Architecture Essay

Architecture Essay-78
In our practice’s earlier work, movement was choreographed in a more narrative fashion; over the past decade, our interests increasingly lie in a type of contemporary space which is characterized by the non-narrative, the negotiable, and the simultaneous.At the smallest scale, the Pittman Dowell Residence and its models directly engage this issue of simultaneity.Instead, these themes play out across multiple projects, looping back to extend beyond a fixed, synchronic chronology; in this light, the model can be seen as a project in and of itself.

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Often these models are a part of a continuous narrative which unfolds on the way to the ultimate object.

While often beautiful, these models are ultimately subservient to the “real” building, signifiers of the project’s final, built, reality.

From the open-air amphitheater at the building’s apex, where this abstracted roofscape of skylights are collapsed into the horizon beyond, visitors can begin to understand the institution’s position within the city and its regional context.

At a much larger scale, a similar network of experience stretches across the three phases of San Francisco State’s Center for the Creative Arts.

Yet more importantly, the practice of model making is at its heart about producing form: both the physical forms, and forms of inquiry that characterize our practice.

These models employ technique, skill, technology, and experience–these are all characterizations of craft–but they likewise, and more importantly, also characterize ideas.The project, a residence for two artists located north of Los Angeles, is located directly adjacent to Richard Neutra’s 1952 Serulnic Residence, circumscribed by the sole winding road which ends at the Neutra residence, now the artist’s studio, above.Inspired by geometric arrangements of interlocking polygons, this new residence takes the form of a eidetic heptagon whose overall clarity is the sum of its individual, idiosyncratic parts, each informed by local contingencies of program, function, and experience.Here, an incredibly rich range of spaces for performance and learning are bound together into a network of programmatic, visual, and haptic links, creating a space of extraordinary experience which extends across the project in its entirety, creating a new datum for movement, connection, and collaboration.This texture of experience is found as much in the void spaces which inscribe the project’s plan and section, creating new relationships between building and campus, artist and audience, between the network within and the city beyond.Our design process, and by extension, our work and practice, is one that is best understood in relationship to the model.The model forms, in and of itself, the basis for our design process.Models are often meant as mimetic objects, and have been meant as the representation of many elements of architectural practice: form, space, materiality, structure, detail, and programmatic and contextual relationships.Historically, the primary role and responsibility for the model was to point to, to represent, the culmination of the architectural process, the built form.To a large extent, models that study effort and perception are models of engagement.They model and investigate the characteristics of a project, a site, a natural or urban context, whether they are physical or ideological, concrete or abstract.


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