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    First Week / Last Year

    By A Center for Ants?
    Oct 1, '08 12:36 PM EST
    M.Arch I, Third (FINAL) Year
    So for the first time, the quarter has not forced me to hit the ground running and it's been more of a gradually ramp up; a refreshing change. As I mentioned before, for the quarter, I have Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-wow (as a visiting professor) for studio. Last year, my studio briefly met with him in Tokyo. For research studio, which is UCLA's version of thesis, I'm under Greg Lynn. The direction of the studio is taking the impetus from the other fields of design such as automobiles, naval architecture, and aerospace. These fields have a much tighter integration between material/technology research and development and practice, while architecture has lagged behind. As a result, we're going to use naval architecture and sailboats in particular as a starting point. The first quarter is material and construction research, the second prototyping and framing the project, and the third will be design.

    As for the other years, the first years are engaged in the usual core curriculum for first quarter under Georgina Huljich, Jason Payne, Hadrian Predock, and a new professor, Hussel, whom I'm unfamiliar with. The second years are in the second to last quarter of core in the major building design studio. This year the professors are Dagmar Richter, Kivi Sotamaa, Olivier Touraine, and Roger Sherman.

    The Bjarke Ingels lecture was fantastic. He's incredible charismatic and charming and is clearly doing a lot of exciting work all over. It was especially interesting to contrast against the heavy rigor of critical process that is pushed at UCLA. Simple, almost cartoonish diagrams would illustrate his process in a beautiful way. He was extremely talented at presentation and the simplicity of his diagrams could convince even the most recalcitrant. Though exotic when looked at, his simple process forces the realization that the architecture is logically correct. There was clearly a heavy Dutch influence in his work and the programmatic approaches were a direct product of his time at OMA. I've always been a fan of PLOT and BIG so it was great to hear him speak. In the end, I wonder how much is truly just formally driven. Last year, Mark Lee said that he believes that deep down, every great architect is a formalist. And I think this is true to some degree. But they all differ in the means of producing or generating the form.

    Which brings us to the class I WANT to take, but am on the wait list for. Jeffrey Inaba is teaching a critical studies class called "Imperatives of Urbanism". It breaks down urban projects and dissects how the architects make the sell to the client. How does the designer generate the imperative that makes his design "correct". It begins to tease out and articulate the tension between actual process/form/ and how we talk about our own work, which is a subject I'm fascinated by.

    Back to studio though. We're doing case studies on the Entenza Case Study houses (which sounds a little meta). We're trying to generate a direction from which we can proceed. If we break down similarities in design intent or overall intent by the CS program, we can extract a strategy that we can extrapolate or contemporize to current conditions in Los Angeles. I think that taking into account our melting economy or something immediate could be interesting. Then this will give us a compelling framework to develop something good. Last year I found that despite doing a design charette for basically just 3-4 weeks, our huge devotion to research was a blessing. Not just educationally, but by specifically framing our work to address specific concerns, it allows the work to become focused and ultimately the work benefits. You create very directed criteria in which your work can be judged in and then critique that is tangential to the specific concern of the studio becomes trivial.

    In the end, I'm not sure of the final product but it seems like this will be a single family home in LA and not some amalgamation. Though it could be interesting to see how the strategies might be carried out in a medium density housing situation.

    So far I'm tackling CS8, by the Eames. It was randomly selected but I have no problem doing a case study that's well documented and easily visited.

    Back track
    I want to a quick recap of my summer vacation as I actually got to do a few architectural things... however it's too much to write out with all that's above so I'll do a pictorial summary. Worked at Johnston Marklee and took little vacations to NY and Switzerland.

    Gehry, Vitra Museum

    Ando - Vitra Conference Center (Very Salk like)

    New Herzog and deMueron @ Vitra

    Siza @ Vitra

    Zaha Fire Station, of course

    HdM - Signal Box

    Near Interlaken, HdM inspiration for Dominus??

    Jean Nouvel - KKL Lucerne

    Calatrava - Lucerne Train Station

    Morphosis- Bad Phone Pic @ Cooper Union


    • oliverL

      You seem to have followed the exact same route as I last year. I Must stop writing architecture check lists.

      I found the Jean Nouvel Cultural Centre in Lucerne really uncomfortable. Somethign about the poor quality of light that the huge overhang creates and the cheap cladding which resembled a prison.

      Oct 1, 08 1:54 pm  · 

      ACFA - You're better at blogging than you are at fantasy football. You're going down this week!!

      Oct 1, 08 2:46 pm  · 

      one very minor correction: the first year studio professor's name is Judith Mussel, not Hussel.

      Oct 1, 08 11:19 pm  · 

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