ARCHITECTURE THROUGH
THE LOOKING GLASS
Fall 2016 / Arch 565, Topic Studio
A model of the Thing is as good as the Thing itself.

The thing is both complementary and projective on its own in an attempt to give form to a field of hatches by "extracting" the linework that governed the drawing; i.e. the thing is the physical manifestation of the drawing's linework. Unlike the soft density and ambiguity of the drawing the thing is tangible - legible, hard and certain. Although, just like the drawing, it maintains an exterior homogeneity, generality, anonymity or lack of identity while containing an inner richness only apparent by engaging with it.

How can we unpack the layers of meaning in images and contexts to arrive at a specific idea about architecture and how it can be represented? An exploration of grids (systems) and gridscapes (systematic projections) forms the groundwork for a speculative concept about architecture. Combined with research on 19th and 20th century utopian communities and via a common mode of architectural representation: the drawing, we come to a particular understanding and projection about architecture's relationship with culture and context.

The drawing describes both act and object - drawing as act and project. Ideas from grid drawings are extended and explored further through the lens of a given set of architectural and non-architectural references.

The Drawing Is the Project

Fractal qualities and layered tensions: cohesion-dissolution, legibility-illegibility. Where does abstraction end and architecture begin? How can the ambiguous become specfic?

Work-Play

1871 (Merchandise Mart, Chicago, present) and the North American Phalanx (Colts Neck, NJ, 1843): Two communities, similar agendas emphasizing collaboration, divergent ideas about labor and leisure. What if 1871 were re-envisioned as a dispersed campus that is as much for work as it is for education and recreation? These scenarios synthesize the graphic tensions and oscillations explored in the previous drawings (issues of legibility and hierarchy) and the conflicting ideas about work in the 19th and 21st centuries. They suggest that work can take place anywhere and in different forms while leisure is prioritized to be as much a part of work as labor - both understood today as opposite sides of the same coin. This work-play conflict is expressed in the contrast between 19th century manual laborers and 21st century hipster tech and creative entrepreneurs. Scenarios also emphasize that while work today has changed in form (more intellectual and creative) and capability (technology), labor specialization and a sense of alienation persists.

Post-1871

The new 1871 thrives on the former site of the burned-down North American Phalanx. The existing site informs the grid of the new 1871 and vice versa.