CONSTRUCTING THE PHENOMENAL: THE PROCESS OF SUBTLETY
Front Note Abstract Index 01: Fragments and Views Index 02: Axonometric Analyses Index 03: Painted Layers Digression (between ground + sky) Index 04: Conditions at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Index 05: Drawing Site Digression (artifact/antifact) Index 06: Drawing Spatial Suggestions Index 08: Mediating Material Index 09: Making Spatial Suggestions Index 10: Sound Narrative Digression (drawing allegories) End Note 06 08 16 44 58 62 68 70 78 84 86 88 94 96 106 108 112 114 Graduate Advisors: Critics: Jason Alread Paul Robinson
Constructing the Phenomenal addresses the importance of experience in architecture. This project mines the relationships between the act of constructing and phenomenal architectural qualities, addressing conditions layers, and transparency. An indexical relationship allows for a collection of spatial experience for an occupant. The Process of Subtlety alludes to the importance of small gestures in the architectural discipline, from the shadows of space to the textural detail that holds an experience. An engagement with site provokes the relationship between space and place. An indexical correlation between site qualities and architectural qualities allows for deference in the act of making marks between ground and sky. The project seeks to acknowledge the nuances of site to develop an architecture that reacts and responds to the atmosphere of place. Subtle conditions have an immediate engagement with the body, invoking memory, emotion, and visceral sensation. Constructing spaces through a process of phenomenal subtleties allows an architecture that communicates with the body, crafted to hold memories and structure identity. Itchetucknee Brimming Over, Margaret Ross Tolbert, Oil on Canvas (2008). Image accessed at http://springseternalproject.org. CONSTRUCTING THE PHENOMENAL THE PROCESS OF SUBTLETY
06 07 air / 58 artifact / 73, 84 assembly / 88 basswood / 96 bristol / 96 building / 8 constructed / 60 construction / 9, 12, 88 conventions / 12 culture / 90 design problem / 58 detail / 13, 20, 22, 88, 114 diagrams / 61, 90 drawings / 15, 60, 61, 90 earth / 58, 60, 90 experiences / 89, 90 fabric / 15, 88 form / 15 frame / 8, 60, 61 framework / 88 glass / 96 glycerin / 96 ground / 8, 58, 59, 61, 68, 86 horizon / 8, 59, 60, 73, 86 humankind / 60 image / 12, 13, 60, 88 intentions / 15 intervention / 108 joint / 9 landscape / 58 mark / 58, 60 material / 8, 12, 15, 30, 60, 88 90, 114 material joint / 13 memories / 89 mock-ups / 60 models / 60, 61, 90 music / 89 object / 8, 9, 12, 88 observation / 59 observation place / 59, 60, 61, 114 observation tower / 58, 59, 75 panoramic views / 58 photographs / 13, 88 place / 12, 15, 58, 59, 60, 61 plaster / 96 products / 88 rain / 58, 106 section model / 114 site / 58, 59, 60, 61, 66, 89 site materials / 78 sky / 8, 58, 64, 68, 86 sound diagram / 110 synthetic / 88 technology / 12 tectonic assembly / 78 topography / 8, 58 weather / 58 xray / 96 Alachua Sink / 58 Banco Popolare di Verona / 29 Barcelona Pavilion / 26, 27, 46, 94 Brion Tomb / 25 Bruder Klaus Kapelle / 24, 48 Casa del Fascio / 50 Castelvecchio / 16, 28, 33, 44 Farnsworth House / 94 Florida / 58, 108 Florida Aquifer / 58 Fondazione Querini Stampalia / 22 Gainesville, Florida / 58 House of Culture / 31 Igualada Cemetery / 54 Kolumba Museum / 19, 32, 36 Kunsthaus Bregenz / 56, 94 Nordic Pavilion / 39 Notre Dame du Haut / 18, 43, 95 Palazzo Chiericati / 52 Palladio Museum / 17 Parco della Musica / 21 Paynes Prairie / 58, 60, 61, 88, 89, 108 Peter Zumthor / 20-24, 32, 36, 56, 94 Pezo von Ellrichshausen / 40 Sagrada Familia / 38 Saint Benedict Chapel / 20 Sainte Marie de La Tourette / 42 Toledo Museum of Art / 95 Vara Pavilion / 40 Villa Savoye / 41 Vitra Fire Station / 95 VM Houses / 35, 37 Alvar Aalto / 23, 30, 31, 34 Agnes Martin / 13, 14 Andrea Palladio / 52 Antoni Gaudi / 38 Bjarke Ingles Group / 35, 37 Bregenz Art Museum / 94 Carlo Scarpa / 16, 22, 25, 28, 29, 33, 44 Coleman Coker / 60 Colin Rowe / 12, 60 Edward Hall / 91 Enric Miralles / 54 Finlandia Hall / 23, 30 Frank Llyod Wright / 90 Giuseppe Terragni / 50 Ignasi de Sola-Morales / 90 Italo Calvino / 90 Juhani Pallasmaa / 91 / 90 Le Corbusier / 18, 41, 42, 43, 95 Louis Kahn / 90 Michael Cadwell / 90 Mies van der Rohe / 26, 27, 46, 94 Nader Tehrani / 15 Renzo Piano / 21 Robert Slutzky / 12, 60 Robert Smithson / 59 Rosalind Krauss / 13 SANAA / 95 Steven Holl / 15 Sverre Fehn / 39 Zaha Hadid / 95 audio / 60, 61, 88, 89 auditory / 12 body / 9, 12, 58, 60, 90 clarity / 88 consciousness / 9 curiosity / 12 discontinuity / 90 distant view / 15 ear / 89 echo / 89, 112 edge / 73 emotion / 8, 60, 90 existence / 58 experience / 9, 12, 13, 15, 59, 61, 90 eye / 12, 89 feeling / 59, 60 haptic / 89 human index of memories / 90 human perceptions / 88 human relationships / 90 interrelationships / 13, 88 language / 8, 12, 89, 90 listening / 59, 60, 89 meaning / 60 memory / 9, 89, 90 modes of perception / 15 ourselves / 90 perception / 13, 15, 90 person / 12 phenomena / 13, 58, 60, 61 phenomenal / 12 phenomenological / 9 reaction / 106 reality / 13 relationship / 8, 13, 58, 60, 88, 90, 91 sensation / 9 sense / 12, 13, 89, 90 sexuality / 89 solitude / 60 spirit / 89 stimuli / 13 tactility / 12 tasting / 59 touch / 59, 90 view / 13, 59 visceral / 9 vision / 8, 12, 59, 60, 89 visual dominance / 59 acoustic / 108 aesthetics / 8 ambience / 60 ambiguity / 13 atmosphere / 12, 58, 60, 82, 89-91, 114 atmospheric edges / 80 between / 13, 60, 88 breathing edges / 80, 82 bright / 112 conditions / 60 conventional / 61 empirical / 9 exposed / 112 familiarity / 88 formal / 8 function / 88 gravity / 58 horizontality / 60 human / 8 illusion / 13 imagine / 88 in-between / 8, 60, 61 invisible / 58 itinerary / 73 layers / 40, 42, 58, 60, 82, 110 light / 12, 15, 16, 18, 58, 114 materiality / 13 material qualities / 88 movement / 73 / 89, 112 multiplicity / 12, 13, 88, 90 non-site / 59, 60, 61, 90 objective / 9 opacity / 13, 78, 82, 88 overlap / 90 planar / 88 points / 88 political / 8 procession / 73, 112 qualities / 9, 12, 13, 58, 88, 89 / 13, 24, 26, 58, 91 rough / 112 screen / 9, 73 shifting horizons / 58, 64 shifting surfaces / 76 site conditions / 80 sound / 89, 108, 114 subjective / 15 subtle / 13, 60, 89, 114 subtle qualities / 13 subtleties / 60, 89, 90, 91 surface / 13, 58, 60, 80 technical / 15 texture / 13, 32, 34, 58, 60, 73 time / 90 transparency / 13, 36, 38, 60, 90 unconventional / 89 veil / 9, 12, 58 wet / 112 QUALITIES MATTER PLACES PEOPLE BODY ABSTRACT
