Archinect - Architectural Association (Michael) 2017-10-23T02:16:06-04:00 Connecting the dots in reverse: the art of suspended disbelief Michael Rogers 2010-08-30T05:47:00-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>I recently watched a recording of Steve Jobs presenting a graduation address at Stanford where he enumerated on the idea of connecting the dots, but only in retrospect. He went on to explain that he did a bunch of things early in life that made no sense and appeared supremely useless, like taking calligraphy class, which proved instrumental in helping him design the first personal computer and begin the company Pixar. Only in retrospect can you connect the dots intelligently rang the speech. <br><br> I mention this annodote because I am currently in the process of compiling and sequencing a book of all the research my team has conducted over the last six months. It is our Phase I book and it catalogs all of the absurd, amateurish, whimsical and despirate design experiments we conducted on our way to finding a thesis project. The goal of the book is to connect the dots, to document step along a trajectory of thought and build a thesis argument from the results, both successful and unsu...</p> Lick the book Michael Rogers 2010-05-08T06:33:54-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:19-04:00 <p>Rule number one of situational awareness: Don&rsquo;t [pretend to] lick Francois Roche&rsquo;s new book when he happens to be standing right there. And by right there I mean way in the back lurking in the shadows setting up his computer for a lecture later that evening but still able to see you pretend to lick his book. However, if you do find yourself in this awakard position, you might find it is a great way to start a conversation with a guy who will then proceed to lecture in public about drinking his own urine, homosexual mosquitoes and the conception method of his &lsquo;bastard child&rsquo; of a new book. <br><br> I liked most his description of himself as a famous architect, flying all over the world and meeting shady women by night and doing incomprehensibly architectural things with them in a memory erasing alcoholic stupor. Sever years later, this book arrives on his desk as a child of one of these women of the night (Princeton Architectural Press) and informs him that he is its daddy. Barely re...</p> Applause, boos and hope Michael Rogers 2010-05-08T06:32:18-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:19-04:00 <p>I have never seen an audience clap at the end of a DRL presentation. Principally, I think we don&rsquo;t clap because there isn&rsquo;t time. While critics are still responding to the a presentation, often vigorously trying to get their two cents in and be heard over the others, the arms start waving a new team to set up, the fingers start snapping and the projector cord is literally pulled out of one computer and handed to the new team. Someone yells, your time is &lsquo;starting now!.&rsquo; The previous team is still collecting their project from the table and nodding as the last conversation trickles away and the new team is jiggling the projector cord vigorously and praying silently that they machine recognizes their computer. You hear &lsquo;you time has started,&rsquo; an image flashes onto the screen and a new presentation begins. There is no pause for clapping, no real end to the critique. You get thrown on the table, thrown off it just as quickly and sit back in relief as you watch the rest of the team...</p> Exhale: a story of teenage angst. Michael Rogers 2010-01-30T13:07:33-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>I slept last night because all of the big decisions have been decided. My instincts screamed that I should attend a DRL party last night for Machiavellian reasons, to make new connections, strengthen the old and feel out people&rsquo;s positions on different topics. So much has politics and social awareness been embedded into my way of operating here that it only became apparent to me the moment it becomes of less urgency. Up until this point the two big questions we continuously revolved around was &lsquo;who do you want to form a team with&rsquo; and &lsquo;who will form a team with you?&rsquo; The last 4 months have felt like a political shuffle of epic proportions as we form and reform teams for every class and project. Like all political games I think, this one was played primarily in the background, in chance meetings in the hall and out on terraces. It relied heavily on luck and intuition with timing being the ultimate virtue. Over the last few weeks this scramble began to skirt out into the open...</p> The illusive Patrik Schumacher and his ephemeral ethos Michael Rogers 2010-01-23T15:33:04-05:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:18-04:00 <p>I remember reading a blog a year or two ago where the author described the DRL as a place that revolved heavily on the ideas and personality of Patrik Schumacher. As one of the founders of the course this certainly was the case but, for those of you who are Zaha enthusiasts and those who are not, I have to confess that the first term of the DRL has been almost completely devoid of both Mr. Schumacher and Zaha Hadid.<br><br> In Term 1 there was exactly 1 confirmed Patrick Schumacher sighting when he attended several critiques of the final presentation. Where I have been able to see him, however, is in juries of the older phase 2 students. He attends the reviews of his students which comprise approximately 1/5 of the class and departs when they are done presenting. If you choose to take his studio for 1 year you will certainly have contact with him, must usually at his office but if not, it seems entirely possible that one might cruise though the DRL for a year and a half without much di...