Cooper Union (Danny)



Sep '06 - Jan '11

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    010 - final presentation/first jury..

    By dedubs
    Oct 18, '06 11:13 AM EST

    (Kent State University)

    So I am alive, I think. You tend to forget where you are in space when you sleep for 14 hours after not sleeping for 48. We presented our final projects yesterday which turned out to be my first (and very interesting..) jury.

    I'm not sure how to interpret some comments. I was told I would be completely successful in undergraduate years and the rest of my career.. but come graduate school I would be in trouble. I guess it's kind of a backhanded compliment. I agree with all the comments made, though, and it got me thinking very critically about what I should be doing in the future. I was questioned on how I derived my forms, and that in graduate school at least (although he would also like to see it here), I need to have a reason, and process, a series of interpretations that influence or inform my form-making.. rather than “channeling the architecture gods,” as he thinks I do.

    This makes me severely question the teaching method of the professors though. My juror is a recent grad form Ohio State University.. a great thinker, a great change to the second year program. He can think harder conceptually than most other professor at this school. His comments make me wonder why, then, are we given a set of programmatic square footages that are pre-determined? If he wants me to define the reasons for my forms, find the requirements that would define a certain form, then shouldn't I, myself, define the square footages? Let's all go to an archive building, study the traffic and record access. Diagrammatically map the environment, what smells do I smell where, where are the various aperture conditions and from which viewpoint? How much is a certain space accessed, are there demands for more space, less space, more advances, what? Who made up the program that knows exactly how big permanent storage should be? Why is the auditorium that size? Can't I determine this all myself?

    In retrospect, I would have told him that my forms were informed by my site photomontages (that you can see a couple posts earlier). The elongated site, and the perspecticallity of the montages highly influenced the model designing process. Now, what I don't understand is, does everything have to be giving a reason for being there, or can our own self-grown intuition have a big part of this design process. Does everything have to be completely derived from something else, or can't our own creativity and intuition be a reason for some forms?

    This is a question I'm going to be asking myself and other professors, and I would like archinect's opinion on it.. Here are some pictures from my final presentation, excuse the blurriness.












    flickr photos for higher resolution


    • small architecture

      "Does everything have to be completely derived from something else, or can’t our own creativity and intuition be a reason for some forms?"

      i like this question, i think of intuition as a starting point, designers should question the things they intuit and hopefully make them stronger. i think every design decision should have a reason to back it up. "because i like it" or "because it looks good" are bad answers. why do you like it? why does it look good? will the people who use it like it not only visually but functionaly? will it make their life better or easier?

      do your forms come from pictures of the site? or do they come from your ideas about how best people can use and accentuate the site?

      the model is a great form, but from the distance of the photgraphs it is hard to get into the depth of the project and what it would be like to use the building.

      Oct 18, 06 12:02 pm  · 

      small, thanks for the input..

      I've uploaded the pictures onto my flickr to view them at higher resolution to possibly get a better scope of the project.

      To answer your question, the forms came form a mixture of both. I am not saying for this project I completely had a reason behind my forms, and I will say that most of it was based on intuition and what I felt looked aestectically appealing. This, I know, isn't a great way to go about it. However, the general ideas of having these elongated, stretched, curved forms, come from the montages and their overall form and visual appearance. I would say that my intuition was used when I approached the site and determined where in fact to take these photographs. From my general understanding of the site and it's personal form and feeling, I determined my architecture should attempt to give that same feeling. The site is at a location that severs a connection from the university to the downtown area, and I wanted to create a visual connection between the two. The montages to me also had this idea of connection two ends together though one single viewpoint.

      Oct 18, 06 1:00 pm  · 


      thanks for sharing your work. your process models are great, and i think you have a lot of talent, especially at your level. the comment about how well you would do in graduate school is absurd and presumptuous if you ask me.

      as for your questioning, i had a similar discussion when i was in undergrad. the question was "can you create something from nothing?" in the end, it's probably impossible, but does open a way of thinking that, after studying the situationist, led me to examine my own creativity and intuition. keep in mind that different people experience buildings differently, so thinking about the "user" or function is sometimes overgeneralized. i think it is perfectly fine to design intuitively, but you have to be rigorous about it. your intuition is always informed by something.

      Oct 18, 06 1:00 pm  · 

      i think what you've done is very nice. for the love of god dont let academic blabber ruin your intuition. i think in this case you need to ask yourself, if i had only reason for everything i did would my project be more or less functional and more or less beautiful.

      Oct 18, 06 1:12 pm  · 

      looks like a morphosis project.
      I like it
      keep with the forms
      read LTL's Sitaution Normal-they'll give you some validity to your form:
      "form is not reducible to programmatic dictates"

      Oct 18, 06 1:20 pm  · 

      I'm often wondering if arbitrary is just as valid as abstract concepts.
      Sometimes arbitrary beginnings lead to an abstraction that guides the work.

