Monday, October 19, 2009

GSD Core Studio - Project III [Hidden Room]

The big dilemma with this project was that it was a silent review and we were only allowed two plans each to fully describe our projects, and the project happened to be about a hidden room. How do you make something hidden legible?

I'm a big supporter of the silent review, because architects too often depend on being able to explain their work. In the end, buildings wont come with captions and they should be able to mean something to the occupants without words. I'm not sure two plans can quite do all the explaining, but it was a good challenge.


There are situations where the hidden can be constantly present. On the exterior of the building, four masses read clearly as a four-room building, but as the exterior folds in and forms the two fissures defining these volumes, one space is left outside of the fold. The hidden room is the fissure, constantly present on the façade, but never readable as a volume except when entered. Although one can look into the fissure, the view always passes right through the building and out the other side. One can only ever experience a view through the hidden room but not of it.

Upon entering the building, one occupies the poché of the hidden room. Movement constantly circles around and under the room, which conceals itself within a second level of poché: the circulation space that occupies its walls.

The hidden room reveals itself in an unexpected moment between the two floors. The entrance of the room embeds itself into the circulation space. As one moves through the building, the expectation is that the staircases within the second poché will merely take the occupant between rooms on the first floor and rooms on the second floor; but instead, one slides open a door and finds oneself , all of the sudden, outside of the building and in the hidden room. Interestingly the only ways to occupy the hidden space are to step outside or to never enter the building from the start.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

GSD Core Studio - Project II [Lodged House]

The problem is pretty basic. There's a 7'6" gap between two typical cambridge homes. Insert another house.

The project asked us to do much more than just create an efficient other space to go between the homes. We were asked to think about the implications of the gable, the ideas behind the form of an american home. We also addressed issues of siting and how to place a building between two basically identical houses symmetrical about a line which would run through the new insertion. Projects covered issues ranging from questions of enclosure and how to provide light to questions of what a home was anyways.

My project envisioned the two neighboring homes as having been one entity split apart by the diagonally positioned site line running between them. Although split apart, the homes are still being stitched together by implied lines carried across by the symmetries in the two buildings.

The lodged house registers both the stitching and the cracking within the gap. The site line is extruded as a wall between the two homes (blue-grey plane), registering the crack. The circulation of the lodged house begins to stitch the crack (white), rising from the ground and passing back and forth through the wall of site line creating habitable space within the gap. The stitching movement pushes and pulls on the wall of the site line, stretching it outwards and filling in the gap between the buildings.

The rendered moment shows a moment where you can see where the site wall has been stretched out to accomodate the staircase. The original line of the site-line can be traced at the top of the image.


Finally got around to laying out my ug4 work in a publishable/manageable format. This was the project I worked on for my final semester of undergrad with Mireille. In a way, this project displays some of the major differences between what is possible at UofM TCAUP versus what I will be doing here at the GSD for the next four years. The idealogy of the two schools are vastly different. I'm beginning to appreciate the way that the GSD places its students firmly within architectural discourse, but in the beginning it was somewhat of a culture shock.

My ug4 studio was the beginning of the Detroit Unreal Estate Agency. We were an international group, working with MFA students from the Netherlands. You might be able to find more about our group online.

[The images are links you can click on if you need to get a larger view to read the text.]

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inflatables Project

As intense the work gets around here, I have to credit the GSD for knowing how to be intense about fun as well. You don't get the half-hearted free food events that run out and taste 'eh' for students to grab and just head right back to their desks that I'm used to from undergrad.

We recently finished off our materials and construction course with an inflatable project, probably the most fun I've ever had doing a group project, and I actually gained some knowledge in building techniques out of it.

Ours was huge. 8' x 8' x 32'.

It was a fun way to explore ideas of interior and exterior by actually inhabiting the air space and having the 'columns' and 'beams' create a new interior on the exterior surface of the inflatable. Also challenging the notion of column and beam as they both become tensile structures to hold the form together and prevent the hallway from becoming a sausage-blob.

The main idea that was really driving us from the beginning, however, was interactivity. See. Touch. Move.