Rice University-RSA (Nkiru)

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    By Nkiru
    Jan 30, '08 9:59 PM EST

    antonia wai | gloria chang |lindsey ramos
    In investigating the concepts of integrations and migrations, the system aims at assisting unhindered mobility and activity throughout the residential community by eliminating conventional, self imposed boundaries of interiority and exteriority. To create this sense of integration between private and public spaces, a system is created where volume supersedes surface area. The system takes the form of a structural skeleton, allowing space to evolve into ambiguously (and paradoxically) defined 'zones'. Boundaries that traditionally separate and define different modes of programming now become blurred and give way to a sinuous network that sprawls across the entire site.

    Migration occurs when these concepts are vertically and horizontally applied and distributed throughout the site, weaving together private and public spaces and in effect creating a sense of community so often neglected in society today. Integrating program such as sport facilities and retail into the vertical axis eliminate the exclusiveness of residential towers and redefine them as 'destinations' where social interaction occurs. Similarly, programming on the horizontal plane aims to increase communication between the residents of the various tower clusters. Human interaction across the site is ultimately the 'bonding agent' that fuses the tissue-like framework into a large, organic urban field.


    • Gonzalo Herrero Delicado

      Pictures are great! It looks a very interesting project but ... I don't understand why to use such a complex façade, is it really important or it's only some kind of ornament that don't give any extra value to the project?

      Jan 31, 08 4:36 am  · 

      duh.. because the project would be boring without it.

      Jan 31, 08 11:53 am  · 

      really great, who was your critic for this project?

      Jan 31, 08 1:37 pm  · 

      are there not still "conventional" floors and walls?

      Jan 31, 08 10:23 pm  · 

      Are there conventional walls and floors here? Who cares. Its not about buildability or practicality.
      Feb 1, 08 11:01 am  · 

      So Wendy-does any actual program exist in the project? I know you talk about paradoxically defined 'zones' but is the building, then, given the freedom to become what it will if the end result blurs conventional boundaries of public and private space?
      Something that might be interesting for you to consider are cities that already have very blurred lines between public and private. You know, this notion of public and private is a very Western idea. I just got done with a project sited in Istanbul which, culturally, doesn't divide the world into two halves (public and private). It might be interesting for you to read some writing in the Istanbul Biennale publications about pulbic vs. private space in Istanbul. A guy named Orhan Esen who writes extensively about the issue around Public vs Private in Istabul.

      Feb 1, 08 1:03 pm  · 

      gosh am I glad to be "conventional" and "self-imposed"



      Feb 1, 08 7:15 pm  · 

      nice project.

      to be frank, it looks still mostly conventional to me, especially if considered in terms of the stated intention. the goals are clear, but how can you prove community emerges from ambiguous connections vertical horiontal or otherwise? why is that an assumption you can make (i would really like to know the answer to this, cuz it always comes up)...?

      i wonder does the whole idea depend on connectivity through elevated tunnel/bridges, or is there more going on? maybe this is a superstudio "beach" idea taken vertical, or something else? am not sure it is on same level as archigram or superstudio who lets face it were not really focused on justifying form as much as this project does, though that is a very nice compliment for liebchen to make.

      will you continue with the project? or is this the final solution?

      Feb 1, 08 10:16 pm  · 

      alright guys, calm down.

      Feb 3, 08 2:42 pm  · 

      I don't see anyone here acting erratically, so why should anyone calm down?

      Honestly, as with the recent Winery thread, there seem to be some underlying frustrations with the direction of certain projects showcased here as "cutting edge".

      This is not a bad thing per se, though, and many criticisms are constructive in character (I deviated from that norm myself here, which was not very constructive indeed and warrants an apology - so, sorry!)

      In short, perhaps, opinions on what should be central to architectural education diverge noticeably - as they have always done - but still, this is worth discussing.

      To me, statements such as "Its not about buildability or practicality" hold a certain truth but beg the counter-question of what else those projects are about, then?

      Comparing this to Archigram is sketchy at best, since the project image Liebchen posted, while naturally not about "buildability or practicality", aims at something else entirely and draws its strength from a time of upheaval. But Cook knew that and played with its implied improbability. It cannot be taken face value. It is seriously un-serious. Hence it has great strength.

      The student project discussed here does not obviously display an awareness of this but presents itself as a "practical" vision in the sense of not bearing the stigmata of criticism. It is "slick" and the descriptive text outrightly judgemental, at times (see my initial reaction against "conventional & self-imposed" etc.).

      Without a vision on "the darned practicalities of it all" and a lack of critical judgement, what is it that remains, precisely? A darn good looking project for sure, yeah- yet also great doubts. That's Architecture without the strength to be applied, and chastising others for asking the question of "why is that facade relevant" is outright embarassing. Because here we touch on the dreaded question whether for the social idea to work the form needs to be the way it is - or would something "boring" do the same thing?

      If you can't apply it, it's dead. Perhaps core ideas of this project's concept could be applied to something "practical", but it's almost heresy around here to aim at that, no?


      Feb 3, 08 3:35 pm  · 

      Fantastic! I'm glad the images of this project spur a fiery inquisition.

      Antonia, Gloria and Lindsey are Juniors at Rice. The work is coming out of the Christopher Hight studio. Knowing this I would not doubt that the complexity of the facade, very rightly described as 'slick' (Max), is an attempt at a skin/structure integration that functions towards internal programmatic liberation and also becomes the conceptual diagram for the desired weaving organism in an urban field.

      The diagrid of Archigram's design is a very buildable skeleton for the application of a stackable modular logic that intergrates diagonal, public, circulation.

      It is in fact not too dissimiliar to the one proposed in seonocity (if you squint while looking at it). Although the project does not detail pre fabricated living or working pods, stacked by a giant infrastructural crane, which i actually feel is its downfall.

      The horizontal plates which draw from the skin I believe are a point where the trio gingerly default to what is familiar and do not go far enough.

      I would certainly argue that the archigram project plug in city is indeed both practical and buildable. Especially taking into account the current rate of urban growth we are facing. (Over 50% of the worlds population now live in cities). Perhaps like Archigram the scale and ambitions of this project should be taken more seriously

      Feb 5, 08 5:30 pm  · 

      the downfall of archigram is not on the buildability side, but on the economics side. the designs are horridly inneficient of both space time and money, are inflexible ( in spite of intention ) and difficult to maintain (lots of skin/surface area). it was tried here in tokyo with buildings like the nakagin, a remarkable building with lots of real problems. the amount of wasted floor space in that building in particular is remarkable. not that those are insurmountable issues, but really the entire idea of plug and play just isn't flexible enough. it takes too much infrastructure for individuals to have any control over their own spaces, and to me is why it is ultimately alienating.

      this iteration of the idea is maybe more plausible, but i am unconvinced by the formal language, which seems to be the goal rather than the tool for public/private improvement...whether that is even desireable is another subject altogether...i hope the work continues interesting start.

      Feb 5, 08 7:54 pm  · 
      won and done williams

      for the most part, i like the skin and find the plan intriguing, even if i can't quite read it like a "conventional" plan. though from the site section, the form as a whole seems rather short and squatty; the proportions are off.

      the description of the project does nothing for me. "blurring public-private" blobitty bloo. i would let the images speak most for the project, and i think they do.

      it's a strong formal project.

      Feb 7, 08 10:59 pm  · 

      i like this project, it looks beautifull, congrats

      Feb 10, 08 3:29 pm  · 

      More of the project can be seen at:

      Feb 15, 08 11:32 am  · 

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