“I am enriched by the person who enables me to see something quite different from what I see every day.” – Paul Valery
Following on from the inspirational contributions to our first Abstraction series ‘Tools’, KooZA/rch opens up the dialogue and invites you to interrogate and explore the media and methods, of making and crafting architecture today.
From the conceptual to the tangible our practice as architects is inherently tied to tools. The tools through which we operate have the power to not only define the ‘artefact’ but are a direct reflection of the designer and their society. Entire time periods have been named according to the reliance on their tools, from The Stone Age to the Bronze Age and subsequently the Iron Age. Although we continue to be drawn back to the fundamentals of pencil, paper and tracing paper, today we are designing in a revolutionary period of data through an infinite array of sophisticated instruments. From the toolboxes of Autocad, BIM software and Rhinoceros where forms are drafted in a predetermined idea of space, an infinite Cartesian grid, to those of the Adobe Suite where images are forensically analysed and manipulated, to animation software as cinema 4D where we render experiences; architecture as a practice and architecture as output are being continuously challenged and redefined. Moreove, in an age where the very idea of the architect expands far beyond the built environment to dialogue with other creative discplines, through appropriating different methods of making, how far do the tools we use and explore push and blur disciplinary boundaries? If the man ‘is’ the tool he develops what does this say on contemporary production? What will future archaeologists excavate?
Abstraction n.01 ‘Tools’ – Open Call, we ask you to reflect on one (two or three) of the three particular sets of tools (the scale/less model, the limit/less archive and care/less sharing) through which we challenge the ink in the pixel era. One image and 300 words will be your kit to explore your chosen tool.
Please submit one image and 300 words for each tool you would like to explore. Please note that you are free to choose 1,2 or all 3 tools.
We look forward to receiving your ideas by the 21st of December at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of the email as Abstraction | Tools.
The Scale/less Model
Architectural models have been in use since pre-history. Firstly prominently, advocated for by Leon Battista Alberti as ‘the primary vehicle for design’ through which to articulate and develop the project rather than mere representation tool, the model has long been superseded within architectural discourse by the acts of drawing, writing and building. Today, with the advent of modelling software it seems as if we are ever so more distancing ourselves from the crafting of these physical artefacts which, through a direct engagement with our hands reinforce our relationship to our built environment, whilst allowing us to physically shape our ideas.
Drawing on architecture as a collaborative discipline, the creation of models also enables us to instantly escape a self-referential outlook, but rather enables us to engage with other craftsmen and disciplines as means to enrich our own. The model as such acts as a catalyst for conversations which allow us to challenge our very own limits and ideas infusing them with diverse perspectives and methodologies. Rather than stand ins for the final architectural product, the model can and should be challenged as an idea which can be continuously worked upon altered and renewed. It is never a finished product but rather the testimony to a thought process which can continue to inspire projects to come.
What is the power of the physical model today? How does one define scale?
A few thoughts:
The one-to-one model can trespass some important limitations of the drawing and the small-scale model. For instance, it allows the audience to inhabit our project and perform roles. The model achieves a condition of a stage. Objects, architects and audience become part of a performance where information is not just displayed but also negotiated and discussed.
As the models accumulate on the shelves, their iterations remain present, continuing to inspire and distract long after they were made, interfering across their generations, often with other projects, reassuring us or casting doubts.
Archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value.
What is the archive today? What role does this play within the making and development of our architectural discourse and practice?
The discipline of architecture draws and thrives on the collection of references of our past and present. Whether through books, photographs, drawings, articles we continuously look to the great masters and our surrounding environment for inspiration. Never before have we had the opportunity to engage with the sheer amount of information available from the physical space of the archive to digital web platforms as those of Pinterest and Instagram. In his seminal book ‘The Digital Wunderkammer” Huber Burda defined google as the ‘digital Wunderkammer that changed everything [where] the search engines replace[d] the editorial selection and organization of a “human” curator with a more efficient algorithm.’
The fragments we collect shape our practice and how we operate as architects but in the age of the hyper-digital how do we collect? And most importantly how do we archive?
Archive of Affinities is a constantly updated collection of architectural images that exploits the dual meaning of affinity and the likeness associated with the word as both personal predilection and the relationship between things.[… ] . This collection of useless architecture with overwhelming architectural qualities is arranged in multiple ways to become a crucible for making architecture from architecture.
[The Archive by Andrew Kovacs]
What we do as architects but as well as people is to collect and connect fragments. The way we put together our cultural environment, our knowledge, our influential references are what make the consistency of our body of work and our persona.
This is a room of all your connections and effects. No matter their size, whether memorable, quantifiable, or traceable – they are real, and they are part of the person that is you.
[Middle Layer by Inferstudio]
Architecture has never been so collaborative yet dislocated. What does it mean to design in the so-called sharing economy? In the era of the hyper digital, contemporary sharing programs and platforms allow users to work in real time on the same file, whether you are sitting next to your colleague or are few thousand km apart in a different city.
Software as BIM enables entire projects to be collaboratively designed and constructed within abstract digital spaces which however enclose at once the architectural, mechanical and electrical components all in one unique file allowing for each individual to work as one whilst being part of a unique and intricate system.
Clouds have pervaded our way of sharing files which can range from anything from the latest powerpoint presentation for a client to all those references we download when thinking out that prismatic façade.
Not happy with the immediacy of the “archaic” email, we now also share glimpses of our work via whatsapp. Discarding the mouse for our finger we find ourselves commenting and communicating with our colleagues on screens half the size of a typical brick. The space of autocad is here momentarily superseded by a fast and contemporarily primitive medium of communication which seems to have invaded our workplace much more than our private sphere.
In addition to tools for sharing these have also become essentially temporary archives of our work, and with the space of the office being ever so more defined by the technologies through which we are able to design one must continue to question the location and essence of the contemporary office?
How do we work as an architecture studio?
As a discipline which thrives upon collaboration how have these new sharing tools, which effectively enhance the profession, affected the discipline?
If sharing files seems to reduce the importance of sharing spaces and experiences, can one define the office as his pc and an internet connection?
A few Thoughts:
” […] What technology does is exaggerate the contradictions that already exist. Any one of these technologies can be an extraordinary utopian moment that brings us together, or they can be used to overthrow an election, hack someone’s credit card details, or groom a 14-year-old girl for sex.” Liam Young
- 1. Grandeza, The 1:1
2. Studio Ossidiana, The Model
3. Eliasson, Olafur. Models are for Real
4. Reynolds, Charlotte. The fourth register of architecture: ‘Model as…’
5. Astbury, John. Architects do it with Models: the history of architecture in 16 models. The Architectural review. 2014
6. Infer Studio, The Middle Layer
7. The Archive, Andrew Kovacs
8. Lemonot, Collecting
9. The Digital Wunderkammer: 10 Chapters on the Iconic Truth, Hubert Burda
10. Sir John Soane: The Architect As Collector, Peter Thornton
11. RenderLands, Liam Young, 2017
12. What will the ‘office’ look like in 10 years’ time?
How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Changing Modern Office Design
Architectural Drawings: 10 Office Plans Rethinking How We Work
Architectural Drawings: 10 Office Plans Rethinking How We Work