University of Washington (Yamani Hernandez)

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    mic check one check two.

    By yamani
    Feb 8, '05 12:49 AM EST

    Yamani Hernandez?....Present!

    hmmm, so apparently i am apart of this school blog project thing. i sent in the request to participate, however i never heard anything. so i figured either i wasn't cool enough, or "UDub" wasn't on the radar and therefore deemed uninteresting orrr...who knows with these kind of things.

    Well low and behold, much to my surprise today, my class mate KrisKess asked me today why i hadn't been posting! i was both excited to participate and excited that she was interested in what it is that i might have to say. in anycase my absence is hereby rectified starting...umm. now. yay!

    interestingly enough, i sort of started documenting my experience, musings etc. in, about, around architecture and architectural education at the end of the summer in my own personal blog: strangebungalow. if interested in what i might have posted prior to to today, please visit. i will probably copy some of my posts from there over to here...b/c i would think they are highly relevant. otherwise, posts will begin from today.

    we are in the one, two, three, four, five, sixth (eeek!) week of our 10 week quarter. i am in the studio of Jay Deguchi of which ROCKS. it is the most enjoyable and fulfilling studio i've been in since i've been here. this is my sixth quarter in a nine quarter (3yrs) program.

    if one is interested in the specific blow by blow of my studio this quarter, please read on. if not, please look for more general over arching impressions, reflections etc. about my experience as an architecture student at UW. mid-rerview is friday, i'll be sure to post after that...if not before.

    blow. by. blow. its an eyeful.

    this studio centers around designing a building that reflects your manifesto about architecture. mine is quite long, you can read it below...or you can read my synthesis which follows.

    i started with a few quotes that inspire and inform my stance on architecture:

    “Spaces can be real or imagined. Spaces can tell stories and unfold histories. Spaces can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed”¦” bell hooks, from choosing the margin as a space of radical openness

    “Space provides an essential framework for thinking about the world and the people in it” Leslie Kanes Weisman Discrimination by Design

    Although a built product is one possible outcome, I do not think of architecture as only a “tangible product' but rather an ideological understanding, position, and commentary, about space, which is situated within the socio-cultural-political landscape in which it is conceived. I believe that this intellectual landscape is represented in the built environment, and thus architecture is intimately linked to the human condition.

    Although I believe in the morphological significance of buildings in cities, I believe that they stand as not only a morphological artifact but a social/cultural artifact. Buildings are not just technical and art objects but they are also social objects in that they are invested with social meaning. As humans who live 90 percent of our lives indoors, I believe that buildings affect human behavior and relations.

    All too often these artifacts express a physical representation of a social narrative of dominion”¦over land, over ecosystems, over culture, people and ways of living. I believe that just as much as the built environment reflects the dominant power structure, architecture can speak to a counter hegemonic narrative and cultural artifact. I believe that architecture can be an act of subversion, resistance and reinterpretation. For me it is a conceptual and material way of viewing, analyzing and influencing my physical surroundings”¦the urban fabric.

    architecture should be responsible to the ecological and social community in which it is built and the benefits of ‘good design' should not just be for those who can afford it or those in the “mainstream”. I believe that architecture should be ethical, accessible and participatory or at least have a stance on why it isn't. I believe that architecture can be ephemeral, flexible and have a conceptual, artistic, and social function and still be significant”¦still be architecture

    okay so i have a manifesto. the last few weeks have centered around thinking about how to manifest that manifesto (pun intended) into a 'thing' not just an idea. this will eventually lead to designing a building that reflects the manifesto. it turns out that my manifesto was a little bit more complicated than most others which makes it hard to get the design actually meet the tenants of the manifesto. i've tried to approach it not as a checklist but rather abstractly ddress the overarching sentiment of: [b]subverting traditional/mainstream notions to magnify counter hegemonic realities...after all the mainstream and alternative are dependent on eachother. for something to be "alternative" it must have a 'mainstream' context to deviate from.

    first we had to find en example of something designed by someone else that reflected our manifesto. i brought a picture of carpet furniture by andrea zittel

    next we had to take a shot at designing something ourselves.
    design for light fixture: for my light fixture i was interested in the fact that light and darkness are dependent on eachother, as we do not know what light is without darkness. traditional notions of making a light would focus on the illumination ...designing the light but not the shadow. in my version, i tried to give agency/prominence to the shadow. i designed a light fixture that both illuminates but, when it is on, it looks like a shadow in the middle of the illumination...shifting the focus away from the illumination from the the actual fixture which has become a figural "shadow".

    conceptual idea for "building": traditional notions of "building" are permanent, fixed masses that stand for generations. in my concept model for a building, i showed an umbrella. not for what it is, but what it does and signifies. it is flexible, portable , it has a structure and can be clandestine. umbrellas create space...a personal 'roof'. if one person walked into a plaza with an umbrella, no one would care. but if 100 people walked to the same plaza, stood next to eachother and opened their umbrellas, people would wonder what the hell is going on. there would be this fabric 'roof'. and just as soon as it went up it can come down. i was trying to make reference to nomadic architecture which is highly neglected in western architectural history and the current practice of architecture. i was trying to say that flexible structures can question the (mainstream) permanence of buildings....they can exist among permanent buildings, between buildings, attach to buildings etc. if

    right around this point my prof. seemed to be steering me away from getting to far off on the flexible architecture track...but to think of my idea less literally. for instance think of the house opening up from the inside out in the way that the space is designed but not literally "opening up" with moving parts etc.

    concept for a "house": traditional design of domestic space starts with sterotypical "house" icon/wrapper and then stuffs rooms within. how often do we see traditonal residential development with the proverbial pitched roof signifying that it is indeed a "house". however, there is not a single pitched space within. what if we designed from the inside out...figured out what the rooms want to be and how they relate to eachother and let them dictate their enclosure. my concpet model was a thickened wall with spaces that were defined outside and around the wall by appendages that pulled out from it. for this concept i was inspired by the gucklhopf pavillion and work of alan wexler. he makes these 'crates' that different household "rooms" roll out of to create the domestic living space. i was trying to figure out how to translate these highly flexible ideas of living to a permanent structure.

    concept for a single family home in the georgetown neighborhood of seattle:
    porch with a house instead of house with a porch...maybe house as a porch? the idea about traditional context and subversion of that context here is that every house in this neighborhood has a tacked on porch that barely holds a single person. its like its a prerequisite component that ensures that the building will really qualify as a house. but the porch is in no way integrated into the building. and though a porch has tremendous significance, as it marks the transition from public to private space and vice/versa its an afterthought in the design of these homes. its peripheral (marginal) space. my idea here is to give agency to that peripheral space by making it into central space...i'm just beginning with this, so more on this later...what is it that makes a porch a porch? what is the meaning of centrality? is it only central if there is a periphery? does that periphery define the center...and in that case, is it equally important as the center?

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