414.4 Major Building Design Studio
Between Object and Aggregation
Roger Sherman, Adjunct Professor
Facts, then, come to be like figures in hieroglyphic writing... There they
are, holding up their clean profiles to us so ostentatiously; but that very appearance of clarity is there for presenting us with an enigma, of producing in us not clarity, but confusion. The hieroglyphic figure says to us, ‘You see me clearly? Good—now what you see of me is not my true being, I am here to warn you that I am not my essential reality. My reality, my meaning, lies behind me and is hidden by me, and this means that in order to arrive at the true and inward meaning of this hieroglyph, you must search for something very different from the aspect which its figures offer.’ – Jose Ortega Y Gasset
INTRODUCTION/CONTEXT This studio is offered at a moment in which the public is increasingly reluctant to pay for infrastructure, resulting in a concomitant shift of that burden upon the private sector whose properties it serves. In this shift, infrastructure’s status moves from one concerned with efficiency and optimization to being an instrument of public attraction. It is increasingly possible to imagine the ambition of infrastructure being realized not through physical extensiveness, but rather the range of audiences it attracts. For architecture this represents an unparalleled opportunity to recover its role as a platform for urban engagement.
THE ARCHITECTURAL CHALLENGE The studio explores formal strategies, which challenge the false choice between the all-in-one singularity of the urban figure on one hand, and the background status of texture on the other. To reconcile this conundrum, we revisited Rossi’s notion of the collective monument: an accretion of buildings whose aggregate impression possesses iconicity, yet at the same time resists simple envelopment or consolidation. This architecture of closely-packed elements—a building of buildings—favors an ambient and publicly-engaging set piece (Rowe) that accommodates scripted and unscripted activity alike. City-like yet not quite urban, actions and events occur in its midst, without being strictly in- side it. At stake is the question of architecture might use these techniques to achieve a contingent inclusiveness, blurring the lines between private control and public participation.
PROGRAM The rise of social media/internet/mobile devices has rede- fined the notion of proximity. A paradigm change in high-end/high-touch/ micro-manufacturing and other functions suggests that no mix of uses is “wrong” anymore, upsetting the traditional synergies (i.e. restaurant next to hotel next to entertainment). In this new algebra, specialty storage such as for art or wine can be next to luxury apartments, high-end “maker” labs, retirement living and private museum, and so on. Digital connectivity makes projects incorporating totally new and surprising mixes of functions and content possible—particularly in Los Angeles, a quintessentially flexible city characterized by a car-dependent, aleatory hyper-mix culture. Students were asked to create a 75,000 SF high-density complex whose collective life is centered about a privatized (existing) parking and (future) mobility “depot”.
s t u d e n t s : Kyra Bauman, Adrien Forney, David Gray, Mark Lagola, Ingrid Lao, Meaghan Murray, Nawid Piracha, Robert Skelton, Di Song, Jonathan Talley