08 09 Architecture(al) Architecture as a noun relies on the idea that architecture is an object, a thing. Architecture as an object brings a priority to the physical medium that composes architecture, the topography of the ground, the heaviness of a material, the role of that object in another noun place. The word Architect from Greek architekton master builder, director of works from arkhi chief + tekton builder implies a leader, maker, author, and skill all of which are substantially diminished with the addition of -ure The etymology of the word architect is important to recognize in relation to current practice of architecture and the larger social and political world. What architects think of architecture, and what a layman thinks of architecture may be completely different. The architect understands architecture as the synthesis of materials and systems that frames a thoughtful and intentional space. The interested layman understands architecture as an object, a certain style or form that has landed in their place. This distinction is made to recognize that, at a basic level, the way architects communicate plays a large role in how the profession is perceived. Often times, the functional and innovative solutions of a building are downplayed while public priority plays to formal and visual aesthetics. Architecture as an adjective becomes the language for understanding architecture within and outside the profession. While architecture represents an object, a building, a place the implications of that architecture are architectural which becomes increasingly important to how society understands the profession of architecture. In this case, not everything is architecture, but everything is architectural. To say that everything is architectural is a method to understand architecture beyond its limited objective architectural implies relationships between separate things, a necessary in-between space to question, challenge, analyze, and frame as a design question. To what end do we develop these questions? To say everything is architecture does not capture the non-spatial imperatives of the human emotion, it does not imply a relationship to the ground, to the sky, nor does it acknowledge the horizon that binds the two. To rethink the possibility of everything being architectural allows a speculation on what the qualities of architecture are. What is the relationship that makes this architectural? It might be the physical spatial relationship between a set of things, it might be the psychological implications of a place and its shape, it might be the feeling one feels when moving from one location to the other all have architectural qualities embedded and can be related to on a societal level. It is up to the architect to challenge and provoke these thoughts within people. Architecture is the study of the built objective world between the subjective world to say everything is architectural implies a seeking to Metaphoric Veil Architecture maintains a phenomenological relationship with the body, evoking memory, unconscious action, and visceral sensation. To occupy a space relates to the necessity of construction manifested through physical materials with elaborate joinery; to construct offers an opportunity to enhance the occupation, to challenge the line between rational material logics in relation to phenomenological consciousness. The opposition of construction logics ( measured; objective) and human experience ( empirical; subjective) provide an arena for research development that seeks a link between a construction framework and a phenomenological veil. worn to protect or conceal the face. 1 In this project, a phenomenological veil becomes a metaphor to objectify experience, to attempt to understand experience as a material instance. A veil alters the experience of something, while it conceals, screens, or separates the object of its use, it also screens the world of an immediate experience of the object. While it conceals, screens, and separates, the object is not entirely concealed, screened, or separated from its environment. Much like a bride will wear a veil walking down the aisle of her wedding, she herself is screened and protected as she moves through the threshold of a life with a new partner, blurred to what is ahead. Her partner, seeing Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary. 11th http://www.meriam-webster.com 1
10 11 a familiar body covered in veil, is reliant on memories and emotions to reconstruct for that which they cannot see. This moment of themselves, to evoke memories of the other in the last moments of individual purity. In this way, a simple material allows ourselves a moment of perception to be held against, to measure perception against memory. In an architectural realm, basic perceptual organizations are those of gravity, weight, balance, light, texture, material, detail, perceptual experiences at moments rely on each other we need light to understand material, or construction details to counter gravity and achieve balance. In this way, a set of construction logics create a framework for spatial experience. The veil in this instance becomes the synthesis of these phenomena creating an experience for occupants to measure their perceptions against. Robert Irwin is an artist who has taken interest in ideas of perception and experience in art. Undoubtedly, his work is spatial, constructed, and inherently architectural. The work of Irwin operates between Art and Architecture. Robert Morris writes in his essay Some Notes on the Phenomenology of Making: While art offers an experience to a viewer through painting, markings, sculpture, and many other mediums, the two-dimensionality A certain strain