</p> The ways in which decisions define Michael Rogers 2010-01-13T05:21:52-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>This feels like one of those fork-in-the-road moments that occur every now and again in life. Whether or not they are important each decision seems like it has the power to define the rest of my life in some significant way. The fork giving me the squinty-eyed-stare at the moment is that of choosing which studio to take for the next year. This is the thesis studio and the day after all the tutors presented their briefs I am life with the feeling that I have several quite extreme choices with very little different implications. The menu is as follows:<br><br> 1) Agent based populations create a whole new worlds through scripted creatures that interact and form architectural fields of beautiful complexity. Direct access to code, processing and maya seem to be the ingredients of choice for this dish. The intelligence of agents based work seems incredibly enticing and new for me. <br><br> 2) The parametricist agenda defined and evolved though an integration into Zaha&rsquo;s office. The typology o...</p> The illusive Patrik Schumacher and his gravity. Michael Rogers 2010-01-05T12:48:42-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <br> I remember reading a blog a year or two ago where the author described the DRL as a place that revolved heavily on the ideas and personality of Patrik Schumacher. For those of you who are Zaha enthusiasts and those who are not, I have to confess that the first term of the DRL has been almost completely devoid of both Mr. Schumacher presence and the agenda that he brings to the discussion. I am sure it surprises no one to hear that a very prominent and busy critic like Mr. Schumacher has very little time to spread between many projects but I have received several questions concerning the relationship between the DRL program and Zaha&rsquo;s office and so this is how I have seen it materialize:<br><br> In Term 1 there was exactly 1 confirmed Patrik Schumacher sighting when he attended several critiques of the phase 1 final presentation, although he barely stayed long enough to critique two teams. Where I have been able to see him is on juries of the older phase 2 students. He typically atten... Penultimate Materializations Michael Rogers 2009-12-03T14:22:37-05:00 >2011-11-28T21:01:02-05:00 <p>Final semester juries are two weeks away in the DRL. On the first floor Phase 1 robots are climbing, spraying dropping, drawing, pushing, giggling and even rocking out to queen. On the second level Phase 2 agents are flocking, aggregating, negotiating superbodies and in general being impressively indecipherable to Phase 1 students. The curious thing about the last two and the next two week is that this is the time where flocking agents and giggling robots are coerced into producing architecture. I would go so far as to say that these agents and servos have even been threatened into becoming buildings where words like &lsquo;apartments&rsquo; replace the much sexier &lsquo;superbodies.&rsquo; It&rsquo;s a transformation that amuses me deeply because I just spent the last few months struggling to divorce myself in many ways from this concretely architectural way of looking at work here. At the same time it is incredibly fascinating to see these months of experimentation, invention and fantasy begin to form...</p> DRL snapshot Michael Rogers 2009-11-18T18:03:14-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>On my desk are a number of things:<br> 1 book by the philosopher Lacan which explains where the origins of serial killing behavior lie. This is for a paper on Anish Kapoor&rsquo;s Cloud Gate sculpture.<br><br> 13 kenetic sculptures in lacra which bloom open or closed as passers by pull and push the wires embedded within. <br><br> 1 Arduino board, 4 working servos, 2 burnt out servos, 1 hacked power supply, 2 flex sensors and a tiny &lsquo;zzzzzzzzzz&rsquo; sound as it does its thing. These will eventually be hooked up to the lacra sculptures<br><br> Trying to crawl up my desk is 1 light sensing robot that obviously feels my labtop screen is the preverbal light at the end of the tunnel. <br><br> It is fairly common to be confronted with such a diversity of objects at the DRL in the morning, all begging for attention and potentially dangerous to touch. <br></p> Pompous = Survival Michael Rogers 2009-11-02T04:27:42-05:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>I was trying to explain to an acquaintance one morning over breakfast what it was that I was studying at the DRL. He was erroneously trying to sell it as Architecture and I was arguing that it had nothing to do with buildings and all to do with systems. Generative, networked and manipulatable systems to be exact. &ldquo;Like a computer network?&rdquo; he asked. &ldquo;Sure, if that is where the research leads&rdquo; I answered. (At this point I do not realize he is an x-computer science professional) &ldquo;Like a Star System?&rdquo; he asks. &ldquo;Sure, if that is what was needed.&rdquo; &ldquo;How long would it take you?&rdquo; &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know, give me a week and I am sure we would have something working.&rdquo; His reply: &ldquo;YOU ARE ENCREDIBLY POMPUS!&rdquo; That is when the fireworks broke out. The next few minuets were full of detailed and emphatic descriptions of why it was ridiculous of me to have the opinion that a DRL team could begin to sort out the complexities of a Star Computer network in a week (whatever a Star Computer Network is...</p> Chaos is the Content Michael Rogers 2009-10-20T17:37:21-04:00 >2011-09-23T13:01:18-04:00 <p>&lsquo;You have to do the readings. That is where the answers lie.