A student in DSN 102 (our college’s introductory 2D and 3D design studio) recently asked me why I draw so many lines in my sketchbook.
The late architectural theorist and professor Lebbeus Woods has the following to say about the Line in his blog (which is still one of my favorites, even though it is no longer updated):
“Line is precise and unequivocal. It is here, not there. Making a line is not about accidents. Rather, it is about contour, edge, shape. It is about where one space begins and another ends. It can be spontaneous or studiously deliberate, but it always carves space in a decisive way. It has a clear ethical, as well as aesthetic, impact. The drawn line is one of the great human inventions, and it is available to all of us, a tool both common and esoteric, personal and universal.”
Leopold Lambert, in the introduction to his blog Weaponized Architecture,’states: “One line, indeed, has the capacity of splitting a milieu into two distinct impenetrable environments. One line can also encircle a body and imprison it within the space it frames.”
I started to take photographs of my walks, specifically of my feet, between home and the College of Design. Despite the delightful glitches, these stitches show that lines are present in every frame (click to enlarge). Each stitch has a continuous line that both enters and exits the image.
The lines appear to both follow and lead to and from home. Their presence is unavoidable, and therefore worthy of study and mastery.
Maybe lines are valuable for all of these reasons. Maybe it is with love for their forms and respect for their capacities that I draw lines. Maybe it is because we, as humans, are verticals intersecting an infinite horizon-tal. Maybe it is because if our designed environments equate to nothing more than lines on a page, inscribed somewhere and forgotten in the deep recesses of an architect’s storage closet, then we might too have the capacity to transform them and alter them.
At their worst, lines are authority made physical, and to wield them is to have some authorization. At their best, lines are productive edges of confrontation, of ‘contour, edge, and shape’, where the separated directly engage their separations.
Today is the 2014 Iowa State Department of Architecture’s Premiere Night in Kocimski Auditorium. The night includes a formal ‘welcome’ to new students in the program, a scholarship/award ceremony, a guest lecture by Tom Leslie (check out his excellent blog here), and a formal opening and reception for the spring 2014 study abroad semester in Rome.
Premiere Night has historically been a joy to participate in, if for no other reason than to ‘share the harvest’ of a semester’s worth of thoughtful making. This year was especially fruitful in the arena of drawing and representation. I will try and post photos/links to the event this weekend.
How can something be both an ‘ideal’ and a ‘fake’?
Why do we model first in abstract white volumes, devoid of material characteristics? Shouldn’t form emerge from those now absent characteristics?
Models are beautiful things.
Every model is an instrument in the light of the sun.
A means to measure the earth (geo/earth-metry/measure).
A means to measure time.
Models are imaginary things. Physical and mental investments.
I become the man in the foreground, the child becomes my daughter.
Concept means nothing anymore, ‘architecture’ never meant anything to begin with -
I want to know where we are headed.
New space, new grounds on which to live.
Leading me through, towards light and play.
My concept evolved from a series of studies combining notions of spatial tension and compression, felt in the dense winding medieval streets of the old city. I am challenging the King’s Garden’s design as one basically unchanged for 350 years even as the ownership of the space changed from that of the King’s private ownership (centralized) to public (distributed). Because the architecture failed to reflect this change, the garden’s appeal is one of a fairy tale, not unlike Tiovli, Disneyland or any other place made stale through fantasy. The city of Copenhagen (and many, MANY other cities) struggle with how to transform ‘cultural relics’ that prevent urban growth and maturation. Of course the garden is used wonderfully, and our site especially is quite popular.
The pavilion’s strength, then, is in its transience. Up in a week, down in a few months. Enough to challenge what architecture can and should be in a city, and world, of constant change. Of course it is laden with motifs that I have picked up here in Scandinavia…each pod filled with a different quality of Nordic light. I have been looking intently at different uses of wood for the past month and a half, and am still delightfully disturbed by the universe within each knot, a magnetic resonance of imperfection.
As always I am thrilled to be at the edge of my seat with X-acto, pencil, and mouse in hand…a deadline swiftly approaching, a new space revealing itself to me and the world. I will post some more updates later in the week.
We returned last Saturday from our incredible DIS study tour north through Scandinavia, stopping along the way for important works of humanist architecture. The next few posts will be of sketches and photos reviewing some of my experiences during the trip.
6/29/14 – Helsinki, 13:30 – cold, lots of rain
A drowsy ride from Paimio…Helsinki has an awesome railroad track turned pedestrian walkway connecting the city below street level. Visiting Kiasma soon….
The museum had some phenomenal moments…and some completely drunken spatial experiments. The space is about gravity and light, which I quite like, and the custom hand railing and door details were sensational. The palette…corten, bronze, white and the Japanese sliding doors. We were pretty tired by the time of arrival. Bought a book on animal architecture…turns out Pallasmaa did the writing. Returned to the hotel after an expensive dinner. Went to the sauna, had my muscles melted and am happily in bed by 9:30. Eager for tomorrow!