Friday, December 29, 2006

I would like to apologize for the lateness of this post...

After the review and some criticism from others, I think what is most important for myself is a little more focus. It goes without saying that my book is in need of some help. I think that through strengthening the book, It will become clearer what my next step will be. My main priority for the break is to fill in the gaps of the book and come back with a clear direction so that upcoming semester is primarily a semester of production.

As for the review, I think we all learned a great deal from the critics and from others projects. If it is possible, I would like to see much more of Michael Eng in class discussions/reviews, he raised the bar of our ongoing synaesthesia discussion quite a few notches. I have listed a few quotes that are general in nature (including my own input after a few) from the critics which I think all of our projects can benefit from

Michael to Alex “Synaesthesia is the spacialization of space”.
Michael to Alex “talk about memory in its materiality”. I think this is important for all of us, to talk about our projects almost exclusively in their materiality, otherwise, senses are not directly involved.
Michael to Alex “Don’t invent by yourself, look at what others have done”
Michael to Alex “Architecture is a fictive practice, tactility, gravity, etc are imaginary, your assignment should unmask this fictive operation.
Marc to Alex “Go back to first year. First year is about the fundamentals of architecture”
Mark P to Alex “Do life (sensorial experiences) and then write it down” I think this would be a good exercise for everybody.
Evan to Chris “Be more of an astronaut and jump out of a plane” This applies to all of us, especially for the last semester of our time at Pratt. Seriously, It’s our thesis.
Evan to Chris (paraphrased) “Thesis is about presenting a few models and drawings, what do you say with them? You need to do a prolific amount to clarify what it is you are saying and then represent that through only a few final drawings/models that say it very well”
Anthony to Dave “its about confluence between garden and laundromat” The majority of us are dealing with a kind of confluence between multiple experiences/programs and we need to think of how that blending occurs. Its not necessarily about the programs, but the blending of the programs. An intersection of two programs is not two programs, it is one program. That’s why I think confluence is a good word.
Anthony to Stanly “Louis Kahn started with the room” I think this is directly related to Dan’s programmatic detail.
Jeff to Namtip “Art is not visual, it is experiential”

I feel that the most important criticism I received was from Anthony Caradonna. He spoke about quickly moving past the analytical aspect of the project (cataloging the existing experiential) and getting to the design and to creating my own experiences. In knowing how I work, I was somewhat hesitant in choosing an already existing building because I could see myself getting too hung up in pulling apart what was already there which would delay the design of what was to come. In the upcoming semester, I think the analysis of the substation and my own design may have to happen simultaneously which will allow them to inform eachother.

A few general topics that the substation/terminal brings into question.
Micro/Macro: The inner aspects of the building and the specific experiences that occur as opposed to the building as a part of the much greater whole of Newark and New York in its function as a terminal. This will require a simultaneous zooming in and zooming out.

Fragment/Whole: I have been thinking alot about what Anthony said, “Louis Kahn started with the room”. In response to my circuit diagram, my design will begin with fragments/characters within the space (going back to my original analysis of Scarpa and Klee). As I stated in my review, the circuit diagram isolates distinct elements within the space, characterizes them, and then groups them according to how they are related. I feel that design can happen in this same way, by “starting with the room”. If I design through multiple specific interventions at many scales, in the end, they will form to create a greater segmented whole. Rather than one project, a series of projects. In a wiring diagram, a lightbulb is a distinct entity as is a fuse, switch, etc. They only become connected when they are wired together.

Isolated/Integrated: The building is in a somewhat paradoxical situation of being severed via means of connection (river, highways, rail). It is currently bypassed. The challenge will be to reintegrate it into the network of transportation.

Existing/Created: What will be kept from the existing and what will have to be added. This is currently one of my greatest questions, how much is to be kept? This will come with further documentation of the existing building. What is important here is to define existing/creating. The site is a stockpile of existing sensorial conditions that do not have to be kept as they are, but recycled/reinterpreted and then re – presented. To be clearer, even if I were to raze the entire building, a vast amount could be salvaged, as Michael Eng said, “tactility, gravity, etc are imaginary”. I guess what I'm saying is that the experience can be separated from the means that creates it, a heavy door that closes with a dead slam transitioning between a dimly lit space and a bright open window can obviously exist without the specific door and spaces that are seen in my film.

1st Person/3rd Person: I think that this is important for all of us. When is it necessary to see in the perspective as a person walking through space and when is it necessary to see as “the architect” in plan/section? As part of my performative technique, film will be used to classify the experiential or 1st person aspect of the project. The circuit diagramming will hopefully mature and enable me to cover both. I see my circuit diagram becoming somewhat more painterly in that it will not be only quantitative. An example of this is when my friend and I heard the screeching fan for the first time, we were genuinely afraid. I would like to translate emotions like this into the diagram if possible. If it is not in the diagram, maybe it is in a joint model. Also, I can’t help but think of a class that I previously had in which the professor mentioned chess notation. Chess up until only a short time ago was notated in a way that took into account the player and his/her relation to the board/pieces. This is the 1st person view. It was notated something like “White P – R 4”. I am not totally sure what the exact notation means, but it is something along the lines of “Rook to the right 4 spaces”. In the 3rd person/Planemetric view, "right 4 spaces" means nothing because more than one right exists, the right of the black player and the right of the white player. My professor said that the traditional notation is favored among serious players because it allows multiple dimensions to the game (In serious games, a player may actually need to get up and see the board from his opponent's point of view). The current notational system was designed in order to allow for programmers to create the big chess computers designed to beat the masters. This system names each square with a notation like “E-4”. Here, E-4 is universal, it is the same to all players, regardless of where they are. This eliminates the multi dimensional nature of the game and represents a very complex game in an oversimplified 1 dimensional view. In a long winded way, I am basically trying to say that one thing that needs to be considered is the multiple perspectives that the project must be seen from. When it is necessary to zoom in and talk about the sound of your footstep on the floor and when it is necessary to talk about the big picture.

