Archinect

UCLA (Scott)

  • Jason Payne / Hirsuta, "Rawhide: The New Shingle Style" at SCI-Arc




    photos by Joshua White, courtesy Jason Payne

    In honor of its closing Sunday, I wanted to post some thoughts and reporting on the opening of Jason Payne’s (my final research studio professor) installation at SCI-Arc. The installation in SCI-Arc’s gallery was titled “Rawhide: The New Shingle Style” and focused on Jason’s Raspberry Fields project for a house in Utah. Included in the show were the scale model of the house as well as a full scale 1:1 construction of an important segment of the house’s roof. Originally plans were to include cow hides surrounding the 1:1 installation, conceptually “refigured as abstract bodies” to reinforce the connection to hair and hides in the work. Inhabiting the space with these flattened forms would have helped the exhibition succeed more thoroughly as an installation in a gallery; however the 1:1 segment of the house is absolutely successful as an affecting object of interest, and it’s only slightly less so at filling the specific SCI-Arc gallery space.







    The Raspberry Fields model is among my favorite architectural models, so I’m glad it was prominently featured in the exhibition. I actually wish the full scale house installation hewed more closely to the design laid out in the model, especially the detail at the apex of the roof, and the far richer coloration of the shingle undersides of the model versus the 1:1 version.








    I hope some of the details not included in the 1:1 installation make it into the final house, especially the eaves curl and the window fringe “hairstyle”






    Jason and EOM

    The opening night of the installation on July 29 included a conversation between Jason and SCI-Arc head EOM (Eric Owen Moss), who actually seemed to be on his best behavior - far less crotchety and contrarian than usual. He began the discussion by attempting to dismiss Jason’s longtime interest in hair, one of the formal drivers of Raspberry Fields project, by saying “hair doesn’t seem that serious” as an architectural interest. Jason expanded on hair, saying it was introduced to his architectural work as an ‘extradisciplinary influence’ and as a way to productively distance himself from existing interests in architecture, and as a logical extension of previous work. He stated that he was once interested in the topological project in architecture, but became increasingly dissatisfied with smooth bald surfaces; the introduction of hair reinvests a “clean smooth surface” with more interest.


    EOM pondering


    somewhere I heard someone describe the house as a mullet - “business in the front, party out back”
    photo by Joshua White, courtesy Jason Payne

    Many of EOM’s comments served to bring in extra-disciplinary references to the Raspberry Fields project as well as to Jason’s use of hirsutism or hairiness in architecture; some refs with more relevance than others. These included the hair shirt in Catholicism, which is a coarse garment of animal hair used “to induce some degree of discomfort or pain as a sign of repentance and atonement” (which I as a second generation atheist/agnostic of course had to look up). EOM went on a short pseudo-psychoanalytic tear about self mortification and whether Jason used hair as a subconscious repentance for anything. Jason responded with a simple “No, I’m not Catholic.”

    This is one of the better images that come up when one googles “hair shirt”

    Another ref included Vince Scully’s Nantucket House, which EOM made special mention to due to Jason’s show’s subtitle, “The New Shingle Style”, as Vincent Scully’s book The Shingle Style of Today extolled the virtues of regional vernacular homes in New England. EOM accused Jason of a sort of regression to vernacular postmodernism in emphasizing shingles. Jason responded that he recognizes the conservative implications and that postmodernism was indeed wrapped up in Raspberry Fields, but hopefully as a perversion of or “swerve” away from Scully’s shingle style. He insisted that looking back at Scully’s shingle style, it actually has a lot to do with mass, form, and posture beyond simple cladding material.





    EOM questioned the topology of the landscape around the house, with its mounded extrusions. Jason stated that their form is derived from the client’s (his mother, who was never mentioned during the talk despite the unique designer/client relationship having the potential to influence the work, and in light of the history of architects designing for their mothers/parents) desire to grow different varieties of raspberries, and that their mounded nature additionally functions as ‘ha-ha walls’.

    Jason was also challenged on whether the intentional faux-weathering of the curled shingle cladding constituted a romanticization of aging; he admitted this was a concern but ultimately dismissed it. He said that initially he wanted to start with all straight shingles and let the weather do the curling, but eventually shrugged off that form of true-to-concept fundamentalism, saying that it doesn’t really matter whether they start off at year 0 or at year 50 in the weathering process; he ultimately opted for something in between - ostensibly showcasing the formal/theoretical interest from the beginning, while allowing room for weathering to affect change on the work.


