Wentworth Architecture review
Wentworth Architecture review is an independent, student-run publication that presents the rich culture of Wentworth design students.
This book was set in Din. It was printed and bound on Rolland Paper at DS Graphics in Lowell, MA.
Wentworth Architecture review: Rima Abousleiman Dylan Bush Jeffrey Dike A. Joseph Killoh
James McDonnell Connor Orlando Steven Prestejohn Brian Sandford
Carolyn Severino Esti Shapiro Seantel Trombly
Wentworth Architecture review
Wentworth Architecture review would like to acknowledge the contributions of: Boston Society of Architects, Wentworth Architecture Department, Wentworth Campus Life, and Wentworth Student Government.
This volume would not be possible without the help of: Carissa Durfee, Elizabeth Ghiseline, Kelly Hutzell, Michael MacPhail, Mark Pasnik, Rob Trumbour, Ingrid Strong and DS Graphics.
All rights revert back to original artists or writers. The pieces contained herein were created to fulfill either assigned or personal projects and are intended for display purposes only. Elements or portions of featured pieces may contain borrowed materials. It is not the intention of WAr to infringe upon the rights of the original artists or the sources of the materialâ€™s origin.
Wentworth Architecture review Architecture Department 550 Parker Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5998 firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from the Editors: The Art of Making
Defining MAKE, especially in the context of contemporary architectural discourse, is becoming increasingly difficult. Although it seems like we are in the digital age, and that there is some sort of technological revolution happening, the WAr Team is so happy to discover that we are still very much connected to our roots of making. While computers are invaluable for the graphic quality of final renderings and the precision of a minute detail, they do not offer all the things that making graciously does. Making exemplifies a process of production; it enables you to get your hands dirty and experiment with an array of possibilities. Every discipline under the umbrella of design operates in a different way, but the one thing they have in common is the language that made things provide. They speak for themselves in ways that regular drawings cannot; they have depth, form, volume, grain, texture, space, quality. Making is advantageous. The best part about making is that it's definition is broad enough to encompass anything - it can be a construct, a creation, or a combination. It can be something digitally produced just as much as it can be something that's expressive of hand-crafting. Making in architecture is rapidly popularizing as quickly as it's advancing. While models have always been a key component to architectural projects, we are now discovering new technologies and methods of fabrication that allow more options and experimentation. Contrary to common misconception within design, the sudden rise of parametricism is not going to be met with the fall of making and craft. Rather, parametricism introduces a new type of creation. It brings new resources to the table that does not only benefit their specific niche, but contribute to the betterment of the bigger picture. This year, the Wentworth Architecture review celebrates the release of its 6th annual publication: MAKE. We are especially proud to announce that the collection of work we have gathered to share with you includes work across various disciplines within the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction Management. Not only are we celebrating the rich design capabilities of our architecture students, but also the extraordinary works of our industrial design and interior design colleagues. Together, we can make a worthwhile world. Enjoy, The WAr Team
The digital world offers a user a vast array of endless possibility. Pixels, bytes, and strings of 1â€™s and 0â€™s allow anyone to unleash their imagination onto the screen. Complexities can be made simple and tedious processes undertaken with great speed. With care and a few clicks of the mouse, designers can bring anything hypothical into reality.
1:1 physical works allow an immediate connection to reality. An instant way to bring thoughts and ideas to fruition. Decisions have an instantaneous impact on the result of the design, with material and special applications having a heavy hand in the process. Any need for translation is absent and the tangible nature of the work floats to the surface.
The act of writing allows the exploration of thoughts while sifting through layers of one's history to reveal the essence of an idea. The conception of an idea establishes common threads in both theory and practice. This critical process is something one continuously engages in on both conscious and subconscious levels. Writing establishes a textual artifact of this process and fosters the symbiotic relationship between learning and producing.
Crafting, in essence, allows one to learn from their process on a very intimate level. When work is done with a high level of craft, it begins to embody the ethos of the craftsman. In the absence of craft, the soul of the work is lost. This vital aspect is formed through the pursuit of a particular goal by means of dedication to a process. It is in the understanding of the value of process that craft begins to augment the vision of an idea.
Making With Expressive Gesture
Designing The Art of Making
Making, Remaking and The Authenticity of The Argo
New Tools, Classic Ideology
08 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 57 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 83 84 85 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 101 102 104 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 116 118 120 121 122 124 126 128 130 131 132 134 136 137 138 140 142
The sun washed over my face and called me to wake up for my life. The act of waking up is something that we all experience, yet it is something that can be met with a wide spectrum of emotion from day to day, from person to person. Some of us find this moment of transition with ease, while for others it can be met with great reluctance and struggle. Some jump right into their routine while others try to wring every last drop of rest before resigning to the obligations of their waking life. The conditions under which we experience this shift in consciousness, as well as the actions that immediately follow, can set the tone for the entire period of wakefulness that follows. When designing living spaces, this formative part of our days, and even lives, is often glossed over despite the significant effects on our mood and productivity. The benefits of being active early in the morning are well documented, so as architects we should be able to design in a way that helps us find and maximize these advantages.
It led me down from my dream state and showed me to the earth. When we rise too late, we tend to rise too hurriedly, overwhelmed by all that must be done. In this haste we leave behind what our subconscious mind has shown us in those undervalued hours of rest and reflection. Perhaps by breaking our morning routine into a concisely stepped progression, we can ease out of dream and better carry with us those lessons from our inner self.
^ > Dylan Bush | Walking House
^ > Stefan Burnett and Artem Batuyev | Fogg Museum Model (RPBW)
^ > Neal DosSantos, Kathryn Horlbogen, Steven Prestejohn, and Matt Roza | Illusion - Laser-cut Acrylic Pendant Lamp
^ Neal DosSantos | Bibliothek - Hand-cut Model with 3D printed Vortex
^ Hailey Cyr | Color Study
Making with Expressive Gesture A conversation between WAr and Janet Echelman. In 2015, Janet Echelman captured the spirits and imaginations of Bostonians with her breathtaking 600 ft sculpture, “As if It Were Already Here.” The soaring, rippling piece would not have come to life without Echelman’s own struggle to find meaning in her medium, one derived from her travels and an intensely personal iterative process involving various methods of expression utilizing vastly different materials. Janet Echelman is an internationally recognized sculptor, artist, and principal of Studio Echelman based in Brookline, MA. Her work has earned her critical praise and, as a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, she was recently awarded the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.” Her TED talk, “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages with more than a million views.
WAr: Your travels took you all around the world to places like Indonesia, China, and India where you studied a range of art forms including Chinese calligraphy, textile methods, and bronze casting before you found your preferred medium. Do you believe this portfolio of work and research spanning several years prepared you to create sculptures of such magnitude? JE: Not directly. These overseas experiences informed and helped shape who I am as a person and as an artist. Rather than the portfolio of work generated, I think it is more that the types of experiences that create the same approach - where everywhere my path leads becomes a place to engage in learning traditions of making that have been passed down generation to generation. This is the way I learn and grow. It could happen far away, or close to home. In my case, it happened in places with rich and varied traditions that spoke to me. Living in Bali early on in my career taught me how the organization of space could create meaning, and create a sense of belonging in the world. From my small grass-roofed house in the ricefields, I observed the placement of things with respect to the Holy Mountain – from the small offerings of flowers and rice on my pillow, to the direction my bed was placed within the room, and the way our entire village had its temples toward the Holy Mountain and its cremation grounds furthest away. In Hong Kong and in Bangkok, I learned how a sacred space could be created with a few sticks of incense at the base of a tree in the middle of a bustling dusty metropolis. In India, I was moved by the humble street shrines inserted among daily life. Perhaps this awakened me to the desire to find and create contemplative spaces within my native culture once I returned home. Bringing what you’ve learned home is always the greatest challenge. It’s important to remember that I didn’t set out to become a sculptor at all. It was an unexpected turn, when after painting for a decade, my paints were lost and I was forced to embrace what was around me. That just happened to be fishing nets. The ideas I learned from Chinese calligraphy - creating with expressive gesture - is still central to my work, but instead of painting a stroke of
pigment on a canvas, I’m now creating a set of points that have the potential for physical gesture in the world – and bringing that to everyday life at the scale of the city. WAr: You mentioned in your TED Talk that to make your sculpture 1.26 a reality, you had to create a new information modeling program that was advanced enough to model complex net forms under gravity. Does your studio continue to use the software that was developed or have there since been other programs you’ve found useful? JE: Since designing the 1.26 sculpture, my studio has had the privilege of collaborating with the world’s leading design software company - Autodesk - to build a custom software tool that allows us to do the softbody modeling of our sculpture using the constraints of our craft, while calculating the effects of gravity. We couldn’t have built our monumental sculpture for Boston without it. I think it’s interesting how we’re making monumental sculpture with pre-industrial and industrial methods, but we require postindustrial computer tools in order to build at the scale of the city. I see it as connecting our past, present, and future. WAr: Before you had such an established and successful studio, did you find it challenging to convince clients of the feasibility of your projects? JE: Yes, and it is still a hurdle to convince buildings to let me attach my works to their structure! But I’ve learned that some of the best work comes from overcoming constraints. When developing an idea, I remind myself not to start with compromise. I envision my ideal goal – I ask myself ‘what would result if I had no limits in resources, materials, or permission and let the design develop before addressing the practical realm. My method is simple - be authentic. I find that when I share my vision and passion, others want to be a part of it. WAr: Did you have anxieties about the scope and size of your initial projects? JE: Of course. A decade ago, when I was
^ Melissa Henry | 'As if it were Already Here' Sculpture, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA asked to create my first big commission for Porto, Portugal, I didn’t know if I could build a permanent piece of artwork for their city. I didn’t know if I could do that and preserve my art - but I said yes. I searched for a way to make my work durable, engineered, and permanent, while retaining delicate and ephemeral qualities. It had to survive ultraviolet rays, salt air, pollution, and at the same time remain soft enough to move fluidly in the wind.
relationship with an industrial fishnet factory. Three years later, we raised the 50,000 sq. ft. lace net. It was hard to believe that what I had imagined was finally built, permanent, and had lost nothing in translation.
We needed something to hold the net up out there in the middle of the traffic circle. So we raised a 45,000-lb. steel ring. We had to engineer it to move gracefully in an average breeze and hurricane strength winds. I found a brilliant aeronautical engineer who helped us solve the twin challenges of creating precise shape with gentle movement. Because hand-tied knots weren’t going to withstand a hurricane, I developed a
JE: The sculpture recalls the way that Boston has transformed itself generation after generation, beginning with the three mountains that were flattened to create more harbor lands in the 18th century. What’s interesting to me is that Boston has re-imagined itself, and it recalls the way that we have dramatically changed our physical city, not once or twice, but many times. Beginning in the 1700s when three
WAr: How would you describe the distinct civic character “As if It Were Already Here” captured for Boston natives, and did you anticipate the project would be such a success?
mountain peaks were flattened to create more land from water, and again in 1950s when they opened the central artery, they were so proud. It was the widest vehicular tunnel in the country or world, and that we can admit that our values had changed, and reclaim land from the automobile and return it to people, as a blooming greenway, is noteworthy. The title “As if It Were Already Here” is in the subjunctive tense. It’s about the ability to imagine and reshape our world. I never know quite how a community will interact with an artwork until it is installed. My hope is that each person creates their own narrative or becomes aware of their own sensory experience. In Boston, I have been moved by the public outpouring, and the way the sculpture has become part of life. A waiter at a restaurant beside the sculpture told me that every night after his shift he lies
down in the grass and watches the colors of the sculpture change. A professional who can’t see it from her office said it’s become her routine to walk to it every day during lunch hour. A child told me it’s a “tangled rainbow”. A woman who lives near the sculpture told me it makes her feel safe, and the whole area now feels safer when she walks. WAr: Were there any site forces that were an overwhelming obstacle in the design phase of the project? What were the greatest technical challenges of implementing your design? JE: Dealing with the intensely high winds in Boston at this height – we’re designed to withstand 105mph winds. That’s the same criteria to which every skyscraper around the sculpture is designed. WAr: This year’s journal's theme is MAKE. Is there any guidance you would offer to young designers about the act of making whether it be conceptual design or working a material with your hands to bring an idea to fruition? JE: I always return to the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke in his ‘Letters to a Young Poet’: "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now".  WAr: Did you find the time consuming process of tying knots by hand more rewarding? Or was it an assumed reality given the scale of your projects that you would need industrial equipment to pursue larger sculptures? JE: I wouldn’t say my hand-knotted work is “more rewarding” because there are so many beautiful, delicate qualities in both hand and machine work, and both are vital to my artwork. When I began making my netted sculptures, they were fabricated completely by hand. All of my recent works are a combination of machine and hand-work. My studio uses hand-work to create unusual, irregular shapes and joints, and to make lace patterns
within the sculpture. We utilize machines for making rectangular and trapezoidal panels with stronger, machine-tightened knots that can withstand intense winds, and the heavy weight of snow and ice storms. Industrial equipment and materials have helped me bring my work to a new scale and permanency. WAr: Daniel Libeskind presented you with Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts for 2014, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.” You often coordinate with architects and engineers to bring your projects to life on site, are there any professionals with whom you would like to work in the future? JE: There are too many to list! WAr: What projects can we look forward to in the future? JE: We’re excited about the 2016 premiere of a new permanent work on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in collaboration with SOM, “Dreamcatcher”, that is tensioned between the floor slabs of two hotel towers on multiple floors. We’ll install a new permanent work for Greensboro about the textile history of North Carolina in 2016 as well. We have an exciting temporary installation for London at Oxford Circus, and a long-term interior commission for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s reopening of the Renwick Gallery, which will be on view 2015 - 2017. And some new major commissions we’re soon going to be able to reveal - all very exciting! / Notes p. 144. Image Ref. 145 The iterative process of taking an age old technology and utilizing contemporary manufacturing techniques to create a new breed of sculpture has astounded on-lookers to Janet's beautiful works for over a decade. Her designs push the boundaries of art and installation into the urban scale, inspiring new generations of artists and architects to think bigger.