There will be more to come, I just wanted to get something on the blog…

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

Dear All:

I would like to wish you a Happy New Year.

The attached animation was made in Argentina. It definitely contains both Synaesthesia and a narrative.
The message (the thought content), if there is one !!!!, can be debated !!!!..... I was scarred to pass it on because it was a bit of dark humor in a humorless time. ...dark humor ????!!! !!......What do you think the cartoon wants to say...again if anything.....?


PS: see your emails...for some of you, the email address refused the short animation video. If any of you know how to posted on this blog, don't hesitate to do it aqnd thanks.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

Alex wrote:

"Perhaps the route to take is to consider a "programmatic detail." For example, if someone were designing a library, perhaps they would build a bookshelf. The idea is that the installation would be about the final design rather than part of it."


Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu: December 2006

DanBucsescu said...
"What kind of thought has been made about how our class will be structured next semester? " (Alex's question)

You should all know that Marc and I have asked ourselfs the same question. I don't want to speak for Mark. I can guess that, your
suggestions about the class crits, you would please him as well as me.
We expect regualr and consistent work from you and that means an opportunity for each student to have that work reviewed in a timely crit. We should establish a pattern of crit schedule so that each student knows in advance when they will get a class crit. Lets say every other week if that works out.
We will develop such a schedule.

I have been wandering myself how we should proceed next semester, as it seems some of you have been asking.(see recent blog entries).

I thought that the final review discussions were very helpful and better than the work on the wall or your verbal presentations. Be that as it may…. I hope you all can mine and extract from it as much improved as possible a theoretical frame (whatever that means) for your projects. WE, Mark and I, can help there! Please call on us for that.

I came away thinking that the topic of “ Synaesthesia” is both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as a topic for thesis. Good because it forces us to re-focus, yet again, and more directly, on to the sensorial content of the ‘architectural event’ , the phenomenology of it, as opposed to (the’ bad’ , so to to speak ) the “conceptual” content (for the lack of a better word), the semantic narrative, the functional program and the ‘symbolic’ content of the architectural form.

We exist in both !!!! The stress on the ‘sensorial content’, in our case on the ‘synaestetic experience’ of an associative cross modasl event, or in other words, "What we refer to as lived “reality” is only a pedagogical temporary strategy to counter what goes on in the school as a whole.

Because of this line of argument as proposed above, and because of a few things people said during the final review, I would like to make a proposal for how to start next term.

Two significant things wher hinted at for next semester,

Someone said to Alex, that for the next step a good model would be the “ first year cube”. That, to my mind, is a return to full scale, body in space experience. I agree for two reasons:

1. “body in space” is a the foundational direct human experience of abstract space. That is also full scale where all experience is first hand not as a second hand representation.
2. “Synaestesia” (the crossing of modal sensory activity) CAN NOT BE REPRESENTED,
It can only be exemplified, manifested in a “full scale ”multi-media installation”, as all of you should research a lot in avangarde art installations in the XXth Century.

So, I feel, that a good way to start the next semester is with a full scale installation proposal in a corner of HH (any where as long as it is in the bldg), aimed at a full scale live demonstration, tactile, visual, sound and taste, drawings, models, smells, time and memory) of a detail in your uture project as now envisioned. That in a way is a recall of the great staff that many of you build last semester. By going full scale construction for all ., I hope we are building on the obvious strength of many of you, but with a much clearer set of artistic and conceptual intentions, whatever those words mean today. All that was said in several suggestions for us, as a group to learn more from avant-garde art installations of the last 40 years.

That is not to undermine the equally important task for you, the student, in developing at the same time a set of drawings and site models of the proposed thesis project…Known as the SITE DOCUMENTATION..these are critical for all of you to get a fast start in design next semester, while you are designing a very small part of it. The big picture matters…while you are designing a small part of it.

We would welcome any help or suggestions about this general question:

Given the state of the studio production and culture (group attitude) to date,and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the student body in our group, how can we plan and strategize for a really strong Spring studio. That is what Mark and I are wandering!

4:06 PM, December 17, 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu

4. To give an unrehearsed response to (a question).


I assume that your source for the word definition was some dictionary.
I find this 4th variation in defining the word "field" a bit strange.

I don't understand it.

Can you explain ? It has all kinds of implications
about learning, poetics and politics of art and life


Thursday, December 21, 2006


December 21, 2006

Self-Assignment: Field of Operations

Field: 1. An area of human activity. 2. An area in which an event takes place (field of play). 3. To place in the field of play. 4. To give an unrehearsed response to (a question).

Operate: 1. To perform a function; work. 2. To perform surgery. 3. To exert an influence. 4. To control the functioning of.

Operation: 1. (Math) A process, such as addition, performed in accordance with specific rules.

Design and construct a site model including the thesis project site and its surrounding context. Following the suggestion of the “field of operations,” the model serves not only as representation but also as the field for playing out architectural experimentation in the studio. It should be designed accordingly, so that it is easily amendable, providing service as both a working model and a presentation model.

Prior to construction, prepare a set of drawings to inform the construction of the “field of operations.”

Scale: 1/16” = 1’-0” (and possibly a second model including less context at 1/8” = 1’-0”, to be determined)

Material: MDF, basswood, other if needed.
Brian Jones and I discussed for sometime the idea, coming from Bachelard, of making drawings of the memories associated with the houses we lived in as children. I didn't get a chance to realize this during the semester, but nonetheless kept thinking about it. Here is an assignment that I wrote for myself for this mini-project. I plan on completing it, among other things (see my schedule) during the break.

