“Where did you get your forms?”
These are more 2.5D studies, framed as ‘urban vignettes’ for an experimental music complex in Boston that I have been working on with Han Kwon and Jill Maltby.
The two dimensional ‘Boston Main Drainage Intercepting Sewers’ drawings were made spatial. They are at the same time ‘flat’ representations of underground circulation, and ’round’ sculptural experiences. Photographing parallel to each plane reduces the model to a surface, which could then be re-entered as a space. The key/legend (the Boston Main Drainage Sewers drawings) turns the models into visual wormholes, where one plane can be entered, only to find another which can act as a plane of departure.
I’ve realized that a lot of studio work for students (myself included) relates to anxiety about form; not so much as it relates to function, but form in and of itself. Professors know that form ‘emerges’ from a project, but are quick to suggest little things that will make the tectonics ‘nice’. “Have you seen ‘x-building’ by ‘y-architect’? Just do something like that for this detail/profile/material.” I’ve wasted hours choosing to ignore form, treating it as a superficial, and base ‘material interest’, unworthy of acceptance in an immaterial world. I wanted to talk about ‘space’ only: that illusive, spiritual entity that ultimately can never be talked about without form.
[I grew up in between suburban and urban Midwest, where there was so much space I had no idea what space was; where you could see the curvature of the earth between the parking lots of Walmart and Hy-Vee. Form? Form is the shitty billboard advertising Hardee's: sculptural, flat, insignificant, or worse: immoral. 'Space' offers a way to talk about design with less emphasis on 'form'. 'Light' becomes a way to make 'space' spiritual. To be sure, there is no 'architecture' for a student interested in only 'light' and 'space'...Spirit and Absence; a place to dwell internally, a non-space. Philosophy, math, criticism: non-spaces. Places that are fun and valuable to visit, but unable to sustain physical life in and of themselves.]
These models are overtly formal, their ‘lack of function’ resolute. They look at what spaces in the city could be like if infrastructure was actually played with, rather than discussed in academic architectural circles as an ‘untapped market’ owned by engineers, waiting to be ‘designed’. The City Museum in St. Louis is all about this brash, re-organization of the stuff of the city. Of course the most interesting parts of these models and the City Museum are moving through and in-between the ‘stuff of the city’, but ‘stuff’, in these cases, is required first.