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PS1 YOUNG ARCHITECTS

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Janosh

To addictionbombs: "in more specific terms, i find that gage's "digital formalism" by itself accounts for depth in the sense that it sparks debates such as these, and that serving as a catalyst and creating such angry reactions from way too many archinect posters, means he's actually making taking a position, and actually pushing forth an agenda. it may not be one that many people agree with, but claiming that there is no position being put forth by his work seems pretty superficial."

I would agree that Gage's work has an agenda, but having an agenda is not an end to itself; one has to measure what the agenda is to attempting acheive. There are bad agendas (who would praise Milosovic's ethnic cleansing on the basis of the rigor with which it was prosecuted?) and there are those that are just meaningless because they attempt to achieve nothing of worth. I am not dismissing formalism as worthless, because formalists are the first to assert that beauty has utilty (agreed), but I AM saying that sometimes formalist pursuits set the bar so low as to be unremarkable (Gage) and sometimes they cloak them in mock utilitarian rhetoric (Iwamoto-Scott). Either way, it's a snow job.

As to provocation as the mark of success, I have to disagree. Being provacative and inciting debate is enough for marketing (Aqua Teen Hunger Force), or selling books ("John Edwards is a faggot"), but not for Architecture. The debate that is being stimulated by PS1 this year is not equivalent to the polychromy of buildings in antiquity, or between functionalism and plasticism, but instead "why should we care?" And that also happens to be the question I'd like someone to answer.

Mar 8, 07 12:22 am  · 
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tourant

Janosh, what do you mean by the debate being stimulated by PS1 this year being "why should we care"? It is probably seen as that every year for the naysayers. And why would we care about your work should you direct archinecters to it? Or is the old making yourself taller by cutting the heads off of others?

If you paid a little more attention to the Jellyfish project that you bash, you'd know it was comissioned for an exhibition whose very premise was to speculate about technologies of the future, as a provocation, not to solve the problem of the 'smart house' with current day off-the-shelf stuff. Your claim that Ball Nogues is the only one "actually building the shit with methods opened by the (digital fab) technology" is suspect. At PS1 specifically, SHoP arguably did years ago, as did Wiscombe, nArchitects, Hernan and Obra to some extent; as have the architects of the Jellyfish house in earlier work, as well as in numerous academic projects shown in the Courses portion of that part of their website (in fact a whole slew of digital fab projects); as have another group in this years lineup - MOS.

Maybe you should reconsider your own superficial judgements of work by these designers based on what you've perused on the web, and aknowledge they're all having gone through a pretty intensive filtering and selection process -- not just for PS1 but in recognition by numerous other fairly well-respected venues and instititions.

Mar 8, 07 1:32 am  · 
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j-turn

I think one problem with the PS1 competition is that the entrants throughout the years have overwhelming come from the digi-form/ fab camp. One the one hand that's reasonable - that seems to be the topic that is most prevalent in current discourses. But it also belies an institutional agnda at PS1. As a contemporary art institution they have a bias towards to formal, visual and the novel. In their selection process, a search for the new is always at the top of the agenda, but then over the years they've displayed a narrow view on what the new could be. Is this a case of PS1 trying to be taste makers and advocating for the digi-form movement, or is simply lazy research?

I haven't seen the entries, but looking at the entrants work they all seem to variations on simillar themes of digital to material form making. With that in mind, I don't think it's all that reasonable to expect these entries to spark a episteme-challenging debate, but rather to provoke discussions on finer points on a few issues of technique.

Mar 8, 07 2:40 am  · 
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Helsinki

yes j-turn, that's probably the value of PS1 - testing out how the formmakers and "form-provocateurs" are doing outside the depths of digital-fluids (will they collapse, explode or evolve?) - and maybe getting jittery about a lack of any other kind of substance than novel tectonic logics is a bit small. admittedly.

