The project originated with an interest in gestalt perception, specifically in the work of Josef Albers, who uses color and line to create oscillating hierarchies that play with the language of graphics and make us aware of the conventions we rely on to “read” a drawing.
I wanted to produce drawings which were more explicitly suggestive of layered depth and scale, but still retained the same unstable hierarchy which draws attention to the act of reading; first, by using color to establish relationships of depth which conflict with the reading of layered space. I then wanted to emphasize this tension between graphic and three-dimensional space by using a self-reflexive “alphabet” in which the line work defining the volumes is a hatch pattern generated from the master diagram, which organizes these volumes in space; the reading of the graphic “letter” begins to compete in hierarchy with the volume “word” which it defines.
Advanced Design Studio: Aureli
The project reinvigorates the residential hotel model for a new generation of precarious workers by reclaiming an object of housing infrastructure lost in the evolution of domestic space: the core. All domestic activities such as sleeping, cooking, eating and cleaning are consolidated within the core, liberating the periphery as a non-typological space without any prescribed functions. The project proposes a system of cores with degrees of sharing and privacy embedded in its organization; a single core is always shared between multiple residents and operates as a partition that mediates the private and collective spaces. The core is not only reclaimed in terms of its functionality, but more importantly becomes the critical element of collective living that restructures and provides clarity to domestic space and ritual.
The core system is not predicated on any specific form or typology. As such, the project may be deployed in three different forms specific to three different urban conditions in San Francisco: the high rise tower in the Financial District, the bar building in the mid-scale blocks along the city’s transit corridors, and the one-story building in the former industrial areas. While the scale and form of the project adapt to these different site conditions, the grammar of the core system remains the same, providing a legible urban form to the precarious subject. As opposed to the existing urban structures which conceal the presence of a residential hotel’s inhabitant to preserve an illusion of stability, the project offers a form of representation to this new form of inhabitation. The project aims to reconfigure the domestic space as one defined by mobility and collective living, providing both an interior space and a legible urban form through which these subjects can recognize themselves as a new political body in the city.
Reframing the Aesthetics of Abjection through Landscape
We are dependent on the cleansing technologies of plumbing fixtures to participate in the realm of culture, which perceives our wretched bodily waste as a threat to normative social practice. Yet a range of cultural forces, from institutionalized shame to the spaces of Modern architecture, work together to conceal the existence of these technologies and reinforce their apartness from the culture of everyday life. This apartness is reinforced by the illusion of a complete disconnect of the bathroom experience from landscape; the aesthetics of modern plumbing and “green” architecture frame the shameful abjection of the toilet in opposition to the purifying goodness of the garden, staging the recovery of Edenic nature as the sole source of redemption for our polluting bodies.
The Japanese garden-toilet provides an alternative model, which reframes the bathroom experience as one that has sociocultural value by reconnecting defecation to multi-sensory pleasure and landscape both directly and digitally. A comparison with Modernist bathrooms reveals the conflicting psychocultural associations inherited from the Western service-core toilet and the Japanese tradition of “night soil”. The toilet, far from being a neutral fixture, actively structures our ideas about the abject body through an intertwining of aesthetics, technology, and landscape.
Advanced Design Studio: FAT
On January 16th, 2013, a helicopter crashed into the fifty story St. George Wharf Tower, plunging into the rush hour traffic of the major transportation hub below. The tower, shrouded in thick London fog, and so new that it had not yet been entered into the GPS database, was completely invisible to the pilot. Chaos followed the crash; the Cartesian digital grid which had been trusted to provide an absolute, clear, and stable mapping of reality had suddenly become the violent, destabilizing force which caused the collapse of all rational order in the city.
The proposal for a Dementia Village extends this temporary suspension of faith in the rationality of the city by engaging with the supposedly neutral framework of urban life which silently structures our experience of the world. The project plays with the subconscious operations of the grid, using it not as a rational, neutral tool for orientation and objective stability, but instead as a means through which an unstable, irrational dream state consciousness is accessed. In the dream state logic of the Dementia Village, memory of the rational order of the city is recollected in fragments and conflations which don't adhere to the original rules of the waking state references; the city grid is rotated and thickened into an array of incomplete open houses lifted off the ground, inhabited by the dementia patients. Shared amenities and medical services are housed in monumental objects whose readings hover between universal platonic primitives and recombinations of specific historic references.
The project is a simulacrum of a city which drifts between urban, architectural, and paper spaces, between symbolic representation and tautological flatness. It flirts between a seductive metaphysical dream state and a self-referential, sarcastic awareness of its own. illusion through misbehaving shadows and representational contradictions.
256 Images that Matter to Architecture
I was first interested in the task of establishing what “matters”; to do this requires as much a personal definition of what is at the core of architecture, as much as speculating what is at its boundaries and outside of them. After all, the act of architecture is an act of definition in its etymological sense, “to set bounds”. What are the established centers of architecture, and what are its corresponding fringes and boundaries? And how could I test the limits of the center/periphery relationship through the inescapably dialectic format of the book spread?
I started with pairs of images which looked closer at the centers and boundaries of architecture, against the architecture of centers and boundaries — the cultural, epistemological boundaries or the literal, physical boundaries, both which equally structure our experience of the world. The image pairs start as distinct and antithetical, reinforcing a center/periphery binary, while still possessing some visual rhyme which allows a conversation to emerge between the two images. Reaching the end, the full-bleed images read less as distinct pairs; the center and the fringes bleed into each other across the spread, complicating what exactly is center and what is fringe.
2024 Boston Olympic Village
Our proposal treated the site as an opportunity to knit together the surrounding neighborhoods of South Boston using a fabric of courtyard typologies; we were interested in the potential of the courtyard fabric to break down the scale of the site and offer private experiences in the city while still creating an overall public weave, providing a unified character for the neighborhood.
We were interested equally in planning the “figure” of the city, with a range of typologies which transform according to changing urban needs, as much as the “ground” — the interstitial spaces of the city are treated as an articulated ground plane which unifies the private courtyards, the network of urban courtyards, semi-private greenways, and a densely programmed, activated waterfront as an interwoven, layered system of urban activities.
CASIS allows scientists to conduct experiments in outer space. Testing earthly materials and phenomena in zero-gravity conditions to discover new properties of the world we live in. I was interested in this idea of taking familiar and “earthly” elements from the site context — the ubiquitous corporate slab tower and the constructed ground plane of the plinth — and defamiliarizing them through a series of involutions to generate unexpected and otherworldly tectonic relationships, provoking a rediscovery of the site itself.
The familiar of the city is reoffered as something strange, only graspable in its interior by moving through the spatially interdependent bodies of program and structure; the walls fold into floors, the slab edge thickens to become inhabitable spaces, the façade articulation delaminates to become structure. The building components are constantly assuming different roles, requiring the CASIS visitor to reassess the “real” of the site context through the experience of discovery.