IMPRESSED OBJECTS @ GRACELAND
Instead of a series of spaces being layered and/or stacked upon one another, such as in traditional practice, we maintain that sandwiching objects that are both autonomous and anticipatory of other objects provides intriguing programmable space with exceptional sectional qualities. Formally, the overarching design method that we want to suggest is the object sandwich, in which objects are pressed together and forced to relate blindly to each other.
Precedents & Analysis
Peter Eisenman references the notion of the sandwich within his critique of modernism. However, he observes a sandwich of spaces, not objects. Eisenman notes that spaces are sandwiched between horizontal layering of planes. Through this design method, the plan extrudes to become the section, and the section becomes the facade. This horizontal layering of planes in which space is sandwiched between is showcased in both Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Johnson’s Glass House, even though they differ in execution. In the design of the Farnsworth House, the columns are pushed beyond the facade, whereas the Glass House alludes to an object-like nature by removing apparent columns and inserting a large cylindrical object that protrudes through a rectangular object. The cylindrical object possesses its own inherent space without a continuous horizontal layer. Thus, both are examples of modernism, but the Glass House diverges toward the contemporary discourse of object oriented ontology. Beyond Modernism, horizontal layering is still observed in more recent architecture. Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library, a contemporary work, treated the horizontal planes as objects. Although they may appear to be more object-like, they are still series of plans that has been extruded and shifted. Moreover, the library, with its object-like quality, still remains as a series of horizontal layers that sandwich space, not objects. As another evolution of the developing sandwich concept, Koolhaas’ Agadir Hotel proposal incorporates a horizontal layering of spaces visible in two landscape-like objects mirrored into each other. The space between reads like a figural cut, lending an object-like nature to each of the upper and lower objects.
Formal design operations used were the figural cut and object anticipation. The figural cut is used to reveal the strangeness of the internal objects as well as to increase the definition of the building objects. Additionally, the figural cut conveys heterogeneity of thick and thin space and also as a tool for surface to volume techniques. We propose that the objects attempt to impress on other objects while simultaneously anticipating impressions by the other objects. Object anticipation is seen formally through the use of embedment and protuberance. Embedment displays the nestling of objects within another object while protuberance relates to the slipping of an object through another. It is important to note that all objects in the sandwich stop short of converging.
The objects themselves possess spatial characteristics that are both distinct to each object respectively and independent of the plan. Furthermore, by forcing objects to relate to each other, thereby sandwiching them, there is an interstitial space between the objects that we call the “moment of incompatible relata”. This interstitial space is derived by the anticipation of objects that are attempting to relate to other but fail to adapt. The “moment of incompatible relata” becomes of the misfit between objects.
Precedent for the tattoo is twofold. As observed within the mansion at Graceland, many materials possess a bright and shiny specular quality, and the highlights of the surfaces increase in their excessiveness as the surface becomes more detailed. This inspiration led to the use of fractals for pattern creation. Specifically, the pattern of a Perlin fractal, when properly controlled, maintains the excessive and rippling appearance of the shining surfaces within the Mansion. This fractal is textured with a halftone pattern, reminiscent of Elvis himself, and the spotted patterns prevalent in his stage shows and wardrobe, namely, rhinestones and flamboyant lighting arrays. The combined pattern maintains the specular iridescence of the Graceland surfaces and the excessiveness of Elvis’ stage persona himself.
The tectonic use of a tattoo is to squish the multiple layers of traditional construction into one composite surface. As such, the execution on the objects was to maintain the field as an opaque surface, let the borders of the tattoo pattern act as a frame, and let the inner part of the pattern be transparent, as glazing. On the inner objects, the tattoo again acts as an aperture system, though the material application is different. The field takes on the same color as the outer object’s frames, and the inner material bears a similar color to the field and acts as a one-way mirror, allowing visibility from the inside, but remaining opaque on the outside.
A recurring criticism about object oriented ontology is the language in which is used to articulate the discourse architecturally. There is a rightful understanding that there has to be concessions made in order to manifest architecture from a philosophical platform, but to subject everything to objects and arguing a defense only in terms objects is self-defeating. In other words, objects become an undermining term. However, when one attempts to understand what is beyond the object, overmining is sorely achieved. Similar conflicts occurred in other discourses such as Eisenman when he attempted to change the language of architecture or with Libeskind trying to remove the mind from design. The dilemma lies in trying to express a new language, either formally or verbally, by still using the same lexicon. The discourse is truly exciting and there is much to be explored. Only through this exploration, exercise, and open dialogue can we clarify the significance of the discourse as a relevant design platform.
Team: Zach Beale, Michael Simmons
Maya, Zbrush, Ultra Fractal, Grasshopper, Maxwell
Professor Jean Jaminet, Winter 2014, Graceland, Memphis, Tennesee