As for Gage, his work hasn't actually sparked much debate, more the criticism aimed at him as a juror. and it kinda spun out of control from there. Still, can't find much to talk about in the stuff seen on the website - but I realize that being neat & sexy, the work might be unjustly labelled as being just & only that, and not communicating something more. and yes, being neat & sexy (and only that) is in itself something of a position, but maybe having more to do with marketing and seduction than issues of space.

Looking at the competition (now or before), its quite hard to actually see any architect really doing something "substantial" (the word used here meaning anything worth something more than its formal sense) - but before thinking that empty formal experiments are ok and that we shouldn't really care and demand "something more", doing a comparison with some artists might be sobering - think for an example what people like (some quick obvious examples) A.Zittel, J.Lieshout or someone like that would come up with? Spatial in someway, definitively, and for sure substantial in more ways than just in introducing new methods of construction and design.

Maybe we are asking architects for something they are not capable or accustomed to produce - projects with content.

Mar 8, 07 3:23 am  · 
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j-turn

For me, the Shop installation is the gold standard for PS1 projects. While, yes it was formal and an experriment in fluid form, it was, at it's core, a project that was driven by program. The form was entirely contingent from the new activities that it was bringing into the ps1 courtyard. The tectonic system they used was simple, ingeneous and rigorously applied.

Interestingly, when you see the project in photos, it's quite ugly, but the experience - the excitetement of all the activities it held, the exploration of the spaces it created, and the ambiances produced by the slatted tctonics have really created a lasting impression in my memory.

None of the projects since then have succeeded in the many ways that shop's project did.

Mar 8, 07 4:30 am  · 
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Helsinki

Have to take your word for it. the images don't show much of the quality of use, and it looks even a bit like a student project (I'm thinking of some RISD canopies). and yup. a bit ugly. not neat at least.

Mar 8, 07 6:47 am  · 
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Janosh

Tourant, if I'm a naysayer, you must represent the opposite camp (Yay! Yay! Yay!). I'm well aware that jellyfish was commissioned for the Vitra exhibition... my criticism stands that is irresponsible and worthless for an architect to speculate on the marvelous contributions of technologies that don't exist. The brief for the Open House show asked "What potential do the new technologies and materials of today hold for domestic living and residential architecture of tomorrow?" A new technology or material of today would no doubt be one that is extent. The emperor has no clothes.

And Ball-Nogues is the only one this year building shit with digital technology. Using computer visualization to design something and then making it by hand doesn't represent a paradigm shift.

Tourant, if you insist that we should care, and these projects are important, perhaps you can offer why.

Mar 8, 07 10:03 am  · 
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j-turn

janosh

actually - I know for a fact that MOS, NYC are digi fabbing it up a ton.

but really - digital fabrication is quite common place these days, for example, if you get any sort of cheesy prefab moulding or base board at home depot, those are all done with cnc machines.

Mar 8, 07 10:20 am  · 
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Janosh

So true.

Mar 8, 07 10:36 am  · 
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tourant

Janosh, as I said, your claim about Ball Nogues being "the only one this year" is bullshit. MOS certainly have used digi fab, in several projects. And as I said IwamotoScott have (laser and water jet cut based work shown particularly in Intsallations and Acdemic sections of the website). And FYI the Open House show describes speculating about technologies "on the horizon". As well, you might do a little research before making definitive claims -- the fact is some of this stuff is not pie-in-the-sky or made up: UV based gray water filtration deploying titanium dioxide is used right now on offshore rigs, and phase-change material has already been tried as passive heating/cooling in buildings in Germany. So, it seems you are the emperor with no clothes, or at least the emperor making unbased proclamations about what does or does not exist...

Mar 8, 07 12:07 pm  · 
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... see now this is turning into an interesting dicussion.

I'm also really interested to see what MOS comes up with, given their take on geometry and fab. IwamotoScott will be worth watching as well. It seems like a pretty diverse group when you examine it closely, not just a bunch of pretty butterflies on pins. And anyway, even those butterflies (and moths) are really diverse and fascinating the more you zoom in on the differences.