of modern art has been involved in uncovering a more direct experience of these basic perceptual meanings, and it has not achieved this through static images, but through the experience of an interaction between the perceiving body and the world that fully admits that the terms of this interaction are temporal as well as spatial, that existence is process, that the art itself is a form of behavior that can imply a lot about what was possible and what was necessary in engaging with the world while still playing that insular game of art 2 the temporality of the moving body through the space. In this way, Irwin utilizes the body as medium, creating subtle spatial works that allow the body a more direct connection to fundamental spatial perceptions. Through meditated material considerations, Irwin constructs spaces with a series of fabric scrims that distort, conceal, and hint at varying spatial implications between the space and the perceiving body. Our senses continuously present us with an extremely complex tactile synesthesia of dataour perception gains the inner-relationships or inter-relationships by which the order or character of occurrences (recognizable dispositions of pattern and movement) will distinguish itself with or from its surroundings in tactile form. 3 The use of visual transparencies becomes a method for Irwin to allow visitors to understand their perception of vision, continually measuring what is perceived by the tactility of the constructed. Transparency and Vision, The Perceiving Body Transparency in architecture is present more than ever with the advent of structural glazing, curtain walls, and the social desire for openplan space. In each of these movements there is a dominance of the visual sense in relation to architectural design. With the quickness of todays society, vision has suppressed other sense modalities and is creating an architecture that is empty of any metaphoric richness. In his book, The Eyes of The Skin Juhani Pallasmaa writes that with the loss of tactility, measures and details crafted for the human body and particularly for the hand architectural structures become repulsively detachment of construction from the realities of matter and craft further turns architecture into a scenography devoid of the authenticity of matter and construction. 4 This addresses many issues that relate to methods of making, material qualities, light, detail expression, and their harmony as an architectural space. Current uses of transparent materials in 2 Morris, Robert. Some Notes on the Phenomenology of Making in Continuous Projects Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris (Cambridge: MIT Press). 90. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Great Britian: Panza, Varese Italy. Photograph from the Villa Fund 4
12 13 architecture are creating deception with the erasure of perception. With modern trends of architects are creating a world that does not creating a disassociation between space and the body. Symbols of this in architecture include, for example, the idea of endless divisibility of space, or the use of transparency as a means of expression, or when the facades of a building become a mirror, in which the corporeal substance of architecture measure themselves with the mute precision of specularity. 5 This removal of the perceiving body withholds a perceptual understanding of a space in favor of a distant visual of deception. This is not to say that the use of transparency leads to architectural space without meaning, but raises this question: how can architects utilize the phenomenal qualities of transparency to create a corporeal architecture? Embedded within transparent spaces is the possibility of methodical layering, utilizing the in-between of what is transparent. A new architectural imagery has emerged, which employs overlay and juxtaposition to create a sense of spatial thicknessthis sensibility promises an architecture that can turn the relative immateriality and weightlessness of recent technological construction into a positive experience of space, place, and meaning, 6 where the sense of vision (literal transparency or the ability to see through) is decreased in favor of a sensual curiosity between person and place. It is important to mention the work of Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky in their essay Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal which addresses the nature of transparent qualities both in material and in organization. Rowe and Slutzky make the distinction that transparency must be an inherent quality of substance as in a wire mesh or glass curtain wall, or it may be an inherent quality of organization. 7 The use of the word inherent in each example demonstrates that transparency must be resultant to a process, that it is embedded into a substance (material processing) or rooted in a method of organization (layering). In this way, transparency becomes a phenomenological veil a way to measure the body (oneself) in a space. Through the suppression of vision, architecture has the opportunity to heighten other sense modalities of tactility and auditory to develop a space that allows a deeper connection between space and the abilities of the perceiving body. Cropped Views While the camera has become a ubiquitous technology for artists, there is the larger question of its usefulness. Between documentation of construction and marketing of projects, the camera is undoubtedly a necessary tool for architects. Images today can be created instantaneously without regard to their use and content. This reality differs from the time when an image went through content being developed merited the process. In terms of architecture, it is important that we understand the potential of the camera in the design process and conveying spatial qualities. There is a tendency towards vision dominant photography where architecture has become an art of the printed by the hurried eye of the camera. 8 In this way, the photograph could be called subor pre-symbolic, ceding the language of art back to the imposition of things, deducing art or architecture to that of an object in place of experience. 