December 20, 2006

Self-Assignment: The Jointed Memory Chest

“Wardrobes with their shelves, desks with their drawers, and chests with their false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life. Indeed, without these “objects” and a few others in equally high favor, our intimate life would lack a model of intimacy. They are hybrid objects, subject objects. Like us, through us and for us, they have a quality of intimacy…But words carry with them obligations. Only an indigent soul would put just anything in a wardrobe. To put just anything, just any way, in just any piece of furniture, is the mark of unusual weakness in the function of inhabiting. In the wardrobe there exists a center of order that protects the entire house against uncurbed disorder.” 1

-Gaston Bachelard

Protagonist: 1. The main character in a drama or other literary work
Antagonist: 1. One who opposes: adversary. 2. The principal character in opposition to the protagonist of a narrative or drama. 3. A muscle that counteracts the action of another muscle, the agonist.
Agonist: 1. A contracting muscle that is counteracted by the antagonist. From the Greek agon, meaning contest.

Develop a narrative establishing one’s interaction with the space of the childhood bedroom through the influence of an antagonist and formalize a “jointed memory chest” whose operation sensually recalls memoirs of inhabiting the space.

Choose three or four moments of spatial and personal experience with the room and develop a lexicon of word pairings that describe these moments. Then through layered drawings that begin with the existing conditions of the bedroom and become increasingly abstract, apply the lexicon to develop the physicality and functionality of the “jointed memory chest.”

1. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, Boston, Mass. 1964. 78-79

Monday, December 18, 2006

Architectural Synaesthesia - Prof. M. Schaut and Prof. D. Bucsescu

The Thursday deadline for the book came very quickly and I didn't have time to edit my book.
After reviewing the book over the weekend I have fixed the spelling issues and made some other clarifications as well. I will drop the new copy in your boxes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16, 2006

In Response to Criticisms of the Final Review

First and foremost, I need to work on my presentations in the future because when I present I tend to forget important things or seem to be unclear in the way that I explain certain things. I think that in the future I should write a script before each review and familiarize myself with it so that even if I don’t read from it directly my presentations will be more prepared.

The Synaesthetic Memory Map could use some refining. In response to Michael Eng’s comment that the pictures may be redundant, maybe I could refine the names of the photographs so that in combining a sensory term and a spatial term the word pairs start to describe how each sense identifies the space by the way it behaves in the space (i.e. the same sound will behave differently when it is made in different spaces). However, in response to Mark Parsons’ comment as to the grid structure of the map, I was perhaps unclear in communicating my intentions, because there are connections that technically break the grid. In creating the layer of “synaesthetic memories” there are connections that happen through a lateral and a vertical move across the grid, which in terms of vectors, is actually a diagonal move. It is the definition of one side of a triangle through the other two.

As Jeffrey referred me back to a memoir I worked on at the beginning of the semester, I am going to return to it and finish writing it to test my original intention behind it. The intention was to combine the telling of a present itinerary and a past itinerary in parallel and switch back and forth between the two narratives based on sensory experiences. The idea being that by pushing this method, the overall sense of space and place would blur between the two parallel stories.

In my desire to look at joinery, I have wanted for a while to break into this technique with a mini-project that stems from Bachelard’s discussion of the containers of memory. I have wanted to make a jointed puzzle box developed from the house in which I grew up. Over break I am finally just going to do it. Part of this will actually be writing a specific assignment that better explains what and why I am doing this. This written assignment will come in the next few days.

It seems to me that I am in a position with my research and proposals that the most productive thing for me to do now is to just start producing work within the framework of what I have established. I think that it will help to clarify what I have done already and judge its relative success.

I have also worked out a schedule for working on my project over the intercession. It can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Click for my schedule of work for the break

Click for the second submission version of my thesis book

Click for the Synaesthetic Memory Map

Friday, December 15, 2006

Next Semester

What kind of thought has been made about how our class will be structured next semester? Just to put my personal opinion out there, I found the frequent in-class pin-ups/discussions to be fruitful and would like to see this practice continue into next semester. How do other people feel about this?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Here is an arial showing the relationship between the PSE&G substation, Newark Airport, and Penn Station (where you get the path train to go to Newark)...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

hey, it'd be nice if you told us how many copies to bind for tomorrow (thursday), in class 2 copies were mentioned but maybe you want 4. please let us know if you guys want 4 bound copies or 2 bound ones and maybe 2 copies just stapled, it makes a $10 difference. thanks.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Please keep in mind we will be starting reviews tomorrow @ 9am.
Please be pinned up and ready to go.
Thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ambient Walkman

bryan p...check this out.

Architectural Blur-Synaesthesia in a Sculpture Museum.