^ Melissa Henry | 'As if it were Already Here' Sculpture, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA
Why Paper? Cal Simko Paper has always been a familiar material to me. We are introduced to it from an early age by default, from a simple napkin to the page of a coloring book. I showed an interest for drawing and making early on, and was gifted an X-ACTO knife at the age of seven. I soon found that I preferred cutting and pasting together compositions than drawing and coloring them in. I felt that this process better suited me. I could work fast, and get ideas out quickly. I never draw what I am about to cut out, that muddies my process. If something isn’t right, you can just cut a new piece out; right next to the old one for reference. In the recent years of design school my manipulation and application of paper has expanded greatly. Paper has become my favorite material for study models. I love creating scale models
in means of exploration and iteration. Paper is directly related to the veneer that I so commonly work with. Except that when you’re working with a cheap and recyclable material, you’re not afraid to try every variation of an idea, whether you think they will work or not. You can always pick up a new sheet, try again, and recycle the old one. And you can manipulate paper in countless ways; you can cut it, fold it, blend it, mold it, layer it, etc. In the words of Irving Harper, world renowned paper artist and industrial designer, “Paper is a very, very versatile medium.”  Every time I start a project, I find that paper is my initial material of expression. / Notes p. 144. Image Ref. 145
^ Aleks Berger, Brendan Bowen, Elizabeth Glavin, and Kyle Tomisman | Facade Section Model
^ > Thomas Katsikas | Nest Respire - Air Filtration System
10 x 10 x 10
Starting with a 10x10x10 mass, the objective of this project was to think in a subtractive way and discover what it means to dwell. Due to the nature of the project, materiality and the persistence of making played a critical role during the design process. Feeling the heat radiate from the material, as it cured was invigorating; every moment before filling a meticulously constructed model with the liquid mixture of water and Hydrocal was shadowed
by reluctance, but it was the trial and error that made the process new and exciting. No matter how many leaks or broken pieces, using this method as a tool for design was incredibly rewarding. The final model was planned at a daunting scale, but a thoughtful process for the sectional arrangement led to a successful final product. With its gradient of imperfections, one could not be more pleased that it was not made of chipboard.
^ William Toohey | 10x10x10
^ Matthew Vocatura and Toby Zaltsman | Vacuum Forming
^ > Matthew Vocatura | Layers of Cardboard and Spraypaint
^ > Jessica Valadares | Seeking Identity: A Manifestation Of A Journey That Seeks Identity Through A False Form Of Stimulated Reality
Confronting The Unknown The journey begins with a sudden pause, one is unsure of moving forward. As the individual begins to go forth, their confidence heightens. There comes a quick transition as man can overcome any obstacle. This now becomes a fight for dominance.
Point of No Return As one moves forward, fear sets in because of the unusually dark surroundings. The individual has one last chance to look back to the beginning of the journey, but is encouraged to move ahead as a result of light entering the space. The several slopes down do not allow the individual to return, thus there is no turning back. Stolen Identity As one enters the dark chamber, the individual can no longer sense their surroundings. The space is tight as large forms compress together, leaving an ominous atmosphere. With a Sense of foreboding one moves forward. It is here that the individual's identity is stolen, stripped and carried away.
Renewing Purity The individual has scarcely completed the first act of the journey, having one's personhood and the social order examined through rewards and enslavement. The individual prepares to move to the second act by taking a path through water and minimal light. The transition becomes a symbol of purity and rebirth.
^ James T. Fan | The Homes for the Imperfections
Designing the Art of Making A conversation between WAr and Susana Pereira As the WAr Team discussed the idea of making in an architectural context, the term began to transgress the bounds of architecture and took on a rather universal definition - one that can be defined across multiple scales. The WAr Team invited Susana Pereira to discuss her unique perspective on making and how it has influenced her studio's work outside of architecture. Susana's experience largely contributes to her process oriented designs. Susana Pereira graduated with a Bachelor degree in architecture and worked in Boston architecture firms for several years before deciding to take a different path with her career. Susana learned from her architectural education and began to explore the same design process when applied to product design. Here, Susana shared her story of how she began to design her own art of making.
WAr: Why did you decide to study architecture and why did you diverge from a traditional architect's path? SPD: As a kid I was always very interested in making and using my hands. Making was essentially how I understood the world. This applied to every form imaginable, drawing, sculpture, sewing and cooking. Architecture seemed like a natural fit for this childhood mode of thinking because it involved twodimensional and three-dimensional talent. I didnâ€™t really know what I was getting into when I picked architecture, but I just went for it and I loved it right away. However, I quickly realized that I didnâ€™t know what architecture was or what studying architecture meant. As time went on, I finished my education and I started practice. It wasn't until I had worked for many years that I really realized architecture didnâ€™t touch on all of the things that I loved as a kid. It was very narrow, and I felt that the making part - the hands on part - was left out. Even though I was always making furniture, clothing and objects and continuing to explore that side of myself, during my twelve years of practice I realized that part of what I loved was missing in practice. Additionally, the profession was changing dramatically and becoming more digitized. The physical model making was going away, and the stuff that I always cared about was becoming less and less important to the process. I started to feel very detached from the work I was doing and I decided that I wanted to change that. So, I started my own studio where the focus was on product design and making. This is also when my teaching started to change. I began to realize the importance of the relationship between making and the design process. I had never made that connection before because I had never really been able to do it in practice. I have found that the conventional ways in which architects explore the design process doesn't typically involve the human body and the art of making. That is especially true now with most design thinking happening digitally. I began to explore with my students the power of making as process. It is in understanding what we can do with our hands and our bodies that we can become better at making inhabitable space with meaning. In my own practice I literally threw out
drawing all together and really started to have a more direct connection between the product and the process. There was less planning and more just doing. I would test it in real time and real life. For me, this became a working variable. As my students also began to embrace this way of designing I became more convinced that we had hit on something good. WAr: With your own studio, you mentioned that you went into product design, but that you also continued with architecture. Is there a particular way in which you saw these two things influence each other? SPD: Yes, absolutely. When I started the product design and concurrent architectural practice, I chose projects that were different than what I had been working on throughout my career. For example, I worked on a project that transformed an Airstream into a bar and lounge on wheels. The piece that made it unconventional was that I partnered with two guys who were the builders and owners of this project. The process became very much about a physical, real-time design. The drawings were secondary to the understanding of that space and being inside of it. During the design process, we actually tested things out in real time with real products, and materials. This was directly related to how I was approaching product design. In product design the conventional drawing part of the process didn't make sense to me. What did work was picking out materials and testing results. When I realized that I could also do this in architecture it became much more rewarding. The process was so visceral and direct. Having partners that were equally interested in this type of process also contributed to the success of the architecture project I worked on. WAr: You have also spoken to how the physicality of design was lost in architecture. Just as in your architecture studio, did the process of trying out new things influence you in your product design? SPD: Absolutely. I think one of the things that was really challenging when I moved to product design was scale. I was used to working at a much larger scale. In architecture it's all about inhabiting the space that we design. When I moved to product design none of those skills applied. I
needed to create objects that interacted with your body. This became a different problem to solve. I realized that a conventional architectural design process wouldn't help me. I think as a society we are moving away from understanding what you’re experiencing through your body. I think that we rely more on our mind, especially in a digital world that places more value on the intellect. People who are considered intelligent are people who exercise their minds. I think there’s another kind of intelligence - one that understands the world by means of one's physical presence and body. This is valued less today and it's funny because architecture used to be created at the intersection of these two things. Architects not only had to master a thinking process but they were also expected to understand construction and the physical part of building. For me, bringing this back into design is really important. This is where the “make” part comes in. You can’t split those two things up: the mind and the body. When we use them together, we become better designers, not just in architecture, but I think in lots of different fields and in life in general. WAr: You spoke about how these two parts of ourselves work together. Do you layer them into your design process or do you employ one then the other? SPD: I think it all has to happen at the same time. I don't split the thinking and the making. We have to involve our body in the process and not just our mind; we cannot just think about something, but rather actually test it. In the classroom this takes on a slightly different form. The built form is so far away from what we are doing in the classroom that I have begun to think of the process of drawing, model building, or whatever is being made as the end result. The artifact is the product and not a representation of something that comes later. This is a way to teach immediacy in a design process. WAr: Are there any other projects that you’ve worked on or maybe even studied as precedents that you feel really exemplify this understanding between both one's mind and body? SPD: I think that some art, specifically installation art, immediately come to mind.
Richard Serra's work is very intellectual, but you can only understand it from experiencing it physically. It's not about looking at it and then figuring it out in your head, it's about figuring it out walking through it and being in it. You understand the artist's role in making as a very important one. It's harder to find example of this in architecture but they do exist. The work of Louis Khan comes to mind. You don't need to know anything about the building to feel something when you are there. I believe this result can only come from a process that values the physical body above all else. WAr: Do you have any last comments? Do you have anything that you want to say about the idea of make and the design process, and/or architecture? SPD: I would just like to reiterate that these two modes of thinking work together. Unfortunately, I think that the digital age brings us further from that. It's becoming harder and harder for us to value our physical self in the world, and the intelligence that comes from that. The "maker movement", however is making a resurgence as it always has at various points in history. This desire to remain connected to that part of ourselves is telling of how much we value it. WAr: Thank you, Susana, for taking the time to share your story with us. We know that your insight will be an invaluable asset to our latest issue. Susana's story has irrefutably defined her life's work and her process. She has highlighted numerous points in her discussion with the WAr Team that continue to help us understand MAKE's role in the design process. She cited both the body and the mind as one of her principle assets while designing. She first saw this in her work as an architecture student and has rediscovered it in her current work at Make Good Studio. Additionally, it is clear that Susana wishes to bring this mind-set to future architects through her teachings as a studio professor at Wentworth.
Venexia Flowing through spaces A serene tranquility Every step reveals
^ Project Team | p. 147
^ Quinn Levine | Acoustic Derivation of Form
^ Brian Sandford | Urban Youth Hostel
^ Kevin Moniz | Thesis Exploration
^ Felipe Francisco | Olympic Village
MONTGOMERY ST. E 1/16” = 1’,0”
^ Juan Torres | Culinary School
^ Project Team | p. 147
Channel Green Our water needs plants and animals, as our parks need trees, and grasses and related fauna. An installation of natural wetland biomass is a floating treatment that mimics the natural pollutant-removal processes of the native saltwater marsh. These floating islands, like trees in our parks, work on both large and small scales to filter harmful material from the water cleaning our environment while providing habitat to a number of local ecosystems, in this case both above and below water. By reintroducing living shorelines once native to Boston Harbor, we can live and play in our water while protecting our city from toxic storm surge. Biomass islands have exhibited impressive abilities to absorb aquatic pollutants such as phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen, and because of their surface area-maximizing design, 250 square feet of island is able to match the performance of an acre (43,560 square feet) of wetland surface area. The islandsâ€™ surface provides a habitat for any type of plants to grow- the plants obtain nutrients from the water and encourage microbial growth and the development of biofilm that cover the island and plant roots, these beneficial microbes living on the root system effectively pull pollutants from the water. The natural vegetation on the islandsâ€™ surfaces are capable of attracting and sustaining insect populations which attract other wildlife, such as birds. The root systems underneath the islands allow for safe spaces where aquatic life can thrive away from harm. The plants are supported by a flexible, multi-layer biomesh growing matrix made of recycled plastics. The impressive surface area built into this design maximizes the benefits of microbe colonization. Additionally, the design of this matrix is largely what enables the islandsâ€™ impressive ability to dampen the run-up of incoming waves and surge. Tests in Massachusetts have shown the islands to be more effective in series, dampening waves by up to 93% in shoreline studies and up to 80% in deep water. This can mitigate and prevent damage both from recreational boat activity, and the anticipated increasing threat of damaging waves due to rising water level, increasing storm severity, etc. The islands can function in any water level and can adapt to fluctuations in water level, allowing them to maintain their protective wave-breaking qualities even as ocean levels rise.
Living with water requires community involvement. This process can provide a framework for hands-on community involvement and education, generating awareness and interest in both marine biological health and its impact on human life. The installation will include an educational component — tours, children and adult bioexploration workshops. If we want to live with water, we must first embrace it. There is the Boston Common, the Greenway, and the Esplanade — but how about a new kind of city green? A water garden to explore — not by foot – but by canoe, kayak or paddle board or other small watercraft. The channel is an ideal place to truly live with water and embrace it, protected from swells and surfs, making a perfect environment in which to relax, explore, and play on water. Imagine looking down to see the channel blanketed in a lush, colorful layer of living creatures, animated by nocturnal and seasonal changes. In order to truly embrace water, we must clean it. Heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals have built up in the channel over time and continue to be deposited by sewer overflow during heavy rains, adding dangerous levels of coliform bacteria. While the Fort Point Channel inlet is protected, its character also presents a problem. These materials cannot be flushed out as there is little to no outward circulation of the water.
^ Matthew Arsenault | FLEX Chair
^ Timothy Szczebak | Textures
Ben Bruce | Creating Architecture out of Infrastructure
^ Nathan Thomas | Charcoal Exploration
^ Ally Mason | Watercolor
This exploration led to the creation of a sensory wall that used operable apertures based on oragami. The apertures could be opened and closed based on the desire of the person interacting with the wall, allowing more or less light through. Color changing light layered behind colored lenses in each aperture provided a temporal spectrum of colored light that entertained and fascinated adults and students alike. Both of whom constantly asked, "How does this work?"