    In the Q&A after the talk, UCLA theory prof Michael Osman brought up posture and perversity as the topics which most interested him in Raspberry Fields, and which were only glossed over in the talk. Jason dismissed the idea of perverse posture in the project, again preferring the term ‘swerve’ to perversity. He admitted though that the concept of posture cuts to the core of the genesis of the project, as well as concerns in his other work (this was also something he discussed with us in our research studio at UCLA, as well apparently with his seminar in hides at SCI-Arc). He said that he had studied the bovine form and posturing for the project in order to attempt to resist anthropomorphism, and that he intended Raspberry Fields to follow a bovine form ducking its head - generating the off-axis curve of one end of the project (the part shown in the gallery installation). Osman maintained that this attempt to avoid anthropomorphism in mining bovine posture actually made the project more evocative of the human form for him - one of supplication. I felt the same way - the hairy bovinely-slumped installation in front of us brought to mind (well, my mind anyway…) the bizarrely unexplained image from OMA’s monograph/magazine Content of a nude male model’s supplicated pose (image; NSFW unless you ‘W’ for a porn company or apparently OMA) - an image that if one reaches a bit is actually a pretty fantastic diagram of the posture of the house! At any rate, despite Jason’s design strategy of ostensibly becoming-bovine to avoid anthropomorphism, the house perhaps doesn’t fully escape the human figure after all.

    SCI-Arc prof Eric Kahn found another interest in the work, saying that the project is a prompt to discuss stochasticity and ferality in architecture. In a sly response to EOM’s incredulity around Jason’s chronologically-dislodged approach to entropy in design, Kahn evoked EOM’s Petal house, saying that at 30 years old, its shingles are also ‘behaving badly’.


    Shingles behaving badly



    The exhibition ran from July 29 to September 11.


     


  • A SCI-Arc Review Review

    Our research studio prof Jason Payne invited us to the final review of his studio at “crosstown rival” SCI-Arc last week, and as the discussion turned out to be pretty interesting I thought I’d relate some of it here. The studio used animal hides as both site and as driver of...


  • UCLA Munich Studio

    I thought it would be good for me to resurrect (not too strong a word at this point!) my archinect schoolblog in order to chronicle my final year in UCLA’s M.Arch I program. The beginning of the school year, fall quarter 2010, was our second topic studio - the studios we get to choose by...


  • UCLA’s end of year show “RUMBLE” today and tomorrow

    I know I’ve been a bit of a total schmuck with this blog, but this year was NUTS. I have a bunch of updates I’ve been planning for months, but school just didn’t let up. So before I post any real updates about this year I wanted to put up a quick note about UCLA’s end of...


  • Back (Finally)

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  • Rumblings of Rumble

    The beginning of the last few weeks before the much-hyped (both within and without Perloff) second annual all-school exhibition called “RUMBLE” were marked quite literally with an actual earthquake last night. My building shook around a bit but apparently there was no serious damage...


  • SCI-Arc All School Exhibition + UCLA Awards Day

    Undergrad exhibition I went to SCI-Arc’s All School Exhibition with studio face-mate Joe last Friday. It’s basically their version of UCLA’s Rumble (also see ACfA’s pre-Rumble description from last year); or maybe Rumble is our version of their All School Exhibition...


  • Where I Was When I Should Have Been Working On Studio...

    Palm Springs! My friends’ band was playing a show at a fancy hotel in Palm Springs yesterday, and invited me along. I wasn’t TOO far behind in studio, and besides, how could I say no to an all-expenses-paid trip to the most insane town in the world! I knew the hotel we were going to...


  • Never Say Neverland

    All of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch possessions (including even the gate, and creepy children lawn sculptures) are coming up for auction under the terms of an agreement that postpones imminent foreclosure, as the New York Times reports. My new buttmate in studio Amelia said something...


  • An Archinerd's Spring Break

    It’s been almost a full week since the end of spring break and I’m still mourning its passing. And I know you’re probably sick of hearing me say “I went to some interesting lectures recently”, but I thought I would recap the ones I caught while on break. And yes, I am...


  • Postopolis!

    Today is the start of the Postopolis! “live 5-day blogathon”. In true blogonerd fashion, I’m actually writing this from the event, on the rooftop of the Standard Downtown.The Standard Dowtown My roommate and I were excited to actually be able to walk to something in our...


  • Spring Break 2009!!

    Winter quarter has come and gone, and I’m now in New York on spring break. And yes, now I realize that I’m supposed to go to Acapulco or somewhere warm for spring break; but I don’t know anyone to mooch off of in any of those places, ha ha. "Spring" in New York, from the J train...


  • Recent Lectures

    I’ve been a bit slow on the posts recently, due I think to a sense of malaise in both life and school. It might be due partly to the fact that I’ve convinced myself that I got salmonella poisoning at the beginning of the quarter and I STILL feel pretty sick, almost at the end of the...