BTW, I think h1's comment above bears repeating:

Archinect should do a feature - not on the entries, since we're all going to see them anyway - but on the mechanics. Who are the nominators? who were the pre-finalists asked to submit portfolios? who reviewed them, etc. . . That would be more interesting than this blind speculation on who's going to win.

I second that, it sounds like an excellent idea for a feature.

Mar 8, 07 1:01 pm  · 
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Janosh

Tourant, again: there is a difference between water jet or die cut elements assembled by hand and true digital fabrication, where the robot does the work.

And please do tell me who is developing the Jelly Fish house technology.

Mar 8, 07 4:24 pm  · 
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Janosh

Also, you neglected to tell me why these projects are important. Do you have anything positive to offer this discussion? A rebuttal to my argument does not constitute taking a position of your own.

Mar 8, 07 4:26 pm  · 
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tourant

"True digital fabrication"? are you suggesting Ball Nogues' Maximillian's Schell or the corrugated cardboard thing at Rice were not CNC cut parts assembled by hand? Because as far as I know they were; and they certainly were not assembled by robots -- hopefully by robots you're not implying all the interns involved. In terms of the technology associated with Jellyfish House, I mentioned two instances easily tracked down with a little research.

What positive thing I have to offer the discussion is in fact the rebuttal to your negativity (double negative = positive). Specifically, I agree with sevensixfive, that this group is not as you suggest a bunch of pretty butterflies, and that we likely will see some interesting results from all of these designers.

Mar 8, 07 5:18 pm  · 
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j-turn

heheh - robots!

Actually, the PS1 event has traditionally been a forum for showboating the advatages of CNC milling+ intern labor!

I gotta say, I always find the entries very interesting, but the very mixed results when the winner gets built show how constrained (cheap + fast) the project is how tricky you have to be to pull it off.

Mar 8, 07 6:16 pm  · 
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bothands

That's a good point -- how extremely fast and extremely cheap the client expects it done (expecially compared to what they pay for 'art').

Mar 8, 07 8:02 pm  · 
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lifeform

It seems obvious that RAMStern had his hands all over the nominations this year. Two shortlisted people are recent Yale hires. And probably SLavin or GLynn on west coast - with Balls Nouges and IwaScott.

Mar 8, 07 9:08 pm  · 
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Francisco David Boira

***The majority of these PS1 projects are usually intended to be CNC produced and fabricated but, due to budget constraints and lack of time they end up being done by hand. A good example of this is the Sur project by Hernan Diaz Alonso for his PS1 winning entry which I had a minimal involvement (accent on minimal). The projects surfaces ended up being fabricated by hand, carving large chunks of foam by Art Center graduates, while the project architect for its fabrication was a very talented Sci-Arc graduate and former xefirotarch wingman by the name of Drura Parrish. During its fabrication Zoë and I were living in LA and used to visit Drura out in Orange County where they spent night and day for about a month making the forms out of renderings and wire frame print outs. After the parts were fabricated, coated and painted, they were fit into a container and Drura himself drove them all the way back to Long Island.
Pretty intense.




Mar 9, 07 10:41 am  · 
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dorian81

Whats the big deal with "true digital fabrication?" I think the end result is more important. Is research really all about how something is produced and not what it does or is? All of the finalists seem to use technology, but I'd imagine the most visually impressive (but realistic) scheme will win. Probably Gage + Clemenceu or Iwamoto Scott, from what I've seen so far.

Mar 15, 07 10:39 pm  · 
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Janosh

This why:

To be deemed noteworthy or remarkable on a stage of this scale, a project should either be:

-Innovative in Design Process

OR

-Technologically Groundbreaking in fabrication/execution

OR

-Politically Provocative/Critical

OR

-More than Sustainable


AND

-In all cases, it should be formally interesting. We all poop intersting forms, so this should be considered a minimum qualifier, not a reason for being in and of itself.