^ Kate Lux | Color Changing Light Behind Operable Paper Apertures
^ Touloukian Touloukian Inc. | Center City Park Pavilion: Outdoor Theater and Donor Wall Signage
^ Steven Prestejohn | Thesis Exploration
Making, Remaking, and the Authenticity of the Argo
Peter Greenberg, AIA LEED AP NCIDQ
In 1941, Philip Johnson, then a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, built for himself a small wood-frame modernist courtyard house on Ash Street in Cambridge Massachusetts. As the decades passed, the house changed ownership many times and successive owners altered the structure to accommodate their respective needs. Recently, Harvard University purchased the property and is restoring it to meet their own needs. The story of this house presents a clear case study for issues of preservation, restoration, reconstruction and issues of authenticity in making architecture. Strategies for its reconstruction raise interesting issues about making and remaking, the intentions of the original maker as well as the intentions of subsequent users, the role of time and duration and material persistence in architectural space. What is it to make something? How long do we intend it to last? How much can it change before it becomes something else? Philip Johnson graduated from Harvard in 1927 with a degree in classics. After he received his degree he traveled to Europe and became infatuated with avant-grade architecture (as well as fascist politics). When he returned to Harvard as a graduate student a decade later at the age of 34, he was already well entrenched in the small inner circles of enthusiasts for European modern architecture. Between his two stints at Harvard, he had developed an impressive resume: he had been the founding director of the Architecture and Design Department of the new Rockefeller-financed Museum of Modern Art in New York and had, with Henry-Russell Hitchcock, helped to organize the influential show, and subsequent publication, The International Style (1932).  Johnson’s association with Architectural Forum and MoMA may have had some influence on his acceptance to Harvard, despite the State Department’s concern that he was a Nazi sympathizer and spy.  Building the Ash Street house was a bit of a stunt that not many of his classmates could have pulled off; it was an act of bravado that sought to promote his career as well as a strategy to insert himself as an equal to his professors Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Just the same, it was a remarkable structure in many ways: clever, clear and prescient. Its design ambitiously fuses interiors, landscape and architecture. It succinctly encapsulates the formal strategies of contemporary avant-garde European modernist models at the expense, perhaps, of some of their social or historical strategies. The planning owes much to Mies’ courtyard houses of the 1930s  but its detailing owes more, perhaps, to Breuer’s influence. The house is designed as a walled precinct that encloses a private courtyard as well as enclosed interior rooms. Structural roof loads are carried by turned wood columns so a simple glass plane can separate the inside from the outside. The floor plane of the interior volume is at the same level as the courtyard ground and the
^ Ash Street House, Philip Johnson, Cambridge, MA (Top, Middle, Bottom)
walls to express the continuity inside and out. The presence of nature is inside the house and a sense of interiority pervades the exterior court. While these details create an integral connection between inside and out, they also contributed to the house’s deterioration. Over seventy-five years, the wood construction had been exposed to generations of rain and snow and it had rotted quite badly. When Harvard recently acquired the house, it was in poor condition. The wood frame had been poorly detailed and badly maintained and it would not last indefinitely. As Harvard decided to restore the structure, decisions needed to be made about what it was precisely they were saving. Was the idea to save as much original construction fabric as possible? Since the garden had changed over the decades, and plantings had come and gone, what should be saved on the exterior, if anything? The interior systems had failed, the structure was rotten, the insulation was insufficient, the bathroom did not meet code, the kitchen was inadequate for current needs, the lighting was insufficient, the cladding was rotten, the foundations had settled. What was it that they were saving, exactly? The literary theorist Roland Barthes cited the myth of the Argo, the boat that the Gods had given to Jason in order for him to seek the Golden Fleece. Barthes used the story to demonstrate the instability of a linguistic name and what it actually identifies. The voyage of the Argo (“luminous and white”) was so arduous and so long that gradually every physical piece of the boat had to be replaced, piece by piece, until no original material was left: only the form and the name. Was it the original boat after all the parts had been replaced? Barthes writes: “nothing is left of the origin: Argo is an object with no other cause than its name, with no other identity than its form”.  Is Johnson’s Ash House an Argo? If we replace every part and have only the form remain, is it the same house? When we make something, is it the actual thing we make, or is it the idea of the thing? Do ideas persist in matter or can they be substituted by other material and by other hands and still maintain their identity? Does it matter how long the things we make will last? Is that a consequence of our intentionality? And what of the fact that designers and architects rarely actually physically make the things they claim authorship over and rather act like conductors for an orchestral score, leading others in material interpretation? If someone else makes the same thing, again, from the same score, is it the same thing as the first time?
for example, wooden piers are allowed to sit atop the potentially moist ground which will inevitably cause its decay. The architectural detailing incorporates the duration of its existence. Building from wood has its limitations. Existence is temporal. Other examples demonstrate different lessons. Take Paul Revere’s House in Boston, for example. On the Freedom Path, the Revere House purports to be the house that America’s founding father lived in during the Revolution. It too is a wood structure – so is it an Argo? In addition to being a horse rider on that mythical evening, Paul Revere was a material craftsman who made actual things – he was a goldsmith; he gilded the dome of Charles Bulfinch’s State House on Beacon Hill. The house one sees on the tour is indeed where he lived – but it had many other lives as well between when he lived there and our visit. When we see the house today it looks like a seventeenth century wooden house, with small leaded panes of glass, wood clapboards, shutters and the like. Historical photographs show that in the intervening years, the house had other incantations: it was a boarding house, subdivided and spatially altered; it had ground floor retail; it had different cladding and roofing and glazing; it had hand-painted advertising boards hung upon it; it had different neighbors. But at the turn of twentieth century, at the beginning of a phase of interest in a colonial revival, relatives of Revere raised funds to “restore” the structure – and its urban context – back to what they thought it may have looked like when Paul lived there. The house we visit today has the same bones – the heavy timber structure really did hold up the walls over Paul Revere. But the old furniture within, the old-looking finishes, inside and out, are a twentieth century interpretation of a seventeenth century house. When one visits, the docents will tell you this: we don’t even have the expectation of material authenticity. It’s like a period movie: the fictional illusion is enough. Did he live in that place? Who’s to say he didn’t? Who’s to say that the Argo isn’t the Argo?
Before we get too sanctimonious and make claims for the inauthenticity of reproduction, let’s consider some other important case studies. Consider, for example, that the persistence of architectural form over time is a matter of material property: materials degrade and return to their mineral state.  Masonry structures, for example, weather better than wood ones and historical cultures that build architecture out of wood leave fewer traces than those that build in masonry. (Our own physical culture may well be known by future generations less by our steel structures, which will degrade, than by our plastic waste, which will not.) Building from wood means building with a material that decays over time. This material knowledge is not a revelation to all cultures: it has been a hallmark of traditional Shinto wisdom and is enshrined in the ritual reconstruction of the Ise Shrine in Japan every twenty years for well over a thousand years, using traditional craft and method. The very detailing of the shrine embraces the inevitable decay of wood and the representation of the very idea of death and renewal:
^ Ise Grand Shrine, Yoshio Watanbe, Ise, Mie, Japan
^ The Argo by Lorenzo Costa (Top Left) Ash Street House (Top Right) Paul Revere House, Before & After Reconstruction Boston, MA (Middle) Darius Coombs, Plimoth Plantation (Bottom)
Plimoth Plantation offers a slightly different model.  Plimoth is a “re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims” as an open-air reproduction of a 17th century colonial village. Costumed actors stay in character and perform the histories of specific individuals who had come to America from Europe during that period. School groups regularly visit and it is an evocative recreation and an effective living history exhibit. The houses are made of framed timber, like the originals might have been, and the furnishings are reproductions of what the European settlers may have had. Visitors understand the conceit: this is not actually the 17th century, these are not actually people from that time; this is a recreation that helps us understand what it was like. This is not the Argo because we know it is all an act but it helps us understand what was real. But not all of it. The early history of European settlement is not singularly European. Near the English village are 17th century replica structures of the native Wampanoag community. There is a nush wetu, or community house with three pit fires. There are other wetus, residences made from flexible branches and covered with mat made from marsh reeds. Visiting tours of school children will meet people in these structures who are wearing unfamiliar dress: but unlike the actors who portray 17th century Pilgrims, these people really are Wampanoag. The Plimoth website explains: “the staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are very proud of their Native heritage and are very knowledgeable of the traditions, stories, technology, pastimes, music and dance of the people who have lived in this region for 10,000 years. Ask lots of questions! You may be surprised what you may learn”.  So, wait, is this real? This is potentially confusing to the visiting school child. Is this cultural persistence? Is this the Argo after all? A final example offers yet another perspective. In 1929, Mies van
^ Barcelona Pavilion (Old), Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain
der Rohe made the German Pavilion in Barcelona, an innovative and influential structure of exotic materials and spatial effects. It stood for just six months before it was demolished. Published after its demolition in Johnson and Hitchcock’s International Style , it became influential as a consequence of the black and white photographs it left in its wake, and was hailed throughout the twentieth century, in spite of its lack of existence, as, for example, “more than a unique masterpiece…an ordering principle capable of generating other works of art”.  In 1986 it was faithfully rebuilt, based on original plans and materials matched as closely as possible to original quarry sources, by Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Cristian Cirici, and Fernando Ramos. Now one can actually visit it. Its reconstruction architects have admitted the many changes that were necessary to match the original effect, particularly the difficulty of matching the specificities of the stone grain which so characterized the original.  Who is to know precisely what the 1929 pavilion was really like? But the experience of its reconstruction is real and the material complexities and reflections and paradoxical symmetries certainly recall Mies’s intentions. We experience it now as phenomenal and material space, encountering it as the hall of mirrors and reflections and light effects that the original photographs only approximate. By occupying the actual material world of the Barcelona Pavilion, we experience the intentionality of Mies’ artifact, reproduction or not. As Robin Evans perfectly wrote, “ I refrain from commenting on the reconstruction of the pavilion, except to applaud those responsible. Others regard the issues of its authenticity and reproducibility as significant, but I am unable to see why”.  Harvard has hired the New York based Architecture firm Thomas Phifer & Partners to restore the Johnson House on Ash Street. They are being asked to stabilize the decay of the wood construction and to make the house meet Harvard’s contemporary programmatic needs as well as bring the building up to energy and ADA codes. They are being asked to maintain the aesthetic intentions of fluid continuity between
landscape and interior, and they are being asked to do this in a way that follows the intent of Johnson’s material detailing. They are making a new version of the 1941 house that will, as accurately as possible, recreate the original phenomenon of spatial experience but fend off the degradation of material and meet Harvard’s institutional needs in ways that Johnson never intended. Writing in 1854, EugeneEmmanuel Viollet-le-Duc wrote “to restore an edifice means neither to maintain it, nor to repair it, nor to rebuild it; it means to reestablish it in a finished state, which may in fact never have existed at any given time”.  How much original material persists from the house that the graduate student himself lived with when he was a student of Gropius and Breuer? Does it matter? You decide. / Notes p. 144. Image Ref. 145
^ Ash Street House, Under Construction, Cambridge, MA
^ Ash Street House, Cambridge, MA
^ Barcelona Pavilion (New), Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain
^ > Nathan Thomas | The Mouth of Eternity
Pure Light pours in from above, Over the soothing hum of activity. An audible silence of the ineffable, Its crowds dancing in the light. The canyon explodes upwards. Light falls down its walls, The large space of understanding, pleasantly busy. Didactic and orienting, the coffee its mediator.
^ Sasha Bachier, Panharith Ean, Fabiola Moquete, and Pablo Rivera | National Park Lodge Model
^ Alexa Ashton | Detail Model
^ Holly Hersey | Flowers Cast in Resin
^ > Qiang Wang | Vibrant - Housing Block
Placemaking/Making Place Anne-Catrin Schultz, PhD (with Christina Lanzl) Assistant Professor
Introduction Making in contemporary perception is related to the act of producing small objects, machines or apps without the help of professionals. If one expands the definition, making also can relate to defining place as well as making things happen. This essay explores the notion of making places at different scales. The first part of this essay offers an exploration of what encompasses place and the making of it while the second part discusses the Placemaking movement and how it reflects a culture of making. Place–a definition (Introduction) In the age of the maker movement, focus lays on the generation and production of small objects, machines and apps, produced by individuals often without much outside help. The idea of professional and individual craft and making is of course not new - it is undergoing a comeback, valuing the pleasure of a problem solved or an object produced with one’s own hands. While the building of machines, objects and software certainly might prove satisfying, the making (and improvement) of our physical environment might be exponentially more important. While general perception might reserve the design of our built environment to urban planners, architects and builders, people have always been involved on a domestic and a neighborhood scale as active citizens. However, making is not limited to dealing with objects or spaces but can be expanded to place. This essay will explore tools with which place is “made” and lay out the principles of the “placemaking” movement currently present in many of our urban environments. The term place has been coined around 1200, "space, dimensional extent, room, area," from Old French place "place, spot" and directly from Medieval Latin placea "place, spot," from Latin platea "courtyard, open space; broad way, avenue," from Greek plateia (hodos) "broad (way)," fem. of platys "broad" (see plaice (n.)).  Events “take place” – temporarily lost things are “misplaced” or “out of place” if they don’t fit a certain context. Discussions within the fields of architecture and urbanism usually expand beyond the physicality of space that is separated from the vast natural world to contain also experiences and interpretations, thus combining human narrative and physical environment. Place is spatial and temporal and exists in so-called reality, in representations and in people’s minds. The physical layers of place cannot be separated from the immaterial layers of interpretation, memory and experience. Physical place typically remains stable, whereas the immaterial components are highly diverse, individual and constantly evolving. Man made places age and can go through circles of use and abandonment. Natural place might be more permanent. While the definition of “place” and all that is entailed proves to be complex, the absence of place, or placelessness, is easier to define: the term points to contemporary airports, shopping malls, hotels and most street intersections that we spend ample time in. Non-place is generated easily it seems or just happens; “real” authentic “place” appears harder to come by. Phenomenological approaches, such as the exploration of the famous Genius Loci or spirit of place by Christian Norberg-Schulz related the intrinsic nature of certain places to expressions of human culture. According to him, “by the means of the building the place
gets ‘extension and delimitation’”  Attributing character to every place, defined by material and formal configuration, Norberg-Schulz acknowledges the inclusion of country, region, landscape, settlement and buildings into his definition.  He acknowledges changes to the notion of place in 1986 that have since become even more profound: “The concept of “place” has recently been given much attention by those who discuss problems of urban design and architecture. In the past, it was meaningful to describe the human environment in terms of stable places, such as house, city and country. Today, however, we tend to free ourselves from these structures in order to live a more mobile life. The technical means of communication liberate us from the direct physical contact with others, and the modern means of transportation allow an ever increasing number of persons to move about.”  He also issues a warning that shows the impact of place on architecture: “When place is abolished, however, we simultaneously abolish architecture.”  Alberto Pérez-Gómez writes: “When successful, architecture allows for participation in meaningful action, conveying to the participant an understanding of his or her place in the world.” Therefore architecture not only can bring out the cultural conditions of a society by inhabiting and building out a place in a certain region, it also “places” us, assigning meaning and providing integration. Making Most of us not only continuously make things and make things happen (food, writings, organizational efforts, drawings, etc.) but we also frequently define places (our homes’ interiors, workplace and work surfaces, trains, cars, etc.). We shape our living and work spaces within buildings and in yards or gardens outside of them. We temporarily impact the urban realm or even the rural expanse by the way we inhabit those areas, as well. We argue that the mechanisms of making place are part of a larger, ongoing movement that suggests a trend to actively engage in the real world, complemented by with a strong shift of work, education and life into the virtual world of computers and smart phones – phenomena that span from the mere demarcation of an area to the object and the act of art/making, thus articulating contemporary culture or placemaking within the urban context. The Making of “Place”–Elements: The Marker “Place” exists without humans and can be found in nature and landscape such as memorable valleys and beaches, types of vegetation and geological features or individual trees or rocks. These characteristics define place often in powerful and captivating ways, distinguishing one area from another or forming regional identities. For the purpose of this exploration we will look at how man made interventions create places for humans to use. Elements found in nature or implemented by humans define and articulate a specific spot that becomes recognizable, starts acting as a ritual or gathering spot. These elements tell stories in stone or wood, defining a small spot in the endless cosmos or recording observations related to celestial configurations and rhythms. Early humans erected upright large rocks as markers and further functions we can only speculate about as the ones in Carnac, at Stonehenge or on the Easter Islands. The traditional torii (gates) in Japan typically mark the entrance to a sacred Shinto shrine without having to enclose the entire area, discretely communicating through architectural elements. The
^ Japanese Stone Marker in Kyoto, Japan (Left) Tori Gate, Kyoto, Japan (Right)
^ Shinkyo Bridge across Daiya River, Nikko, Japan
manmade marker can relate to a ritual procession accompanied by a sequence (shrines along pilgrimage roads) or might identify a remarkable site (spring, mountain top, valley, shaped rock) and ritual evolves around it. In Japanese tradition, a marker can also be taken from its natural environment in order to create a place elsewhere: The prototype of such a space may be a stone or a post. Detached from its original surroundings, it receives a definite place, character, by being erected or positioned. As a result the stone expresses more than its original and natural accidental form. Wishes are projected into matter, making spirit out of stone. In other words, the stone is space for spirit. It is animated by a meaning projected by human beings. 
