Archinect
Lawrence Griffin

Lawrence Griffin

Los Angeles, CA, US

 

About 

Architectural Designer with a strong theoretical and technical background in architecture with an emphasis on progression in the field of design. Actively pursuing a Masters degree in Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture, working in Design Production for medium scale events in Los Angeles, and exploring photography as a means of form finding and exploratory documentation.

 

 

“Architects don't discover what's so, Architects invent what's so… If we imagine an alternative way to think and see, and then construct it.” Eric Owen Moss

 


How do the various formal ideas, pedagogical techniques, technological innovations, and social systems of Patrick Schumacher and Nicholas de Monchaux trade places, develop, and converse amongst themselves? Moreover, how does their work relate to the other drama/comedy triplets of this past semester: Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Peter Eisenman? The work that separates these individuals all creates a vigorous dialogue that is forging an even more highly diversified, stimulated, and engaged group of design students.

Patrik Schumacher's book Autopoiesis of Architecture: A new framework for Architecture calls upon Nicholas Lumans's Social Systems Theory as a means of engaging contemporary social and communication structures under the overarching thesis: creating a unified theory and practice that takes the process of reproduction from elements previously filtered from an overly-complex environment (Autopoiesis) and then engineers soft, fluid, and repetitive fields that can harness the vast new emerging technologies both parametrically and productively. The various parametric primitives and communication theory play as the faces for Schumacher to channel his thesis as a single style best suited to be implemented by a temporary army (or more likely “archi-hippie commune”) and not the singular person.

The unified theory argument has emerged high and dry at SCI-Arc because of the school's history of being about one's own situated discoveries and their development through Thesis and other discourse. The appeal to intellect is much higher than Kitsch notions not to say that any notion is taboo. Producing highly individualized and articulated designs built out of the contemporary vortices not only pervert the contradictions within one's own efforts but celebrate the various objects (a part of the vortices) that Johnson and Hitchcock marketed as a style to follow. Its not a pure the celebration of the various objects but about how they can coopt new heavily charged cultural artifacts. This reveals how one may say that the engineers stand for modernism and the bricolear stands for post-modernism.

 

On the other side of the engineer's perspective is the inventive bricoleer who creates a new function from a different pre-existing function. Stephen Jay Gould's notion of exaptation comes from the realization that an emerging diversified, not progressively complex, but a non-adaptive, mashed up, and clipped together notion that serves a secondary utility. This biological notion that both Nicholas refers to for exaptation/ adaption and Partik Schumacher refers to for its complex interrelationship of forms in a field provide a common ground where beauty and invention reside -and a mutual disdain for minimalism.

Beauty is based on intuition and collects memory, history, and biology into a common area that subjective opinions can flourish. For the range of work from the ad-hoc making of Coy Howard, the exotically grotesque perversions of Hernan-Diaz Alonso, and the bluurry corner poetics of Eric Owen Moss manifest itself recalcitrant to any over-arching theories based on specific parametric guidelines, being limited to research programs, or strict definitions of beauty. Howard and Alonso work closely with objects found in our day to day world and pervert, contort, and scale industrial or biological objects.

MoMa's 2005 PS1 Young Architects winner Hernan Diaz Alonso manifest these ideas of beauty by designing a project built on the ideas of cellular aggregations that tessellate change form constantly and not in a singular manifold but through spaces. This project was developed based of the Pusan concert hall and created a family of forms that Alonso could use as a basis for innovation and beauty. These built objects, like Eisenman's split wall at the headboard of the bed, force one to question traditional hierarchies that are both accessible to all and esoteric simultaneously. Eisenman's city of Culture in Galicia also splits and re-organizes people in order to make one question there notions of ground and connection to the city. These project that appeal to intellect and “create problems” are not as inaccessible as the may first seem.

All of the provocateurs above take a specific stance on accessibility of the ideas embedded in the architecture and ones interaction with it. Does architecture always have to contain a we or can architecture speak esoterically? Can architecture appeal to the emergence of the idea of the self and not always the zeitgeist? The House of the Mother of The Suicide by John Hejduk and E.O.M.'s Umbrella project in Culver City contain these contemporary ideas of self. Yes certain ideas can be self-contained but inherent exaptation and consequent adaptation will materialize because locking an idea away from a culture of vast cross-contaminations is increasingly difficult (Look at the successes and failures of the Arab Spring).

Various communicative relationships are embedded in architecture and have made their way into anthropology and sociology that affect us even if we do not realize it. Claude Levi-Strauss, found that human characteristics are the same everywhere even between the savage and civilized mind. He was looking for social and communicative relationships between people and their places for a grand theory of structural anthropology and an adaptive understanding for all humans. This connective tissue between the past and future can many times be better found through music and magic than traditional notions of architecture.

These notions have been challenged by Cedric Price who often put the human front and center in projects like the Fun Palace and the Potteries Thinkbelt. This non-formalist framing and connecting of people puts the architect at the background and pushes a functionalist view where technology and infrastructure play a grander role. Peter Reyner Banham with his comedic annoyance of Los Angeles's closed off private architecture touts the advances in technology ,like freeways and air-conditioning, to free the communication space to be more open to ideas purely based on communication and movement and not just structure and closure. These ideas have been passed through Banham, Charles Jencks, Robin Middleton, and finally Sylvia Lavin whose book Kissing Architecture highlights projects that are also about contemporary ideas of communication and movement.

The socially minded, culturally charged, and politically pissed Thom Mayne starts off his Memorial Lecture for Raymund Abraham saying that he heard a group of people disagreeing about the differences between East and West Coast Architects and said this was a curious and backwards notion. One can see that the difference between Eisenman and Moss is great but their ability to create buildings that stir conversation, compendiums, books, exhibitions, and various design projects are emulsifying and contaminating in a way that propel architecture as everything, Architecture as politics and wind.

Students at SCI-Arc feed off of these emulsifying moments and synthesize in ways that are both apparent and looming. Nicholas de Monchaux's Fashioning Apollo tracks the history of just these moments connecting experimentation of the few to the production and support of the masses. The history of the space race connects experimentation of flight, fashion, media, war, psychiatry, and cyborgs giving anyone access to the beautiful successes of Ad-Hoc mash-ups and especially its power in a larger culture of information and systems engineering. So as Sylvia Lavin and Moss would say together: it is time to give a gentle kiss goodbye to architectural drama and invert our lips to invent something that is what we say it is and not what someone else says it should be.

Elsewhere:

Employment 

Brame Architects, Gainesville, FL, US, Architecture Designer and BIM Coordinator

Implementation of Revit in a previously 2d based firm. Rendering, design development and documentation were also an integral part of my daily activities.

Jan 2012 - current
 

Set Masters, Los Angeles, CA, US, Production Designer

Design and Production of temporary architectural elements for small to large scale events.

May 2012 - Oct 2012
 

Ponikvar & Associates Inc., Gainesville, FL, US, Graduate Designer

Architecture design proposals, architectural documentation, and project management of construction documentation and creation through Autodesk Revit implementation in a previously 2d based firm.

May 2009 - Sep 2010
 

Education 

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles, CA, US, MArch, March 2

Professional Degree in Architecture with an emphasis on various digital tools and applications in the advancement of design.

Aug 2011 - current
 

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, US, BArch, Architecture Design

Rigorous design studios that explore various phenomena through various design methodologies.

Aug 2005 - Apr 2009
 

Areas of Specialization 

Skills 



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