Monday, November 3, 2014

Back to THE FUTURE, phenomenology i Norge and the many moods of a boot

Then I began, as though  I had never seen my shoes before, to study their expression, their mime-like movements when I moved my toes, their shape, and the worn-out leather they had; and I discovered that their wrinkles and their white seams gave them an expression, provided them with a face.   Something of my own being had gone over into these shoes they struck me as being, a ghost of my “I,” A breathing part of myself.- Knut Hamsun, Hunger 1890....

I am writing a paper on Phenomenology and its role in the 
development of a specific Architectural quality within northern latitudes.  In this work I am also borrowing from my reading of one of the first modern novelists, the Norwegian Knut Hamsun.  This particular passage regarding a resonance between artifact and human nature just NOW reminded me of a drawing I did all the way  back in 2011.  Now I can firmly match the lines and words together.  This passage reaches much farther than the protagonist's impression of his footwear, but then again it is also about shoes. I was drawing these boots over and over again while on the Fishing Vessel Mt. Royal in South East Alaska.  In there various states of rigor its not impossible to read more than rubber seam, and while you may not be able to empathize with them as objects, perhaps their look might be able to smell.

The Coolest Dorm in Trondheim

The second half of October has been going well as I continue my studio work with JVA's Hakon Vigsnaes and the study of vernacular Norwegian architecture with professor Mathilde Simonsen Dahl.  The above schematic drawing of my project depicts a sectional overlapping of the new and old Trondheim.  The project, a high density student dorm, aims to embody the new possibles and efficiency in timber construction, while remaining rooted in the city's sense of place.  The below model is one of three that is being developed as massing tool. AHO the school has a strong Industrial design component and working with the staff I have been using their CNC milling machine to bring my digital models into physical form.  Though of course there is a huge separation in scale and scope, it is fitting that a project which would be realized in components of Milled-timber should also engage with the formal properties of the technology at schematic stage.  I think this is one of the strengths of UW's CBE and the architecture school at AHO, but the integration of new fabrication techniques needs to be pushed further to help realize new possibilities and efficiencies in construction.  From a pedagogical standpoint it seems problematic that the qualities of what could be are often predetermined by the technologies of the much smaller scale of model making. Are purely rectangular solids the best fit for many sites, or is it rather that these built works are a reflection of the ease at which one cuts these shapes by hand in foam?

This week I am beginning  a programmatic push-back on the ordered tectonic model that has been built.  Its all a big ebb and flow!

The following graphic is an exploded tectonic drawing of the scheme seen in the model above with an addition third wing.