  • Contemporaneity of Real Estate Ads

    I was at the MOCA gift store today flipping through a mens magazine called Fantastic Man, which is put out by the creators of the fabulously gay Butt Magazine, when I was amazed to discover UCLA professor Neil Denari full-page staring back at me. It was apparently an ad for his under-construction...


  • Winter/Spring Quarter Lectures/Events

    Ooo, gold! The spring quarter lectures were added to the new poster which was released since I last posted about winter quarter lectures, so I'll post all of them together here to recap: Feb 6 - Christopher Bangle (Director of Group Design for BMW) *CANCELED* Feb 10 - Winy Maas (MVRDV) We just...


  • Leak Life

    We've entered Los Angeles' rainy "season" today (last year there were like three days total of noticeable rain), and have discovered some more delightful qualities of our studio in Perloff Hall: leaks. I don't know if institutional buildings in Los Angeles are just not waterproofed (is it cheaper...


  • Fall Quarter Postmortem

    My first quarter at UCLA went by pretty fast of course, but it also feels like life before grad school is a distant memory. I guess that's what trauma does to its victims?Studio final reviews The final crit for studio didn't go so well; I vastly under-budgeted my time and presented some woefully...


  • Andrew Zago Lecture

    Zago at Otis A few weeks ago (before the start of finals hell) I was able to catch a lecture at Otis College of Design given by Andrew Zago. This was a treat as I worked with Zago on a competition and a few as yet unrealized projects for actual clients during my time at my last job before school...


  • Lord of the Flies

    What happens when we forget how to cut things by hand:The unruly mob waiting to sign up for laser cutter time a few days before final crits In a scene tonight that would have been more funny had I not been in one of the lowest rungs on the caste-based system that governs assigning a day of time...


  • Steel Tour - LA Live

    My Intro to Building Construction class visited two building sites on Tuesday, to illustrate our unit on steel construction techniques. One was a medium scale mixed use project in West Hollywood, and the other was the Ritz Carlton hotel and residences tower that's one of the biggest parts of the...


  • Los Angeles in Late Fall

    Please permit me a moment of indulgence: I was walking to get some food on campus a few days ago, and something about the warm November air and the way the setting sun hit a lush bed of roses made me realize again that I really do love Los Angeles. Actual moment of discovery It wasn't just framed...


  • Jan Edler/realities:united Lecture

    Denari, Abe, Edler I went to the Jan Edler/realities:united lecture in the department on Monday. He has done and is doing currently some very interesting work, collaborating with firms like Herzog & DeMeuron and BIG. Edler's interest seems to lie in making design more communicative, and...


  • Philip Beesley lecture

    Philip Beesley In another lesson in how great it can be to be part of a major research university, I attended a talk last Friday given by University of Waterloo architect and designer Philip Beesley, at the California Nanosystems Institute on campus that was part of the Body Art Disease symposium...


  • Week in Review

    I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I should put up another potpourri post of everything that's been going on. The vacuum former tutorial In my tech course, where we're modeling and vacuum forming 'Washbasins of the Future' (my trashy catch-phrase, not the course's), we've progressed into...


  • Greg Lynn - Book Talk

    New bookGreg Lynn gave what he called a “book talk” - he went through the books he's had published so far, from Animate Form to Intricacy to the new 'non-monograph monograph' Greg Lynn Form. I did not end up buying the new book; at $55 it seemed a bit too much of a strain on my...


  • Theory Talk: Jasbir Puar

    theorist Jasbir Puar spoke in Royce Hall on Wednesday I went to an afternoon lecture in the English department on Wednesday on recommendation from my ex, who is working on a PhD in the Rhetoric Department at Berkeley. It turned out to be a great suggestion as the lecture was incredibly engaging...


  • Break for Culinary Camp

    I took a little break from work-work-working today, and walked Downtown from my apartment with my roommates to go to Clifton’s Cafeteria. It’s a redwood forest-themed cafeteria style diner that’s been there since the ‘30s, and is amazing. Never in my wildest dreams did I...


  • Nader Tehrani – “Material Pedagogies”

    I went to the Nader Tehrani (Office dA) lecture at USC tonight, but due to the twin LA curses of traffic and parking, I was about 20 minutes late. Who knows what goodies I missed! What I did catch of the lecture was an impressive array of projects with a clear thread of a similar sensibility in...


  • "Loads" of Concrete

    On Tuesday the first years went out on a site visit for our Building Construction course. We got a hard hat tour of a huge new ultra luxury condo tower in Century City, called “The Century” by Robert AM Stern with HKS Architects. No, we were not there to get design tips (yikes)...


  • Crit Crazed

    I had two crits on Monday (yeah, fun weekend): the first was for my “Basins of Attraction” tech seminar, and the second was for studio. The tech seminar crit was more of a progress report, so it wasn’t as stressful as the run-up to the studio crit, which was the last for our...


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