Historical analysis grounds a project within the larger context of architectural discourse. Today though, (especially at schools like SciArc,) projects are autonomous, and look to create false creation myths to how and why they have
come to be.
Process has always been an important element in architectural design and discussion. Peter Eisenman made this apparent through his process drawings that began with a cube, and developed into his studies on houses. In Eisenman’s House III, it is impossible to view the completed house without reflecting on the
transformative steps that informed the final outcome. This process, the twisting of the cube, became inherent in the final product. As Rosalind Krauss describes in Death of a Hermeneutic Phantom: Materialization of the Sign in the Work of Peter Eisenman, and through Viktor Shklovsky’s writings, this “defamiliarization” acts as an “opaque” screen, forcing the viewer to remain conscious and “forcing the reader’s attention to the actual procedures of writing…” Though Krauss argues that this way of thinking, of being “opaque,” has now become so normative that it itself has become transparent.
Currently, projects are described in terms of procedural verbs; I morphed my building; I twisted, stretched, pulled, and bulged my primitive geometry to become something new. This method of invention has become second nature to our design process. This, for us, is a linear process and our transparent screen – we unconsciously view our projects through these adjectives. As students of students of Eisenman we inherently view each project as his process diagrams, beginning with a cube and procedurally following step by step through its distortion. How do we now re-impose an opaque element that awakens our audience to new ways of thinking?
As my thesis, I implement Eisenman’s twisted cube into the Los Angeles Central Library. My opacity hopes to draw attention to the transformative process and new ways of representation.
Status: School Project
Location: Southern California Institute of Architecture