Archive for November, 2010

An Acultural Manifesto

November 30, 2010

On the topic of Globalization and Universality

a leisurely read…

"The writings below are political, highly philosophical, and very dangerous. If you are a member of a fascist organization, or a militant hyphenated-American, you may be offended by this material. Read it anyway. It may change your point of view"

An Acultural Manifesto


Thesis Thesis

November 29, 2010

Thesis Subject: Border Crossing Architecture

2 differing components juxtaposed, boundary line/zone, break in boundary to allow transition

[DIS]JUNCTIONS: Shifting Scapes

Thesis Topic: Borders as Collaborative Space: from Line to Zone

Thesis Statement: A reinterpretation of border territories from limitative frontiers to collaborative transitional environments: to promote trans-boundary exploration.

Hypothesis: The analysis of cognitive science literature on novelty seeking, and the use of critical regionalist architecture can inform design of border-crossing structures to reinforce the transformation of a boundary line to a collaborative zone.

Critical Position:

In today’s increasingly globalized world, borders are becoming more about their physicality and less about their abstraction. Communication holds almost no barriers, yet many borders are becoming more stringent (e.g. U.S./Mexico); yes, others are falling apart (e.g. Europe.) Historically, borders have changed drastically, so what is their purpose now? As we become a more collective world, there is a need for more collective physicalities.

Border crossings provide a unique opportunity for collaboration. They are important in that they are a spatial break in a boundary, allowing transition and permeation where otherwise prohibited. The aim of this project will be to utilize the border area to incorporate a boundary line into a collaborative zone.

The border crossing structure will highlight exploration (novelty seeking.) It will do so by focusing on individual experience of the passage through the structure: it therefore must be relational to any bordering cultures, and possibly acultural in this sense (critical regionalism.) 1. The use of novelty seeking literature to quantify qualities of collaborative zone. 2. Implementation through critical regionalist style.

Internal Democracy, External Empire

November 29, 2010

I believe it was a repeat broadcast, but this morning on NPR: Chalmers Johnson.

The idea of a democracy can not be paired with an imperialistic foreign policy. If America (or any country for that matter) wants to be a true democracy, that must be projected beyond their borders as well. Imposing military bases abroad, dictatorial foreign policy…stringent border control…can not be part of a true democracy. We must break down the empire and externalize the democracy. First step: through the borders. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) (9780805087284): Chalmers Johnson: Books.

Critical Regionalism and Identity

November 29, 2010

I read an article last night from a Delft University Professor on Critical Regionalism, Tadao Ando, and Identity. Its discussion of defamiliarization is a justification of sorts of my stylistic preferences (mostly embodied in Tadao Ando’s work.) Defamiliarization in terms of architectural elements is monotonous, un-ornamented, minimalistic, muted. This nakedness of a space creates the experiential defamiliarization and in that sense creates novelty in the user’s experience of passage through it. This also allows the space to form its own identity: by being unrepresentational of any culture, it is raw enough to respond differently with each individual’s experience of it. A blank slate may be the way to level the playing fields.

Thesis revolution

November 27, 2010

just to document…

after much frustration from our 901 studio, a meeting with the dean (and 3 of us students on behalf of a significant, and might I say, strong, group,) a semi-revolt…

At the request of students, and with the concurrence of all thesis faculty and the dean, we are modifying the AR901/2/3 process…AR901 thesis options

we have begun the process of (re?)invigorating the thesis curriculum. in the words of a fellow fighter: “can’t help but feel a little victorious!  ;)”

(this came as a response- among others- to this: student issues regarding midreviews)

Midterm Presentation

November 23, 2010

Mid-term presentation’s last week represented a temporal shift in the focus of many projects from typological and site analysis to research and speculative design strategies. I would say I had already begun a decent amount of research but think that would have been more valuable to have prior to typological/site analysis so that all combined would have influenced the design speculations. I’ve been sketching a lot which is helping me to think about my thesis concepts spatially, but I feel I’m drawing on way too much intuition. I have employed certain strategies: shifting in patterned fragmentation, bifurcation from a singular element… explorations in: multiple layers, oriented, striated, directionality, linking, transitional, intersecting, entrances…. How to apply to infrastructure and landscape….

My most valuable feedback was to think about if the experience is the same from one direction as the other. One path will be coming from one side of the border and another from the opposing. Do they merge? Are they spatially opposing? Do they have the same entries? Do they have the same experience: spatially, visually, temporally?

Thesis Evolution

November 23, 2010

I’ve made 4 major moves in my thesis statement so far.

It began with an idea of urban intersticies: boundaries and limits forming mediating zones with-in an urban fabric.

The idea then discarded the urban to put an emphasis on the boundaries and limits: border zones

Border zones went from looking at border limits/crossings to a transit/gateway center at the border. (this came through much influence of external forces which i have now decided to discard and focus on my own intentions.)

Finally, through a re-evaluation of the defining elements of the thesis direction, I’ve included another field to bolster the focus of border zones. Techniques enhancing novelty exploration will foster collaborative environments at (the chosen location of) border crossings.

next step: to outline the techniques… + find support for influence on collaboration

attached: 1st, 2nd, 3rd thesis statements and rational. 3-4 will most likely consist of 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4…