9 The camera offers an opportunity to challenge the conventions of the tool and capture the atmosphere of a space instead of the multiplicity of objects that compose a space. Architectural qualities of material, light, texture, transparency, and details Gregoti, Vittorio. Inside Architecture translated by Peter Wong and Francesca Zaccheo Rowe, Colin with Robert Slutzky. Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal (Reprinted as Transparenz, Basel: Birkhaser, 1968). Written, Perspecta 161. Krauss, Rosalind. Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America (Cambridge: MIT Krauss, Rosalind. The Presence of Mies: The Grid, The /Cloud/, and the Detail (Princeton: 6 8 9 have an inherent necessity to crop the view to between light and material, material joint, or a transparent image and adjacent opacity. This moment allows the author to capture the ambiguity of the space without concern for its objective reality. When speaking about the paintings of Agnes Martin, Rosalind Krauss writes of this cropped moment where the ambiguities of illusion take over from the earlier materiality of a surfaceand it is at this place that the paintings go atmospheric. 10 The collection of photographs that isolate qualities of a space become an atmospheric index for which an architect can refer for precedent analysis or illusive speculation of what could be. This index speculates on relationships between each quality, provoking questions of perception and the spatial implications of a synthesis of varying architectural qualities. Fascinating qualities of light, shadow, and material exist in most every situation, focusing on isolating the multiplicity of stimuli that architects encounter offers an opportunity to focus and phenomena that may be incorporated into the design process. Just as an architectural detail may embody the entire project, a cropped view may speak to the atmosphere of the entire space (INDEX 01) Meditating Qualities, Mediating Matter The scope of this study exists between understanding architectural qualities in the everyday, developing a way to consider sensory balance in the design process, and understanding the subtle qualities of light, and their detailed interrelationships. These relationships often unfold in the architectural detail, the moment where material decisions meet realities of gravity, and begin to objectify an architecture. A recording of experience and an attempt to document a few of these subtle qualities in existing spaces are developed through a 10
14 15 (left) Detail photo of Night Sea accessed at http://spenceralley.blogspot. com/2012/09/complexity-of-simplicity.html. (middle) Night Sea cloud moment as referenced in Krauss essay, The Grid, The /Cloud/, and the Detail. On display at the San Francisco Museum of series of axonometric studies that isolate fragmented moments. These fragmented moments become the architectural synthesis of foreground, middle ground, and distant view, together with all the subjective qualities of material and light, form the basis of complete perception. 11 These drawings serve as articulations of experiential memory, a way to draw, speculate, and re-understand prior perceptions (INDEX 02). The architect is faced with the challenge of weaving the subjective and the objective while maintaining a cohesive fabric of the original idea. With reference to modes of perception, tools for documenting, and ways of indexing experience, the next step becomes mediating material, place, and intentions in architectural making. How does an architect construct and design perception? While this writing has meditated on the qualities of architectural relationships, the following will begin to mediate the matter of architectural qualities in place and material. The predicament, of course, is the result of the contradictory disciplinary mandatesto negotiate between technical and perceptual imperatives, which are at odds with each other. 12 Perez-Gomez, Questions of Perception: Phenomenology in Architecture (New York: Tehrani, Nader. Foreward. Strange Details by Michael Cadwell (Cambridge: MIT Press, 11 12
16 17 LIGHT Castelvecchio, Carlo Scarpa Verona, Italy. Photo by author. Palladio Museum Vicenza, Italy. Photo by author.
18 19 LIGHT Notre Dame du Haut, Le Corbusier Ronchamp, France. Photo by author. Kolumba Museum, Peter Zumthor Cologne, Germany. Photo by author.
20 21 DETAIL Saint Benedict Chapel, Peter Zumthor Sumvitg, Switzerland. Photo by author. Parco della Musica, Renzo Piano Rome, Italy. Photo by author.
22 23 DETAIL Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Carlo Scarpa Venezia, Italy. Photo by author. Finlandia Hall, Alvar Aalto Helsinki, Finland. Photo by author.
24 25 REFLECTION Bruder Klaus Kapelle, Peter Zumthor Brion Tomb, Carlo Scarpa
26 27 REFLECTION Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe Barcelona, Spain. Photo by author. Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe Barcelona, Spain. Photo by author.
28 29 MATERIAL Castelvecchio, Carlo Scarpa Verona, Italy. Photo by author. Banco Popolare di Verona, Carlo Scarpa Verona, Italy. Photo by author.
30 31 MATERIAL Finlandia Hall, Alvar Aalto Helsinki, Finland. Photo by author. House of Culture, Alvar Aalto Helsinki, Finland. Photo by author.
32 33 TEXTURE Kolumba Museum, Peter Zumthor Cologne, Germany. Photo by author. Castelvecchio, Carlo Scarpa Verona, Italy. Photo by author.
34 35 TEXTURE House of Culture, Alvar Aalto Helsinki, Finland. Photo by author. VM Houses, Bjarke Ingles Group restad, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by author.
36 37 TRANSPARENCY Kolumba Museum, Peter Zumthor Cologne, Germany. Photo by author. VM Houses, Bjarke Ingles Group restad, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by author.
38 39 TRANSPARENCY Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi Barcelona, Spain. Photo by author. Nordic Pavilion in Venice, Sverre Fehn Venezia, Italy. Photo by author.
40 41 LAYERS Vara Pavilion, Pezo von Ellrichshausen Venezia, Italy. Photo by author. Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier Poissy, France. Photo by author.
