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    AirTight I

    By TADS
    Jan 23, '07 4:45 AM EST

    Last quarter (fall 06), we each opted to take a design studio with Neil Denari. The quarter was split into half, with the first five weeks devoted to the exploration of fluidity and its manifestation in shape and form, performance, graphic assembly, and program. Beyond simple smooth surfaces and shiny exteriors (although most projects contained those attributes), the excercise was an investigation of "surface", a topic of the moment in contemporary practice (Sanaa's Toldeo Museum, Rem's Seattle Library, HdM's projects almost anywhere) and situated architecture within the realm of aerospace, furniture, and graphic design techniques. The project was to design a space, similar to a pavillion, that would sell the Boeing 737-900ER airplane to potential buyers (arab shieks, Trump) through interactive information kiosks, a screening room, scaled model room, and VIP lounge. The site was adjacent to the Boeing 737 airplane in the hangar and the piece had to connect with the plane at two points. Five weeks is quite short for a project with such endeavors and my 3d printed model was a hole-pierced disaster but renderings of the final outcome looked good. Final review included Michael Speaks, Imaginary Forces' Peter Frankfurt, and other guests.
    Neil Denari's work is currently in the Skin + Bones show at MOCA. link

    Top three bands most listened to in the studio during AirTight:
    TV on the Radio, David Bowie, Goldfrapp.
    Weekly Saturday Burrito locale:
    Tacos Porfavor (Olympic, 14th St in Santa Monica)
    Favorite toy:
    Chuck Hobermans hand-held expandable sphere




    • Darren Hodgson


      You showed some images in a previous blog which looked like the same project, which, personally I actually like a lot more, in whole they seemed to have a lot more fluidity to them and I felt the scheme seemed to envelop the aircraft a lot better and had a better correlation with the aircraft.

      What happened to that iteration and how did you a come to this conclusion?


      Jan 23, 07 10:43 am  · 
      Mulholland Drive

      Sorry if this is comesoff as catty...but, why are you spending your time, money, and effort essentially mimicking Denari's forms, process, and discourse? I think Denari is great, don't get me wrong...but I think is kind of absurd to waste your graduate school experience on essentially learning to copy someone else. Call me an idiot...but I think graduate school education should be about one's personal sabbatical to find their own voice and testing it critically within the context of a graduate-level academic environment.

      Seems to be more about the studio system using you as a resource for the instrcutor's own research instead of the other way around. Am I the only one that sees this as problematic? In some circles, it is called starf*cking.

      Neil Denari became "Neil Denari" because he sought his own architectural discourse and formal language. If you can't do that while at UCLA, do you really think you will be anything different than all the other Denari knock-offs that roams the streets of LA? Same goes for the Mayne studio...I am sure there is some "original" work going on in there as well.

      My point is this...Use this time to find your own way.

      Jan 23, 07 12:18 pm  · 

      sounds like someones got a case on the mooondays.

      Jan 23, 07 4:16 pm  · 

      Your point about graduate education is well taken but one thing that I remember Peter Eisenmann telling me in undergrad was that you have to know the guerrilla to "kill" him. As a professor, Neil was emphatic in his push for personal exploration and questioning. Mimicry of style almost seems like a natural response in learning about "new" methodolgies and realms of architecture, but it is through this hands-on exploration that one can then push and pull personal explorations through their work. Although the project may have had some easily comparable "surface" characteristics to Neil Denari's work, Neil would probably not have agreed with my programmtic arrangement, flow, or even materiality. Since these more internal aspects of the project were those I have had more experience with, they persisted through my 5-week excercise in "learning about fluidity", which subsequently has expanded my lexicon of form, technique and research for future use. Furthermore, I am at UCLA to learn just how Denari, Mayne, Lynn, etc. operate. Their work interests me, which is why I chose the school, and their means of investigation and drive for precision will no doubt influence me more than their smoothed surface, urban insertions, or morphological techniques.

      Jan 23, 07 5:55 pm  · 

      The images in the previous post were done by a different student for the same studio. TADS is actually made up of four people, which may get a little confusing. This post was done by the D section, and the other post with images of this project was done by me, the T section, jTravis.

      Jan 23, 07 8:40 pm  · 

      Just to clarify the project a little, the studio (being a two part/two project studio) was an exploration in fluidity and curvature, emphasizing precision and highly 'economic' designs (getting the most with the least amount of moves). Because of this many of the projects ending up looking quite Denariesque. I do agree that one needs to find a personal voice in design but at the same time each professor has specific things that they can teach you and I think as a student you need to be open to and willing to learn what they can teach. At some level this may compromise one's own voice in order to get the most from the professor. I think that it becomes a problem if every project you do start's to look like something Neil Denari would do or has already done but hopefully the array of projects that will be shown will demonstrate that this is not the case.


      Jan 23, 07 9:32 pm  · 
      Darren Hodgson

      Thanks for clearing that up Travis. I think it may be a good idea to clarify that in another blog entry (i.e. a who's who of TADS) and then sign off each blog with their relevant authors, else it could get mighty confusing for those who read the blogs.


      Jan 24, 07 3:43 am  · 

      Yes, you are right. I thought we had done that, but after a quick review, it is clear it is ambiguous in any mention. Thanks for the suggestion. Rock.

      Jan 24, 07 6:21 am  · 
      it is clear it is ambiguous

      sounds about right.
      Jan 24, 07 2:25 pm  · 

      I think if anyone is looking at nmda, and copying graphical or formal moves into their own work it is clearly a mistake. If the design is the result of sweet, tight little process that is a different story. DM sat only a few feet from me so I am fairly familiar with his project. Maybe you can go into detail on some of your thoughts of this last design you did for the project? It may also be interesting to know if there were any connections from your previous iterations to this one. Was their a common strand of design that weaves its way through the designs, or, did you completely wipe the slate clean before arriving here. If so, why?

      Jan 26, 07 10:49 am  · 

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