Festivals and ritual events shape cultural identity and document social structures. They become imprinted in built places. For example, in Ancient Egypt, the Opet Festival celebrated the fertility of the gods. Statues of Amon and his family were carried in boats on a complex itinerary between the temples of Karnak and Luxor, along which all stations were manifested architecturally as paths or shrines accompanying the route and its activities. Martin Heidegger explains how a marker is involved in generating place: “The banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream.”  Only the bridge makes it obvious that the banks lay across from each other, it gathers the passage, marks two points and links to a larger network of connections. These connections are links between places of commerce and culture – the bridge articulates the nature of things, it is symbol and thing.  The marker in the city can be a monument or memorial carrying information about a past event or a personality of importance – it marks a place and creates a reference beyond the physical area. The Fence as (sacred) enclosure The above-mentioned marker, a pole, rock or sculpture articulates a place that does not necessarily include an area. It is merely a location from which rituals, activities and memories are recorded or will emerge. As humans turned from hunting and gathering as their food source to settling and cultivating crops and cattle, defined enclosures, marked portions of space start playing an important role. Vertical surfaces or arrangements of poles were added to their environment to mark property, develop agriculture (cultivating crops in fields), keep cattle in captivity and identify spiritual places to connect to beyond their earthly existence. In contrast to the animal pens for agriculture, early ritual sites were defined by a temenos, a piece of land separated from common uses and dedicated as a sanctuary frequently occupied by festivals and events. Many theorists see in these early enclosures the origins of architecture: Gottfried Semper describes how these precedents of architectural walls were woven from grass or reeds and only late in history transformed into stone, maintaining their formal principles:
It may be that climatic influences and other circumstances suffice to explain this cultural-historical phenomenon, and that the normal, universally valid course of civilization cannot necessarily be deduced from this, but it is certain that the beginning of building coincides with the beginning of textiles. The wall is the architectural element that formally represents and makes visible enclosed space as such, absolutely, as it were, without reference to secondary concepts. We might see the pen–the fence of interwoven and tied sticks and branches–as the earliest partition produced by the human hand, as the most original vertical spatial enclosure invented by man, whose completion required a technique that nature, so to speak, placed in the hands of man.  The enclosure articulates a void and acts as a three dimensional boundary thus creating inhabitable and measurable space dedicating it to a specific use that is distinct from open landscape or common land. Low enclosures in contemporary cities act as boundaries defining property ownership or separating different use patterns from each other.
^ Split rail fencing, Virginia, USA (Top) Wall and fence enclosure of historic cemetery, Ipswich, MA (Middle) Picnic Blanket creating “dining space” outdoors (Bottom)
Placemaking through the Maker Movement The intersection of the maker movement and placemaking exists at a number of levels. We see the connective tissue occur at the following nodes: Interdisciplinary approach Multi-disciplinary contributions Social interaction Linkage with the solo movement Pop-up culture Interdisciplinary Approach The interdisciplinary approach of placemaking combines the talents and strengths of varied professional design backgrounds, stakeholders and constituencies, including but not limited to neighborhood residents, “architects, landscape designers, urban planners, artists and public officials [who] work together to create great public places, to turn space into place” , as defined by the co-chairs of the Placemaking Network of the Boston Society of Architects. Creative innovators and leaders know to look for crossfertilization by working across individual knowledge bases. Crossdisciplinary relationships and collaborative focus are necessary to meet and overcome challenges in complex urban settings, while simultaneously increasing the potential for greater, more longterm sustainable impact.
Carlo Scarpa: Castelvecchio, Verona, Italy
The Blanket becoming a Square If the vertical enclosure acts as a forced separation, the indication of a box that separates interior from exterior, a place can also unfold through the articulation of a horizontal plane. The ancient Greeks evolved their political and commercial life around an agora, a clearly defined horizontal surface. Roman emperors built forums that became commercial and religious centers surrounded by architecture. The Persians built platforms or stages to worship their king, medieval cities articulated large voids through durable pavements for markets, military parades and citizens’ gatherings. If one simply puts down a picnic blanket on a meadow or a towel on the beach, a place is made – specific to a certain activity and in no need of vertical elements. One can see the beginnings of an architecture in the initial temporary act around a festivity or a simple activity, a picnic blanket turning into stone, a man-made layer added to open space defining a more specific place. Stone carpets in historic cities represent squares or public areas, material changes in pavement separate pedestrians from vehicles, events from traffic, recreation from movement. All three of the mechanisms discussed above make place. Making place Making place does not only happen in history or remain discretely in nature – it is happening all around us. In many urban environments citizens have taken on making place for the community, shared and open initiated by individuals, collaborative but self-generated just as many things are produced by makers from all sides of life. The existence of place is not automatic or long lasting, but contemporary urban place can be defined by art, facades or street surface with an added layer of cultural activity – much of it made by the people. The following text will illustrate the facets of placemaking in Boston.
Multi-disciplinary Contributions Often temporary at the outset, the energy and impetus of smallscale action can lead to changes in perception and long-term improvements. Typically, problem solving lies at the heart of making. Creative innovators, such as Judy Baca/Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), Rick Lowe/Project Row Houses, Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia/Tactical Urbanism, Matthew Passmore, John Bela and Blaine Merker/Rebar, and many other innovative thinkers in the ‘activism’ league have proven time and again that a new approach and the depth of knowledge about a particular place can achieve positive outcomes. Thus, these thought leaders have contributed significantly to the enduring onslaught of challenges to civic life. Social Interaction Placemaking always takes into account the social aspect or how and by whom our public places are successful in their public use and acceptance. The foundations for the social aspects or use of public places were laid by the empirical research of architects Jan Gehl and William “Holly” Whyte. The former for the first time investigated the psychological impacts of public places on people.  Gehl defined that optional and resultant social activities occur in public space, particularly on plazas and sidewalks, if the physical environment is of high quality:
When outdoor areas are of poor quality, only strictly necessary activities occur. When outdoor areas are of high quality, necessary activities take place with approximately the same frequency – though they clearly tend to take a longer time, because the physical conditions are better. In addition, however, a wide range of optional activities will also occur because place and situation now invite people to top, sit, eat, play, and so on. In streets and city spaces of poor quality, only the bare minimum of activity takes place. People hurry home. In a good environment, a completely different, broad spectrum of human activities is possible.  Offering a comfortable environment that provides amenities are key to enable social interaction. William Whyte’s findings are identical. In 1971, he recorded the life of a series of plazas in Manhattan. Together with a group of students, they visited to observe the daily uses during peak and quiet times, and interviewed users about their habits and preferences. In addition,
time-lapse cameras recorded daily patterns. While the term placemaking was not coined until the 1990s, Gehl, Whyte, as well as Kevin Lynch today are considered the field’s key early research theorists. Placemaking and the maker movement benefit from understanding these foundations, when creating, activating and programming successful public places.
^ Over The Pavement … The Beach at 280 A Street, Boston MA, by Shauna Gillies-Smith and Lisa Roth
Linkage with the Solo Movement The solo movement, i.e. the growing trend to individual proprietorship rather than corporate employment, drives technological and creative innovation, particularly in the creative community. Equally, a much greater proportion of social interaction takes place in public places as singles and small families make up the majority of today’s households. With the urban dweller’s sophistication and consciousness regarding the physical condition and offerings of our public environment continuously rising, greater expectations and demands are placed on the quality of life. Greater and greater numbers of makers actively engage in the experiment of activating or improving our built environment to make it more attractive, special and livable. Pop-up Culture In line with the maker movement’s self-reliance and proactive, individual action, the case studies selected for this study present initiatives within communities or at the local level. While the ease of digital communication has simplified organizational efforts, creative communities do rely on physical proximity to each other, so that making can occur without investing time and funds in transportation. Artist communities have traditionally served this need.
^ Red Yarn Wrapping on the A Street overpass railing on Summer Street, Boston MA, by Leslie Clark
^ Bright Side of the Road II, 347 Congress Street at the intersection of A Street, Boston MA, by Claudia Ravaschiere and Michael Moss
^ Who Wears Wool highlighting the wool trade in historic Fort Point, Boston MA, by Hilary Zelson
In Boston MA, close to downtown at the northern edge of South Boston, Fort Point has been home to a well-established arts community since the 1970s. Initially, artists moved into the empty warehouses of the Boston Wharf Company following a destructive fire at the Mattress Factory, another artist building in Jamaica Plain, whose artists were displaced. The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1980, allowing artists and creatives to organize and speak with a unified voice. The artists developed a pop-up culture during the 1980s and 1990s long before the term was invented, particularly during the Revolving Museum’s heydays under the direction of artist Jerry Beck, when abandoned railroad cars from the harbor’s past shipping days provided ample space for infectious art installations that were seen by hundreds who made the pilgrimage on weekend nights to an area back then considered bleak and dangerous. Since then, much has changed. With major infrastructure development of the last 20 years, such as the I-90 and I-93 connector tunnels and the construction of the Federal Courthouse, and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the Seaport District is now one of the country’s hottest real estate markets. In 2002, Christina Lanzl spearheaded A Fort Point Vision for Public Art, a neighborhood-wide think tank envisioning public art and a cultural plan. Jointly organized installations by local artists showcased the potential for public art throughout the area on various scales. Plazas, sidewalks, fences and railings offered siting opportunities. Today’s pop-ups of Fort Point are generally formally juried and permitted installations, such as temporary interventions along the sidewalks and in nooks throughout the neighborhood. Floating art in Fort Point Channel's Art Basin is commissioned annually, funded by and organized in partnership with the non-profit Friends of Fort Point Channel (see Fort Point image selection). Combining a National Outlook with Small Local Action The digital revolution has created ideal conditions for grassroots efforts, boundless communication as well as dissemination of concepts and projects. This has simplified the process of making. The generally quickly assembled results are adequately described by the fairly new term pop-up: a short-term action that may seed a more permanent presence of a particular idea or installation or, perhaps, deliberately remain makeshift and temporary. The application of low-cost materials and unprecedented uses for items we know from other contexts can
offer very charming, inspiring manifestations, as highlighted in Fort Point’s temporal public art. What are some of the success stories with national recognition and noted local impacts? The applications of Tactical Urbanism or the international PARK(ing) Day project were both launched as smallscale alternatives to existing adverse conditions. PARK(ing) Day PARK(ing) Day is an “annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places.”  Parking spaces are clearly marked as a rectangular space reserved for the temporary storage of private cars. In their original state few people would attribute the qualities of “place” to them. The PARK(ing) Day project was launched by the San Francisco art and design studio Rebar in 2005 with the impetus to demarcate public open space in a neighborhood the city administration had recognized as lacking just that. As a consequence, the city adopted licensing procedures that allow local groups and businesses to inhabit a parking space for extended use, if they are providing amenities to the public. Since its nucleus the initiative has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement with participating cities across all six continents. The event takes place every third Friday in September to transform metered parking spaces into temporary installations. Within the small confines of a metered parking space the debate on how public space is created and allocated is continually being amplified at locations around the globe (see examples from the author’s personal photo collection). Simple instructions for potential participants are posted on the http:// parkingday.org website. Tactical Urbanism Urban planners Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, co-founders of the Street Plans Collaborative, began circulating the term with their series of four short publications Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change. Other names also in use are creative placemaking, lean urbanism, or guerilla urbanism. This approach enables makers to create low-budget, straightforward action plans that transform public places for the short-term with an eye towards permanent solutions. Temporary installations are the perfect means to try out new ideas and concepts, a credo that has always been at the core of temporary public art. Tactical Urbanism is a how-to guide to creating community-based projects with low-cost materials. Parking day is one of the temporary strategies covered in volume one, along with a range of pop-up opportunities like shops, cafés, mobile vendors and food trucks, or chairs for the public, where there are none. There types of projects work particularly well in communities that suffer from disinvestment, because the initial investment can be small enough to be sustained by shoestring budgets. Reclaimed materials or objects, basic woodworking skills and paint are the basic ingredients of Tactical Urbanism projects. The methodology has been spreading like wildfire. Across the U.S. cities, non-profits and makers are employing Tactical Urbanism. In Memphis TN, the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team organized a symposium in 2012 to promote and educate the city’s creatives on the topic. With a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant in hand, they formed partnerships with local arts and community non-profits to implement a series of measures. The 25 SQUARE public art initiative was launched in partnership with Christina Lanzl and her team of the UrbanArt Commission (UrbanArt) across 25 square blocks of three select neighborhoods that had been suffering from decades of neglect: Binghampton, Soulsville and the emerging Crosstown/ Klondike area. Community engagement and organization was a key aspect of the 25SQ Public Art Initiative. Together with three lead artists who were also residents of their respective neighborhoods, UrbanArt organized charrettes in the three areas to solicit ideas for place-specific
narratives and locations. These meetings were the departure point for the recruitment of additional team artists as well as community volunteers of all ages. Collaborative painted murals and mosaics of recycled glass and porcelain were executed on a series of buildings or painted on plywood panels that were mounted on buildings and fences (see photos by the author). The Tennessee Brewery, an architecturally significant, historic brewery building that stood empty for decades and was doomed to be demolished received a facelift. Memphis Heritage, the local advocacy non-profit for historic preservation, teamed up with the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team to raise consciousness about saving the building. Landscaped plant containers with sapling trees wall-mounted art provided the framework in this late 19th century architectural ruin in the Romanesque style. Local artisans went to work, building cheap, comfortable plywood furniture for the open atrium, which was instantly adopted by visitors who bought meals from food trucks and beer on tap inside the raw space. On game nights, the public enjoyed watching their favorite sport on large screens. Children and their parents found entertainment in a family room complete with plastic detergent bottle lighting and toys made from repurposed materials. Over night, the Tennessee Brewery had become one of the most popular destinations in town to enjoy a balmy summer night along the Mississippi river. Approximately 5,000 visitors a week flocked to Brewery Untapped during its six-week pop-up party in 2014 (see photo by the author). By the end of the season, a local developer had bought the condemned building, and in summer 2015, the eight-week Brewery Untapped Revival returned to enchant Memphians and visitors alike.