Precis #2

synaesthesia is involuntary joining in which the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense. This additional perception is regarded by the synaesthesia as real. Can everyone experience synaesthesia? While people experience synaesthesia, can they discriminate those senses that they feel? It depends on their abilities to experience synaesthesia or their sensibility, knowledge, memory, emotional condition etc. Generally synesthetic experience is blurry. However synesthetic experience can be divided into obvious and blur synaesthesia. Blur synaesthesia means something that we can’t easily understand the intentions of artists because of its complexity. Obvious synaesthesia means the contrary concept. Generally If we make projects, the whole thing will give blur- synaesthesia because of the complexity of them (combination of many fragments). However, the whole has other fragments like rooms, the room can be another whole. In the end, one element can overwhelm the whole condition in the finite space. This means architecture can simultaneously give blur and obvious synesthetic experience. Architects can compel to feel something that they intend. Also, Architects can create ambiguous spaces, then visitors can feel something that they want to feel according to their physical and psychology conditions. This will be blurry synaesthesia. Lots of fragments can strongly influence the whole condition and harmonize with the whole things including other fragments that have consistent architectural language. Also only one fragment overwhelms the whole.
If the meaning of fragments (details) was expanded, a building should be a detail of a city. Also the building can give synesthetic experience. I want to make a project that can be a great detail of a given site, and I'm thinking abut how to influence visitors' behaviors and emotion. The solutions will be relationships among five senses that can be made of materials, color, natural elements, density of space etc. With these elements, we can give synesthetic experience as we know through our researches.
Every sense can stimulate other senses, and it can be stimulated by other senses in common life. However the relationships among five senses should be selected for architectural languages. Especially I have interests in a fact that vision can stimulate another vision of sense. This is “associative synaesthesia.” When we see something that has close relationships with other objects, we can image the origin of the associated them. This synesthetic experience can be useful for architectural structural systems. Also several chosen relationships among five senses will make harmony in my project. Each relationship will strongly influence finite spaces. People can find something that I don’t intend. So combinations of different synesthetic experience will make synaesthesia blurry.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


We will be meeting @ 12pm tomorrow.
Please be prepared with your structure for tuesday's presentation.
For those of you currently on probation, this will determine whether or not you present on tuesday.
It is also possible that those not on probation may still be deemed unacceptable if warranted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Circuit drawing of the 5th floor of the substation

Wiring diagram of a Honda VF100F

So this is the beginning of the circuit drawing... It is still in a very early stage, but I wanted to post to show the direction I am going in. I spliced a few movies of the substation into one larger one that establishes a specific itinerary through the 5th floor. I will show this movie on Sunday. For the circuit drawing, I isolated stills from the movie and began to identify specific moments through the itinerary. In all of the wiring diagrams that I've come across, similar elements are grouped (lights, fuses, etc. all collect into one portion of the drawing). This grouping could be useful in a mapping of experience through space because although the many experiences are similar, they are obviously never the same experience (or if it is the same experience it occurs at a different time and thus is not the same exact experience). Through grouping, specific events, like opening a door for example, can be compared and contrasted.
If the opening of all of the doors are contrasted, senses that are crucial to that experience will come to the foreground. For example, a door that squeaks and opens into a large light space as opposed to a double door that slams and opens into a dim hallway while a screeching fan is heard in the background.

Sorry if this is fragmented, just trying to put the ideas out there quick while in the middle of drawing.

This is a first step, I have not yet incorporated the idea of "switching" which I plan to get into. Also, through drawing, I see myself possibly establishing a language of symbols that could possibly take the place of images in later drawings.
I have begun to add adjectives, nouns, and the senses they are associated with. Th e crossing may be done syntactically in the drawing. I am looking at each isolated noun/object as a character, each with the senses associated with it. Out of the lets say 12 doors, one is associated with the bright outside, sways freely in the wind, and slams against the walls from time to time. Another door leads into complete darkness and slams as well. I am looking at this slam as a connection between the two things. I have begun to do this in the drawing if you look closely. The doors are only an easy example, there will be many more situations similar to this.

I am keeping Paul Klee and his ideas of line in the back of my mind because these drawings are obviously all about lines. I see Klee becoming more influential once I establish/develop this as a performative technique.

For Sunday:
1. I plan to have this drawing done and possibly another if it is necessary.
2. I would like to either do a drawing or a model from memory of the entire substation. I see this being a grouping of fragments (going back to Scarpa) because certain spaces stick out in my mind more than others, and since the building contains many similar spaces, some may simply be rendered solid/poche.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6, 2006

For Namtip in regards to a museum for the blind

In June 2002, being that this was a number of years ago the details are kind of fuzzy, I took my friend of mine, who has been blind since birth, to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Brandywine River Museum is largely a painting museum, and, being associated with the With Studio, it has a particularly large collection of landscape paintings by Andrew Wyeth.

While walking through the museum with my friend, I concentrated on describing the paintings through their textures and atmospheres: things she could understand through the way she experiences the world. I found Wyeth’s landscapes particularly helpful for this because of the sensory richness of his work. In other words, even through they were paintings, which are meant to be experienced visually; I found their content could be described in terms of non-visual sensations.

Cold Spring, Andrew Wyeth, 1988, dry brush

Perhaps in designing your museum, you could select a number of pieces of flat art work (paintings, photographs, etc) and write itineraries of sensory/spatial experiences through the works. Then maybe you could use these itineraries to inform how you make the spaces of the museum. In effect, each space could display a piece (for the sighted) and moving through the space provides a “description” for each piece displayed (for the non-sighted). If you were to look at more abstract artwork, rather than realist art like Wyeth’s, your itineraries through them may be more spatial than sensual. In which case you might be able to architecturally describe the art by somehow making the spaces you find in the artwork and adding additional sensory experiences that activate those spaces for the non-sighted.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Degree Project Class notes December 5,2006

Pratt Institute
Degree Project Class notes December 5,2006

To All:

Marc and Dan thought it would be a good idea to restate
the rules of the game for the final review. The single purpose is to enable the critics to comment on (1) the kind of degree project you are proposing and (2) the quality of research and thinking you have done to date.

1. You should pin up the work you have done the WHOLE semester.
What does that mean? You should represent it “all”, but not everything without editing it! Select the most relevant stuff to your idea of a thesis project as you are presenting NOW. Show us that next Sunday!

1.1 Select the most important objects (your wonderful build objects in the 1st three weeks of the term), one drawing of it, and a short text
describing and explaining it-one paragraph, not more.
Don’t start there! This is not necessarily how you should start.
Use that work as if it helps explain your “performative technique”.
If not, just let it be there on the wall for critics to dig in to it as they
see it as useful.