      Is the abstract concept valuable if the user of the space cannot perceive it? (Could this line of thought lead to a lowest common denominator approach?)

      Is the abstract concept so abstract that it is essentially arbitrary?

      “based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something”

      Is it possible to create architecture arbitrarily?
      Is all form making arbitrary?
      Something drove your forms. Recognize what it was and describe it.

      Oct 18, 06 1:29 pm  · 
      vado retro

      justification after the fact...use intuition, the zeitgeist, the heroes, the site, the program, the precedents-now put em in a blender and hit puree. see if you like what u come up with. then go find a tufte book and make some diagram that looks like your building...write things like "spiritual synapse", "contemplation vector" "expressive quadrant" fuck whatever. and tell them this is how the forms came to be and if you don't like it then you are a goddamned idiot. NEXT critic!!!

      Oct 18, 06 4:48 pm  · 

      thanks for the advice everyone.

      207moak, what you said is very interesting.. "Something drove your forms. Recognize what it was and describe it."

      If I think back to when I was initially designing the pre-lim, and most other times when I design like this, I think of the spacial experiences I am creating and apply my own tastes to these spaces. Viewpoints were a critical focus in this. The outline of the parking lot om the original site was used as a starting point and folded into the primary brown form. The wood shells were more designed after the montages, how a form breaks off from a path and forms its own volume that eventually all reach back to the same point, the university. I guess I could of prepared for the jury a little more by going back and realizing why, even if it was intuitively, I made what I made. I know I put everything there for a reason, but that reason may have not been because the research..

      Now whatever happened to general design? Why can't something aestetically appealing be accepted? Do fashion designers or graphic designers invent some sort of process or diagrammatical studies to end up with their final design? Do they have a reason for every single move they make?

      Oct 18, 06 6:11 pm  · 

      maybe he was commenting on the similarity to other famous architects work (morphosis, eisenmann, others), and wanted to hear that you were doing more than copying them...that you have some kind of process involved beyond mimicry, beyond fashion...

      from the pics it looks like you do, so wouldn't worry over much about it. it seems like there are rooms and everything..what else can you want?

      i agree with comments above. your work is pretty strong for where you are at...might be useful to be more aware of your own process in a general sense so you can describe the work better, and perhaps think a bit about where function comes in if you wanna assuage crits who are looking for more than form making...otherwise, keep up the work.

      Oct 18, 06 7:48 pm  · 
      the righteous fist

      i think a graphic or fashion designer speak in much more obvious terms, they only work in one scale, and so are limited in their referential scope. architects on the other hand design mini worlds, which are riddled with possibilities for different meanings, so that to actually articulate one, definite consensual meaning is pretty damned hard.

      when graphic or fashion designers are doing something "aesthetic" there's always some precedent or latent meaning in the work and people can take it or leave it and do so in small doses. but when you take responsibility for a little world, the same latent meanings multiply and dilute until no one can agree on anything and the like it or lump it dosage is a bit of a deal breaker.

      i think your design looks nice, i like the expressive orientation, and the suggestion of modulated daylight. but i have no idea what it's like to be inside this thing, to approach it from outside (having left the university or the parking lot?) and so right now it's more of an object to me than a building. i don't buy anyone's wellspring of intuition, you are always responding to something, it's up to you to find and admit to your influences.

      Oct 18, 06 7:48 pm  · 

      a thought here. arbitrary is fine to a point, because everything is arbitrary when you consider any decision to start at particular point is no more valid than the next. the problem is when arbitrary becomes solipsistic, the inherently self referential is ultimately flawed, because in the final analysis beautiful forms will only take you so far. your project should respond to the site, light, winds, micro-climate, user, program, etc - it can respond to some of that, all of that, or none of that and then you define the terms, but form because it looks good is like a beautiful flower that smells like horseshit and pisses in your face when you smell it.

      i like the sexy forms, but i am more interested in process and concept...

      Oct 19, 06 7:37 am  · 

      wow beta. ...but form because it looks good is like a beautiful flower that smells like horseshit and pisses in your face when you smell it.

      that's one for the ages.

      Oct 19, 06 9:23 am  · 
      vado retro

      aesthetically appealing...not really a good term when you think about it. aesthetics is a "critical inquiry into beauty" to site ,peyton richter , that began with the greeks and evolved into a philosophical science in the 18th century. aesthetics is an investigation into what is "art" and why it is art. How and why is value added and meaning given? This investigation must take place now, while you are in school.
      Because after you graduate and get into the real world no one will give a good goddamn. Then you can utter things like "because it looks cool" or because its "like fill in architect of the month". You will be talking about American Idol and Lost and sports just like the rest of the world.

      Oct 19, 06 9:48 am  · 

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