Conclusion While a lot more discussion is necessary to offer an exhaustive overview of the meaning of place in past and present and its relation to the urban environment, this essay serves as an introduction to the idea of place being spatially and temporally generated not only by professionals but also by the “makers” of the 21st century who succeed all over the globe in placemaking. Placemaking initiatives and the maker movement have found a convergence in benefitting local communities, either through temporary activation or projects that become neighborhood mainstays. A key characteristic is the spirit of sharing and open-source production, often generating remarkable impact through contributions of resources, labor, expertise, or funding. Small, local initiatives––whether of a temporary or more long-term nature––can have significant impacts on the success of bringing places back to life or to create stimulating activities for the community.
v PARKing Day installation by ADD Inc. (Top Left) PARKingDay installation promoting outdoor activities by the Riverfront Development Corporation (Bottom Left) 25SQ participatory art panel painting at the Stax to the Max festival in South Memphis TN (Top Middle) 25SQ inspirational, participatory art panel (Bottom Middle) Installation at Binghamton Park, one of a series of neighborhood locations in Memphis TN (Top Right) Tennessee Brewery tactical urbanism intervention, Memphis, TN (Bottom Right)
^ Government Service Center Masterplan A | Converging Communities
^ Government Service Center Masterplan B | Humanizing the Centers
^ Government Service Center Masterplan C | Hybrid Scales
^ Government Service Center Masterplan D | The Ecology of Learning
^ Government Service Center Masterplan D | Courtyard Render
^ Felipe Francisco | Shaving Stand
^ Jared Guilmett, Greg Jimmie, Kazimir Cunningham, Brianne Lowe | Engage: National Parks Lodge at Squantum Point
^ Ally Mason | Watercolor Mapping
Over my shoulder lies the city. Silent from here except in the occasional sound of trains passing through the carved earth that reaches out endlessly in either periphery of my vision. I echo this motion as I move through the open concrete corridor that carves through my home and my neighbors'. We are connected through a shared experience, and I wonder if they feel the same as I do when the wind brushes against my skin and our homes in the sky seem like bird nests held up by steel branches. There is a terrace bridging my nest with my neighbor's. It belongs to no one, yet everyone, and as I step into this neutral space, the weight of possession is lifted from my shoulders -- I am simply existing. The wooden boards at my feet point outward toward a field of trees and I see myself floating above the canopy.
^ > Dylan Bush | Living Complex
^ > Domenico DiRienzo | Experimental Casting
Catenary Comments A conversation between WAr, Nader Tehrani, and Matthew Waxman. During the summer of 2015, the BSA hosted an exhibition titled "Bigger than a Breadbox, Smaller than a Building," the intent of which was to experiment with advancing technologies and innovative techniques using the parameters of architectural installations. The following interview resulted when the WAr Team attended the exhibition, and became fascinated by the methodologies explored by this particular team. The following discussion is focused primarily on NADAAA’s work at the BSA event, “Bigger Than A Breadbox”, and their installation there, Catenary Compression. This discussion delves into the methods and thoughts behind developing a complex and intense object, unique in the forces and methods needed to realize their project. Nader Tehrani is the founding Principal of NADAAA, a Boston-based architecture and urbanism firm. The work of his firm is extremely varied in scale but all their projects are true to craft and construction while experimenting with parameters of digital fabrication. NADAAA is a firm that stretches the boundaries of design and scale, engaging in a wide variety of design opportunity. The office prides itself in the ability and drive towards intense design research in every stage of the process, melding art, design and science from behind the scenes. Tehrani is currently the dean of the Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Previously, he was a professor of architecture at MIT SA+P, where he served as Head of the Department from 2010-2014. Matthew Waxman is a designer at NADAAA and was project manager for the Catenary CompressionRustication installation on which this piece B largely focuses.
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WAr: Some of our questions will be regarding the recent installation, Catenary Compression. Are there any plans of expanding on the system you developed for the “Bigger Than a Breadbox” exhibit? NT: Well, in principle yes. However, not literally in the same way. Obviously you’ve already seen how we’ve taken on the question of suspension in several projects, but in various ways (Catenary Clouds, The Hinman Building, the MSD project, Immaterial/Ultramaterial, etc.). Historically, the one that excites me most is Louis Kahn’s proposal for Venice. You know it! It’s the well-known example of those two theaters that slope down conforming to a “compound surface suspension bow truss”, and for me, what’s interesting about that is the way in which the structural figuration of the piece is coincident with a program that makes its formal and spatial configuration inevitable. For Catenary Compression, we took on the abstract exercise of inverting the compressive systems of the Escorial. The Escorial’s flat vault, of course, required a compressive structure, which is usually circular or domed, but flattened to take on the program above. Alternatively, think of a Roman flattened jack arch; that idea of flattening it into a floor slab, here takes on a different function because by inverting it, the compressive forces are translated into tensile ones. By extension, the idea was to adopt a light composite masonry system -- think of something akin to fiberglass or carbon fiber blocks -- ends up in suspension and does not have the kind of flexibility of a mobile tensile system. WAr: Were there any surprising lessons that you learned from the material in developing something tensile that operates in an unexpected way? NT: It was not only unexpected, but also a
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challenge we never solved. When you have a catenary chain, its structural function gains meaning because of the ‘line’ that defines its figure. Once that line gains a variable thickness, it become much harder to find the moving target of the structural center-line. The structural engineer that we worked with was able to develop an effective algorithm to calculate the relationship between mass and shape. If you’ve seen the animation - and subsequent video - you know that eventually the piece collapsed because the subtle displacement of the overall mass put asymmetrical forces on what would otherwise be a very self-sustaining structure. Matt can tell you more about it than I can, because I actually wasn’t there for the installation. Matt did all of that, and I was witnessing it all remotely on Skype. But, in an ideal world, that would be a perfect system that interlocks in a puzzle system without a bolt or anything. As an alternative solution, we also developed a composite structural system, where tensile wires worked in tandem with the blocks, holding the system together. Contrary to what a compressive ring does in a dome, this would be a tensile wrap that just holds the pieces together. That could have worked also with the existing pieces, but the fact that we went with screws came down to a question of timing and just getting the installation ready for the opening.
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MW: (Referencing a study model) In an early study we did, the blocks locked together creating a ring on the outside, and the joints on the interior are then sandwiched between them, despite the fact that they are loose. So as a proof of concept, the early studies suggested we could move forward with arrow-shaped joints that would lock one unit to two units and so on. But whereas this early study is a single-curved, bilaterally symmetrical surface hung from two points, what we chose to build was a double-curved,
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asymmetrical surface hung from three points. The asymmetry of the installation thus meant the tensile forces were being distributed in a way different than the early study model. These differences show how crucial it is to design how variables become integrated. The assumptions we made from the early studies, about how variables interacted, did not apply in the same way for the asymmetrical installation, which lead to the need to add additional structural support to the joints. In a system where all of those factors are integrated, the joints and the patterning reinforce and inform the shape of each piece -- which of course has weight -and through their weight, influences the way each piece connects with other pieces and furthermore connects to the ceiling. WAr: One of the themes of this issue is regarding making, different methodologies, ways of crafting; could you talk about the beginning process of shaping this idea and the structural forces shaping these pieces? NT: The modules were something that I developed very, very early before we even had the exact shape, because the overall form could’ve been done with three points, five points, or ten points. The Catenary Clouds installation was something we did a few years ago, with the basic premise that if you hang something with a catenary chain, and then instead of then hanging another one next to it, you actually hang one using one of the points from the catenary to do another one. There’s a kind of punctuated disruption that happens on each chain as a result of it, and then the figure of the entire installation changes accordingly. In the original version
of what we designed for this installation, there were actually four points, something we eventually simplified to reduce the size and complexity. The way that we work usually is from top down and from bottom up at the same time. The figure of the arch could have been many things, as long as its working with the basic principal of suspension, where as the configuration of the actual units have to develop a detail that can be systemically propagated throughout the entire piece. Look at a keystone and the way that it functions against gravity; we were after something that would invert the keystone, essentially making it upside down so that the shape you’re looking at is basically a puzzle piece, wedging itself into another piece to produce that inverted keystone. Then, of course, in practice, we needed to develop a tolerance, and offset, because there is a dimension “creep” as it goes throughout the piece, so that is really how we started. We were working both by hand and with Rhino to develop modules and pieces and then we started with 3D prints to test it out, and then we shifted scales until we came to full scale. WAr: I was curious, I noticed there was a process of milling the pieces so that the tensile forces could be distributed. I was curious as to how through computers you developed a force network through each piece to know how to mill them. MW: That was a really large part of the process; figuring out how to design this in the computer. We used a combination of writing C# code in Grasshopper as
well as Grasshopper plugins, to set up a catenary surface and then coordinating it with a pattern as a means to discretize and break it down, whereby each unit was responsive to local conditions as a part of the broader surface. The parts and the whole are visible in both the early mock-ups and the installation, with smooth below and rusticated above. The idea was to look at the installation not so much as an isolated incident at a particular scale, but itself as a mock-up for something that could be much larger and incorporated into other architectural conditions. The idea of rustication above, with flat surfaces, was an indication that it could be a walkable topography. It also becomes a way to legibly index both the smoothness of the catenary surface, and the planarity required in the construction process. The top of each unit has a large planar surface, as well as two triangle slices, while the underside is smooth. In order to mill both sides you have to first mill one side and then mill the other, using the first side as a register to mill the second. By first milling the side that is flat, you can flip it over to mill the curved side. The overall geometry of each unit was something related to structure, site, and fabrication. When we talk about the process of making these in a computer to produce constructable units with slightly different variations, we are talking about something coming from a lot of iteration, but iteration heavily informed by computational technique.
WAr: Could you elaborate on the relationship of the project to its site? MW: We had a particular location in the BSA space around and over the green stair. In earlier exploration, we were stretching and expanding all the way across the stair. Two factors stand out in their influence on the decisions leading to what we produced. One is the ceiling itself, which was full of lights, structure, HVAC duct work, water pipes, exit signs; and in order for the installation to be present in the space we had to negotiate all of these elements in the ceiling. The possibility of hanging a particular shape, where the curvature of the shape hangs with particular arches, was influenced by examining the objects in the ceiling, knowing where they are, mapping them, and then modelling with them. Every catenary surface we developed needed to be seen with those objects in the ceiling. They needed to be negotiated with the design effectively. The second is the relationship of the installation’s location to how you would view or experience it. NT: It’s actually at one level strategic and at another level picturesque. Strategic in the sense that we suspended literally over the threshold of the entry, with the entry below and something above you that may look light, but upon discovery is actually quite heavy, something massive. The rest of it was almost akin to developing urban design guidelines with set backs, having to be away from the walls and offering ample space for circulation. But also, from a visual point of view, we developed a series of distortions –or attenuations—so that it would have enough of a presence within the overall exhibit. At once slender to minimize the amount of material, the piece is also extended to peak out into the main concourse of the exhibit’s promenade. WAr: Was there a desire, for the purposes of testing the system, to maximize the scale? A sort of configuration that would accomplish these criteria while enlarging the scope as much as possible? NT: Well we did have a much bigger installation initially and we made it smaller and smaller and then finally we said “You know what? We are being silly. This is complex enough already, lets make it three points and not wide, but super narrow.” If you look at the shape, it is very compressed, almost like a hieroglyphic in relief.
WAr: In terms of physical craft, you did a lot of test models and mock-ups, do you think this would’ve been something you would’ve attempted to tackle would it not have been for the availability of tools such as Rhino and Grasshopper? NT: I can tell you simply by anecdotes, the two projects are seminal projects in our history. One was Casa La Roca, which was obviously done by hand and drawn lovingly by pencil, but has over the last twenty years been redrawn and redrawn and redrawn again, and even as late as a month ago Matthew was trying to teach me programming through the redrawing of that same project again, because the thinking behind that project was fundamentally parametric in its conception, but it was effectively done manually. In that context, we developed the parameters as well as wooden jigs to act as templates for the layout of bricks…… but it was a completely insane way of working. We didn’t have the tools at the time, and now that we do, we can not only facilitate the production of that project, but moreover the way in which that project can be managed as a system of variations towards other possible iterations—and thus, from design conception to transformation and construction. The project that broke our camel’s back was the Kuwait Sports Shooting Center which involved a coffered ceiling about a quarter of a kilometer long; the structural coffers change shape in accordance with room typologies underneath, some of which are circular, some of which are square, some of which are triangular, meaning that the coffering was transforming over the length of the entire roof and becoming essentially an expression of the programming as its fifth façade: the reflected ceiling plan as its fifth facade. We were drawing in Rhino, but without Grasshopper, and it was a disaster. This is all in the nineties and early 2000s, before we engaged in developing code, or any level of computational engagement. Now that computational protocols have become internalized into the working process, it has had a huge impact on the design process. In this case I thought this was absolutely central and obviously Matt can speak to that in ways that I can’t. WAr: There’s a tendency in this discussion, especially in the Wentworth community, to conflate parametetricism with the idea that its a completely computer-based mode of
thought when in fact its a higher idea that has been enabled by technology. MW: I think something poignant Nader is pointing out is that there’s a way of thinking, and there are tools that assist in administering and operating through that way of thinking. WAr: Right. MW: In this office I have been learning about a way of thinking that embraces essentially every constraint as an opportunity. I think the culmination of seeing constraints and parameters as something inherent in architecture and as an opportunity – simultaneously absorbing them into the project, getting them to talk to each other, and using them as a way to design, to see design, to see architecture -- is something that really goes above and beyond the use of, say, Rhino or Grasshopper, or writing programming. That said, the ability to use some of these tools can facilitate ways of automating certain parts of the project that would be incredibly labor intensive “by hand,” and it can contribute to an understanding of how the constraints can be designed to perform together. WAr: There’s already a tendency among many designers to define their constraints, and that’s a major part of the process, especially in our urban conditions, where through aggregation of floors you can have multiple virgin sites and you have to define constraints beyond the pure geometry that you’re working with, so I feel this a very relevant description of your process. Speaking towards a digitization of media, and the way the discourse has responded to it, there’s the underlying question of whether something of value is being lost as physical media is seemingly phased out or de-emphasized. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on whether architecture as a practice can or should respond to those questions of value in regards to the world’s overarching technological trends. NT: Let me give you an anecdote. If I have to get to the other side of the lake, I can take a direct route in the lake, or I can go around the lake –lets say with a bike. To get across the lake I have to learn how to swim, and to get around the lake I have to learn to ride a bike. One of those skillsets does not preempt the other. They’re both valuable and in an ideal world I can ride my bike there and then
swim back, because the instrumentality of those skills impart different ways of engaging the world. In questions of representation --or generative speculation—one’s hand-toeye coordination in free hand drawing can be argued to be just as valuable as having sophisticated mouse to screen skills (and of course the commands and techniques that are instrumental to a platform). In turn, as we think about the development of our visual skills, whether from observation or from the discipline of geometry, it is also an important intellectual leap to understand that many of our current modes of composition are first and foremost computational, and therefore non-visual; they only gain their visuality as by-product. Thus, developing the link between code and form as a second nature may end up being a critical intellectual tool for the architect. In some way, I am arguing for the salient manner in which different media serve us in the design process, and each can be argued to radicalize architectural organization in their own way. So my point is that it is absolutely true that the digital realm has transformed how we practice and think altogether, but it has not completely invalidated the other things that we do concurrently. WAr: But does it supplant them? NT: No, effectively, not. You’re constantly sketching by hand, as much as by computer; you’re hacking away at a model, but you’re also digitally printing out a model. You are doing many things at the same time. Of course, I recognize that there are architects out there whose relationship to media is absolutely instrumental; they discipline their work through the very media in which they work, and in doing so, demonstrate the agency of software. However, there are also a range of ‘ideas’ that have a lifespan within the architectural discipline that exceeds the lifespan or a certain media, and thus, one can also argue for a more discursive relationship between media and ideas such that the longue durée of architectural debates take on a prioritized role –within which the functions of media can more or less critically be intrumentalized. The story I offered you about Casa La Roca is a kind of compressed demonstration of that thesis. The ideas behind Casa La Roca are
not digital per se, but they are radicalized once extended through digital protocols. I just hosted a roundtable at Cooper Union, and in response to the question of digital media, Bernard Tschumi offered a very simple but important question: he said when you’re drawing, no matter what media in which you are operating, to whom are you speaking? Effectively, to what debate, to what architect, to what audience? And in which way are you expanding the agency of the discipline, as by product? With whom are you having a conversation and how are you producing new forms of discourse? To this end, one can imagine producing a project today whose aim is to expand a conversation with both Thomas Jefferson and Preston Scott Cohen at the same time…. as example. WAr: It sounds like you’re speaking to discourse then. So, in what ways does your work speak to the average person, the general public, or society at large? NT: You are having multiple conversations at the same time. “Aunt Martha” doesn’t pick out the nuances of your questions and yet we have to speak to her too. The language that we speak to the engineer is different than the language that we speak to others. Already you can see that we as architects are the orchestrators, the directors of multiple languages if you like. But yes, we engage society, we engage the community but we do it with instrumentality of what forms space and materiality can achieve and in orchestrating it and coordinating it in a way no one can. WAr: What are you currently fascinated by? What work are you most interested in by others outside of your office? NT: I like the work of SO-IL. Their architecture, while certainly demonstrating a certain sensibility, is also about certain ideas, and they migrate between questions of form, organization, materiality, irreducibility, and reduction. As an intellectual sensibility they also bring aspects of pure gravitas and humor into coincidence, which is what few people are able to do with great dexterity. There are people who do gravitas and they’re so earnest, and there are people that do humor, but they don’t do great pieces of architecture. These people are able to bring out the tensions in these contradictions, and even though there’s a sensibility every
WAr project is radically different.
