Introduction by Anya Sirota to topic of "Objective Uncertainty"
This panel will consider transformative design procedures
Introduction of Giuseppe Lignano & Ada Tolia [Co-Founders of LOT-EK],
[Lignano & Tolia]
Objects & Operations
Stack & Shift
We believe in design that is unregional and cheap
What does it mean for buildings to be efficient and effective?
We focus on man-made objects not made for architectural use
Lift & Incline
We don't look for a false cleanlieness, nor do we promise a future technology to solve all of archietcture's problems
We look for the dirt, the objects, artifacts, that call for architecture to exist
Operations transform objects
Stack of 21 containers, cut diagonally, creating a monolithic presence on the street
Allocation of outdoor space at every level
Tilt & Lean
What do we do with all this stuff? First, we love it
We try to understand objects not as autonomous, but as part of a global economy/ecology
[ref Taipei Competition Entry]
more than 1000 shipping containers used to create a diagonal, leaning form
Roof is a plant observation deck
Containers serve as planted steps
LED display transmits media art visible from sculpture plaza
Radical counter-programming of everyday objects [water tank as skate park]
[ref. Open School in Korea]
8 shipping containers shifted, and cut at 45 degree angle, lifted 3 meters above landscape
Marking of territory as place of urban gathering
Activation of ground level for events
Tests the shear, bending, and other limitations of contianers
Sometimes the better you understand a typical construction, the less you question
How do you radicalize the form, and normalize the function, normalize the function, radicalize the form?
What is the latent opportunity with the contianer
2,000 vertical shipping containers
Bond & Cut
Certain objects of human history have reached certain perfection, we search for a new equilibrium, exploiting existing economies of scale
Utilize power, criticize limits
[Whitney New York Studio]
commissioned by Whitney Museum
Cut by a shear diagonal allows for visual connection to studio and gallery, designded to fit within existing Marcel Breuer museum
Few decades ago, diagram of profession would look like this [triangle connecting owner, architect, contractor]
Architects gradually stepped away from risks, obligations, while other bodies filled in the gaps
Owner is now surrounded by advisors, followed by general contractor, with architect at the very outside [showing image of the solar system]
This treacherous band of asteroids here, those are lawyers [laughs]
What does this mean in real terms?
Project for Poetry Foundation in Chicago
How do we combine garden and building?
Wall between garden and street, I didn't know what it was, but knew what qualities it needed to have
This didn't fly with contractors, clients
Chicago culture dominated by conservative views, with little apetite for risk
"It could be ugly, it could be expensive, it could be a failure." - Contractor
While I value your opinion, I value my opinion even more." [Ronan]
Tectonic emerged of layering of surfaces, weaving in and out to create a spatial sequence that comprises the building
Garden is horizontal plane, followed by a wrapper, perforated when it gets to the garden
The color black connotes authority and seriousness [material color that wraps the building]
Tools [models, mock-ups, drawings] only take you so far
Full, 36-foot mock-up of facade surface & structure gae clients a fuller understanding of end-product
Different layers of material start to compound through reflecting on each other, allowing for garden to act as an outdoor room
The architect, once at the center of power, is now just a service-provider
We need to rethink the discipline from the inside, because the profession of architecture is slowly being changed by the outside
The biggest risk would be to risk nothing at all
My partner, Mack Scogin, wrote a letter to B Tagliabue, made a video called "White Napkin"
[abstract video reflecting on Scogin's visit to Tagliabue's home]
What is at risk in architecture?
