so...how does it relate to a building?

had i been keeping up with this, i might have written this day by day as individual posts but since i'm NOT keeping up...its a massive never ending epic...

okay so i have a manifesto. the last few weeks have centered around thinking about how to manifest that manifesto (pun intended) into a 'thing' not just an idea. this will eventually lead to designing a building that reflects the manifesto. it turns out that my manifesto was a little bit more complicated than most others which makes it hard to get the design actually meet the tenants of the manifesto. i've tried to approach it not as a checklist but rather abstractly ddress the overarching sentiment of: subverting traditional/mainstream notions to magnify counter hegemonic realities...after all the mainstream and alternative are dependent on eachother. for something to be "alternative" it must have a 'mainstream' context to deviate from.

first we had to find en example of something designed by someone else that reflected our manifesto. i brought a picture of carpet furniture by andrea zittel

next we had to take a shot at designing something ourselves.
design for light fixture: for my light fixture i was interested in the fact that light and darkness are dependent on eachother, as we do not know what light is without darkness. traditional notions of making a light would focus on the illumination ...designing the light but not the shadow. in my version, i tried to give agency/prominence to the shadow. i designed a light fixture that both illuminates but, when it is on, it looks like a shadow in the middle of the illumination...shifting the focus away from the illumination from the fixture...to the actual fixture which has become a figural "shadow".

conceptual idea for "building": traditional notions of "building" are permanent, fixed masses that stand for generations. in my concept model for a building, i showed an umbrella. not for what it is, but what it does and signifies. it is flexible, portable , it has a structure and can be clandestine. umbrellas create space...a personal 'roof'. if one person walked into a plaza with an umbrella, no one would care. but if 100 people walked to the same plaza, stood next to eachother and opened their umbrellas, people would wonder what the hell is going on. there would be this fabric 'roof'. and just as soon as it went up it can come down. i was trying to make reference to nomadic architecture which is highly neglected in western architectural history and the current practice of architecture. i was trying to say that flexible structures can question the (mainstream) permanence of buildings....they can exist among permanent buildings, between buildings, attach to buildings etc. if

right around this point my prof. seemed to be steering me away from getting to far off on the flexible architecture track...but to think of my idea less literally. for instance think of the house opening up from the inside out in the way that the space is designed but not literally "opening up" with moving parts etc.

concept for a "house": traditional design of domestic space starts with sterotypical "house" icon/wrapper and then stuffs rooms within. how often do we see traditonal residential development with the proverbial pitched roof signifying that it is indeed a "house". however, there is not a single pitched space within. what if we designed from the inside out...figured out what the rooms want to be and how they relate to eachother and let them dictate their enclosure. my concpet model was a thickened wall with spaces that were defined outside and around the wall by appendages that pulled out from it. for this concept i was inspired by the gucklhopf pavillion and work of alan wexler. he makes these 'crates' that different household "rooms" roll out of to create the domestic living space. i was trying to figure out how to translate these highly flexible ideas of living to a permanent structure.

concept for a single family home in the georgetown neighborhood of seattle:

porch with a house instead of house with a porch...maybe house as a porch? the idea about traditional context and subversion of that context here is that every house in this neighborhood has a tacked on porch that barely holds a single person. its like its a prerequisite component that ensures that the building will really qualify as a house. but the porch is in no way integrated into the building. and though a porch has tremendous significance, as it marks the transition from public to private space and vice/versa its an afterthought in the design of these homes. its peripheral (marginal) space. my idea here is to give agency to that peripheral space by making it into central space...i'm just beginning with this, so more on this later...i'm off to study porches. what is is that makes a porch a porch? what is the meaning of centrality? is it only central if there is a periphery? does that periphery define the center...and in that case, is it equally important as the center?


i'm in love


lead pencil

i just heard about the work of lead pencil studio because their work was featured in suyama space the non-profit gallery housed within my studio prof.'s firm. i like their mission statement about the overlap of architecture and site-specific art installation. i think this studio will most informative by providing a business model of a firm that manages to do architecture, art and industrial design, all well, all with integrity.


