Course Project

An Observatory in the Garden

In this garden you have discovered [by means of your own making] now extract/construct a set of five spaces within-where to observe and through-which to contemplate that same garden: to study it and to interpret it in built form for yourself – a young scholar, and for any stranger who might come upon this loaded construct on their own, so it tells them about the Garden and about your story too…

Your site is a human-made ruin or by now a mere folly, that has been overtaken by time and secondly by Nature, that itself was tamed by the ruin into a synthetic landscape or a Constructed Garden. A wall cuts through the site and a dent in the earth has over-time collected water to become a reflective plane that brings the vastness of the sky onto the roughness of the land – a pool of stillness. Somewhere nearby, but long before you or I were ever there – a hearth was built by someone and left by others to now simply mark the place. Soil would have aggregated and settled rich and still - so blueberries and other fragrant plants can grow and whisper in the wind at night.

The Set of Spaces will consist of a place to study, a place to cook and eat, a place to bathe and a place to rest; also a place to contemplate the Garden itself – especially as the Sun rising and setting daily, marks the land. This building you design will have a point of entry and one of departure – an experiential sequence - it will be scaled to the human body and its senses. It will be the interface between that body and the Elements

Assignment 03

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A section [like a plan] is a conceptual cut through an object that reveals its form – and more importantly – the space that is defined by that form. Unlike a plan – the abstract view from above – the section cut is vertical and thus aligned with the upright position of the human body, as one traverses space; it is in that sense fundamentally an experiential depiction of space and should have in itself a notion of what precedes any given moment – a memory of one’s movement, as well as the anticipation of what might come next.

You will construct a composite section of the spatial world embedded in your bas-relief

This drawing construct will establish the regulating lines of structural logic of both the paper artifact and woven imagery. Each layer of the section will articulate what is solid and void, and the relationship of spaces – real and imagined alike – so that the final drawing will serve as analysis of what you have created in paper, as well as a projection of architecture that might become of it.

Begin by conflating into a single 11X17 digital montage, the front and back view of the bas-relief, as well as the sides where they inform the natural alignments and inevitable conflicts created by this collapse. Edit out or amplify as you must, areas of ambiguity to fully exploit all newly found spatial opportunities. Use this x-ray version of the paper artifact as an underlay in order to distill six sequential longitudinal sectional conditions, drawing each in hard line, on 11X17 vellum. Use pencil, white paper, white acrylic ink and tape to offer your own reading of the spaces you discover. Furthermore, acknowledge the physical nature of your medium – its attributes e.g. fragility, forgiveness, translucency and doubles sidedness – to add nuance as you build up or carve out space.

Consider each of the six layers as a discrete sectional moment, as well as a part of the final composite.

Lastly, create a 30 second moving image as you traverse these sections and linger in the liminal spaces that emerge from-within this wonderland.

Assignment 02

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A bas-relief is a surface developed by subtractive and sometimes additive means to create a relatively shallow space in relation to a picture plane – a space that implies a much greater depth than its physical constraints; it is often constructed within the structure of a narrative and it is read simultaneously as text from side to side and as a representation of space implied within a foreground, mid and background too. The surface thus is rich with intent – emblematic and symbolic, as well as tactile – such that touch by hand or light, reveals the imbedded story and reading or misreading it can depend on your point of view. A bas-relief – whether a coin or a façade – has its inherent compositional and material structure; but also meaning. A coin portrait would indicate denomination – or agreed upon value, just as a pilaster tethered to a wall would suggest a line of reliable structurebehind that façade and a window naturally would imply a spacebeyond, that it explicitly or indirectly serves. 

Now… create a series of bas-reliefs – three at the very least – measuring 11x17 inches in height and width, and with prevailing depth of 3 inches where some key elements as needed, can extend in/out of the picture plane by up to 6 inches in total. Use three sheets of cardstock from your primer – one from the set of Grids, one from the set of Spaces and the third, from either Elements or Patterns. These paper constructs will be cut and folded [without the use of glue], also interwoven so that the physical artifact would ultimately stand on its own and on any of its sides. Conceive this with two equally important faces in mind – a front and a back, as well as four other secondary sides that should not be entirely incidental. Porosity – or absence of material – will be considered as a structural decision, as well as one, quite importantly, charged with producing spacecontained within and projected beyond the three principal layers.

The imagery of course – embedded in the sheets you choose - will have a preexisting narrative and spatial logic you must re-interpret and engage as authors, so the three layers of your bas-relief interact and create an entirely new spatial story – one we have never heard before. A single bas-relief – your favorite – you will translate into a 30 second moving image, where time is not merely understood as linear duration but rather environmental space, where memory of what we have just encountered, affects our anticipation of the events to come – a chrono-tope or spatial construct of conflated time and space.

Assignment 01 

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A window is an opening through which you see the world outside of your domain; it frames how you perceive this world and it also frames you – as you occupy that liminal space between the familiar and the unknown. It is an interface – as much as it is revealing, it also obscures or protects you from the external elements – it lets light and air in and it keeps them away at your will. In architecture, the window is a device, an instrument and very much it is elemental in itself – ubiquitous and profound at the same time, the window asserts itself within a fundamental system – the plinth, the roof, the enclosure or wall and the hearth [Gottfried Semper] with aspirations beyond the need of survival - the window is a bridge between you and the world.

Select a window that is meaningful to you and a part of your daily routine… Collect a series of photographic recordings of this one window – varying in scale, time of day, position in terms of inside and outside. Create a field of those recordings in a 4x4 grid.

Select a subset from those recordings and create a perspectival space based on a horizon line and a vanishing point, using your photographs as principal planes that define that spatial construct. 

Lastly, compose a 15 second moving image, using all 16 original photographic recordings, to create an experiential sequence, expanding the liminal condition of a single plane into what might be considered as slow space.