&rsquo; <br> (paraphrased wisdom from phase two students)<br><br> Every critique, seminar, lecture and project assignment creates a myriad of new questions that seem to push this program farther out into foreign territory. As you have read, it is production time now, which means exploring and understanding the concepts at play well enough to formulate arguments in public and under criticism. This process necessitates a serious survival strategy: READ. Each of our 3 seminar classes eventually handed out at 2&rsquo;+ thick binder of readings that contain the secrets to success, happiness and riches in the DRL. Never have I been in a situation where reading was more important or productive than designing but this is entirely the case. To do it right means attacking these formidable binders to the lovely round number of 18 hours a week. It is incredibly hard to put down my studio project, neglect my baby, and read but it is essential. How es...</p> Architecturally favored chaos Michael Rogers 2009-10-11T14:06:45-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Week number one just wrapped up in a momentously disorienting storm of programming, reading, presenting, cracking, hacking, foreign pronunciations, lectures and chaos. In short, architecturally flavored chaos. No one knows how many classes we have or where we are supposed to be right now but we do know one thing: it is time to produce. This realization set in around Wednesday and studio turn into a mad house. Catenary models began climbing down from the ceilings, maintenance began demanding that we put back the buildings components that we used to make the models&hellip; Masses of laser cut puzzle pieces form nebulas clouds that are especially good at blocking doorways and more software is being cracked than you can shake a stick at. Its quite amazing when I stood back and observed the change in attitude from Monday and eon ago. There are beautiful models everywhere and from behind each of them the same explanation is echos &ldquo;we don&rsquo;t know what the f*#k we are doing&hellip;&rdquo; <br><br> But that se...</p> Unlearning Michael Rogers 2009-10-04T15:21:55-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>All of the AA graduate programs had a half hour orientation back-to-back and open to all. It became blatantly obvious that even within the AA the DRL is a unique program. The orientations unfolded as follows:<br><br> [TYPICAL] Each set of faculty gave a brief description of the agenda of the course, detailed the course structure and introduced professors. These professors then talked about their courses and teaching methods and showed previous work to illustrate what the students would be creating. They ended by handing out course schedules and syllabi and announcing where and when to show up for the first day of class. Pretty standard and informative.<br><br> [DRL] The DRL stands up and presents the history of how the program evolved and where it is directed in the future. The presentation was graphically exciting, verbally intriguing and for the benefit of all the other graduate programs. The DRL sat down. <br><br> [TYPICAL] Orientations now finished, all graduate programs file downstairs f...</p> Surrender Michael Rogers 2009-09-27T06:29:58-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Orientation is officially over for the here at the AA and the beginning of classes looms large as Monday approaches. Through lectures, orientations, speeches, boat tours, office tours, exhibition tours, picnics, gallery shows, symposiums, parties on the terrace and a lot of waiting in line, the AA has done an excellent job of revealing a glimpse of the world we are about to enter. Conclusion: AA-Land is an infinitely foreign place where the best projects from last year could eat you but in all other regards defy explanation. Almost everyone I have met so far who will be studying in the DRL has chosen this program because it represents the antithesis of their experiences so far. They too desire to be exposed to a whole new way of thinking with different values and different goals. <br><br> While watching a symposium of AA FAB winners present their research it became clear to me how different that thought process and value system was. Hearing them explain how their process evolved, I ...</p> Reflexive sleep deprivation awarness announcement Michael Rogers 2009-09-22T14:46:24-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Ever think about being sleep deprived while you were working all night in a fairly sleep deprived state? If this is your hobby, or you just want to experience the magic of it, then here is a little podcast sweetness from This American Life to make 2am a little more interesting: <a href="" target="_blank">361: Fear of Sleep</a><br><br> Synopysis: "Mike Birbiglia got used to strange things happening to him when he slept&mdash;until something happened that almost killed him. Mike's story and other reasons to fear sleep, including roaches, bedbugs, "The Shining," and mild-mannered husbands who turn into maniacs while asleep. "</p> Initial Confessions Michael Rogers 2009-09-22T07:19:34-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <p>Dear Readers,<br><br> Before I begin trying show you what will happen at the DRL this semester, I want to tell you why I am here. The answer is fear coated in luck. <br><br> The fear comes from the fact that this school, and particularly the DRL program represent an experience that is completely foreign to me. It appears to be an extremely informal world that is dedicated to an experimental view of reality. I think Brett Steele put it very aptly in his welcome remarks when he said that the AA is committed to teaching and learning architecture not as it is currently is, but in new ways that that we don&rsquo;t fully understand yet. There is a very exciting comfort level with the undefined and intriguingly ambiguous here that seems very unique to me. I say it is foreign for me because my background is so practical. I grew up farming in the States, working with very large machines and very dangerous animals to solve very real problems. Professionally, my experience as a designer has been shaped by...</p>