SCI-Arc (Steve Fuchs)



Apr '04 - Aug '07

  • anchor

    KIPNIS | Eisenman + Koolhaas

    Steve Fuchs
    Oct 7, '04 1:31 PM EST

    Last week was about understanding architectural trajectories. The Eisenman + Koolhaas split was the content of a lecture given by Hernan in our SoftTECH seminar. Our generation is integrating these two trajectories into a hybrid, similar to Morphosis (and many more that I am not astute enough to report). For a good portion of us in studio, this is all brand new -- having to align ourselves with a discourse and make/push our own argument. I was explaining this concept to my wife and think she got the gist of it...

    It's like growing up in a forest where you have a limited view of architecture. Sure, you have resources and may know how to build a log cabin, but is that contemporary architecture or regional construction? Now, imagine you decide to take a journey through the forest in any direction, and no matter where you go, you discover a river -- let's say there are 50 rivers (50 spokes, and you were originally located in the center of the wheel). Some rivers/spokes are next to eachother and have common arguments, and some are a completely opposing force -- but still support the wheel of architecture. Each river/spoke has a current which will take you along a path of discourse -- this river/spoke supports the discipline/wheel of architecture, but is only one of many arguments that make up the totality of the discipline. Each student of architecture must leave their log cabins and embark on the search for the rivers and decide which one helps them best make their argument. Along the way, rivers do cross and fork, but the focus should be on getting far enough away from the center that you understand what's at stake when you near the delta -- the rubber hits the road and the tre(n)ds are ornamentation of an overall architectural path. As this system becomes clearer, we can actually steer the raft/bike.

    I know I mixed analogies, but one or both should be understandable. At this moment, I'm investigating Kipnis' book on Morphosis and the Eisenman + Koolhaas trajectories. Oh ya, today's my birthday...


    • b3tadine[sutures]

      ....have you been drinking? just kidding of course. congrats! i am interested to read more.

      Oct 7, 04 2:11 pm  · 

      wouldnt you say its bad to limit yourself to a trajectory. i recently saw a lecture by vincent james you claims to be a contextualist. he has no ideologies and claims to have no certain stylistic approach to architecture. is this way of practice one of the trajectories or would it be avoiding trajectories completly in favor of approaching architecture and each project with a clean slate and open mind. but of course certain tendencies develop, and maybe even methods of working.

      are the spokes comprised of trajectories of different theory, style, process, etc? what is the criteria for something to be a trajectory?

      Oct 7, 04 3:34 pm  · 

      in my barely articulated opinion, contextualism is appropriate for someone that understands what trajectories are in play. for those of us that only have a cursory understanding of the important and current arguments in architecture, studying one or a handful of trajectories helps to bring the whole notion of architectural discourse to subsequent projects.

      in response to your questions, i'd humbly say that my understanding of a trajectory is that it can be catagorized in each of the ways you put forth. more importantly, the essence of a trajectory is variation (failure and improvement) -- testing the limits/boudaries of an argument with a new angle, personal conviction, process, technology, etc.

      Oct 8, 04 3:04 am  · 

      steve, your argument was perfectly clear and i think is a good description of the need for exploration, particularly in academic settings.

      'in my barely articulated opinion' + 'i'd humbly say' ?

      i think being in a bubble is understandably getting to you, but don't worry. you're doing great.

      ps. for a different but similar but older approach to the trajectories intersections, etc. see charles jencks map in harvard design magazine summer 2001, pgs 45-46 [beware you have to open the page]

      Oct 8, 04 12:32 pm  · 

      Ah yes! Hernan or Speaks -- honestly it's all a blur as they've designed it -- mentioned Jencks' diagrams/maps. I looked in Jencks' "Language of Post Modernism" book and didn't see it. Any other diagrams similar to this? I remember one from way back in my Junior College days (maybe this is it).

      Oct 8, 04 1:19 pm  · 

      'in my barely articulated opinion' + 'i'd humbly say' ?

      Well... I'm just trying to head-off any posts that acuse me of being pompus. Honestly, I like constructive criticism. I can see what you are indirectly saying...

      Be more forthright with my understanding, opinions & observations.

      Oct 8, 04 1:23 pm  · 

      Here's the article Jencks wrote for that 2001 Havard Design Magazine... still have not found the diagram that goes with it. I guess I'll have to find it in the SCI-Arc library or order a back issue.

      Oct 8, 04 1:39 pm  · 

      Some more interesting articles...

      Critique of Jencks HDM article
      (The Architectural Review, July 2000)

      Balmond + Koolhaas

      Oct 8, 04 1:56 pm  · 


      confession: i think i read the jencks article once, can't remember a word of it. but i do keep using the diagrams for reference in classes [i teach a theory class for undergrads]. i actually have a diagram of my own, i won't bother you with.

      the koolhaas/eisenman trajectories: i like r.e. somol's description [this was in a lecture, don't know if there's an essay]:

      koolhaas: robert mitchum in cape fear :: eisenman : robert de niro in cape fear

      de niro/eisenman: uses 'the method' [ha!] looks like hard work- 'look at me, i'm acting!'
      mitchum/koolhaas: all is cool- never looks like work

      you can find some this but not all in last issue of assemblage [41]

      but you will have to go to the library! as with the jencks diagrams!

      Oct 11, 04 4:32 pm  · 

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

Other blogs affiliated with Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc):

Recent Entries