SCI-Arc (Tim)



Sep '06 - Aug '08

  • anchor

    midterm: exotic morphologies and porous bodies

    Tim Do
    By Tim Do
    Nov 25, '06 7:03 PM EST

    midterms have come and gone. overall it went well for my partner and i. no severe criticism from the jury, and no comments that weren't forseen, but still plenty of room for improvement.

    more importatnly, however, i wanted to share some of the discussion/criticism that our studio got as a whole from some "outsiders" on the jury, namely michael speaks (who teaches history and theory at SCI-Arc, but not so sympathetic to the 'cellular aggregation' method) and jason payne of gnuform (or formerly gnuform).

    the major topic of debate was exoticism v performativity, with speaks pointing out that there was not enough consideration of the latter. (which i agree) and jason payne pointing out that the students were not really engaging this question, at least verbally (which i also agree). it was good to get some fresh perspectives since all the reviews up until now have been pretty hermetic.

    plenty to consider for the next 3.5 weeks until finals...




      Nov 26, 06 12:22 pm  · 

      it's so strange how the form looks complex with double curves and looks as if the building, with it's form, could be found in a human ear or is a sinew...but the program is so simple...and your diagram merely points at a point on the building and calls out the program...your images don't reveal how the different programs engage with each other, how light affects these programs, etc, except for the magenta ribbon showing circulation...
      i agree also that the project lacks performance...

      are you planning on drawing plans and sections?...the first thing i noticed was the lack of those, second was seeing 3d model of the building being called out as basement floor, first floor, second floor...i know i'm not alone on this but i'ts difficult to get a feel of the program and how the building is performing without the old school plans and the first floor you are showing is pretty much the same as the second floor with some of the rendering turned into wireframe to indicate it being "grayed out" or not part of the can argue that this building doesn't have the typical stacked floors so plans and sections isn't an appropriate tool to describe this building....there some amazing drawings of the typical floor plans in the zaha/cagliari thread..

      2d drawings are so including them in your presentation, first off, you are attempting to present an analysed building which can clarify some of your programmatic decisions to the viewer. they express that you have broken down the different ways of looking at the building; plans focusing on circulation, etc...sections on experiential, etc...

      thanks man, your project just made me think...

      Nov 26, 06 12:40 pm  · 

      thanks for the comments damnson, and thank you threads as well (was that a reference to per? ouch).

      first, just to clarify, the program is a car dealership that is located adjacent to a major freeway in los angeles, and the work shown here is only about 30% of what was on my boards, meaning more diagrams, plan drawings, etc. i will admit the graphics for the program diagrams were stolen from some diagrams done by UN studio for the merecedes benz museum, which were 3D, and i thought conveyed the program much better than a plan would, but i will look into the zaha/cagliari thread.

      nevertheless, what you see here is more programmatic consideration than most projects in my studio and actually goes against the design brief a bit. the flip side to the performativity arguement is that once you get into the basis of program and typology, you lose the exoticism, and end up with a typical car dealership.

      Nov 26, 06 2:01 pm  · 

      is 'performance' the new justification for generating sexy blobs?

      Nov 26, 06 5:04 pm  · 



      Nov 26, 06 5:27 pm  · 

      Pretty sure that Speaks' comment would be taken that performance would NOT ness. result in a form like this. Thus exoticism vs. performance.

      I'm guessing you're in Juan's section?

      Nov 26, 06 5:58 pm  · 
      Mulholland Drive

      Is "exoticism v performativity" the same old debate of form running buck wild over that what it is called now?...not meant as a snarky criticism by the way.

      If looks like a Ferrari, then great I am all for it...let me get in!! But if it has no seats, no windshield, not even a frappacino holder, then what is the point then? That is what I see with this design...all shell and nothing under the hood.

      Really, where can objective intelligence and sophistication emerge and be the defining qualities of this project...beyond the ordinary subjective constraints of merely pulling points and more or less...sculpting?

      Nov 27, 06 3:09 am  · 

      thanks for clarifying appleseed. that was the point. i'm actually in elena's section, who by the way is heading the 2gax program this year instead of hernan. she is a former student and colleague of greg lynn, so it is no secret where the influence comes from.

      bryden, not snarky at all. i appreciate the criticism, and your questioning is helping me to develop a critical position towards all of this. keep in mind that i come from a more traditional architecture background and am still trying this on, but i think you hit the nail on the head though. it's just a skin at this point (a comment taken during the review), but is just the basis for the final product. this project is from the position that content is derived from form, and whether people like it or not, architecture is always about form, and people's response to form, which was the basis of our concept: peoples perception of cars as both sensual objects (exotic) + complex machines (performance).

      the sensual object is just the first reponse, thus the first step in our design process, and i would argue that it was not merely derived from pulling cvs, but through testing of different techniques, although i will say it was pretty subjective, given the little consideration we gave to program. this will be followed by the analysis of the notion of a complex machine, lending itself to the question you posed re: objective intelligence, performativity, building systems, etc.

      anyway, thank you all for your responses. i will take your comments into the next step of the project.

