This book is not about products in technology – it is about ideas in architecture. Architecture is Work. While parts of it can be generated – Architecture does not generate itself.
Scripts and codes give the illusion that it happens by itself–automated without human input. This couldn’t be further from reality. Particularly the reality we are thinking about in the presented projects; a reality that is about to happen.
It takes capital. Not just financial, but human capital. It comes in the form ideas, ideals, and Work.
The work in this book contributes to this capital–and its interest rate compounds in its ideas.
Architectural details are typically communicated through technical drawings. A photograph or model might convey details in context or the ultimate visual effect generated by a detail, but the drawing remains its standard referent and it is from drawings that details are archived, revised, and appropriated.
One challenge of Detail Kultur is: How do we come to understand the relevance of details through their drawings? How are drawings handled as more than illustrations for text? Can text serve the drawings and suggest new ways of looking at these drawings?
Another challenge involves opening up details as typological elements with their own histories and cultural associations. A door, for example, is a physical thing and a metaphysical construct – and details get implicated in both directions of door-ness. Is it fair game to recollect all the implications of a door or threshold when also studying their handling by select architects for specific constructions?
Lastly, how can one reformat a book or treat a subject that is not best served by a classical progression of arguments? Multiple case studies, many details, a profusion of drawings are a part of the story and their organization as a cross-referencing index is central to this investigation. In this way it is a compendium, but also a trigger for new work and reseach.
… three opportunities
Embracing the reality of cities—and the infrastructural, economic and societal challenges that they face—has inspired a distinctive genre of new work from Steven Holl Architects. Over the past decade the offi ce has taken on work of increasing complexity and scale in China gathered together here for the fi rst time. The projects featured in this book play a serious game with scale and the dynamic between micro and macro. There is no in-between, no easy hybridity, but a study of contrasting and nested scales that acknowledge the fact that the city-dweller’s perception across a given day morphs from micro to macro in cycles. “Hope” in Chinese means scarcity and expectation. Despite its scarcity, hope is an indispensible prerequisite to approahcing this broad and inclusive project. Inserted into the urban scale, hope becomes collective and feverish. Taken as a legitimate architectural agenda, hope is a catalyst for change. In content and format the book refl ects such juxtaposition, featuring images and graphic documentation of Steven Holl’s recent works realized in China alongside critiques and analyses offered by a new generation of theorists. Its pages are considered sites capable of handling plurality, contradiction and excess. It reads like the passing views from a commuter train and looks like a rough script for a new notion of urbanism.
The first built project and final creative work of artist and architect Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012), the Light Pavilion is transcendent architecture, a project that exemplifies the preoccupations of a consummate draftsman, thinker and educator.
Nestled within a mixed-use complex in Chengdu, China, this daring construction is an emancipated drawing, a light and shadow machine, a chromatic calendar, a fugue of steel, a dance of space and form. The pavilion’s dynamic geometry, perspective and sequence of spaces reframe perceptions of architecture and urbanism.
Filled with drawings, detail specifications, and construction documentation, this book also features breathtaking photography by Iwan Baan; commentary by Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, Neil Denari, and Eric Owen Moss; historical analysis by Mark Morris; and a touching epilogue by friend and project collaborator Christoph a. Kumpusch. A visionary design made intensely real, the pavilion offers a glimpse of the future as well as a catalogue of architecture’s past.
This publication – published for the exhibition of the same name in the MAK Vienna – documents the various works compromising System Wien project. It develops an idea that the making of architecture can be understood as the organization of energy. The project explores how energy relations in public and private city spaces might be represented tectonically in the form of drawings and installations; how existing energy relations in the city can be changed by the input of new energy in the form of highly temporary spatial interventions; and how the future of the city need not depend for creative energy input on the development of building projects requiring large capital investments and institutional approval, but rather on the redistribution of energy at the human scale of the street and the room.
War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
Martyrs was four red scarlet skyscrapers that occupied the entire ground of the gallery hall. These architectures, or monoliths, rigidly bend, almost reacting to an offense. They seem somehow vulnerable and proactive: they are structures with a soul. Perforated by bullet-shaped rays of light, the Martyrs glorify human fragility.
“Built Ideas” was first presented at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture in March 2012 with great success. The opening of the exhibition at Pratt was introduced by the late visionary architect Lebbeus Woods.
The 19 mostly realized works shown through models, photographs and the architect’s concept drawings, demonstrate the interweaving of four primary architectural idea themes: Ground/Topio, Precedent/Proigoumeno, Symbolism/Symvolismos, and Art/Techni.
These “built ideas” include significant works of architecture in Cyprus such as sports stadia and arenas, private residences, urban housing, educational facilities, and hybrid corporate structures. Executed projects in New York are recognized religious buildings and a study for a Greek Orthodox Church at the WTC site. The work of Theo’s students, from the start of his teaching career in 1969 at Pratt Institute and subsequently in Nicosia, Athens, and Rome, developed in parallel with his own work, was also shown.
After opening in New York, the exhibition traveled to Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece.
I·DE·A : noun 1: any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity. 2: a thought, conception, or notion: That is an excellent idea. 3: an impression: He gave me a general idea of how he plans to run the department. 4: an opinion, view, or belief: His ideas on raising children are certainly strange. 5: a plan of action; an intention: the idea of becoming an engineer. 6: a groundless supposition; fantasy.
A(U·TOP·SY) : noun 1: inspection and dissection of a body after death, as for determination of the cause of death; postmortem examination. 2: an analysis of something after it has been done or made.
(U·TOP : etymological root ou (not) + topos (a place) 1551, from Mod.L. Utopia , lit. “nowhere,” coined by Thomas More. Extended to “any perfect place,” 1613. Utopian originally meant “having no known location” (1609); sense of “impossibly visionary, ideal” is from 1621; as a noun meaning “visionary idealist” it is first recorded c.1873