Saturday, July 9, 2016


As we work, we periodically reorganize and re-write our recent history in a discontinuous manner.
Against a conditioned naturalization of the common sense of the "field" or the contemporary business climate, we work to secure a cultural and disciplinary inheritance from previous generations, to establish a point of departure for our own practice and projections. Following Gregotti we assert a little remembered truism that architecture (as opposed to mere building) creates a critical tension, or dialogue, between the project and a naturalized common sense of pre-existing reality. The reason for architecture is not to support innovation (this is business/ marketing jargon with little sense), but to transform reality. A desire for a transformation, to make space for some activity or inhabitation, or to support some agenda, is coordinated into an architectural project which orchestrates technical and aesthetic resources to support this intervention. Modern discipline was based on a troubled and continually renegotiated alliance between cultural practice and technical execution. This discipline sought to support a social agenda and to prevent the dissolution of the design practices into a mere service industry.

Contemporaneous with the corrosive Thatcherization of international culture, the aesthetics of critical modernity were subjected to a sustained assault under the rubric of postmodernism. Without question 'post-modernity' represented, not a break with modernity, but an acceleration of the dissolution of the solid modernity of the first part of the twentieth century into an increasingly liquid modernity. Unable to grasp the logic of the financialization and de-democratization of the West, Architecture grasped at the psuedo-sophistication of university English departments. Architecture is inherently instrumental, and by fetishizing the representative, or merely descriptive, post-modern practices increasingly cornered themselves in a decorative role. Venturi, Jencks and the various populists signaled a mass realignment that severely damaged subsequent generations of the profession and much of our built landscape (in my own city, think of Harrah's Casino, The Convention Center, and the Aquarium of the Americas). Major capital has been wasted on massive urban and architectural projects that seriously degrade and privatize our civic environments, contributing in a physical way to the sense of creeping powerlessness that characterizes the collective hangover we all are experiencing in the aftermath of the Neoliberal party of the preceeding decades.

Source Practices:

Aldo Van Eyck
Assemblage of spaces/ Architecture of social institutions

Oscar Niemeyer
Pleasure, Ethics, Rigor

Lina Bo Bardi
Ethics, Politics, Aesthetics

Gio Ponti
Interiors, Furniture, Casework

Jean Prouve
Sublimation of Technical Objects, technical craft

Vittorio Gregotti
Critical Response to Territorial Expansion, Critical Modernism, Conservation

Carlo Scarpa
Craft/ Assemblage/ Joints

Andrea Branzi
against architecture as medium and towards design of population of urban objects in the continuous 'interior' of post-fordist cities - fashion, elasticity, 'weak design' (after Giacomo Vattimo's Weak Though) - also Florence school

Italian Left in Florence responds ironically to emerging hybrid of fordist + post-fordist spatial logic

“If design is merely an inducement to consume, then we must reject design; if architecture is merely the codifying of the bourgeois models of ownership and society, then we must reject architecture; if architecture and town planning is merely the formalization of present unjust social divisions, then we must reject town planning and its cities – until all design activities are aimed towards meeting primary needs. Until then design must disappear. We can live without architecture.” (Adolfo Natalini, Superstudio, AA London 1971

Ludwig Von Hilberseimer
Urban Theory, Urban History

Aldo Rossi
Urban Theory

Contemporary Practices:

Dogma (Pier Vittorio Aureli + Martino Tattara)
Urban Theory, Projective Design, Theory of the City, Archipelago vs Sea

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Slow motion drop with blender physics ala nude descending staircase.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

creepy asteroid

A quick sketch test of blender's sculpting tool - seems quite similar to z-brush. Apparently designed to make warty faces for animated characters.It could be good to produce textured landscapes for study models.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Group Form Sketch

Group Form Sketch

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

College of Maestri

College of Maestri

Out of an abundance of concern that the voices of old white men are failing to be heard, Domus has announced that it will create a 'college of maestri' to ensure that this marginalized demographic in the architectural profession regains a representative voice at the table.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Parametrics before Parametrics

Anthony Vidler
Re-writing the History of the Recent Present: Parametrics before Parametrics
Date: 29/11/2012
Time: 18:00:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 63 mins

Re-writing the History of the Recent Present: The New Brutalism to the New Parametricism
Presented at the Architectural Association, London

Synopsis (my own):

Anthony Vidler presents his reading of the conditions of the architectural technology vs history debate in the 50s-60s in his lecture 'Parametrics before Parametrics'. He relies on the evolution of Reyner Banham's publications and debates to ground his retelling, also referring to the French technological Utopians. Vidler referrs to Topologies..., an excellent book by Larry Busbea, which presents the French Utopian experiments in great length. 

