Sunday, March 8, 2009

                                                                                I am searching for meaning with my own project - and struggling a bit.  A thread of meaning has been flowing through my early projects this semester, but distilling it has been tricky.  I started with the choatic, but very purposeful, way that connections form in the brain; then moved to a sectional reinterpretation of that idea in order to explore its layering and spatial implications.  
As I move into serious development for project_03,  I keep coming back to this idea that space is also found within, not just around, built elements (much like the internal structure of the biological precedents we have found).  This idea is important to me because many of the most influential buildings I have inhabited in my life were those where I could climb on walls, see to the floor below, or view into another space through a "mistake" in the construction.  These spaces create a rich experience, and instill memory of the experience - a wall that can be walked on or sat in, a floor that offers a view, a ceiling that reaches down and invites you to go up and dwell.  
These images are examples of such places.  In Berlin, a memorial to the nazi book-burning offers a view below the street into the world of the "purity" the nazi party was attempting to achieve - an empty library, a place devoid of people, books, and therefore meaning.  
In Manitowoc, a view up the silo of my grandparents' old dairy farm reveals a view of imagination and exploration.  I could always imagine myself traversing the "corridor" that led to the top.  
Now that I've rambled on long enough, I ask for anyone's response.  What way(s) can you summarize my disparate thoughts on this subject?  Is there a larger, yet more concise, principle driving this project?

Architecture as:
built exploration playground?
facilitator of memory?
tectonics of imagination? 

I will post pics of my project shortly.


  1. There's a common thread in all your examples: the exercise of free will. Brain neurons are a physical manifestation of that process, playgrounds offer choices, a farm silo begs to be climbed. The Nazis, in contrast, were not so into free will.

    Are things determined or can we make independent choices? This idea could be a subset of order vs. chaos.

  2. Thanks for the input Cassie - very helpful! Something I completely overlooked.

  3. It seems like you might be honing in on the same sense of space Jessie described in her post: "cornfield not crop circle." (You might check out my comment there, too.) A new concept of space is emerging in contemporary practice, which is linked to the dynamists' view of human life - life as an adventure, as an open-ended exploration in a complex world. Hadid mentioned it in her Biennale manifesto. She called it the concept of the "field". "Space is packed," she said. This is the idea that (in contrast to the Modernist view) space is not primary. Space in the Modern sense implies emptiness, purity, singularity, but space is really only the residual crevices and gaps in-between complex networks of material substance. Space, rather than being an independent substance, is really just the left-over regions in-between solid stuff. Space therefore becomes also complex, labyrinthine, layered, patterned, mysterious, unfolding, and emergent in configuration, rather than simple and pure and singular - a mundane "bubble" with a plain bounding surface.

    It seems like this (as well as your Project 1 and Project 2 research) imply inhabiting the enclosure - a spatial enclosure that does not stand in sharp contrast to the space it defines. You seem to need some smaller-scale spaces, like the entangeld pockets of space in the webbing of your Project 1 artifact.

    Regarding how you state the theme, I'm not sure yet, but it could be something like: "The world as a rich framework for exploration".

  4. Its funny you say you are searching for meaning and struggling. It sounds to me that you are not struggling. You know (or feel might be more apt) what places are significant to you. You just are looking for a word-- which, in the realm of feelings, can be hard. I think that your "larger, yet more concise, principle driving this project" is right at hand and will reveal itself whether you can name it or not. Although, the words Kyle uses: 'framework' and 'exploration' seem to lend themselves well to the feelings of struggle you have: Architecture is 'there.' You inhabit it. you 'explore' it. (or someone does). And in that experience, feelings emerge. It differs for each person, of course, but this is not a giving into the post-modern view that nothing matters and all is subjective. Contrary, It matters a great deal, and its subjectivity is secondary. Subjectivity in this way is like a latent property; always there, but it is the experimentation of occupying your space that it is brought out and gives a new emotion to your space, making it rich and timeless.

    You are not struggling. You seem very knowledgeable about your space's significance. Maybe, while finding words to express this, equally important will be to continue to recite the words and feelings of those places that are already significant to you... something you started to do in your post.

  5. I think we share a fascination with these types of spaces often labeled as left-over or forgotten. When we find them, there is a powerful feeling of adventure, of discovery. I think Kyle started to define what exactly it means to be in these sorts of spaces. Perhaps the concept of being 'in' a space can be better defined as being 'within' a system of spaces. In your case, the spaces that you have identified as being the most mesmerizing are those which are not readily occupiable.

    So what does it mean to be inside and outside at the same time? Maybe inhabiting is transformed into exhabiting...


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