2. You should start by giving the “facts” of your proposed degree project:
That would allow the critics to quickly grasp what you are proposing as a project. What facts? Site plan- tell where and what is around it, show photos and describe it in SHORT. If an old bldg describe past use again briefly. Focus on what attributes of the existing bldg make it desirable for the new use! (location. Need, internal structure etc.

After describing the program, the site very briefly, explain (briefly) why you chose that program and site as vehicles for your:

2.1 Theoretical/philosophical
2.2 Personal/emotional
2.3 Artistic/desires

These are the intentions you have as the architect for your project. These should come at the end of your presentation not at the beginning! This is what was described previously as:

(A) A well formed “theoretical framework
(based on synaesthesia research)
Than, and only than, you should begin to tell the how your
“Synaesthesia” theoretical research and” cross modal” architectural
experiences you envision would be applied in your future design.
Here you can give specific examples from researched articles and
precedents (genealogies) . It is here you can be most personal.


(B) “ material practice” (or performance technique) how research becomes operational in your project – and how the design activates cross modal associations !!!!! Refer to examples from Scarpa and others (how did they do it) and any other sources from your research that can translate into actionable design strategies.

Show diagrams of how all five senses (including memory, linguistic theory, etc.) are participating in your approach to making architecture.
Here include what sense data you find on the site as well as what synaesthetic experiences you will be adding to the existing through your design….!!!!

Final presentation note:

Please give special attention to “How the work you show appears on the wall ?”
(or on data projections and sound) Give consideration to the aesthetics of the staff you are hanging on the wall in terms of visual coherence, organization, clarity of information. Please use the last pin-up (next Sunday) as a ‘dress rehearsal’: that would allow us to see what you will present on December 12.

Anyone without these items well developed will not be allowed to present on December 12

I will write more about the substation later, I just wanted to post these so everybody can have an idea of what I've been talking about. For now, I am trying to develop my performative technique. I am going to attempt a "switchboard" drawing which will use the senses as points within the circuit. The stimulii or "contacts" will switch certain senses on and off. I realize that this is somewhat oversimplifying sensory experience, but I believe it is a step in the right direction.

Monday, December 04, 2006

mandatory workshop -- attend this

From Jeffrey:

Everyone in your section needs assistance in the composition of thePrecis, so we are going to hold a special workshop on 12-09. Please email all of your DP students to alert them to the precis workshop on12-09 from 12:00 to 2:00 in 308 HHN. Ask them to bring their laptops and copies of their booklets.


I would like to post Jeffrey's booklet comments. I dont think he has said anything here that wouldnt be said in the classroom discussions. I think it is valuable for us all to read the comments as we continue to critique another. I hope you are still trying to meet on your own as well...

Jeffrey Hogrefe
In general the students struggle with the agency of architecture. How memory can lead to architecture is often unclear in the propositions. Ends up becoming diagrammatic about an idea of memory that could as easily be rendered in a novel or a poem.

I have responded independently to Stanley.

Alex: Your research is really sound. The question at this stage is: What is the relationship between on the one hand, the establishment of an urban narrative that relates to a structure of memory and a site for the investigation of a thesis project? What is the site of spatial investigation for your thesis project? Is this the appropriate site for your memory maps? We could imagine you investigating this within a novel. How would it be applied to a site and a program? House, mediation of the city and event—you don’t say how you are going to work your way into program. You could reduce your narrative to a concept, a dialectic or a taxonomy of terms which could then be transposed through the use of diagrams to drawings.

Bryan: Your research is in need of a focus. You have selected a site which offers a range of sensory experiences that you have decided to focus on sound, which is well and good. But how this sound will become architecture is still not clear. “I will be recording brief phrases of sound…They will be transcribed into sheet music and mapped into a palimpsest.” This statement of intent could be in a précis statement that then begins to explore your ideas more fully. As it is they are scattered and unfocused, however appealing and promising.

Brian: Writes well but doesn’t align itself with the catergories of the booklet. Precis is not a précis. You are solely in the realm of the conceptual vocabulary but don’t apply it quickly or sufficiently to a material object of investigation. Has a sensitivity for what you are examining. If your insight could be directed to something you are investigating it could be great architecture. It is all true and well put. Doesn’t relate
Study of a bench is great. Addition and subtraction could be a dialectic to move into diagrams and drawings which would test your ideas on the level of architecture.

Matthew: In the précis you makes patently true and obvious statements regarding children and sensations that are in many ways outside of the realm of the architect. You would be wise to focus his investigation to the evocation of the contemporary paradoxes of an orphanage, on the one hand an institution for the control of the child and on the other hand a place of opportunity for new ideas about childhood development. Questions relating to state’s intervening institutions could also be posed. Aldo Van Eyck’s orphanage is the most relevant and could be in the genealogy and it could even be the test place for the degree project. Ideas seem generic and naïve. There are many Van Eyck playgrounds. Herman Herzberger a contemporary Dutch architect also rhetorically discusses his architect in terms of place creation and inhabitability, thresholds and boundaries. You should look at his writings. Brutialism has a proposition about the Smithson and other Team Ten members and they have a body of work that tries to test what they talk about. Herzberger’s housing complex in Berlin.
Your site is also well developed. Could be another level of critical interpretation of Van Eyck and how your new site could offer the potential to cluster groups peripheral horizontal map building is the precedent and your site offers a new potential. What has happened in the past fifty years since Van Eyck’s orphanage that you can bring to a a re-reading of his architecture?