42 43 LAYERS Sainte Marie de La Tourette, Le Corbusier veux, France. Photo by author. Notre Dame du Haut, Le Corbusier Ronchamp, France. Photo by author.
44 45 Castelvecchio, Carlo Scarpa Verona, Italy. Photo and drawing by author. Index 02 / Axonometrics
46 47 Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe Barcelona, Spain. Photo and drawing by author. Index 02 / Axonometrics
48 49 Bruder Klaus Kapelle, Peter Zumthor Index 02 / Axonometrics
50 51 Casa del Fascio, Giuseppe Terragni Como, Italy. Sketch and drawing by author. Index 02 / Axonometrics
52 53 Palazzo Chiericati, Andrea Palladio Vicenza, Italy. Photo and drawing by author. Index 02 / Axonometrics
54 55 Igualada Cemetery, Enric Miralles Igualada, Spain. Photo and drawing by author. Index 02 / Axonometrics
56 57 Kunsthaus Bregenz, Peter Zumthor Index 02 / Axonometrics
58 59 Between Ground and Sky We occupy a relatively thin line along the surface of the earth. Between ground and sky we socialize, think, develop, and dwell. The complex compounds of the earth below provide a surface that meets layers of air molecules that veil our existence from the vacuum beyond. To mark the ground of this place requires a our situation and creates the responsibility of to live, to create, to feel, and to dwell. Site The introduction of site serves as a point of qualities and is not topographical region. Paynes Prairie State Preserve outside of Gainesville, Florida is a landscape that offers charged phenomena to provoke architectural making in relationship to place. Located in Alachua county, Paynes Prairie holds the Alachua Sink. During periods of heavy block existing canals that allow movement of wildlife species, before receding into the Florida aquifer. 13 Paynes Prairie State Preserve provides a natural Florida condition to begin to draw from, draw into, and draw out architectural speculations. An objective site provides qualities and conditions for an architect to engage: textural relationships, shifting horizons, thick skies Architecture has the opportunity to make present the invisible. Any site offers phenomena for the architect to respond to. Just as basic perceptual givens of gravity, up, down, light, texture, balance apply to a body in a physical space, these perceptions exist at the scale of the site. Perceptions of horizon, surface, ground texture, sky condition, atmosphere, weather all become basic perceptual givens in the design problem. A design problem suggests a design solution, however, any design solution is only one subjective answer to a multitude of potential design problems that stem from these same basic site variables. This suggests that an problem that may heighten the importance of a set of variables, while other variables become quiet. Paynes Prairie contains a walking trail that follows the canals towards the center of the prairie. The trail terminates with an observation tower a two-hundred square-foot platform elevated nine feet off of the ground to provide panoramic views to the phenomena of the from the interest to develop an architecture that suppresses vision in order to elevate other sensual interactions, an observation place becomes the design proposal for the project, charged in its minimal and vague title observation place The existing observation tower is exactly that, a tower that allows a higher acuity of visual connection with the site. If we consider the words separately, observation, to observe is suggestive of view, however does not distinguish against the possibility of observation through listening, touching, feeling, or tasting. The word tower, to climb is suggestive of a movement skyward, charged with historical underpinnings of reaching a higher point to observe below. The two words together embrace a visual dominance in the experience of the space. The moment that something is named the task of design is frequently established and default assumptions rooted, relegating design to what is already knownthese projects are 75% complete before the process of design actually begins. 14 Observation place serves as a design title to work against the perceptual variables of the site, to consider how a set of spaces a place, might react to ground, the horizon, or the sky. Non-Site The question becomes: how does an architect begin to work in a site? How does an architect mark the ground, speculating on spatial interactions with regards to place without working primarily in that place? An architect, in other words, speculates a design proposal removed from the actual site. In this way, it is crucial to reference Robert Smithsons essay: A Provisional Theory of Non-Sites. While photography, writing, and drawing all becomes methods to developing a sense of place, Smithson notes that these are only two dimensional logical pictures, which differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands for. 15 Smithson continues to reference an earthwork Taylor, Laura B. Romance of Paynes Prairie Perry Kulper. Five Small Practices. Oz: Volume 36, Article 14 (University of Michigan 2014). 82. Non-Sites in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings 14
60 61 project that provokes the in-between space of an actual site and a non-site: This in-between space becomes critical to the project and to the architect. In developing the observation place, questions regarding materials of the site, water conditions, site textures, horizon, surfaces, and atmosphere become implemented into a series of painting studies that begin to speculate on these subtleties (INDEX 03). Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky allude to methods of analytical cubism of the early 1900s as frontality, suppression of light sources, tipping forward of objects, restricted palette, oblique and rectilinear grids, propensities towards peripheric development. 17 The value of painting allows for large gestures to be marked with a dimensional medium. Through methods of analytical cubism and a series of layers that involve different levels of analysis and speculation, the overlapping of marks yields unforeseen transparencies that relate to the qualities and conditions found on Paynes Prairie formatted into a three-dimensional logical picture. This study of site subtleties allows for consistent backdrop to test and speculate, becoming a quiet ritual at one moment, and a useful starting point at another moment. Listening, Marking, Making (Horizons) Sitting in a place without the everyday distractions of modern society it is possible to feel a place. Through listening, observing, smelling, looking, and feeling, it is possible to feel the atmosphere of place, not in the way that you are permitted to reach out and touch it, but that it invades your body, your thoughts, your emotions. The question is: how can architecture enhance this presence of atmosphere? Architecture allows a framing of a site phenomena, providing a physical shelter from the distractions of humankind. A constructed space becomes a physical marking of solitude. In his essay An Intent of Constructing: Constructing an Intent, Coleman Coker writes that through constructing I remain rooted to the earth, I am attached to its horizontality. As constructing makes a location; it marks a spot and, in making that mark, as a place it gathers together the things of the earth in order to grant me a placeI come to sense my relationship to earth. 