The only risk is the failure to take on disciplinary risk
[feferences Aesop's Fable, Tortoise and the Hare
Tortoise take conceptual risk, using his reputation as a wise, old animal, understanding the hare's inclinations, understanding deeply the nature of the hare, brought his own strengths to the table
The Hare is quick, agile, prolific, distracted, self-assured, self-absorbed, eager to be out in front
In our world, we have many distractions
What's good about this is that it challenges the discipline, but its categorical, and not so sustaining
The discipline is not so categorical
[shows hare in tortoise shell, audience laughs]
[shows Scottish Parliament by EMBT]
Foundation walls look as though they've been left there from a previous time
Like this project, we must take risks
Our observation is that the discipline is sustained by our question of origins, and questioning of the "original"
[sidenote: I'm ridiculously excited about this part]
In my view, risk in the inhibition of free will
This view is very topical in architecture
If there's a profession that relies on free will, it is architecture
On one hand, you have the concept of risk, on the other hand you have the fact
We love concept, hate facts
[slide: From Risk to Brisk]
We try to hide, minimize facts
There are two totally different types of architecture, one with the small a, one with big A, which celebrates risk
[shows slide, ascension from Physiological, Safety, Belonging, Self-Esteem, Self-Actualization]
[shows William Livingston House]
We celebrate risk by elevating buildings
Let me introduce myself by speaking of the NAI building
Design is indeed monumental, it is a kind of temple, it is a national archive storing the best of architecture of the country
On the facade, there is the acronym "NAI"
What most poeple thought, was that the building was an institute
Institute: difficult, knowledge
[ref architecture exhibition in 2007]
Visitors have to cross a bridge, from the city to the "institute"
Later, we created a new kind of bridge, open, more inviting
We continued to violate the building, changing the integrity of the original, creating a public square, entering not only through a bridge, but as an extension of the city
We view the institute as a starting point for civic life
This is the risk I took as the leader of my team
We are violating the original design, but we also violated the views of the founders [for a positive outcome]
What is at stake for the discipline itself?
Problem of social cohesion, or lack thereof, is growing concern
There is a crisis of value creation [or degradation]
We need an Architecture of Consequence, an architecture that really makes a difference, neither on the right or wrong side of history
What can architects do? Are they fit for this job?
Is taking the risk of being a celbrity worth it? [shows Norman Fosters work, Liebeskind]
Another way to become successful is through multiplication [of designs]
There are alternative practices, which are naturally very risky
[slide entitled "Unsolicited"]
What is unsolicited architecture?
The combination of programs, thinking on a geological scale, providing designs that perhaps prevent flooding of habited islands
Design of the 'Supranational,' 'Re-Use' of buildings, 'Farming Together,' 'Creative Resilience,' an architecture that provides ability for 'Sharing Knowledge,' creation of a 'Vernacular by Collaboration,' 'Co-Making' cities and buildings [ref Elemental's Iquique Housing],
Architecture takes chances by providing 'Rescue' [shows slide of Arc for Humanity work]
Enormous empty buildings, factories, churches, villas, prisons, vacancies all around
We need this creativity to fill these vacancies
[shows Halftime Chrysler commercial] [giggles from audience]
[Listening to the super-dramatic voice of Clint Eastwood]
[sidenote: I am not sure where this is going, but there better be a punchline]
Coming from Amsterdam, it is almost too hard for me to believe that this has happened. I ask you to go with me tomorrow to Detroit, for an Urban Investors Event
Taubman College/NAi Flash event to assess the substance of optimism by exploring traces of new life, Saturday March 31, 11am in your parking lot, renting minivans, and we collectively decide where to go.
[sidenote: okay, that makes a bit more sense]
Reflections by Anya Sirota
Speakers offer tangibile examples that vulnerability can be an opportunity
To question what architecture can do for society, faced with the magnitude of this task, that the practice, divorced from its preoccupations with glitz, can only turn humbly to real world problems
Architecture is in the service of something else than the market economy
Architecture is now lured to a more social practice
What is the public relevance of the architectural object? If the worry days are past us, what is ahead? What is our domain?
Design today, is in a great place, ready to pounce
Architecture can tap into the contemporary collective desire to reinvent, injecting design process with a self-conscious awareness
There is plenty of material to co-opt, where 'function' is never static
Working with surplus has liberating effect [referencing LOT-EK's work]
In the work of Scogin/Elam, the singularity of individual experience, trumps the complicit diagram of the perfected architectural diagram
Scogin and Elam BUILD, without overt pedanticism
[speaking on work of John Ronan]]
Imperfection is an asset, not a liability
With growing instability, the profession is at risk from being effected by risk aversion
[referencing Ole Bouman]
What if we drop the categorization of building as object, taking on new responsibility?
This blog likely arises from an over-abundance of architectural theory courses this semester. There are far too many thoughts ruminating in the atmosphere at Taubman College to not transcribe somewhere.