SCI-Arc (Marlin Watson)



Jun '05 - May '06

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    By Marlin
    Apr 19, '06 6:15 AM EST

    Kaput This cathartic net search for images was inspired by a segment on NPR's Design and Architecture show earlier today about student and faculty experiences while they attended signature architecture high schools, like Morphosis' Diamond Ranch. I was curious about the idea of student snapshots with the architecture in the background.

    Kaput The highlights of the show were student commentary on the function of the building, like the lack of covered walkways that result in a thorough soaking on rainy days. For me, the show was inspiring: consider opening a sidebar of a more candid commentary on signature architecture and its effect on the everyday.

    Kaput Thom Mayne described Diamond Ranch to Charlie Rose on The Charlie Rose Show as a successful marriage of the social and the formal act. In one of the interview segments on the Planet Architecture CVD, during a site visit to Diamond Ranch, Mayne commented to John Enright about being bewildered by the scale shift to the real. When publication photos of the project first started appearing, I tried desperately to transpose my own memories of teenagedom into that jagged aluminum backdrop, and could not: farting around at lunchtime with the peeps seemed like an awkward thing to reconcile with such bold form as Diamond Ranch. So how do the kids do it? What do kids look like in that environment? If the 6'4” Mayne was bewildered by the scale, what happens when you're 5'4” and blitzed with acne? Architectural Record responded to this desire, covering the project with panoramas of the courtyard flooded with students. One kid is dripping cheese from a Pizza Hut box.

    Kaput Discount books on architecture get the second rate photographs of projects. Often times these photos are naturally lit, poorly framed, or otherwise photos of less desirable angles of a project. In one Frank Lloyd Wright book for $1.99, the most dominant thing in the frame of one aerial photograph is the HVAC penthouse. Ideal for investigating a project.

    Kaput In line with the DnA episode, I enjoy the way photos like the vernacular snapshots of Diamond Ranch add to the dialogue of signature projects by allowing the comprehension of projects (a comprehension that primarily takes place through photographs when visits are impossible) to go beyond the legibility of a well-orchestrated scene or glossy image.

    KaputThe marriage of the social and the formal has a child in the tradition of punk rock, which is always "for the kids". in contrast to a Morphosis monograph, Mayne's “marriage of the social and formal” is best rendered in a recognizable scene of a teenager farting around in the library with a Dr. Seuss book, or otherwise pulling his Dickies up like a Cholo in in front of the concrete retaining wall.

    Kilroy was here I'm really tired and my teeth are fuzzy and there is gluegun glue and burns on my fingers and the eighth inch study model is unwieldy and is it okay for your last studio hurrah to say no thank you to the ADA and I needed to do something other than work for a minute so thank you and enjoy another post that has nothing to do with SCIArc. Content on these blogs slows down at finals.


    • always enjoy your posts, but this one seems more intentional and coherent than usual. interesting observation about architecture-as-idealized-image and architecture-as-messy-place-where-things-happen and a great example in diamond ranch.

      i remember deborah berke talking about this with her project at yale and others - how to design so that you're inviting in that vital, messy, unprogrammable activity?

      Apr 19, 06 7:05 am  · 

      great read as usual, marlin. thanks for the npr link too ...

      oh, and I own a handful of those discount books with second rate photographs, including one on Diamond Ranch...but, included with the not so great photos is the design process (from initial sketches to construction documents) and an interview w/ Mayne...

      Apr 19, 06 9:12 am  · 

      kaput yeah. thanks marlin. great photos too.

      Apr 19, 06 11:30 am  · 

      Friday, here we come!

      Apr 19, 06 2:51 pm  · 

      a couple of years back there was a commissioned photography exhibit at our school - scenes of sexy people inhabiting graduate house (by morphosis) on campus, posing provocatively, showing underwear, having beautiful breakdowns, sex in the laundry room, etc.
      totally hilarious, given the fact we know the kinda people, the kinda things which go down in grad house.
      realistic inhabitation v. idealized inhabitation
      real grad students v. model grad students

      Apr 19, 06 10:15 pm  · 

      i had a friend who worked at the getty center. She said while they built it, she was in her cubicle office, Meier came in once and freaked out about all the stuff people use for decoration, like her big inflatable Munich SCREAM doll. Domesticity is messy.
      Those photos sre orange county all the way. And brush your teeth! ;)

      Apr 20, 06 5:43 am  · 

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