The midterm onslaught is upon us ... indeed, time is running short. Midterms are next week, and then Spring Break. This year, I will not have much of a break, as I am finishing my thesis. Today, in fact, I turned in a chapter. It's been a tortuous affair, sure. I've spent the past two weeks writing about wood construction techniques in Germany and Japan -- not easy stuff to do, especially since I've been looking a poor reproductions of drawings, measured sections of minute architectural details, and worse of all, poorly-labeled drawings. The results, however, are rewarding. When I first started the M.E.D. program at Yale, I thought I would be chasing some theory tails, writing about technology, urbanism, media, et cetera. It is thus somewhat interesting that my topic is wholly historical, and centered on architecture practice in the United States, Germany, and Japan on the eve of World War II. I am painting my topic with the widest brush possible ... I want to spare you the details. The images below will give you a sense of the kind of thing I am dealing with.
These are some schematic drawings of wood frame and wood floor constructions, both drawn by Konrad Wachsmann for his 1930 book Holzhausbau -- Technik und Gestaltung. Not the sexiest looking stuff, sure. What this information was used for, however, is what really drives my thesis (hint: it involves bombs).
Last week, we had the delightfully irreverent Ben Nicholson as our colloquium guest. Ben presented a wide swath of his work, specifically focusing on two of his written works/studio projects: New Harmony: The Hands Can't Do What The Mind Can't See, and The World: Who Wants It. I won't go into this material, as I think the Archeworks school blogger has already covered this stuff. The Archinect feature on Nicholson also featured his Labyrinth Sketchbooks. I always thought that this work was ravishing in its manic obsessiveness. The drawings are conceptually and graphically dense: so it was interesting indeed to hear Nicholson talk about these projects.
Above is a picture of our class. Sorry about the blur. That's definitely Ben.
The best part about Nicholson's work was Nicholson himself. It was a treat to have someone who was genuinely curious about the design process. Nicholson also never took anything for granted -- this is especially interesting because here was a person who never failed to see the architectural significance of a ride in a Hummer, a slow walk on a North Shore beach, or the identification of North American species of beans. He did all of these -- and it was delightful indeed.
And lastly, this past weekend, I went to the Clip/Stamp/Fold exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. It was brimming with cool stuff. Check out the shiny issues of Situationist International:
I was also accepted to my first PhD program ... but more on that later. Big week indeed.
Tout bientot, folks!!!!