Carrie Chang: Your concept of the scaffold as a support structure for a building could become an architectural degree project in the sense that a scaffold is a temporary structure which contains the memory of a building. However you may not be leading in that direction at all. How can the screen and scaffolding be seen as culturally relevant, why evoke the screen and scaffolding in a degree project in architecture? Without a set of motivated questions which correspond to your architectural proposition you will have a difficult time connecting your poetic investigations with an architecture of inhabitation. Although your conceptualized fictive program of the conditions of the house could be provocative you will want to situate your degree project on a firmer foundation. Brings together poetic texts admirably.
In the best sense it is impicit rather than explicit in the way that Bachelard combines readings across numbers of texts in same way could be divided into mundane objects and foreground objects. How do you intend to work with your program? Still mysterious.

Delal: The relationship between boundaries established both explicitly and implicitly by the veil and the male gaze that you present in your booklet could become a provocative degree project. However you have not laid out a set of questions which could move this theoretical ground into architecture or examined the research critically in terms of architectural precedent, so it is difficult to imagine your proposition as architecture. I would suggest that you research the precedents for your proposition in the architecture of Elizabeth Diller, and that you examine your terms more closely. Strangely enough you seem to have reduced your analysis to some potentially productive sets of terms without the exhaustive amount of research we have seen in other booklets. This is both a strength and a weakness. For now the best way is to capitalize on your strengths is to carefully define your terms.

Namtip: You have made a simple and easy to imagine proposition for an architecture which could have an acquired complexity that will be worked out in studio. The main problem at this stage is in criticality and focus. I don’t see the ways in which you are presenting a culturally relevant critique of existing architectural practices in your proposition. Your proposition, although admirably straightforward, lacks cohesion, which could dog you in the design studio.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

In the past few days I have simultaneously re-work on the book and drawings, site visiting, to further clarify the intention of the thesis…

Below is an update précis statement, it is not a finalized version yet…

The Dematerialized Boundaries of Urban Public and Private Realms

Programs: the relationships of these two realms are investigated on two levels
Ground Level: The public SIDEWALK and the small private STORE
Second Level: The public subway’s PLATFORM and the private LOFT

The deprivation of the senses in a work of architecture had propelled the experience to the mere pleasure of the eyes. Architecture is then seen as a landmark, an object that is viewed and judged by the external form. It is designed within the realm for the public, in that its imageries in the physical appearance, dynamic forms, are the criteria in judging the architectural experience. The ‘public’ likes the form, a consensus approval experience of architecture. The lack of other sensory cues then has deprived a private interpretation of the space. One could remember an intimate space for the harmonious acoustical level it generates while another fears from entering a small space that could trigger claustrophobia. Beyond the experiences of space at the scale of a room, with or without sensory cues, though private or public perspective; the fusion of the actual physical realms of public and spaces within the scale of the city offers an abundant sensory experience. In this haptic city, these experiences are exemplified on many sidewalks in which the intrusion of the realms of private street vendors’ carts advertising their merchandises in the middle of pedestrian path way. These obstacles including vendor’s carts, merchandises, and people compress the sidewalk into a haptic condition where passing through is a struggle. One would constantly redirect the body to pass through and avoid the unavoidable bumps into merchandises, street vendors’ cart or other people. It is a haptic experience with additional exposure to the scents generated by these merchandise and people as well as the overwhelming fusion of noises that could be unpleasant to the ears. The crossing of these senses within these spaces, or synesthetic experience, could be generated through the fusion of these private and public realms by the dematerialization of their boundaries.
In the sketch project, the dematerialization of this boundary between the two realms was firstly investigated. To express the invisible boundary between the public central court and the private offices and studios behind the facades framing this court was a physical insertion of an ethereal screen between them. The screen dematerializes the facades and blurs the visual experiences of these watchful eyes looking down at the public court.
In searching for the appropriate site for the thesis, the conditions of the site suggest that dematerialized screen should not be simply inserted between the two realms. The physical boundaries between the two should collapse into this single ethereal screen, implying the flowing of spaces from one realm into another. The public realm of New York City’s side walks are the stages not only for the street vendors as described but also are the areas where private stores behind the city’s facades expand out and carve them into individualized spaces for uses of their businesses. Some markets use them to display foods while restaurants imply spaces for outdoor sitting. The degree of intrusion into these spaces could be expressed even further by dematerialize the façades where these private programs are hidden. The physical façade is demolished and replaced as a translucent screen. This screen is pushed outward toward the boundary between the street and the sidewalk. In addition the image of the old facade is imprinted onto this screen. This implies the reciprocal expansion of the building right into the sidewalk and vice versa bringing the streets’ vendor’s shops, the haptic experience into the realm of the building. In other words, the scale of the city’s public sidewalk is continuing its path right into the scale of a building’ room before returning back to the city. As the sidewalk flows into the space between two adjacent buildings, the series of small shops and their merchandise would compress further intensify the experience of moving though these sensory spaces of noises, haptic conditions. The private realm of the store is enhanced, fused with the public experience on the sidewalk.
These relationships on specific programs will be explained further more in the drawings for tomorrow.

sunday meeting

just a reminder, we will be meeting @ 11am tomorrow morning.
please be prepared to present your current progress.
those of you that have failed to produce adequate work to date should have received an email ths morning.
please have a complete proposal for tomorrow.
I am going into the building tomorrow morning. I will report when I get back.

Friday, December 01, 2006

brian jones

i'm sure you've looked at picasso (he spoke emphasizing the spaces between objects more than the objects themselves). In music, this idea was shared by miles davis, who talks of the most important parts of his solos being the spaces between the notes, the "air" as he liked to term it. He knew exactly when to hit the next note, and would allow the listener time to anticipate it.

the album
really exhibits this idea
The Disappearance of the Gaze within the System of Objects.
The clinic/ a research center. The bridging of these two programs.

Veiling, revealing, Gaze, System of objects.

