was not exempt from the nature of rebellious youth suffering from
totalitarianism, the burgeoning citizens renamed the city Labyrinthum. Above Cogitavit, where their elders chose to remain, the youth constructed freeform enclosures that connected via winding paths, opened into large galleries from compressed hallways, and allowed them the freedom to be lost. For many years, the juxtaposing cities lived interwoven with one another, the residents of each refusing to extend the first ramp or open the first doorway to the other world. Luckily for each, a third generation was born. Seeing the right and wrong in the opinions of each, the youngest Civitatem sought to connect Labyrinthum back to Civitatem. Only seeing perfect unrestraint in the birds that occasionally landed in the streets below or flew within the space frame of their guardians, the youngest Civitatem dreamed up a new city. This mobile city, given the name Nexu, was given no predetermined paths. Instead the city below invited their young descendants with places to perch their mechanical birds; likewise, their parents offered them long runways upon which to descend. Only those open to both worlds were able to experience a balanced life. Yet, they felt most at home in Nexu, a place neither here nor there.
the monotony. In an effort to save themselves and future generations from such stifling
jadedness. Those born into this or that tower, which one it was mattering little, tired of
Fall 2012 Instructor: Florencia Pita In collaboration with Sofya Lapina, Sara Moomsaz, & Johnny Ng
of marginal interest Spring 2013 Instructor: Andrew Zago
moving from the 2D project on the previous page, the intention to maintain the liminal edge condition remains. the element of 3D volumes is introduced, adding another degree of interest. this drawing is a 90 degree axonometric of the 3D volumes within a box
Fall 2011 Instructor: Rob Ley In collaboration with: Scotty Carroll, James Chamnankijmongko, David Forrest, & Garrett Santo The purpose of this assignment was for teams of students to experiment with the strengths and weaknesses of wood, plastic, metal, and concrete. My team chose concrete due to its plasticity and, because we were eager to learn, our lack of knowledge of the material. Though the process brought us through numerous ideas, working through small scale models proved non-effective with a material as brittle as concrete. It was not until we began mixing the first
An unfortunate trial with foam as a mold for rubber left us in a lurch when the chemical reaction between the two kept the rubber from curing. After this incident we changed part of our design in order to make the framework out of wood. The final result was never what we intended in any of our design processes, which taught us a great lesson about working with real materials. The whole exercise was seen as an experiment in material testing, team work, and design build methods.
batch that we realized the importance of understanding the materialâ€™s weaknesses.
teammate James displaying three varying positions of final concrete module
Initial Investigations The project began by researching the potential benefits and drawbacks of concrete as a material for architectural construction. Concrete’s disadvantages (most notably its relative associations with actual and perceived heaviness, weakness in tension, as well as the static and monolithic conditions) were analyzed with the intent of improvement. While simultaneously seeking to capitalize on the material’s advantages (such as its amorphousness, comparative low
cost, and strength in compression) a focus was placed on the use of a flexible joint.
90 Initial Testing A search for the optimal joint for deployment within this project led to a testing of three potential options: the ‘folding’ metal hinge, the ‘pivoting’ textile, and the ‘ball and socket’ metal wire joints. Testing ultimately continued with the wire joint because the other two systems lacked the desired level of elasticity, proved less durable, and had more necessary parts or an overly intrusive planarity, respectively. The wire joint maintained a minimal interference in the concrete unit by its thinness while also attaining a strong connection via its threaded composition and its ability to create a loop within the unit that would bond easily and be gripped by the interstitial concrete.
below: precedent, leather laminated between two pieces of wood acts as a hinge opposite: three variations of the hinge for experimentation
diagrams representing various enclosures proposed for our prototype
Initial Proposal After gaining an understanding of how a joint connecting units could affect the module, an outcome of variability was sought at the scale of an overall form. The ability of the module to fold to fluctuating degrees of openness created a transition from a wider structural zone to a tapering surface zone. The open part created a dimension of space containment while buttressing the narrower part that delineated space. Developed Proposal Rather than having the project develop solely along two axes, a vertical variance was engaged to optimize the cantilevering potential of the system. A slight inward shift at each level with a half module offset and a progression from more to less opened modules created separate conditions of wall and roof, inside and outside, as well as structure and projection without the clearly traceable zone boundaries of traditional architectural construction.
Final Proposal While experimenting with the options presented by a flexible joint, a discovery was made about how dependent the limitations of the final form were on the individual mold and unit. To take advantage of pre-mixed concreteâ€™s essential formlessness and to present the opportunity for a more intelligent overall form, a curve was introduced to the individual unit. In addition to
for achieving the same height was lessened and, consequentially, so was the total weight. The innate fluidity of the concrete was harnessed to aid in creating a system that challenged the materialâ€™s (typically) undesirable qualities.
where layers overlapped with those beneath them. Likewise, the necessary amount of material
visually breaking up the module and the overall form via apertures, active zones developed
diagram of the three different modules with varying thicknesses and bulges opposite page: images of final forms
Built Structure Three units of varying curvature and height, with the variable curves being dependent upon their own height due to structural considerations, were employed to comprise the modules of the final form(s). The three different modules provided the opportunity for exponentially different visual effects within a single form. The formwork for constructing the three different modules was made by manually cutting a slight curve for each unit out of wood. The curves all had the same radii at the points of curvature; however, they were placed apart from one another as necessary for
in these multiple piece open-faced molds. When the curing was complete, the drilled-in pieces were removed so that they modules could be taken out; then the pieces were drilled back in so that the mold could be resealed and lubricated for another pour.
A B B B
were the mitered wood insets and form-fit pieces to seal the mold. Concrete was then floated
the units to be structurally sound. These were then attached to a separate flat piece of wood as
put stuff from Atwoodâ€™s cla
From Objectts to Forms Fall 2012 Instructor: Andrew Atwood In collaboration with: Viola Ago, Talin Ebrahimi, & Hannah Pavlovich
Squished! Spring 2013 Instructors: Tom Wiscombe, Brandon Kruysman, & Jonathan Proto In collaboration with: Sara Moomsaz, Hannah Pavlovich, & Garrett Santo
â€œContrary to modern architecture and its desperate afterbirths, this new architecture is neither authoritarian nor hysterical: it is the hedonistic science for designing collective facilities that fully accommodate individual desires.â€? -Rem Koolhaas