18 An index of photography, models, mock-ups, drawings, and of documenting atmosphere. In relation to one another each of these documents become part of a collection that make up Non-Site in that they are of the site, but not actually the site. Through these collections, an understanding of site is developed that making, allowing a deeper relationship between the body and earth (INDEX 03 06). As precedent analysis for an became a crucial document in revealing the acoustic properties of the site. While the images, captures subtle movements of foliage, surface water movement, horizon shifts, animal life, and people moving. However, while each frame reveals a different visual and textural aspects of the site, the audio plays a stream of continuous ambience. Sand hill cranes break the breeze and pause only to allow the stream The non-site is a three-dimensional logical picture that is abstract, yet it represents an actual site in N.J. (The Pine Barrens Plains). It is by this three-dimensional metaphor that one site can represent another site which does not resemble it thus The Non-Sitebetween the actual site in Pine Barrens and The Non-Site itself exists a space of metaphoric this space is a vast metaphor. Everything between the two sites could become physical metaphorical material devoid of natural meanings and realistic assumptions. 16 of water its acoustic presence. While each shot was edited using its original audio from that moment, a listener would not distinguish the frame jumps aurally. The sound from the video provides a common thread that binds the collection of visuals together into a synthetic experience.* While conventional formats of models, drawings, diagrams, and writing provides an idea of dimensions) + audio (one dimension) provide a three-dimensional logical picture that can become a useful tool while working within the metaphoric in-between of site and non-site. Constructing Deference While an observation place serves as a way of thinking about a space to be constructed on Paynes Prairie, it does not question the seemingly simple question: Why construct? Through documentation of site, an architect can understand that a spatial void exists and that an intent of constructing will enhance or frame a site for the project, the notion of project oscillates between the opposition of meanings of domination and liberation, of control and unfolding of differences, of prevision and prediction, of opening toward what might emerge and planning for it. 19 The difference space is more than the distinction between an article and a preposition; the former connotes an imposition and a conceit, while the latter implies a kind of an alliance, if not deference. 20 Intentions in marking ground with space requires a respectful questioning and unfolding of place. Through studying the phenomena of the Paynes Prairie, iterative documentation yields the presence of an exciting atmosphere (INDEX 04). Architecturally, there is an opportunity to propse a place that will capture, reframe, and represent the known in and unknown way allowing a deeper connection to place. Rowe, Colin with Robert Slutzky. Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal (Reprinted as Transparenz, Basel: Birkhaser, 1968). Written, 162. Constructing an Intent, in Mockbee Coker: Thought and Process Gregoti, Vittorio. Inside Architecture translated by Peter Wong and Francesca Zaccheo (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996). 21. the Horizon in Vorkurs, Volume 01 (University 16 18 19 20 Video available with the University of Florida library, The Process of Subtleties, Atmospheres of Paynes Prairie Note:
62 63 /remarking on ground, marking ground Index 03 / Painted Layers
64 65 /immensities of sky, shifting horizons Index 03 / Painted Layers
66 67 /questions of site, cover/uncover Index 03 / Painted Layers
68 69 digression, between ground and sky A speculative mapping of the entire world, latent with suggestive qualities. Speculations on what it means to occupy the thin line between ground and sky. Serial sections of a skull and brain form the sky suggesting knowledge within the heavens while slowly spilling into the emptiness below. Traces along challenging the notion to dwell. detail 01 detail 02
70 71 Index 04 / Conditions at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
72 73 Horizon / Texture Screen / Movement Path / Procession / Itinerary Index 04 / Conditions at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
74 75 0 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 (above) existing observation tower marking an endpoint to La Chua trail. Photo by author. (below) existing observation tower photograph accessed at Lake Preserve Statepark. Index 04 / Conditions at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
76 77 February 1994 January 1999 December 2001 February 2006 January 2008 December 2010 January 2010 January 2011 January 08, 2012 January 18, 2012 November 2016 Index 04 / Conditions at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park shifting surfaces aerial imagery throughout twenty-two years articulate the subtle and drastic changes in water level along La Chua trail. Images generated through Google Imagery (Digital Globe).
78 79 (above) site materials become abstracted into architectural elements, speculating on construction, opacities, and tectonic assembly. (right) photographs of incomplete fragment, abstract site construction literal interpretation of the qualities of the site Index 05 / Drawing Site
80 81 breathing edges sectional analysis of site conditions, marking water levels, atmospheric edges, and surface conditions. Index 05 / Drawing Site
82 83 breathing edges 1/16 scale model of site, addressing quality of breathing edges of atmosphere, varying layers of opacity, structural speculation, and shifting water surfaces. Index 05 / Drawing Site
84 85 digression, latencies in artifacts (left) Artifact of bicycle brake as drawing, demonstrating contour, edge, depth, surface, and texture. (right) Antifact of bicycle brake articulates the in-between space within axial alignments, and analytical use of the object.