Mar 15, 07 10:51 pm  · 
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regarding the previous discussion of computer generated forms and computer assisted production check out this podcast from architectural record... it is an interview with michael speaks, tom wiscombe, and hernan diaz-alonso talking about fabrication and the PS1 program... both tom and hernan cite the projects short schedule as problematic in the use of digital fabrication techniques... they just couldn't find a shop that could meet their deadlines... so they ended up using a hybrid process of computer+hand... tom talks about projecting the shapes onto a concrete wall and then tracing the shapes onto the material with a sharpie and cutting by hand... pretty interesting listen...

Mar 20, 07 11:37 am  · 
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aaargink

on that note, is there any reason why the PS1 choses to have such an ungodly schedule?

Mar 23, 07 6:15 am  · 
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aaargink

and on one more note...WEST COAST RULES!!!! TAKE THAT!!!

Mar 23, 07 5:23 pm  · 
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kylemiller

I win!

From: 2.16.07. "Early predictions? It went to a NY office last year, so I'll go with Ball-Nogues. Besides being a couple of bad-asses, they seem to be doing some interesting material research out here."

Do i get a medal?

Mar 23, 07 6:08 pm  · 
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What did they announce a winner already?

Mar 23, 07 7:36 pm  · 
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I guess so: [http://www.ps1.org/ps1_site/content/view/264/102/]link[/url]


Mar 23, 07 8:13 pm  · 
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aaargink

its on the ps1 website http://www.ps1.org/ps1_site/content/view/264/102/

having worked with the guys (for free) during thier Rice Gallery installation, I can't be happier....really, really cool dudes.

I would work with them for shelter and food in NYC (if they wanted me), but I'm not in the country so it don't matter =)

Mar 23, 07 8:13 pm  · 
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monkeyboy

Hey aaargink,

I was part of the Stevens Product Architecture Lab team that worked with Ben and Gaston. If you are interested in helping in the installation you should let us know.

Mar 24, 07 12:51 am  · 
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chad_c

from the news section:
a video of mos' entry can be found on their website.

and some images of IwamotoScott's entry can be found
here.

Mar 24, 07 2:34 am  · 
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Hasselhoff

The problem with a lot of these PS1 entries is they look like 90% of the midreview projects you see floating around schools. On the other hand, at least they are just some kind of awning rather than say, a school or hotel...

Mar 24, 07 4:37 am  · 
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Ettubrute

Here's a link to an animation of IwamotoScott's entry on Youtube.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=kvKkbQ65EJA

you can probably look for a higher quality one on IwamotoScott's site in the next few days

Mar 24, 07 5:24 am  · 
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Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke

Not sure why, but MOS' entry reminds me of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope in Arizona:

Mar 24, 07 9:30 am  · 
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chad_c
Ball-Nogues in the NYT
Mar 24, 07 11:44 am  · 
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LOL:

"“Imagine a Felliniesque, low-tech circus tent with the canvas replaced by hallucinogenic red, orange and amber silicon scales,” said Alanna Heiss, the director of P.S. 1. “It seemed to us East Coast people really a present from the wilderness of California dreams.”'

Westsiiide!

Mar 24, 07 12:05 pm  · 
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Samba on flickr is assembling a great series of entry images here.

Mar 24, 07 1:39 pm  · 
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aaargink

interesting...that was a physical model in the nyt article wasn't it...?

Mar 24, 07 1:45 pm  · 
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aspect

i'm juz curious, is PS1 suppose to be really big in the States?? so who can enter??

Mar 24, 07 2:01 pm  · 
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tourant

Interesting comments on the flickr pics sevensixfive refers to here

I agree with B.Boyer that the winner looks like a Maximillian's Schell re-play, and a crude-looking one at that (just multiplied times six and red instead of gold). Pretty sad, from what I see on flickr it seems like the least sophisticated of the PS1 bunch. So much for robots, Janosh, huh? Though robots would be prone to repeat themselves...

