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