86 87 space for sky space for horizons space for ground Still images from a video sequence taken at Paynes Prairie that demonstrate the shifting qualities of ground, sky, and horizon. Treated as an artifact, the suggestive spatial drawings seek to capture the latent qualities hidden within the stills reinforcing moments of transparency (sky), ground shifts (horizon), and surface conditions (ground). Index 06 / Drawing Spatial Suggestions
88 89 MULTIPLICITIES AND Constructing an Index Through photographic studies of material qualities, a collection of images is created that begins to draw out relationships within a material and between materials. This process, stemming from an interest in constructing a moment from a suggestive spatial vignette addresses the issues of architectural making. In constructing the material detail, the transition from two-dimensional drawing to three-dimensional representation destroyed the intended quality of the fabric construction (Figure 1). Because fabric requires a larger framework for intended use, the framework consumed the project and eliminated the intended architectural quality. To focus on architectural qualities, a study of materials and their inter-relationships is documented by photograph material qualities independent of a larger framework. As a parallel study, the introduction of planar opaque elements form a neutral lightbox to test the same materials within. These photographs become spatially suggestive while still articulating material qualities without preconception to programmatic function. These synthetic conditions speculate on the haptic and visual qualities of basic human perceptions. (INDEX 08) Separating the methods of constructing the framework from the intended architectural qualities allows for an indexing of material conditions unaltered by the realities of construction. The methods for joining different parts of the construction system become the elements requiring the most effort, and are often the points at which the most criticalgothic architects transformed materials into architectural facts; we assemble products. 21 In an attempt to move away from architecture as a product, an object, an architectural index of material qualities allows a speculation of many hypothesis and questions the process of constructing that condition rather than the condition as resultant to the assembly process. The way we imagine space is dependent on the tools at our disposal and familiarity photography, drawing, modeling, diagramming (indexed articles). At the moment a less familiar method is developed, the project develops a new depth of clarity a moment for the architect to reevaluate intent through an unfamiliar process. The audio developed from Paynes Prairie created a method of suggesting space that is seemingly unconventional (INDEX 10). Listening with eyes closed, the audio merges the haptic and visual into a spatially suggestive document. Keeping the eyes closed while listening to the audio from Paynes Prairie provides a direct suppression of vision. This allows a deeper connection to memory and personal experiences of what each sound reminds the listener of, the sense of sight implies exteriority, but sound creates an experience of interioritysound approaches me, the eye reaches, but the ear receives. 22 The audio track takes advantage of sound qualities in the prairie a echo. Each listener, while suppressing their vision, becomes immersed in the sound memories of what each sound suggests.* This allows the architect an opportunity to speculate on sound an ask the questions: how can this experience be constructed? How can that quality be made? The role of making becomes increasingly valuable in developing a spatial experience. While the index of images serves as a starting point for constructing a meaningful space, an architectural work is not experienced as a collection of isolated visual pictures, but in its fully embodied material and spiritual presence. 23 An architectural index provides a reference to test the methods and process of spatial construction. While the process of constructing a space is outside the scope of its architectural index, the intentions of atmosphere, material, and spiritual presence should not be forgotten. The Permanently Incomplete Fragments, gestures, and subtleties form the depths of indexical architecture. The project addresses architectural qualities as way to understand architecture, to analyze site, and to develop space. Gestures are a form of communication, the presence of gestures in language, music, painting, walking, sexuality, are only a few instances from the everyday. A subtle gesture with the eyes can inform a Gregoti, Vittorio. Inside Architecture translated by Peter Wong and Francesca Zaccheo Pallasmaa, Juhani. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses Ibid. 44. 21 22
90 91 world of emotion. Human relationships are a collection of fragmented gestures that form a permanently incomplete perception of who we are. The relationship between the body and architecture is the same fragmented gestures form incomplete perceptions of spatial experience. It is important to distinguish between an architectural index as a collection of materials, drawings, models, diagrams the materials of non-site, and the human index of memories experiences altered into memory. The third moment, which is where this project lives, is the experience of the architectural index as a method of spatial speculation a fragmented understanding of a multiplicity of spatial provocations. In his essay Weak Architecture, Ignasi de Sola-Morales addresses this experience of the fragmentary as constructed by means of pieces that may ultimately touch; that approach one another, at times without touching; that draw nearer to one another yet never make contact; that overlap, that offer themselves in a discontinuity in time whose reading as juxtaposition is the closest approximation to reality at our disposal. 24 Our perceptions of space are continually growing as new experiences reform into memory. These subtleties get applied to our sensual perceptions and shape the gestural relationship between, architectural meaning derives from archaic responses and reactions remembered by the body and the senses 25 Translations Italo Calvino states that in trying to account for the density and continuity of the world around us, language is exposed as lacunose, fragmentary: it always says something less than the sum of what can be experienced. 26 In language there exists an idea: to truly understand a text you must read it in its purest original form, that through translations we change the entire text. The colloquial lost in translation emerges out of this idea. Often times, what we are trying to say is beyond the ability of language to capture it, we are required to understand each other beyond language. We are able to do this through our constructed experiences the collection of fragmented subtleties that allows us to communicate perceptions. Architecture can be a form of communication, in his book The Hidden Dimension Hall dedicates a chapter to Perception of Space: Immediate Receptors Skin and Muscles in which he attributes Frank Llyod Wrights success as an Architect in his ability to personally involve people with the surfaces of the building. 27 Hall continues to reference the communicative aspects of space in Japanese and European architecture. In A Praise of Shadows beauty in the Japanese house which depends on a variation of shadows, heavy shadows against light shadows it has nothing else and from these delicate differences in the hue of the walls, the shadows in each room take on a tinge peculiarly their own. 28 In Strange Details Michael Cadwell states that the glazing on Kahns Yale Center for British Arts plays a shifting role: Architecture is a way of communicating culture, emotion, atmosphere, comfort, among memory and experience. It offers the opportunity to communicate and understand our relationship to earth, ourselves, and each other beyond language. The function of architecture is to make space that enables an experience for the body, recognizing the vast and subtle qualities that compose individuality. Architecture enables us to structure our selfidentity, to place ourselves in the shapeless Sometimes the glazing is opaque, sucking us it is transparent, teasing us with glimpses of surroundings that seem coherent from a distance all these impressions register atmospheric conditions and our changing point of view. 29 and remember who we are. 30 The thoughtful atmosphere woven with the complexities of context provide a collection of subtleties that compose an indexical architecture, a continually changing selfrelationship to place. 24 Architecture Theory Since 1968 ed. K. Michael Hays (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998). 621. Pallasmaa, 60. Calvino, Italo. Six Memos for the Next Millennium translated by Geoffrey Brock (New York: Mariner Books, 2016). 91. The Hidden Dimension (New In Praise of Shadows Cadwell, Michael. Strange Details (Cambridge: 26 28 29 library, The Process of Subtleties, Sound Narrative Note:
92 93 (Figure 1) Demonstration of component isolation within drawing constructed into threedimensional study of the fragment. Two photos side by side articulate the loss in experience between dimensions.