The veil performs as an institution. There are rules that are set up for people to behave under, and there is a classification of space through these rules, or a ritual that people have to go through every day, in order to cope with the system. I want to bring in the idea of dematerialization to this kind of every day system(frame) that invades the human life. Gender is not only a physical and psychological feature of human beings, but also a determinative aspect in the way we understand our surroundings. Sex segregation appears in private and public life.Some examples come to mind such as, the dormitories, the public bathrooms, the changing rooms.. Architecture becomes a tool through which we control the physical and the spiritual boundries, and how we behave.In the crossing of these spaces, there is the idea of engagement,gaze, defense, experience, and an abuse maybe .I believe in the existence of the gaze between the male and the female, the clinic is a somewhat a genderless space.When people seek for cure, they are genderless infront of a doctor. A clinic, is a mechanism that deals with the human body and medicine.

Michel Foucault, "in the birth of the clinic" talks about the ill, and says " they are the figures of pain, redistrubuted in the space where the bodies and eyes meet." He also discuses the patients and their bodies as the origin of diseases, and refers to a patient's bed as a "field of scientific investigation.."

The idea of a hospital is that, it would serve to anybody, without any regard to color, sex, age, race or social status. A clinic can become a research center for certain diseases and a place for treatment of patients. It would be a place to learn in between the appearances and the disapperances of the diseases.

I have been doing some research also on the islamic hospitals, and they had seperate wards, seperate nurses, baths and water supplies, musical theraphy, rooms for storytelling etc. This information led me to think of borrowing these objects of curing, treatment, that deal with sound, light and water. One of them was the idea of a water wheel, an object that represents this idea of the cycle and the water.
I am also looking at salk institute by louis kahn., and the university hospital in Aachen , Germany.The university hospital in Aachen has a huge system of all the mechanical systems, ventilation, exposed on top of the building. It looks like a parasite.It reminds me of the way a veil works, in the way these mechanical systems are revealed.

Self Assignements for Sunday:
I am working on the book, filling in the sections accurately, and organizing the earlier information.

To do drawings. I am looking at some precedents for hospitals, and research centers.

I have been looking at the Diderot Encyclopedia, to understand how actually some of these objects that i am interested in work, like the the vessels , the water wheel, the pulley systems....
I am drawing and developing these things:

the site and its fields, documenting possible or actual synesthetic moments within them. i.e. the site lies on the boundary of an urban scape and a network of park paths through natural growth in navigation of relatively steep topography. these two fields of operation will be documented and further - where it is they intersect, the locus of the project, will be drawn to find what does emerge in the relation of these two experiences (fields), directly.

the human body as it grows in time. using the average height, shoulder width and arm span, eye level, step or stride, foot size, and any other significant qualites that may occur and change through the growth of one's body, i will draw the extents of these stage's relations to space and touch of things and how for example the experience of a three year old may differ or relate to that of a sixteen year old.

i've also been watching a lot of tarkovsky this semester following a recommendation from marc. his use of sound as an experiential element with and beyond the visual creates creates crossing of sound into recognition and imagination of space, resonance of material, temperature, etc. and in turn when the visual scene may be a static view of a room with a door and sounds are coming from beyond the room (water dripping, wind blowing and rustling fabric, footsteps, creaking mechanics), these make associations in the mind that cross the viewer into a subjective understanding of what is happening by their identification with the sounds through their association by memory. so with this i've been thinking of drawing or making in 3d something about the hearing of sounds - which you cannot see - that elicit other sensations through the deprivation of seeing its source.

also concerning the site: in the sketch problem the idea of the crossing of the two types of air (the stairwells interior unmoved air with the fresh circulating air of outside) was active. i think it would be a good idea to go to the site and begin spending some time there to record sounds yes, but also the way in which the air moves over and in it. there is a scene in the mirror - wind blowing across a field moving leaves and undulating the high grasses coincides with the characters' active thoughts and mental disturbances/processes. by understanding the way the wind acts on the site, a creative opportunity should emerge. the same goes with sounds and their intensities in relation to the location on the site. the same also goes with water - the park, being rocky and with inclined topography develops runoffs and waterflows during times of precipitation....these should be known.

concerning my book: it is clear to me that the weakest part of the book is in the performative technique section. the way in which i've linked or failed to provide adequate linkage to direct experience as it applies to the project as a whole suffers the section and is in process of defining itself more clearly in profusion. also, the book is being formatted with text, images and appropriate captions, and drawings all interwoven, crossed if you will, as was previously planned.

mechanical flea market for apparitions of curiosities
I’m researching flea markets and museums, specifically cabinets of curiosities and Andre Malraux’s ‘museum without walls’. Malraux talks about the world of reproductions forming a museum without walls that break socio-economic barriers of the institution of the museum. Cabinets of curiosities, of “liminal objects that lay on the margins of charted territory, brought back from worlds unknown, defying any accepted system of classification, and associated with the discovery of ‘new worlds’”, had three goals in mind: accumulation, definition, and classification. They vary from spiritual marvels and miracles of a medieval, ‘Gothic’ sort of fascination to coherent displays of the world from antiquity projecting to a “modern” world view. This is reminiscent to my perception of flea markets, which often employ carnivals and stress peculiar aspects of our culture, yet they sell and show antiquities from people’s homes. Hand-me-down jewelry, medals from WWII, used and abused lawn gnomes. The flea market lends to a compulsive ritual of returning; people will go every single week to the same flea market because of the circulation of objects. Museums however have the permanent collection, and then there are these occasional special exhibitions, people don’t frequent them as often and definitely not as compulsively.
As of now the program I am proposing is a flea market that acts as a scaffold to a museum for apparitions of culture, a museum sustained through the persistence of objects from the flea market that have lost their relativity in the present. These objects build and re-build the museum, an echo of the flea market; objects that simultaneously have the voice to re-enter market circulation. The museum, in effect, houses artifacts that have lost their value to the flea market; a market that expands according to the selling of one’s old junk becomes a valuable culture scaffold. A symbiotic relationship operates through the mechanical reflection of a cyclical culture. A museum of no value becomes a ‘museum without walls’. A flea market that circulates objects that are culturally alive is able to create an infinity museum that dwells in the personal relationship of the sold object (and the story that comes with it) and the new owner, an infinity museum perceivable only through its voice, the story of the object, passed on and changing.
sight and sound, echo and reflection.
touched and held.