the idea and the building

after the studio lottery chips fell, i happily landed in the studio of jay deguchi of suyama peterson deguchi architects titled the idea and the building.

our first assignment write your personal manifesto about architecture, i started with a few quotes that inspire and inform my stance on architecture:

“Spaces can be real or imagined. Spaces can tell stories and unfold histories. Spaces can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed…” bell hooks, from choosing the margin as a space of radical openness

“Space provides an essential framework for thinking about the world and the people in it” Leslie Kanes Weisman Discrimination by Design

Although a built product is one possible outcome, I do not think of architecture as only a “tangible product’ but rather an ideological understanding, position, and commentary, about space, which is situated within the socio-cultural-political landscape in which it is conceived. I believe that this intellectual landscape is represented in the built environment, and thus architecture is intimately linked to the human condition.

Although I believe in the morphological significance of buildings in cities, I believe that they stand as not only a morphological artifact but a social/cultural artifact. Buildings are not just technical and art objects but they are also social objects in that they are invested with social meaning. As humans who live 90 percent of our lives indoors, I believe that buildings affect human behavior and relations.

All too often these artifacts express a physical representation of a social narrative of dominion…over land, over ecosystems, over culture, people and ways of living. I believe that just as much as the built environment reflects the dominant power structure, architecture can speak to a counter hegemonic narrative and cultural artifact. I believe that architecture can be an act of subversion, resistance and reinterpretation. For me it is a conceptual and material way of viewing, analyzing and influencing my physical surroundings…the urban fabric.

architecture should be responsible to the ecological and social community in which it is built and the benefits of ‘good design’ should not just be for those who can afford it or those in the “mainstream”. I believe that architecture should be ethical, accessible and participatory or at least have a stance on why it isn’t. I believe that architecture can be ephemeral, flexible and have a conceptual, artistic, and social function and still be significant…still be architecture

where do i start

geez. i have finally returned home from my relaxing vaction but cruel imprisonment in the worlds slowest dial-up connection ever. there was no point in even attempting to post.

i guess i'll start with MOMA. i'll try not to dwell on the stress fracture i incurred from wearing stiletto boots for two days straight sun-up to sun-down while trapesing around new york on foot...when will i ever learn. anyway, this was my first time ever making it to MOMA so i was super excited to see the collection and the newly opened re-design of the building etc. first things first, i haven't been to all THAT many art museums, but even entering was like no experience i had before. we walked to the first entrance which literally had a line of like-no exaggeration-400 people trying to get in. luckily, we had tickets and could go around to the other entrance. which was also packed...maybe with about 200 people. the security clearly had no idea what do do with this type of traffic and stood around , ordering people to form a line...which turned the crowd into a straight up MOB. people were pushing, shoving, yelling...just pure insanity. it was like going to a concert for the band of the moment. this was all, in a way exciting to know that people care this much about seeing art. on the other hand i'll almost had to hurt a few people. long story short, we literally spent the entire day there (with a lunch and emergency flat comfortable shoe shopping break). though the building design was fairly impressive, the detailing and construction raised our eyebrows a bit. for a new, crisp, modern design the connections at base boards and handrails looked surprisingly sloppy and worn.

i found a few new favorite artists like, rachel whiteread who casts the negative space of architectural spaces. i now have a completely new respect for julie mehretu. seeing her work in person was profound. in books, it looks so flat and you don't get the sense of how HUGE they are. in person, i could see how each different type of mark making was on a completely different layer sealed with resin and sanded. i felt like there was so much information and depth there that i could just sit there for hours looking at this one piece taking it all in. trying to comprehend it all...i mean, i had read about how each of the marks in her mind are different characters in a narrative about human struggle...but to see how they all were composed together and get the energy, conflict was worth the $20+ ticket right there. we just happened to run into glen ligon on our way into the museum the second time which was super cool =). i was a bit salty to see that they only other black person in the entire museum besides security and staff was a professional artist...but i guess a part from the $20 it costs per person to get in, the interest and relevance to people's everyday lives is i guess just not there =(.