WAr: We appreciate this insight into your relationship to some these larger questions we’ve discussed, to wrap up, do you have any advice for young designers? MW: There was a moment in the project where clarity about its direction began to dissolve. As a member of the team and with responsibility, it was a scary moment. It was also a moment that can be seen as an opportunity to attempt something even though you may doubt your ability to procede. If anything, it is example, as there are many in life, of the significance of throwing yourself into something with your heart, and trying, despite the possibility that it may completely fail, to absorb all the different aspects of that process as it happens. Something so remarkable about this project is that it was a failure -- it was a successful failure. It didn’t work as we had expected but it worked in a way requiring us to ask new questions about how it works. The moment during the process where there was a collapse, prior to completion, was an incredible moment because it pressured all of us on the team to come up with a solution to bring the project forward but also not shatter it along the way. So I would say, I think a willingness to embrace those difficult moments is something I continuously value and think of. Something also to add is that this was a team project and there were a lot of people involved in it. Each and every member of the team was really valuable in their contribution. It is important to remember that. WAr: Nader, thank you for your time. NT: Thank you very much, all the best. An insightful look into the complicated process of conception to realization, NADAAA has set itself along the path of testing and experimentation, coming to life on a unique scale. The use of contemporary tools and methods alongside age-old inspiration has curated a project with implications across the board. Studies and projects like these are what constantly expands the boundaries and minds of those taking part, breaching into an infinite range of possibilities.
#YESweFAIL â€œ#YESweFAIL : an inflatable exhibitâ€? focused on the importance of failure as part of the design process. One cannot expect immediate, flawless results when designing or building any type of project. The problem solving process is rooted in failure, regardless of medium. We learn from our mistakes. It is through the ability to recognize failures as a constructive tool for editing that we can develop techniques for understanding how to modify our ideas with precision.
Design is iterative.
Through process and failure comes a solution. Some of Milan's most regarded design community members joined TWoY in celebrating failure with featured failures, inflatable spaces, drinks and abstract media.
^ > Project Team | p. 147
Matt Roza | Swell Lamp
^ Sara Zettler | Experiencing Venice
^ Caleb Hawkins | Urban Mapping
^ > Connor Orlando, Reza Oshidar, and Shelby Shay | 4KCT
When one transitions from using paper to metal as they articulate their ideas, it opens up possibilities which were not available before. By applying immense heat and pressure, metal becomes a sort of plastic material. The long and thin insulation rods can act as lines on the paper and gain a third dimension as they are layered as additional information. Using this information base, a map generated from lines of circulation and urban connection forms and formal solutions emerge instantly. Working with scrap metal offers more freedom than any other material. It becomes a matter of arriving at a creative solution to a problem rather than working with carte-blanche resources. It has proven to be helpful to employ the use of metal at the urban scale of a plaza because it is possible to understand how ground, infrastructure, building, and analysis can become one.
^ > Ben Bruce | Mapping Urban Forces with Metal
^ Patrick Gilmore, Anthony Polidoro, and Matthew Vocatura | Boston Mapping
A conversation between WAr and Kathleen Macneil.
The following discussion is built around pragmatically making in a place of urban density. Towers are continuously inhabitated and often autonomous, separate in feel and connectivity across multiple senses and perspectives. The following conversation with Kathleen Macneil, a project executive within the real estate development firm Millennium Partners working to break this trend, unpacks the realities of the nature of design and development behind Boston’s newest skyscraper.
WAr: The Millennium Tower, when completed, is due to be the tallest residential tower in Boston. Have any of your other projects in Boston prepared you for the scope or complexity of this one?
day-to-day operations of the development, what would you argue is the most challenging aspect of your job? Is it difficult to facilitate changes in the field with so many contractors on site at once?
KM: All of our Boston projects have had their own complexities. Every building and building site has its unique challenges, that is part of what makes this industry so exciting; there is never the same challenge twice!
Kathleen Macneil is an architectural engineer and project executive responsible for the development of some of Bostons largest downtown projects in recent years. Macneil is a graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Real Estate.
WAr: When you studied at Wentworth, architecture wasn’t specifically offered in the sense that it is now. How do you feel construction and real estate development compare to architecture as a profession in the current industry? Is the design as challenging as the engineering and implementation?
KM: The most difficult aspect of the job is communication and keeping the team motivated and excited every day. Today's web interfaces and use of technology like iPads in the field have improved communication vastly and allow all team members to see the same thing at the same time. The roles between field staff and office staff are becoming blurry which is a good thing. Team members know and see and understand more of what each member is doing and that fosters mutual respect. I am reminded every day that this industry is still about building by hand and doing the hard work; there are not computers spitting out these buildings, yet.
KM: Construction, Real Estate Development and Architecture each have their specific strengths and weaknesses as well as significant risk profiles. The design phase brings the challenge of permitting, government and public review, the process of creating the vision, while the construction and engineering is all about making the vision a reality. I think the industry gets in trouble when you try and design or re-design during the implementation phase. WAr: The renovation of the historical Burnham Building was a key step to preserving the inherently unique character of downtown Boston. Do you believe retaining this rich history was as rewarding as watching a contemporary tower change the skyline directly adjacent to it? KM: Renovation and restorations are so much a part of Boston. I feel strongly that preservation has made Boston a more livable city. Preserving the past for future generations while giving old buildings new uses is a very rewarding experience. Reinventing but also coming to the realization that much of what was done before worked and is a testament to our predecessors. I have been lucky to have experienced both restoration work and new towers. WAr: As a project executive in charge of the
WAr: With an influx of new towers and projects taking shape in Boston, what is most crucial for a developer in terms of staying relevant in a major city? KM: Developers have to be nimble and respond and keep ahead of what the market demands. We saw that with Havas/Arnold. They wanted the “cool” factor of an interior space. They did not want dropped ceilings and cubicles with corner offices. They wanted collaborative spaces and interesting environments in a non-traditional building. Developers have to be able to shape their product for the future of how people want to live, work and play. WAr: Does the bottom line of a project offset the imagination of the designer at times? And in the case of the Millennium tower, how was a consensus reached between innovative design principals and a fiscally successful project? KM: In my opinion, no, the budget does not offset the imagination – it challenges the imagination and forces one to be more creative. In the case of the Millennium Tower we had to balance not only budget but also height, shadows on sensitive areas, construction logistics (building adjacent to a historic gem, the Burnham Building, as well as a major transportation line – Orange
line subway) with the designer’s and the city planner’s goal of an iconic building on the Boston Skyline that also provided a pedestrian scale for the revitalization of Downtown Crossing. The result of all these factors is what makes “good” architecture; being responsive to the constraints. I believe the Millennium Tower has achieved that. WAr: In your own opinion, do you see Boston as a city that could benefit from more large-scale urban renewal projects in areas around the city like the way Millennium Partners is transforming downtown? KM: Yes, I do believe that density, done in a responsible manner, respecting preservation, parks and sunlight is good for the city. Canyons are not what Boston is about. Projects must work at the pedestrian level. Millennium has made a conscious effort not to internalize its mixed use buildings. If you live at the Ritz Towers you need to walk along the sidewalk to go to the Loews movie theater, even though they are in the same building. That was an intentional design decision in order to encourage people to get onto the street. Great urban places and even neighborhoods (example, Avery St. and Washington St. near the Ritz) can be created by large-scale projects if done in context of the existing fabric and these projects can help achieve a sense of place. WAr: The theme of this year’s journal is MAKE, which correlates nicely with your background in construction. Do you have any advice for aspiring architects in regards to not only good design but also the act of construction as making? KM: Do not be afraid to fail, be bold, but be flexible. I look forward to the younger generation “making” its mark on the City. WAr: In contemporary construction, do you feel like the skill of craftsmen working and making by hand has been diminished with the advent of materials shipped straight from the factory pre-fab? Are there hand detailed aspects in construction today that could never be replaced by other means? KM: Certainly some craft is being lost. Tradespeople are leaving the profession due to retirement or other opportunities and new blood is not entering. Brick layers are being replaced by pre-cast and pre-fab panels. It is true that we are truly losing some of our artists. I do suspect with the advent of
technology, the old-world detailing that can now be reproduced by modern methods may make resurgence (however, the gold leaf and plaster will be replaced by plastic). The industry will be very interesting to see in the next decade as advances with technology are happening at a faster pace than ever before in our field. Sort of the way the invention of the elevator changed the way cities were shaped. Today's youth are entering the profession at a very exciting time. WAr: Thank you, Kathleen. Kathleen Macneil, with Millennium Partners, spoke on Boston's rapidly changing industry of real estate development and the transformative effects of urban renewal projects, such as the new highrise Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing. It is important to recognize that these principles and predictions by some of today’s designers and professionals are having a real world effect on the shape, density, building scale and fabric of todays blossoming cities.
^ Timothy Szczebak | Boston Towers
^ Drew Conserva | Perambulatorium
^ Stefan Burnett | Micro House
^ Jared Guilmett, Greg Jimmie, Kazimir Cunningham, Brianne Lowe | Engage: National Parks Lodge at Squantum Point Model
^ Tom Priester | Nautical Lamp
^ > Jake Wilson | Discover, Translate, Explore
To make is to discover, to translate, to willingly dive into the unknown. No amount of planning or thinking can match the knowledge or excitement born from the process or making. As designers, we have the unique opportunity to engage in an experience that is as volatile as it is rich. Few strains of work are afforded the chance to take on the challenge of translating immaterial thoughts, ideas, and passions, into tactile objects. These objects, the result of this translation, exist as independent things, yet somehow cannot be separated from the labors that produced them. They are precise, physical things, but also contain endless opportunity and meaning. To make is to accept these dualities, and to concede to the power of the process of creation. It is the role of the designer to take hold of the opportunities given by the act of making and use them to explore uncharted territory.
^ Jillian Lodor | Watercolor Cities
^ Rima Abousleiman and Connor Orlando | Laser-cut Necklace
^ Connor Orlando, Rima Abousleiman, and Alexa Ashton | Photography
New Tools, Classic Ideology
A conversation between WAr and Chris Sledziona. The following discussion centers around the place that new fabrication and prototyping tools can have in an architect’s process, and the way this can inform the final design. There is an apparent disconnect between new ideas and traditional construction, leading to many designers neglecting pragmatic building methods. However, there may be opportunities when these two seemingly disparate approaches collide. Chris Sledziona, Shop Technician at Wentworth Institute of Technology, discusses the relationship between these new technologies and practical construction and material realities. Chris Sledziona is the Shop Technician at Wentworth Architecture's Applied Research Fabrication Lab. Sledziona attended Northeastern University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture, going on to work for several architecture firms in the Boston area until he came to Wentworth. His role at Wentworth, and his active participation at the Artisan's Asylum, a Makerspace in Somerville, have contributed to his extensive experience in physical modeling, and knowledge regarding digital technologies and fabrication.
WAr: As someone who works hands on with emerging fabrication technologies in the context of education, why is it important to incorporate making into the design process? CS: “Architect” as a distinct discipline is a relatively new concept. The word architect originates from the Greek word arkhitekton; used to describe the head stonemason in ancient Grecian construction projects. Through ancient and medieval history, artisans and craftsman, sometimes rising to the role of master builder, carried out building design and construction. Until modern times there was no clear distinction between architect, engineer, and builder. I would argue that integration of making into our design process is not new to the discipline of architecture, but rather a return to our roots. The increasing complexity and specialization of construction methods and building systems has required specialization of both design and construction teams. This is typical across many disciplines - not just architecture. As a result, many people, including myself, sense a growing divide between the people who design and the people who build. Integrating making in the design process, grounds our ideas in what is possible. Creating a mockup or prototype of an idea is a mechanism for getting feedback and it often serves as a check to our sometimeswild imaginations. These devices allow us to translate ideas to physical space where they can be manipulated and explored through physical manipulation. Designing through making keeps designs within the realm of possibility and encourages architectonic expression. It’s essential for designers to have a good understanding of how things are built both in terms of physical construction and process. Architecture is a relationship between space, materials, and structure. As architects, we shouldn’t just strive to design better models or representations; instead, we should strive to craft better buildings. Wentworth has a strong history of teaching relevant and pragmatic skills and has always understood that making is one of these.