The object travels from its display when it becomes seen and found; it gets picked up, touched and held, another time, place is remembered or imagined from this moment. A conversation between two strangers that meet through the object, a question, an answer; a story is told, held for later repetition. To hear an echo is to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ a space. The sound of these conversations, audible transactions, could lead one to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ an object before it actually is seen and felt. Flea markets tend to be these open outdoor spaces, loud conversations, boomboxes from people bored at their tables; museums on the other hand usually exist in large enclosed spaces, people attempting to be quiet. The intimacy of private conversations in museums often becomes violated and echoed, overheard; in a flea market, conversations that exist to be heard and made part of the community tend to become lost in the noise or in the open space. Visually, however, the two strive to catch the eye, a dazzling display of objects. In a museum, display objects are meant to be seen, the cabinet of curiosities tucked away in a case, drawers, behind glass panels. Perhaps in a program such as the one I’m suggesting touch could be involved in this museum, the intentional sound of these conversations of the flea market could echo in the museum, the privacy of experiencing an object in the flea market could be reflected in the design of sound.
I’ve been thinking about Asbury Park in New Jersey; however I haven’t been there in maybe four years, so I would really like to go back before I make any rash decisions. Particularly there is this casino there, which used to have an ice skating rink, carousel, etc., situated by the boardwalk by the shore. From what I know it’s been mostly abandoned, although parts of it like the lobby were being used pretty ineffectively (they have some outdoor concerts, events near there, the huge lobby holding just this one refreshment stand/ticket booth). The building’s slated for demolition; I found out after I was interested in the site that a flea market was unsuccessfully attempted (maybe not the best site then?).

Anyway, self-assignment:

1. Fix my précis, include my recent research, write more, simplify

2. Performative technique: I don’t know where to find this exactly, but research the layout of flea markets, (if there is any besides putting tables in rows). Then, and this gets sketchy, diagram through the understanding of the layout of display/sight, how sound would work there, relating this to the enclosed space required by an echo. On a more intimate scale of display I should be diagramming the categorization of these cabinets of curiosities, how that could lend to the echo of an image, object.

3. Read more, research the site, or other possible sites. Get this documentary on flea markets and watch it (saw it maybe a year ago, pretty good, interviews with people who go to flea markets and who sell at them, travels around the country, different sizes, different types of flea markets, etc.). I remember this one interview, the seller saying that actually a lot of them don’t even make any money out of it; it is simply this obsession with collecting, with circulating, interactions between objects they have come to know intimately and these strangers.

Synthesis of Perceptions, Chaos, The Figure
Performative Technique
For this sunday, I want to show my film to the class. I think it will be in a good place, and we show alot of what I talked about in the last presentation. As for right now, I continued to document the elevator site, specifically in section. I am inserting the figures from my movie into the drawings to show the scale of the human body in the space and its operative qualities. I would also like to further document the performance of the mirrors placement on every floor, which shouldn't take long. This will be in addition and complementary to my film.
I plan on using an existing office building at Lafayette St and Prince St in SoHo as my possible place of intervention. This happens to be where I work. I want to try to bring life to this building type. One thing I realize after taking that 30-40 min subway ride, then walking along the sidewalk and entering the doors, past the security desk. I wait patiently for the elevator, it then comes, and I ascend, stopping at many floors before I get to mine, the 13th. I walk out of the elevator and unlock the door to the office and enter. I get myself a glass of water, then head over to my desk and turn on my computer. This is a ritual I go through every day I go to work and often I am not even conscious of it, I completely blank out during this entire time, which is close to 1 hour. So what I want to try to do is make this task into something that can cause the mind to think and question.
I’m thinking about sufficient gestures for the performative technique based on my last week presentation. I think my project will consist of a lot of fragments, details and parts, so it will give blur synesthesia to people. Visitors sometimes can recognize the intensions that I want. Sometimes they don’t. Also the complexity of parts (details or fragments) makes synesthesia blur. This is the relationship between the performative technique and my research.

Will be extension of Met like sculpture park. This will be a physical and psychological connection between Met and the Central Park. Both visitors (Met and Central Park) can experience synesthesia at this site.

My Site is Met.

p.s. It is not easy to make a title. Can you guys give me hints. Anything(word, words, sentences) will be helpful.
Memory, Ritual, and the Body in Death

As I continue to work on my book, I have scheduled an interview with an owner/operator of a funeral parlor and crematorium. I am currently preparing a list of questions regarding the different aspects of the process. I am planning to speak with a local church about their funeral rituals and will attempt to document a funeral. I have also emailed the NYC Department of Corrections in order to gain access to Hart Island. I have yet to hear back from them and plan to see if there is a better person to contact. I am continuing to search for other potential sites if I am unable to visit the island in a timely manner. As for developing a performative technique, I have found myself mired in my examinations of industrial typologies and scaffolding. Therefore, I have begun to look at my program and potential site to help drive my process. For my current drawing, I am looking at a cemetery and documenting it through the layering of information. This will eventually tie in with my planned funeral documentations.