The topic of damage control is deliberately broad. My instructor is Mark Wasiuta, and we will eventually work with an artist who is the author of the Salvage Art Institute. Initially we scrutinized the basic notions of damage and tested our preconceived ideas of damage and its meaning. From there we moved to an exploration of the images of value, to our collective role in the creation of value to how we can represent the values that are being damaged/protected. At the root of these discussions is the intention to broaden our design vocabulary and invent individual design and critique tools that will presumably guide our work for the rest of the semester.
The greatest collective challenge for our studio has been narrowing our focus to one event or moment where damage occurs. Beyond the specificity issue, I have had a difficult time trusting my instincts and simply allowing the process to take its own shape. Obviously, five years of undergrad and four years of professional work that has been generally rooted in answers and not questions are difficult to un-learn.
Still, I did not come to Columbia to learn what I already knew. Reminding myself of this is surprisingly helpful, and provides a necessary amount of rationality in an otherwise irrational and unstructured environment.
The idea of a weapon serving as a means of damage control continues to fascinate me, in large part because of it's paradoxical implications and surrealistic imagery that often comes to my mind when I think of the military and defense. Furthermore, an opportunity to further understand the military's "relentless logic" as Mark puts it is one I intend to explore. Nevertheless, a reliable means of testing these ideas continues to elude me. This is an investigation, and like Mark suggested, we must reject what is not useful and specify what the issues of value are.
We are first learning Rhino 4.0 in conjunction with Illustrator. Eventually we'll move into Grasshopper and Maya. Everyone is familiar with the Adobe Suite but there is a surprisingly large number of students who have NO background with either Rhino or 3dStudio. It's crazy! Obviously this is not accidental. I am familiar with Rhino but by no means proficient with it. So far it's been very good.
What's funny is our first assignment is to model Mies' Barcelona Pavilion in Rhino and then play around with line-weights in Illustrator, which is suspiciously similar to our tutorial sessions back in third year with Knox, not to mention our courtyard prototype work with him fifth year. Next we are modeling the Panton chair, and then we move into our analysis of a building with some sort of tectonic element or detail, either built or unbuilt. I will probably choose to examine the University Library by Wiel Arets in Utrect. I also like Piano's New York Times building, but it's not quite as interesting. Both are an exploration of transparency and identity and the Piano building is very elegant, but Arets work is a little more daring. It was one of the many projects I was fortunate to visit while in Europe, and remains one of my favorite buildings on the planet.
We had our first discussion yesterday, in which we are broken into sections and we simply have a topic planned ahead of time. Our first topic was a thrill - a roundtable about OMA / AMO. The discussion was at its best when people were challenging their relevancy, rather than simply recording their history and influence. Obviously Rem's work is well known but I am only familiar with AMO through a few website visits and a few cursory glances at Contents. I think I have also looked at S,M,L,XL two, maybe ... three times? Still, I find their work to be remarkable, for no other reason that they seem to be the most active group in this general collective mission to create a new territory for the architectural discipline. How come they have been more successful than others?
This lecture aims to understand cities through other media besides textbooks, most notably through film. Matt Knox exposed our class to a new level of understanding and appreciation of architecture with film, and Enrique will do much of the same. Last week we watched The Naked City by Jules Dassin, an appropriate way to introduce our diverse class to New York and the root of it's chaotic atmosphere and dystopian imagery. Tomorrow we will watch Germania Anno Zero by Roberto Rossellini, which will coincide with our lecture on Berlin.