Mar 24, 07 11:14 pm  · 
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i'm not too impressed with the projects this year... as said above ball-nogues winning project looks SOOO similar to their previous max. schell project... the gage project was predictably awful... i think that the MOS project could have been cool though... and iwa-scott's is probably my favorite although i'm not sure how it would have held up...

Mar 25, 07 9:06 am  · 
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j-turn

it is just me - or do all these entries seem procupied with creating shade? C'mon guys - it's new york - you only get a few oportunites to work on your tan.

it seems like the default architect reaction to this brief is: make conopies! make objects that look cool in the renderings!

Does anyone know of a ps1 entry that actually tried to react to the "scene" there? it is very sceney-see-and-be-seen. funadmentally those events are more about people watching than architecture gazing.

Mar 25, 07 10:24 am  · 
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kylemiller

"the gage project was predictably awful"
right on.

j-turn: the requirements are to provide shade, seating, and water i believe.... and it's not like the whole thing is in shade.

Mar 25, 07 3:06 pm  · 
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j-turn

yeah, clearly shade is a requirement, but the default tactic seems to make shade THE factor and really objectify the canopy. I'm not sure why that's so- other than the fact that the canopy is the most capital A - architectural element in the brief.

If it were upto me, i'd VE out half the canopy on the winning scheme. People like to sit in the sun too, especially in the summer.

Mar 25, 07 4:21 pm  · 
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o d b

have you ever been to one of these ps.1 events?

it's friggin' HOT out there...i always wished there were more shade....

Mar 25, 07 4:28 pm  · 
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Janosh

A victory for the hot-glue gun.

Mar 26, 07 9:39 am  · 
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not without

according to the nyt, ball and nogues offer a change of pace...like converse high tops (in red...radical!) and a goatee (double radical!) i'm ready for my store-bought architectural counter-culture, mr. demille...oh poo on me

Mar 26, 07 11:07 am  · 
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tourant

Yeah, the more I think about this winning entry, the lamer it seems --
They seem to care more about how these guys look than how friggin bad that lame design looks!

Mar 26, 07 2:56 pm  · 
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kylemiller

lets demand a recount: anyone else second Iwamoto Scott's entry.

Mar 26, 07 3:08 pm  · 
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kill69

I am all for Ball-Nogues. These guys will pull it off and it will be well crafted.

I am sick of people on treads saying this is "lame" or that "sucks". Give some real criticism. What you do or do not like about something.

Or shut the fuck up!

Mar 26, 07 3:33 pm  · 
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tourant

OK you want "some real criticism"? First I'll simply quote Orhan's comment in the archinect news section:

that the "winning proposal is so sold out. after seeing the real thing in silverlake, this looks like a waste of energy and missed opportunity to build something new."

Then I cry bullshit (or at least chickenshit) on these guys and this scheme. Its making them seem like one-hit wonders (or two-hit wonders if you count the curvy, corrugated cardboard thing done twice now). This project advances nothing in terms of tectonic innovation, primarily since its a re-tread.

Repeating yourself when your old and famous is one thing (Gehry), or when a project doesn't get built and then is re-deployed and transformed (OMA's Y2K House > Porto Concert Hall), but when you're relatively young? Why?

Sure it might be well-crafted, so what?! So is a shaker box. PS1 is billed as being about innovation and experimentation in architecture today, not just craft -- the bar is raised above "well-crafted". Besides, you can't tell me the model is well-crafted.

The red mylar (vs. gold last year) will probably have some interesting light effects (if not cook people underneath like french fries, as its non-porous), but in the end, the mast-supported saddle-shape tensile-tent-thing is basically Frei Otto circa 1972 (and certainly seems no more innovative than Obra's much-criticized PS1 last year). As a system, it simply crashes into the context (symmetrically I might add), it seems closer to 2D to 2D use of digital fab than 2D to 3D and as such seems more repetitive/primitive than emergent/parametric, and finally, as it stands in the model pics I've seen, its just seems plain ugly and unsophisticated compared to other efforts here...you asked for real criticism, you got it.