WAr: Does the quality of student projects improve when produced digitally or do manual methods such as drafting and making lead to a better outcome? CS: I don’t think quality is a question of digital vs. analog. I find that my favorite student projects are thought out through a range of mediums. The computer, paper, whiteboard, etc. are simply mediums for translating thoughts and ideas into physical representation. Designs are born in this idea space but then need to be tested in physical space. Our discipline is all about applied theory and bringing wild ideas into reality. Many perceive a divide between thinking and doing. I believe the most effective way to work through a design problem is to think through doing. Cognitive scientists refer to this as embodied cognition - the physical manipulation of your environment affects judgment and decision-making. Tools that are more physically engaging help you take a more active role in the design process, prompt decisions, and can speed things along. Making encourages discovery and can lead to unexpected outcomes. When stuck on a design problem, my first approach is to find an alternate way to look at it. If I find myself spinning around a 3D model for an hour, I’ll try sketching the parti, building a model, or developing a mockup. WAr: Do you believe projects that are created with contemporary means have lost value regarding their material and tectonic expression? CS: No. Tools are tools whether they are new or old. A chisel was invented at some point in history; as was a drill, as was a CNC mill. Material expression is a conversation between material, tools, and method. Whether you are crafting timber joints by hand with a chisel or with a keyboard attached to a Hundegger; both demand the same level of rigor, intent, and craft. One current direction of applied architectural research is re-interpreting traditional methods using digital processes. There is much to be learned and discovered from this pursuit. Whether you are constructing an arch with hand cut or computer shaped stone, you are still bound by the laws of nature. These have not changed in the digital
age. Formally, each method will have an individual expression but one can inform the other. WAr: In contemporary construction, do you feel that the skill of craftsmen has been diminished with the advent of prefabricated materials and assemblies shipped directly from the factory? Are there “hand-crafted” elements in construction today that could never be replaced by other means? CS: I do feel that new construction is increasingly happening off-site and thus, so is role of the craftsman. Structural steel, doors, windows, cabinets, and stone are just a few examples of what is typically fabricated off site. Contemporary on-site construction workers are increasingly becoming assemblymen.
WAr: What makes a material difficult to work with? CS: I think the complexity comes from the method or process associated with particular materials - rather than the materials themselves. Some operations simply require many steps. It’s often necessary to create jigs or tools for certain operations. All this adds complexity. Casting is a great example of this. Casting requires a mold; the challenge is to create a negative volume to later form a positive. The mold also needs to be removable from the positive geometry and avoid being cast in place. The mold often has multiple components, such as flexible liners, mother molds, and registration geometry. Constructing formwork requires a lot of mental acrobatics and often incorporates all the tools in our shop - traditional and digital.
It’s easy to argue the benefits of off-site production such as increased precision and quality control. If the making of architecture is increasingly moving off-site, then so is the opportunity for craft. This shift creates an opportunity for designers to collaborate with industry partners but requires increased interdisciplinary knowledge on both sides in order to work together effectively. Fabricators need to be part designer; designers need to be part fabricator. Architecture education is beginning to reflect this shift - with increased integration of CNC equipment, robotics, and the shop into curriculum.
WAr: Can you name some emerging firms that embrace the spirit of this year’s theme MAKE?
WAr: What is the value of integrating prototyping into the design process?
Matter design is a research firm that focuses on the intersection of theory and application of emerging fabrication methods. Their projects often take inspiration from ancient techniques and re-imagine them using digital physics analysis models and robotic fabrication methods.
CS: The design process is difficult to map out because it changes relative to the problem at hand and is non-linear. There is a point in the design process, where it becomes necessary to apply theory, and test your ideas. This should always happen ahead of a final product. These tests often result in failures or unexpected results; both of which should be embraced. The design process is iterative, implying that there is a feedback loop that relies on both success and failure. I expect to fail several times before coming to a satisfying resolution. It’s difficult to understand what works or doesn’t without testing those ideas. Only after fully understanding your process will you be able to master it. It’s important to be constantly critical of your process and dedicate time for reflection and synthesis.
CS: A few come to mind: Höweler + Yoon has filled their portfolio with engaging public spaces and environmental installations. Their projects reflect their continuing exploration of new materials and emerging fabrication methods. Many of their projects are responsive and incorporate interactive technology for user controllable, immersive, environmental experiences.
SITU Studio is a grassroots and entrepreneurial design build group. Their projects are engaging and humanistic due to their materiality, locations, and scale. Their projects blur the lines between architecture, installation art, and industrial design. WAr: Thank you, Chris.
Chris Sledziona, Shop Technician at Wentworth Institute of Technology, discussing the importance of prototyping and fabrication. As fabrication becomes increasingly digital, architects must still understand construction techniques and material realities so they can fully take advantage of the opportunities technology affords. While these new processes might be complex, and a failures may happen along the way, a multi-faceted and iterative design approach can produce exciting results.
^ Quinn Levine and Alexa Ashton | Photography
^ > Tom Priester | Live Edge End Tab
1100 AD: The country was thrown into turmoil in 1130 when civil war broke out across the land, as the laws of succession were questioned and multiple nobility staked claim to the throne. In 1152, the Archdiocese of Nidaros was created in attempts to control the appointment of the king - all efforts failed; however, this did begin to define the connection of Church and State for the countryâ€™s political rule.
^ > Jared Guilmett and Tricia Rizzo | Norway Studies
^ > Stefan Burnett, James Fan, Micaila Sheridan, and Nate Vilemaire | Nexus World Housing
The public would find the Government Service Center guilty of the crimes of “brutalism,” of destitution, and of incompleteness. The public concludes that the building does not deserve to live. The sentence is death. Our team represents the defendant. The concerns and criticism, if not outright controversies, that surround the project beg several questions. What factors led to the proliferation of chain link fences, sense of abandonment, and looming unease that swallows the site? Our studies quickly reveal layered nuance and complexity in this work of the late Paul Rudolph. Our sensitivity to its spatial qualities and embodied energy drives further investigation. What we find paints a different picture altogether. We begin to weigh intentions against realities: Rudolph conceived of the site as a theater that transforms civic life into a public display. As the name implies, the project represented an effort towards the ideals of The Great Society. The missing element, a twenty-three story tower, was conceived as an essential linchpin for the entire site. In its absence, the city constructs the Brooke Courthouse, leading to the mutation of the civic theater into its present form. The defense would find it more appropriate to empathize with the circumstances surrounding the defendant. Awareness of failed social programs and administrative ineptitude inform our position that the building deserves a second life cycle. The vision, labor, and history latent in the building’s physical existence demands an evaluation that moves past questions of conventional beauty. Our team looks upon a drawing. The drawing is a sectional perspective that serves as a lens, revealing the Government Service Center’s soul and inner substance. The building becomes increasingly cogent. We give in to our instincts to protect it from undue punishment. We begin our process of appeals with a language that is both visual and physical...
^ Steven Prestejohn | Soul and Substance
^ Government Service Center Masterplan C
| Hybrid Scales
^ > Ben Bruce | Thesis Exploration
The spine is something all humans share. The creation of this piece is to try and discover a unifying element in regards to fashion that erases the role of race, gender, sexuality, and economic clashes. This piece is symbolic of the underlying elements within our being and our existence on earth. This backbone is not just a mimicry of a humansâ€™ anatomy but it is also influenced by contemporary technological developments. This is now imbedded in our perception of life, not just physically but with our blind subconscious self. This piece of wearable art interconnects separated networks of people. This backbone is an element that erases the role of segregation in the exchange of information and communication between races, genders, or social classes. This backbone ties together diverse networks of people in the same space, different buildings on a campus, or over areas that span to a global scale. This backbone is only as great as the networks of people that connect to it. In regards to the process of making, the idea originated from using the very inexpensive and recycled material paper to produce something with an expensive aesthetic of the geometries. Both pieces were created using the same module. Each is a variant of the aggregation, as well as the module itself. The process ultimately revealed two outcomes, as the resultant of material behavior studies of the folded units, and aggregation of the modules.
^ > Caleb Hawkins | Spine
^ Tina Sylvester | Light Studies
^ Nick Leverone | Sketches
^ Patrick Gilmore | Shrink Wrap Material Exploration
^ Esti Shapiro | Back Bay Seasonal Pavilion Model
A conversation between WAr and Brandon Clifford During the summer of 2015, the BSA hosted an exhibition titled "Bigger than a Breadbox, Smaller than a Building," the intent of which was to experiment with advancing technologies and innovative techniques using the parameters of architectural installations. The following interview resulted when the WAr Team attended the exhibition, and became fascinated by the methodologies explored by this particular team. Matter Design is an interdisciplinary design practice that collaborates with experimental projects at many scales and many different means of production. The firm is focused on engaging architecture and matter in the digital design era. Brandon Clifford is the Principal at Matter Design as well as the Belluschi lecturer at MIT. His firm has won many awards and has been widely published in journals such as Metropolis Magazine and Pidgin Magazine, for which he also served as editor from 2009-2011. Brandon is also the founder of the Malleablist Movement in architecture, which embraces the potential of the digital age in creating “living architecture,” where the built environment resists permanence and resolution in favor of information-based response to forces.
WAr: The theme of this year's journal is entitled MAKE. As a designer influenced by the advancing role of technology in architecture, what do you believe the role of the craftsman should be in contemporary design? BC: Without doubt, we are in a digital era. Everything around us is becoming ‘smart’ or perhaps better put ‘computed’. Some of these things can be understood as products of everyday life, but for students and educators in architecture, the undeniable accretion of digital making devices into the buildings of architectural education is in my opinion exciting and alarming. Why? Throughout modernism and the industrialization of architecture (and perhaps since Alberti) the dominate role of the architect has been relegated to producing representations of architectural intent—most typically through plans, sections, and elevations. These orthographic projections were preferred by Alberti over more romantic representation techniques such as the perspective that aren’t measurable. So, these drawings are meant to be capable of construction. Here is the irony, there are many ways of making that aren’t suited to orthographic projection. Stereotomy is one such example, Inca stone construction is yet another. The first case being a projective technique that is closer to perspective than orthography, and the second is a sequential process that is dependent on previously placed stones, whereas an elevation of an Inca wall would privilege pattern or composition, the Inca did not draw elevations of their incredible walls prior to building them. Why would they? What is happening right now is through the lens of digitization, designers are becoming in sync with the modes of production (again). So, while this topic of making is re-surging as a result of these tools, the alarming part is that many feel the role of the architect is not to make buildings, but to make drawings. My proposal is that architects make drawings that make buildings, and under this new paradigm shift in modes of production, we need to reconsider what a drawing is… I don’t think it is limited to orthographic projection. I believe strongly that we are in
an exciting moment when architects can more directly engage in the means and methods of making (with a caveat on the historical perspective that all of my favorite architects throughout history already did this—De L’Orme, Brunelleschi, Gaudi, Candela, the list goes on) WAr: Your firm has won many prestigious awards including your most recent the Design Biennial Boston Award. Does the success reaffirm your design mentality and do you see aspects that deserve more focus in the process? BC: It certainly doesn’t hurt. I hope that we never set out to do a project in the hope of a particular award; however, if someone sees passion in our work and offers an award for it, it does gives us positive confirmation to continue to push forward. We certainly can’t be accused of being a conservative design practice. So it is the colleagues, friends, and critics that fuel our passion to stay risky. I don’t know that I feel any particular work deserves an award over another, but in looking back on our works, I am generally confused as to why some works garner more attention than others. This has to do with my close proximity to the work, but I see some things in the work and naturally others see other things. My only hope is that over time, the nuance in the work accumulates with all of their brother and sister works to trigger someone to realize these topics that have gone unnoticed. This will take time and will be the ‘prize’ that I might be most proud of. WAr: Your website describes your practice as “the continual interrogation of the reciprocity between drawing and making.” Do you believe a process driven by the hand leads to discovery and a more integrated design? (i.e. the process of Carlo Scarpa?) BC: We called our practice ‘Matter Design’ for a reason. We don’t fetish drawings or renderings. (That statement might not be entirely true, but what is evident is we have an incredible passion in materializing our works). So while I don’t particularly align the work with the romantic ideas of hand and mind collaboration, I think nothing is more difficult than developing
a computational design strategy that incorporates the messy nature of the real world. If our first works were interested in simply translating virtual processes into physical materials, the work is moving in the direction of engaging other physical masses—gravity, temperature, etc. WAr: Which of your projects have been the most challenging to fabricate due to the confines of todays technology? Which have been improved by contemporary techniques? BC: Each of our works have held their own challenges, and I would say none came together easily; however, if you held my feet to the fire, I would say that the ‘Round Room’ pushed the boundaries of what is possible with contemporary ‘accessible’ technology. While the techniques used to compute and robotically carve the units were relatively advanced, the mode of assembly brought to the forefront the idea of embedding the complexity of aggregating errors into the machining process. So to put this more clearly, if we assemble a few units in place, we really need something to determine where these actually are in space, and adjust the digital model for the next units to adapt. When I previously stated the Inca didn’t draw elevations of
their walls, I meant it. It would be incredibly unwise for them to do this because their process is dedicated to an aggregation strategy that adapts to previously placed stones. While this concept makes a great deal of sense to us, the practicalities of embedding that much knowledge into the fabrication process illuminates the most glaring moment we are interested to investigate.
consider to be more human. I feel our work is very much about the human body. In fact, Microtherme employs solver computation to develop the concrete geometry that ensures maximum contact with the human form in a variety of positions. WAr: What are the most challenging aspects of bringing your designs to life in todays market? Are clients initially receptive of your design approach?
WAr: Do you see architecture continuing to move in the direction of BIM so much so that the human scale, tactility and texture are ignored? Or do you see these factors aided by information modeling?
BC: Well we don’t have any clients. That might be a good place to start. I’m not sure if that is because these questions are coming before our first client, or if we just don’t cater to clients as a business strategy, but what has become clear to us is the conventional idea of client is not a mandate to build an architectural practice that engages the discourse and discipline of architecture.