94 95 (left) Barcelona Pavilion, Mies van der Rohe photo by author. (middle) Farnsworth House, Mies van der Rohe photo by author. (right) Peter Zumthor, Plans and Sections (Columbia University), accessed at www.library.artstor.org. (left) SANAA, photography by Iwan Baan. (middle) Notre Dame du Haut, Le Corbusier photo and Sections (Columbia University), accessed at www.library.artstor.org. (right) Vitra Fire Station, Zaha Hadid photo by author.
96 97 MATERIAL STUDIES / glass / xray / basswood /foamcore (neutral) /cotton / bristol /glass cast concrete /osb cast concrete / plaster /fabric formed plaster /curved plaster /rayon fabric / glycerin /curved concrete Index 08 / Mediating Material
98 99 Index 08 / Mediating Material
100 101 fold / bunch / stretch / crease / rotate rest / shadow / drape / backlight stretch / fold / crease / twist Index 08 / Mediating Material
102 103 duplicatation / overhead / corners / translucent / transparent Index 08 / Mediating Material
104 105 concrete / plastic / plaster / xray / glass / backlight / direct light plaster / plastic / glass / backlight plaster / glass / fabric / curved light / direct light plaster / plastic / glass / backlight / direct light / curved light Index 08 / Mediating Material Speculation on frame allows a study into the importance of the foam core box abstracts qualities of frame to hold materials and allow spatial suggestions through material qualities. frame diagram process of photographing qualities
106 107 suggestive space 01 suggestive space 02 Following the development of the material suggestive spaces, a proposal for Paynes Prairie is considered. The observation place utilizes a vertical orientation to remove the occupant from the ground, wrapping around an acoustic chamber that heightens the experience of a Florida rainstorm. The proposal restricts views and allows an occupant a visual connection with only the ground or sky, allowing a physical removal while mainting a visual connection between the body and the ground. This study provoked an investigation into the qualities of sound on the prairie and leads into developing a sound narrative through the serious of previously suggested spaces, asking: what does this space sound like? / intervention /questions of sound / rain /weather / reaction Index 09 / Making Spatial Suggestions
108 109 (above) sound diagram of composed sounds from the prairie. (right) layers of sounds, composing the sound narrative from the prairie as a visual diagram from editing software. Index 10 / Sound Narrative
110 111 /interior /exterior / threshold /transition / procession / / echo /suggestive tall / wet /humid / rough / exposed /open /rainfall / bright /visual placement Index 10 / Sound Narrative
112 113 (above) 1/4 physical section model allows testing of light qualities within the observation place, a further iteration of a spatial investigation stemming from the sound diagram. (right) Detail section perspective that suggests a synthesis of subtle qualities within the observation place layers of sound, light, materials, and atmosphere that allows a rich connection to the prarie beyond.
114 115 digression, drawing allegories Stemming from Douglas Dardens Condemned Buildings, a simple architectural canon is proposed: A House is a Machine for Living. A series of allegorical symbols compose a suggestive section in which to respond to the prompt. The prompt is reframed as The House is a Machine for Phenomena and seeks to translate the invsibile into the visible.
116 117 and to Jason Alread for your constant support towards
118 119 Perspecta Vol. 19 Perspecta, Vol. 4 The Poetics of Space Strange Details Vorkurs Volume 01 Invisible Cities Six Memos for the Next Millennium Mockbee Coker: Thought and Process Journey To The East Perspecta Vol. 19 The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge. Inside Architecture The Hidden Dimension Perspecta Vol. 19 Perspecta Vol. 19 Questions of Perception: Phenomenology in Architecture Tinkers Basic Writings Architecture Theory Since 1968, Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America The Presence of Mies: The Grid, The /Cloud/, and the Detail Oz: Volume 36 Continuous Projects Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris Existence, Space & Architecture Perspecta Vol. 31 The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature edited by Jurg Spiller Experiencing Architecture Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings In Praise of Shadows The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Perspecta Vol. 24 Atmospheres Thinking Architecture BIBLIOGRAPHY
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