UC Berkeley (Nick)



Aug '08 - Jun '10

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    the_cyst v.1.0

    Nick Sowers
    Sep 8, '08 2:27 AM EST

    Last Thursday was the second meeting of thesis (I like the_cyst) prep, all 35 of us in the 1st floor lobby pinning up a "favorite" project of our own doing and 5 projects that we react strongly to. (a running tally marked Peter Zumthor's baths leading w/ 6 picks to Yokohama ferry's 3).


    It might be good to start here, showing what I put up: my thesis project from undergrad, and five projects as follows: Janis Kounellis's installation in 2004 at the Sarajevo National Library, Schindler's Kings Road House, MVRDV's Hannover Pavilion, FM3's Buddha Machine, and Max Neuhaus's Listen.

    These are my photos from when I was in Sarajevo in 2004. I love how he filled the bombed out voids and made the emptiness of the lost collection so massive with his gesture. He materialized the books through stacks of sewing machines, rubble, fabric, sleeping pads. The space was incredible.

    Again my images; I revisit this house in my mind a lot (at least that way I don't bang my head on the low beams). Caves and tents and primal slots of light.

    MVRDV, it's whimsical yet rational; one of my thesis goals is to spatialize whatever data set that emerges from my research, and to have fun with it.


    These two sound based projects are both commenting on noise, and the richness of ambient noise. I'm not sure where this will go, if it will at all wiggle into my thesis, but I'm really interested in the possibilities of sound to describe and shape architectural form in a systematic way. The Buddha Machine, for example, takes the looping background chants found in temples and reduces them to their bare structures. I have one of these boxes; you can listen to it for hours without realizing it. Somehow, there's a connection to architecture there. And Max Neuhaus's sound walks like the one pictured under the Brooklyn Bridge is about listening to the nuances and beauty in the everyday sounds produced by the city. It's about inhabiting an atmosphere of sound.

    And finally, my old thesis project. This beast is part of the reason I'm at Berkeley. At USC I was interested in housing but quite bored with the rut I had driven myself into. I chose a housing professor to lead my thesis, and I think that was a mistake. Anyway, I was studying Latino neighborhoods in Boyle Heights and trying to come up with an architectural mechanism that would extend the social structure of the 'reclaimed' Latino Street in three dimensions, filling the space beneath the 6th Avenue Viaduct. The criticism at the final review I really took home was that in spite of my good intentions, the desire to make the project affordable or even socially beneficial was vastly underdeveloped.


    For this Thursday, design a cube of space. This reminds me of the white cube project that it seems a lot of undergrads do in the first year. What a fitting bookend to my architecture student career.

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