La Torre Inclinada de Pisa
Last week, in his Introduction to Architecture course (I sit in just for kicks), Jeff Kipnis argued that the Leaning Tower is the precedent for all that wacky architecture we love so much. I'm beginning to agree.
The tower doesn't just lean, as it would if it had been deposited fully formed on site and tilted when the foundation gave way --- the foundation was shot from the beginning, and the columns on the lower side were subsequently built taller in an attempt to straighten out the tower. As a result, the building's form is actually curved.
This year, our Baumer (Visiting Professor) Seminar focuses on the work of Greg Lynn, so we've been slowly working through his writings and projects chronologically. This week we're up to 1992 with his "Multiplicitous and Inorganic Bodies" JSTOR
-- his analysis of the Statue of Liberty and his "Stranded Sears Tower" project.
The "Stranded Sears Tower" starts with the basic parti of SOM's skyscrape - bundled tubes - but lays it down along the river, allowing the topography and local traffic connections to coerce the form into shape. It's one example of how Lynn's architecture is best understood as the intersection/interaction between internal and external forces, in this case the itnernal organizational rationale of the bundled tube, and the external necessities of connection.
Essentially, Lynn's work at this point is derived from the formal manipulations seen in D'Arcy Thompson's "On Growth and Form" - with a sprinkling of Deleuze for good measure.
It's interesting, to look at the Campanile in Pisa through this lens... the building fullfills all the promises of Lynn's architecture. The final form is the product of the interaction of both internal and external forces.
Ironically, the taller columns on the sinking side were heavier, so this fix only caused the tower to sink further. I wonder if it would be possible to generate the tower with a script, and alter the parameters - depth of foundation, stability of soil, degree of column-length correction... allowing the tower to find its form based on these variables....
is there something more "real" if the variables are physical quantities and material properties? or is this type of generative architecture as specious as that based on cultural "fields" and Eisenmanian "vectors" ??
This is one of the questions I'm working on as part of my associateship this year. I'll save the details for later, but the project deals with materiality and scale....
oh, and does anyone have an elevation dwg of the tower, or a 3D model that's built accurately?