Vidler recalls Banhams warning that by the early 60s as it had become clear that the emergence of Neoliberty, Colin Rowe, Robert Venturi, et al signaled that the historical camp in architecture was about to foreclose the technological impetus of the discipline. Banham, an important apologist for the technological camp in architecture, observed that technology had at that moment failed modern architects as it developed according logic internal to the technology and not according to the hopes of architects (vis a vis the various early polemics).
Vidler recounts Banham's insistence that while at that moment technology had let down architects, tomorrow it would be computers.

In comments following the official lecture, Vidler mentions that much of the technological and topological utopianism was developed in the context of a feeling of impending nuclear apocalypse. He observes that that the nuclear apocalypse has been replaced by current spector of ecological apocalypse - that this attitude can infiltrate an entire school.

Vidler conversationally offers a comment that parametricism and computation is currently seen as a panacea to address these issues, and that the conversation is often confined to a scientific conception of the problem, while downplaying other registers of performance such the human,  social or political.
His critique to the room is very simple, that we cannot rely on a sort of automatic resolution of problems by employing parametrics, especially when we are not using our own senses to define problems before we try to solve them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


STONES AGAINST DIAMONDS is a new collection of short essays by Lina Bo Bardi, many translated from Portuguese into English for the first time and published as part of the Architectural Association’s ‘Words’ series. I have long felt a strong affinity to Lina. Lina’s work is extremely clear, simultaneously brutally cutting and beautiful.

As Silvana Rubino explains in the introduction to this volume, Lina was born in Rome during a moment of futurist energy, and never passed through the moment of crisis from academicism to the modern mentality (think of Alvar Aalto, et al). She trained in Rome and began her career in Milan before emigrating to Brazil, where she built her life. 

Carrying the heritage of the Italian Left, which was reacting to fascism while attempting to grapple with the divide in their own country between the industrialized and sophisticated North and the comparitively provincial and underperforming South, Lina engaged modernity and the past with a nuanced criticality. 
‘With the founding father of Brazilian modern architecture, Lucio Costa, Lina engaged in a dialogue that hinged upon a point of honour: the relationship with the past. For Costa, the key to Brazilian modernism lay partly in colonial architecture, while for Lina the essential root was in vernacular construction…’ ‘In generational terms, Lina could have been a member of Team 10. Her brutalism brings her close to the Smithsons; her embracing of ‘folk culture’ earned her an ally in Aldo van Eyck.’ 
A further banal point I will add in agreement with Rubino: Lina immediately recognized the stink of death surrounding postmodernism. As Rubino expains 
‘she continued to declare herself a modernist even after the next generation came along and many of her compatriots converted to postmodernism, a term and practice that she condemned without even taking the trouble to translate - it was the death of architecture.’

Lina’s projects, one thinks of her own house, are among the most aesthetically and ideologically well crafted works of the last century. Her commitments, focused through writings and design practice, drew together vernacular knowledge and climate (cultural and physical), with a sophisticated reaction to and deployment of the emerging modern technologies and material proliferation of her moment.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Tidal Park

[Harlem Edge Tidal Park - Daniel Kautz, Will Rosenthal, Kevin Kemp, Alex Nassar]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sketch Models - Starling Test

Finally got around to playing with Starling Mesh Components for Grasshopper. This greatly simplifies the process of combining breps into a single form like boolean-combinations should do, but never manage with any great consistency.

Weaverbird was used to further relax the meshes in the second and third iterations.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Crude Bridging

[crude bridging]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Unruly Objects

[unruly objects]

Internal self-collisions and external constraints fight with the gridding system that organizes the form.
Uneasy distortions of the Roman Striations of Space arrive via these contested processes, but nonetheless remain captured by the grid.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Emergent Gestures

[emergent gestures] aesthetic of pixelation
of a staccato stuttering
a freeze frame of harsh
disjuncture between moments

an incomplete integration
the coherence of the overall
is eroded as the scale becomes finer
and local patterns become more apparent.

the larger scale takes on
an increasingly florid and excessive posture
driven by the rigorous
indeterminacy of local interactions

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Basento Viaduct Simulation

[Kangaroo Simulation of the Basento Viaduct Structure designed by Sergio Musmeci]

Italian Engineer Sergio Musmeci's design for the Basento Viaduct (completed 1969) utilized a method of form-finding based on the stretching of tensile fabric to develop an optimized shape which was then constructed out of a continuous concrete shell structure. This methodology arrives at a form which presumably distributes stress more evenly than a more typical trussed or arched system.  The resulting viaduct structure creates fascinating interstitial spaces between the concrete membrane and the viaduct that it supports. Please visit the Funambulist post on the bridge to explore photos of the realized structure. Also see Arturo Tedeschi's version of the simulation.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Catenary Pavilion - Sketch

[Catenary Pavilion - Second Sketch]

Pier Structure Sketch

[Pier Structure]

Route Optimization

[Route Optimization]

Pavilion With Catenary Roof

 [Pavilion With Catenary Roof]

Friday, March 9, 2012

confused machine

[confused machine]

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rough Topo Model