In the end, as other people have suggested, it's the package/image/connections of these guys that the institution and media are perhaps most compelled by, rather than the best design (not surprisingly).

Mar 26, 07 4:47 pm  · 
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magnetic chuck

Tourant,

I think all are great schemes. Some of them are probably unfeasible, however.

As far as the other schemes go can you point out anything that is innovative in any of them as far as structure is concerned...
-Iwamotto/scott entry looks like a series of cable trusses (see Ottos work on cable trusses) with fabric panels (2D material) supported between the cable boundaries. At least B-N seems to be using their matieral as the structure itself with far fewer cable boundaries.
-MOS, an infalteable structure out of mylar that is within the reach of drunks and smokers.
-Ruy/Klein's is a knotted/knitted covering that would take months of non stop knot tying and some pretty big rope...ever handled that much rope? ever handled that much rope when it gets wet? it is also not feasible to span those distances as proposed unless you use anti gravity rope.
Gage Clemenceau: is what it is but no doubt way too expensive to pull off.

With respect to materials, what's innovative about the materials anbody is using? Perhaps Ruy's use of rope is innovative but you couldn't actually build that thing.

As for any of the past PS1 projects they all seem to be drawing from the bag of structural typologies.
nArchitects:a lattice structure - check out Otto's Manheim lattice shell.
Obra: a lattice shell supported at arched boundaries: Otto's Manheim lattice shell and Otto's lattice shell at Deubeu in Essen.

2D to 2D digital fabrication? As I undestand it BN are surfacing anticlastic (doubly curved) tensioned surfaces in flat panels - that's 3D to 2D and then back to 3D. The relationship between those panels is going to have to be EXACT - and exact for thousands of panels. The management of those parts is going to be a real bitch for them and will likely have to involve a lot of scripted solutions to make it feasible. Scripting in the BN case will be a matter of making construction feasible and not in the service of some formal wank in mystery material.

Repetitive/Primitive vs. Emergent/Parametric? I'm not real sure what you mean by this. I can tell you that as far as I know these guys are using the latest in parametric modeling software

As for MOMA and PS1 - they need the shade, they want the spectacle (its a 5,000+ party), and they want it on time and on budget or they get screwed. I think that the PS1 competition is viewed as some kind of architectural free for all but clients have needs be they MOMA or the old lady next door.

As for people repeating themselves - I'm sure BN has a lot to develop for this project. I don't see using a material / structure / assembly system twice as a problem - I see it as research and evolution - these things are necessary in the real world. I'd bet they push further than their other projects. Shingeru Ban uses cardboard tubes over and over again (using structural typologies that are drawn from the standard book of tricks by the way). He's just further refining a system for the application he's working within and adapting his understanding of cardboad to suit new applications. Three months and seventy grand is not enough time to reinvent the wheel. Improve upon the wheel - definitely.

As for ugly, I'm going to wait and see about that. I saw a BN rendering of Maximilian's Schell and didn't find that too compelling either. I think these guys are mistrustful of high production values of the sort that you see over and over again in student animations and renderings. Those model images look like they were taken by some intern at the Museum not a professional (with lighting, etc.) and as far as your comments about two hit-wonders are concerned...they have been doing around for less than two years. seems impressive to me. Didn't Greg Lynn do about fifty vacuform blobs before actually building a church in off the shelf structural steel? I think they come from the "let's figure out what we can do with these materials and then the form will emerge from that. That's the difference between real world practicioners and students. Not a bad way to figure something out given the parameters - engineering has to be a part of the initial set of considerations on a project like that. Doubt you'll see much Maya eye wash out of these guys: CATIA, Generative Components, TopSolid, RISA, yes.

Don't mean to defend them too much but there certainly is more to it than you suggest. And yeah - red shoes and fedoras aside, in the real world, personality goes a long way in making things happen. It's always a team effort.



Mar 26, 07 6:38 pm  · 
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