      Nov 27, 06 4:04 am  · 
      A Center for Ants?

      interesting. was talking to speaks after a class here at UCLA and a few of us were trying to get closer to figuring out his unbridled opinions of SCI-arc and UCLA...

      what's the prevailing opinion (if there is one) among students as to the exoticism v. performativity debate?

      btw we should get a bunch of you guys at sci-arc and a bunch of us at UCLA and get a bunch of beers sometime when we're not overworked and sleep deprived. maybe somewhere on neutral ground, say like west of robertson but east of the 110?

      Nov 27, 06 4:52 am  · 
      A Center for Ants?

      oh... and for a computers class there was talk of boards being done in a "UCLA" style vs. a "SCI-Arc" style. which a few of us scoffed at.

      Nov 27, 06 4:53 am  · 

      Maybe the problem hinges on the idea of translation: cars are (mostly) formed with supposedly performative reasons in mind - whether aerodynamics, ease of maintenance, safety or comfort.

      Translating these ideas to a building is possible, but because of the shift in focus (a building is not a car and does not abide by the same rules) the design could really seek out new formal expressions. now we are mostly seeing buildings that show forms born out of performance but emptied of meaning after being trasported to a new context. From the images you have of your project, I can't say if this is the case - but I see it as a possible problem when using ideas of performance inherent to other fields than architecture/building.

      And for "exoticism" - I don't have the faintest idea what anyone could mean by that in an U.S. architecture-studio context... Exotic to whom? and how? exotic by being insanely unbuildable, outlandish in form and relying on programming rather than building (and no fab-lab talk, please...)? - doesn't sound that exotic to me, actually sounds like the default approach to any project in studios run by confused tutors at the moment.

      Nov 27, 06 6:43 am  · 

      ACfA, i'm game for a meet up. we probe speaks all the time for his opinion too, and i must say its pretty cynical, but in a funny way.

      helsinki, thanks, i agree the term exotic in relationship to architecture is pretty hard to define, but if you keep with the analogy of car design, cars are much more expressive (excessive) than airplanes or aircraft carrier, which abide by very specific performance criteria. there is such an emotional attachement to cars in this country (in LA anyway) that it allows for deviation from just performance based design e.g. why people trick out their cars. i think thats where you get into the realm of the exotic. now my partner and i are not trying to trick out a building, but we are allowing for some deviation from just performance based criteria.

      what im interested in now, and you raise a good question, is what it means for a building to 'perform', whether programmatically, structurally, etc. and see how that can be translated to something exotic.

      Nov 27, 06 1:34 pm  · 

      Wow, how many studios are doing car dealerships this semester? I figured this was from 3A-

      Nov 27, 06 4:51 pm  · 

      intriguing. i have a friend that is a mechanic, and he noted to me one time that evolutionary chain goes something like this aerospace-military-automobile, that new uses for particular materials and designs are typically seen first in NASA then filter down to military equipment and then find their way to automotive industry. his thoughts were that space being the most extreme environment, second being performance on the battlefield. to that evolutionary chain can we add architecture?

      i am probably wrong, and perhaps my friend was as well...but i think some examples do exist.

      Nov 27, 06 10:44 pm  · 

      wow, your blog is popular. - leticia

      Nov 28, 06 3:03 am  · 
      vado retro

      ah, what kind of building is it?

      Nov 28, 06 9:02 am  · 

      Ants: did Speaks define the UCLA vs SCIArc board style? Does his definition include SCIArc's constant depletion of the plotter's black cartridge?

      Curious work, Tim. It reminds me that I'm a child of SCIArc's late nineties, just before Borco and Mayline officially died.

      Nov 28, 06 4:43 pm  · 
      vado retro

      it just hit me. when i was an undergrad i had a work study job at the i.u. bio department where i fed and cleaned the tanks of the axolotl's. your building looks like an axolotl

      Nov 28, 06 5:07 pm  · 

      vado. mmm. i just had sushi for lunch.

      Nov 28, 06 5:42 pm  · 

      yeah Dot - I guess the exotic is "exotic" because it does not abide the regular categories we use when breaking down a project and making sense of all the forms and intentions - the Residue when something has been , which in a case when it is worth speaking of has to be so noticeable that it defines the project.

      as of the values - that question remains to be answered - maybe there will be insights in the coming reviews - if "the exotic" is not used just as an insult.

      Nov 30, 06 6:35 am  · 

      your work is so rad...making me want to go to grad school.

      Dec 1, 06 1:21 pm  · 

      I wonder why so many students seem to accept that twisted blobs (etc etc) are somehow desirable and/or important. I'm not meaning to belittle the work - I just get the impression somthing is being missed here?

      Dec 3, 06 6:46 am  · 

      yeah. well. the reasons for anything would be important for me - if I'd be a student or a critic in a studio - and can't really see much of "reasoning" behind many blobby forms...

      reality obviously calls for a number of other things than just idealistic reason, sometimes maybe even selling your project/proposal as a strictly aesthetic-blobform, but the studio environment could be different & less cynical.

      Dec 3, 06 8:45 am  · 

      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