BC: If BIM is thought of as a mode of modeling that is capable of embedding information into it, (this is just a parametric computational model) I see no need to distinguish it in opposition to human scale. BIM is no further away from tactility than orthographic projection. I don’t think that BIM is the only way computation will go. We are seeing solver computation really taking flight with the dominance of platforms such as Kangaroo Physics by Daniel Piker. I see computation simply as the ability to engage topics other than form and dimension in the design process. One of those topics could be tactility, scale, or anything else you
WAr: Do you feel your individual act of making can be scaled? Can you imagine this style-taking place on the urban scale? BC: Our works are currently best seen as prototypes for architectural conditions. In that case, we are very much dedicated to the possibility of scale shifts. While I don’t like to think of our work as being ‘not architecture’ I don’t like to think of it as
being scale dependent either. Many of our strategies are becoming applied at extremely large scales (by others). For instance, Periscope was carved with a robotic hot-wire that we developed, and now a company in Denmark called ‘Odico’ is employing this technique to quickly carve foam molds for very large scale concrete castings. That is just one example of impact we have been able to place on the built environment that breaks the conventional scale understanding in our work, but one can also see these motivations in the larger project proposals of ours (say the Guggenheim proposal) where clearly there are continuations of architectural strategies, as well as computational and making strategies. I say this all to appease the question, but by no means is the driving goal of our practice to simply make ‘bigger’ projects. WAr: Were there any iteration of your final projects that were scraped due to the inability to be fabricated by current means of technology? BC: Always. Ideas sometimes don’t work out. Sometimes, a practical concern like shipping trumps another and kills a process. Other times, the process that seems least
feasible ends up being the best solution. In these cases, this is why Wes is an incredible partner, because he is able to entertain and think outside the box of what industry offers. We certainly don’t wait around for someone to develop a tool for us to use. We tend to make our own tools. In those cases, when we decide upon a new means, we tend to re-design the proposal in response to the means. Like you asked earlier, our practice is dedicated to the reciprocity between drawing and making, so very often, the means and methods of making, or the material is established prior to an architectural form. WAr: What can we expect from future projects? Has your process as a firm stayed consistent and do you see yourselves evolving in the coming years? BC: This is a great question and one we are constantly trying to speculate about, but always fail to predict. If you asked me 5 years ago what I would be doing today, I would probably have told you I would be running an office with client work. I am actually extremely relieved that is not what we are doing because I enjoy every day of what we do currently. If I am to re-speculate, I would say, the next work will engage performance
more heavily. If the first works were about the performance of making—tools, materials, etc, and the second stage of our work had to do with performative aspects of architecture—structure, environment, and gravity, the next stage will deal more intensely with the theatrical side of performance. One can see a hint of this in the ‘McKnelly Megalith’ and ‘Microtherme’. The images of Microtherme occupied with the model in a bathing suit is not an unconsidered selection. This will be a hint I will leave you with. Brandon Clifford, founding Principal at Matter Design, on the increasingly intimate and complex relationship between drawing and making. As a result of new digital tools in prototyping and fabrication, the act of making is once again becoming a central role of the architect. Combined with the information-based methods of the digital age, this return to roots leaves Brandon looking forward to deeper exploration of the ‘performative’ potential of architecture.
NOTES From page 16. "Making with Expressive Gesture" Interview with Janet Echelman 1. Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters To A Young Poet. 1929.
Image Reference From Page 57. Perspective by Wilhelm Viggo von Moltke, 1941-1942. Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
From page 20. "Why Paper" Cal Simko 1. http://www.hermanmiller.com/why/irving-harpers-world. html?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_ campaign=2014_09_23_WHY
From Page 57. Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library From Page 57. Ezra Stoller ESTO
From page 55. Touloukian Touloukian Inc. Photo Image Reference From Page 55. Lawrence Earley From page 57. "Making, Remaking, and the Authenticity of the Argo" Peter Greenberg, Assistant Professor. 1. Noble, Charles. Philip Johnson. Thames and Hudson., London: 1972. 2. Varnelis, Kazys. “We Cannot Not Know History: Philip Johnson’s Politics and Cynical Survival.” Journal of Architectural Education, Nov. 1994. 3. Frampton, Kenneth. “The Glass House Revisited” in Philip Johnson: Processes. The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York: 1978. 4. Barthes, Roland. Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes. Translated by Richard Howard. University of California Press, Berkeley (CA): 1994 (1975). 5. France-Lanord, Alfred. “Knowing How to Question the Object Before Restoring It,” in Price, Nicholas Stanley, ed. & others, Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles (CA): 1996 (1965). 6. www.plimoth.org 7. www.plimoth.org 8.Hitchcock, Henry-Russell and Johnson, Philip. The International Style. W.W.Norton, New York: 1966 (1932). 9. Drexler, Arthur. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. George Braziller, Inc., New York: 1960.
From Page 58. Ise Shrine Photo by Yoshio Watanabe http://library. osu.edu/projects/bennett-in-japan/2_6_photos.html From Page 59. The Argo (ca. 1500–1530), painting by Lorenzo Costa https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Lorenzo_ Costa_001.jpg From Page 59. http://leastconsidered.com/2013/01/24/9-ash streetcambridge-massachusetts/ From Page 59. Paul Revere House, Boston, begun 1676. Postcard, c. 1900, Digital Archive of American Architecture From Page 59. Paul Revere House http://www.gogobot.com/the-paulrevere-house-boston-attraction From Page 59. Darius Coombs, associate director of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program at Plimoth Plantation, explains Native American house building techniques to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/11/28/ massachusetts-governor-tours-plimoth-plantation-64940 From Page 60/61. L: Barcelona Pavilion (1986) http://www. urbansplatter.com/2014/11/architectural-gem-barcelona-pavilionbarcelona-spain/R: Barcelona Pavilion (1929) Arthur Drexler, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (New York: 1960), Plate 23 From Page 61. Ash Street Construction Site. Photograph by author. From Page 61. http://leastconsidered.com/2013/01/24/9-ash streetcambridge-massachusetts/ From page 70. "Placemaking/Making Place" Anne-Catrin Schultz, Assistant Professor, PhD. 1. http://www.etymonline.com (Accessed Sep. 14, 2015).
10. Cirici, Cristian; Ramos, Fernando; Solá-Morales i Rubió, Ignasi;. “The Reconstruction of the Barcelona Pavilion.” Arquitectura, 1986 July-Aug., v.67, no.261 p.4-15.
2. Norberg-Schulz, Christian, Architecture: Meaning and Place, Selected Essays. First American Edition. New York, N.Y.: Rizzoli, 1988, p. 41.
11. Evans, Robin. “Mies van der Rohe’s Paradoxical Symmetries” in Translations from Drawings to Building and Other Essays. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997), pp. 232-276.
3. Ibid. p. 15. 4. Ibid. p. 27. 5. Ibid. p. 59.
12. Viollet-le-Duc, Eugene-Emmanuel. “Restoration” in Price, Nicholas Stanley, ed. & others, Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles (CA): 1996 (1854).
6. Martin Möhring, Uwe Abraham, Aspekte des japanischen Raums, in: Helmut Striffler, Japan-Tradition und Moderne, Darmstadt 1988, seminar report, p.59.
7. Heidegger, Martin, Building Dwelling Thinking, http://mysite.pratt. edu/~arch543p/readings/Heidegger.html (Accessed Sep. 14, 2015).
Hilary Zelson during launch. The sheep are constructed of packing peanuts and Styrofoam. (Photo by Christina Lanzl)
From page 75. Fort Point Arts Community Temporary Public Art, spring 2015: Bright Side of the Road II, alley adjacent to 347 Congress Street at the intersection of A Street, Boston MA, by Claudia Ravaschiere and Michael Moss (Photo by Christina Lanzl)
9. Semper, Gottfried. Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts; or, Practical Aesthetics. Translated by Harry Mallgrave and Michael Robinson. 1st ed. Getty Research Institute, 2004. 10. Placemaking Network. http://www.architects.org/committees/ placemaking-network (Accessed Sep. 16, 2015). 11. Gehl, Jan. Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space was first published in Denmark in 1971. The English translation appeared in 1987. 12. Ibid. p. 13. 13. This research led to the publication of William H. Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces(New York: Doubleday, 1980). 14. About PARK(ing) Day, http://parkingday.org/about-parking-day/ (Accessed Sep. 16, 2015). 15. Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia first published the four volumes of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, first appeared online beginning in 2011: http://issuu.com/ streetplanscollaborative/docs/tactical_urbanism_vol.1 (Accessed Sep. 17, 2015). Island Press released the series as a monograph in March 2015.: Da Capo Press, 2003, 100. Image Reference From page 71. Japanese Stone Marker in Kyoto, Japan (Photo by Robert Clocker) From page 71. Tori Gate, Kyoto, Japan (Photo by Robert Clocker) From page 72. Shinkyo Bridge across Daiya River, Nikko, Japan (Photo by Robert Clocker) From page 73. Split rail fencing, Virginia, USA https://upload. wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Fence1web.jpg From page 73. Wall and fence enclosure of historic cemetery, Ipswich, MA (Photo by Robert Clocker) From page 73. Picnic Blanket creating “dining space” outdoors. https://violetbriana.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/picnic.jpg From page 74. Carlo Scarpa: Castelvecchio, Verona, Italy: space defined by horizontal concrete and stone terrace (Photo by AnneCatrin Schultz) From page 75. Temporary intervention in conjunction with A Fort Point Vision for Public Art: Over The Pavement ... The Beach at 280 A Street, Boston MA, referencing the French student uprising of the 1960s by Shauna Gillies-Smith and Lisa Roth, 2002. Two tons of sand from Central Artery construction, tree trunks for seating (Photo by Kathy Chapman) From page 75. Temporary intervention in conjunction with A Fort Point Vision for Public Art: Red Yarn Wrapping on the A Street overpass railing on Summer Street, Boston MA, by Leslie Clark, 2002 (Photo by Kathy Chapman) From page 75. Fort Point Channel Floating Art, 2015: Who Wears Wool highlighting the wool trade in historic Fort Point, Boston MA, by
From page 76. PARKing Day installation by ADD Inc. on September 18, 2015, a parklet complete with a bicycle chain inspired fence in front of the Boston Fire Museum at 344 Congress Street, Boston MA (Photo by Christina Lanzl) From page 76. PARKingDay installation promoting outdoor activities by the Riverfront Development Corporation on September 21, 2012. Sixteen teams of artists, community groups, and businesses temporarily transformed metered parking spaces along Peabody Place in downtown Memphis TN into public parks. (Photo by Christina Lanzl) From page 77. 25SQ participatory art panel painting at the Stax to the Max festival in South Memphis TN, led by artists Darlene Newman and Cat Normoyle on April 28, 2013. (photo by Christina Lanzl) From page 77. 25SQ participatory art panel painting at Binghampton Paint Day on the grounds of Caritas Village in Memphis TN, led by artist Frank D. Robinson (pictured) on May 31, 2014 (photo by Christina Lanzl) From page 77. 25SQ inspirational, participatory art panel installation at Binghamton Park, one of a series of neighborhood locations in Memphis TN by Frank D. Robinson (pictured) (photo by Christina Lanzl) From page 77. Tennessee Brewery tactical urbanism intervention, a partnership of the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team and Memphis Heritage during summer 2014 (photo by Christina Lanzl)
All Content Rima Abousleiman (BSA '15) Alexa Ashton (BSA '15) Matthew Arsenault (BSA '15) Sasha Bachier (M.Arch '16) Artem Batuyev (BSA '17) Aleks Berger (M.Arch '16) Brendan Bowen (M.Arch '16) Ben Bruce (M.Arch '15) Stefan Burnett (BSA '17) Dylan Bush (BSA '17) Brandon Clifford, Matter Design Drew Conserva (BSA '16) Kazimir Cunningham (BSA '15) Hailey Cyr (BSA '15) Domenico DeRienzo (BSA '15) Neal DosSantos (BSA '15) Panharith Ean (BSA '15) Janet Echelman James Fan (BSA '17) Felipe Francisco (BSA '15) Patrick Gilmore (M.Arch '16) Peter Greenberg, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Glavin (M.Arch '16) Jared Guilmett (M.Arch '16) Caleb Hawkins (BSA '16) Holly Hersey (M.Arch '16) Kathryn Horlbogen (BIND '15) Greg Jimmie (BSA '15) Thomas Katsikas (BIND '16) Christina Lanzl, Adjunct Professor Nicholas Leverone (BIND '15) Quinn Levine (M.Arch '16) Katherine Lux (M.Arch '15) Jillian Lodor (M.Arch '16) Brianne Lowe (BINT '15) Kathleen Macneil, Millennium Partners Ally Mason (BSA '18) Kevin Moniz (M.Arch '16) Fabiola Moquete (BINT '15) Connor Orlando (BSA '15) Reza Oshidar (BSA '15) Susana Pereira-Devoe, Adjunct Professor Anthony Polidoro (BSA '15) Kim Poliquin, Adjunct Professor Steven Prestejohn (M.Arch '16) Tom Priester (BIND '15) Jared Ramsdell, Adjunct Professor Pablo Rivera (BSA '15) Tricia Rizzo (M.Arch '16) Matt Roza (BIND '15) Brian Sandford (BSA '17) Anne-Catrin Schultz, Assistant Professor Esti Shapiro (BSA '18) Shelby Shay (BINT '15) Micaila Sheridan (BSA '17) Cal Simko (BIND '15) Chris Sledziona, Shop Technician Tina Sylvester (BINT '15)
Timothy Szczebak (M.Arch '16) Nader Tehrani, NADAAA Nathan Thomas (M.Arch '15) Kyle Tomisman (M.Arch '16) William Toohey (BSA '17) Juan Torres (BSA '16) Jessica Valadares (M.Arch '15) Nate Villemaire (BSA '17) Matthew Vocatura (M.Arch '16) Qiang Wang (BSA '17) Matthew Waxman, NADAAA Jake Wilson (M.Arch '16) Toby Zaltsman (M.Arch '16) Sara Zettler (M.Arch '16)
Rachel Wilson Masterplan C I Page 80. Neal DosSantos Holly Hersey Kathryn Horlbogen Christina Laroca Steven Prestejohn Anastasia Ziolek
Masterplan D I Page 81. Andrew Calnen Stephanie Ferraro Tricia Rizzo Kylie Trainor Bryan Ueda Alexa Wallert
Venexia I Page 38. Rima Abousleiman Aleks Berger John Stephen Ellis, Professor Holly Hersey Kevin Fletcher Marissa Page Vichitta Srisouraj Daniel Quartararo Anthony Wolff Nebia Zeroual Sara Zettler
#YESweFAIL I Page 96. The World on Yes Holtz SDR Hawkmark Studio DelCo Kahen Design Kevin Driscoll Koa Koa H.H. Tax Condo OP/A so + so studio
Channel Green I Page 44. SHIFTboston Boston Green Harbor Laboratory, UMASS Boston Kim Poliquin Dylan Bush Anamarija Franjkic Government Service Center Masterplan A I Page 78. Rima Abousleiman Mallory Hudak Jackie Mignone Marissa Page Elizabeth Raymond Katie Smith Sarah St Onge Richard Long Quinn Levine Masterplan B I Page 79. Connor Orlando Valerie Maccrone Reza Oshidar Emily Lampert Elias Konstantinidis Adam Gonzalez Shelby Shay Laurel Tessier
Published on Feb 1, 2016