Friday, January 11, 2008


Potential Pivot Place at the University of Maryland, College Park Architecture Building.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Prada Store Animation

Conceptualizing the Prada Store as a disruption/warping along a linear progression of space acting as a threshold/transition from the NYC street to the world of Prada.


Monday, November 12, 2007

modernising school project

I found this interesting website that lays out some design guidelines for new school buildings. It seems to be right in line with much of what we've been talking about.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Perfect timing! Teaching with Song

In today's Washington Post Metro section there's an article about a local teacher who uses songs as a teaching aid . Here's an excerpt from the article for those who don't subscribe:

"Chandler, 33, embraced musical pedagogy after learning about a teaching method called Quantum Learning, which encourages using music to keep students engaged and focused.

Now Chandler is more likely to reach for his acoustic guitar than a dry-erase marker when explaining something complex. He even starts off the day with song."

"First lesson? Geography. Chandler strapped on his guitar.

I live in Purcellville/I live in Loudoun County/I live in Virginia/I live in the United States of America/I live in North America/I live on Planet Earth/I live in the Solar System/I live inside of the Milky Way/How can anyone live in all these places?/Sometimes it is hard to understand.

They sang another song called "Objects Move" for a science lesson. They also sang along in a rousing, Johnny Cash-like version of "That Shiny Nickel," with a count-by-fives chorus. Chandler finished with nimble riffs on the guitar, moving his fingers fret by fret until the children applauded."

From what I've seen at Oliver's school, four-year-olds pay more attention when there's a song or a poem they participate in as part of the lesson. And they pay EXTRA good attention when there are movements and motions to be done. The whole body is learning (Ellsoworth!). As a bonus, those kids who learn best with their bodies (kinesthetic intelligence) or by learning something in rhythm (musical intelligence) are getting the material in a way that meets their learning style.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tribute MuseumVersion1

This is a literal spatial model of the museum. The animation begins to explore the cadence of the exhibit: one slowly gets to know the twin towers' community. Afterwards one is bombarded by an accumulating amount of individual experiences. Eventually the full scope of the catastrophe is realized. At the (literal) turning point, the confirmed deaths of the missing are memorialized. The journey continues as one comes full circle back to the starting point (entry) exploring what to do from here.

I hope to reiterate with a more diagrammatic model illustrating the spatial and temporal devices to support the architect's intent.

WTC Tribute Center inside/outside analysis draft v6.1

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Discussions about Eisenman and his architecture/writing always seem to generate the most questions. Isn't it then acting as a learning place even for those who have never been there? Are learning places capable of working through the filter of other forms of media? or does translation via text, images and video reduce the perception of the space into, as Dave notes, a non-placable blur?

Wesely's photos of MOMA and the train station provide startlingly contrasting ways in which archtitecture acts as an agent in the process of learning. In the first, the compression of three years of construction into a single moment creates an architecture of movement and temporality. Here, the architecture is literally changing - the built environment is overtly affecting the way in which it is perceived through its continual transformation. This is the space of becoming - the animate, emerging process described by Grosz.

In the case of the train station, the space is a static backdrop for the ghosted images of activity within. Here the architecture works in a far more subtle way - learning through confirmation. It is precisely the non-lminality of the train station that ensures its role as a learning place.

It seems to me, then, that there are two ways in which architecture relates to learning - one in which the architecture provides a suitable environment for one to learn from other media (i.e. read a book, study a drawing, etc.) or one in which the architecture is itself the media. Put another way, we have the capability to learn within architecture as well as learn from architecture (and hopefully about more than just architecture).


I think that an open shutter of Eisenman's building would produce something similar to Wesely's train platform. Sure, a few tectonic sight gags would be burned into the film, but otherwise there would be favored paths, places of repose, etc. It remains space that emerges from the motions of living that take place among an architecture that can be acted upon. I haven't been to Rem's Prada store, but maybe this is more like the MoMA photograph--space emergent and vanishing simultaneously because of construction, making and remaking of buildings (but still having some unchanging or slowly changing elements to act as a datum).

"Duration is not, through its continuity, homogeneous, smooth, or linear; rather it is a mode of 'hesitation,' bifurcation, unfolding, or emergence."

The Wesely photographs, which are memories, make compelling images because they are singular and within each, some parts endure more than others. The inertia (which could be called very slow, or arrested motion) of some of the architecture makes space, and the habitual motions of people make space, too, strengthening the memory. Being accessible in many present conditions makes possible the requisite detachment from the present that accompanies recollection. Thanks to Farzam for showing these in class. For me, these photos clarify the concept of simultaniety and how it is possible to exist in the present but still detach from it enough to connect to virtuality.

If you have a shoe box full of snapshots--not open shutter but many fast shutter--there may be some that you can't place in time or by location or subject because there is perhaps just one piece of information that is lacking, to connect it with what you know. Because they are snapshots, everything within the photo is of apparently equal and infinitesimal duration. When you can't place one in some order, does it really represent a memory? If the image did not exist as a photo, would it ever be remembered?

If some architecture is so alien (or undistinguished) that no one part holds your eye (or other sensor) more than another, then the whole thing will become a blur in recollection, and nothing remains to tie it to the present. I don't know if we have seen an example of this yet. I'm thinking of a building with no floor, or a building constructed entirely of programmed a/v media surfaces--walls, floor, ceiling--an environment that a person could not affect. These environments begin to approach some atectonic, immaterial, non-directional limit. Call it lost architecture--existing only in the present and never coming to pass. Self-referential and utterly forgettable. I wonder if I could learn in a white void, lit but from nowhere, with infinite extent. I guess that's not even a place, but surely we could build something like this. To be somewhere, a learning place (well, any place) must at least have locality. But must a place itself be learnable, before other learning can happen in that place? Do we need place to learn?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Grosz vs Eisenman?

When I was writing yesterday’s in-class assignment, I started thinking about something that I’ve heard about memory. When studying I’ve been told that its easier to recall the memory of what was learned by returning to the virtual space where the lesson was learned. I found this to be generally supported in the writings of Grosz and Vidler. After our discussion of the video of Peter Eisenman I was starting to wonder about the idea of memory and the appropriateness of a learning environment as an unconventional and even ‘disturbing’ form. Does a building like this, which challenges the norm, make it difficult for a student to return mentally to this virtual space where lessons were learned? I would agree that environments for learning should be inspiring and memorable but to accomplish this should they also be completely different from what the average person encounters on a daily basis? Does creating an alien environment also create a lesson whose memory of which is more inaccessible in an alien space? Or, is my assumption that memories are more accessible when you try to return to the space they were learned in untrue?