Aug '05 - Jan '11
It is now September of 2006 and it's hard to believe that year 1 is already over. It has been fantastic. It has surpassed my expectations, actually. I'm going to reflect a bit and post some pictures, since I was grossly delinquent during the school year, and in the next posts I'll talk about our trip to Europe and focus on some exciting things coming up this next year.
It is my sincerest hope to stay on top of this blog, no kidding. I have a tendency to be long-winded, which deters me from taking the time to update, but that's going to change, even if it means I force myself to tersify.
Anyway, let me talk about last year. Where do I start... I didn't even make it through fall quarter! Here are some quick examples of early projects.
The first exercise was called "Spots and Dots." We were given the first and last frame, and we were asked to use four frames to develop a transition between these two. My final iteration of these project uses the filmic sensibility that I developed before coming back to school for architecture...
One of the other early projects involved the manipulation of a wall surface. We were given the dimensions of a wall with a particular thickness. We were asked to fold, cut, or manipulate the wall to provide a ramp and a space.
I "pimped my model" with a graffiti sequence that functioned as an allegory questioning the tropes of authorship and authority. The first "graffiti" is a replica of the cave painting from Lasceaux. The second is a quote from Towards a New Architecture, one of Corb's chapter titles: "Pure Creation of the Mind", which extols the virtue of the Parthenon and classical forms, a beauty and achievement never to be replicated. And the third piece of graffiti is a Doric column.
The forms of the wall are meant to resemble a historical site in the midst of reconstruction or preservation, like a fallen obelisk amidst an excavation. This is meant to call into question the significance of the historical moment. I was thinking specifically of the idea of reconstructing the site of a ruin, the strange impulse to maintain a historical ruin in a particular moment in its otherwise entropic history, a point which corresponds to the moment at which political or cultural entities agree on the general significance of a particular work of architecture.
The graffiti questions the idea of authenticity and authorship. The cave painting is regarded as historical because of its age, its cultural siginificance. The Doric column is, on the other hand, a mere representation, an effacement of the archeological site. Meanwhile, Corb is the author of the quote. If Corb, who has a history of painting graffiti, were the author of thte quote, could he not have also been the perpetrator of the Doric column painting? If so, would it be erased from the historical site or would it be preserved out of reverence? What if the Doric column was painted by an archeological intern? Would the site be cleaned and the intern be fired? This was the narrative I developed in my final proposal, which became a heated discussion among the critics...
The only real building we did first quarter was a house for a bilbliophile. I showed some of my early drawings in a previous post, so I'll just post the pics from my final model here.
The final project was another open-ended project. We were asked to make a "container." That was more or less the extent of our project brief.
I chose to make a shoe that explored and inverted the idea of connection to the ground. There was a riff on the architectural "footprint," as well as a commentary on natural vs. manmade. It is an exemplar of circular logic, an embodiment of the contradiction of connection to the earth and protection from the elements.
How can man connect to the earth while creating something that, in its act, fundamentally alters that connection. This is symbolized, in the shoe, by the footprint it leaves. The footprint is the sole of a foot, emerging from the soil. Its materiality of earth and dirt suggests the power of a natural land formation, while its idealized, synthetic shape reflects its man-made etiology.
These are the themes that developed in the final review. Ashley Shafer sat in on our review but unfortunately she had to leave just before my turn. We had a sculptor on our review, which was a refreshing change and offered us an alternative viewpoint.
I should note that our first quarter was taught be a recent graduate of the OSU grad program. Not everyone was happy with this, because they felt like they weren't getting the guidance they needed. I didn't mind, I was content to develop these wacky arguments and shoot myself in the foot when necessary. I don't think they will be repeating the experiment this year, as a lot of things are developing and Shafer seems to be listening to our commentary on our experiences.
More on all this later. Next up: Winter 05 and Spring 06.