19 November 2015

Jungmook Oh's Discussion Questions

Jungmook Oh

Architecture. Science. Technology and the Virtual Realm

1. Another way to understand the dynamic nature of structure is to pay attention to the fact that we actually never “see” a structure, in the ordinary sense. We only perceive its result, an assemblage of parts and materials. Structure is what makes this assemblage possible. Structure is a potency.

- Do you agree that we “never” see a structure? If so, how?

2. The virtual dimension at work in both architecture and science might very well account for the constant circulation of images and metaphors between the two fields. Throughout its history, science has repeatedly made use of architectural notions. In their quest for the regularities of the universe, sixteenth and seventeenth-century scientists, for instance, often referred to the architectural principles of order and proportion.

- According to the book, it constantly put emphasis on the relationship between science and architecture. Can you come up any examples that science had made use of architectural notions?

3. To the various critics who tend to play down the impact of the computer on architecture, there is this response: the computer is only the tip of the iceberg. It is not that the computer in itself has changed architecture; it is that, because both nature and society have changed, architecture is confronted with new challenges. Its intensive use of scientific metaphors appears as a consequence of such a situation

-Do you agree with the author’s statement that the computer is only the tip of the iceberg? If not, why?

Terminal Velocities the computer in the design studio

1.       What are the advantages of CAD program described in the reading? Besides of these two, what else techniques are we using for “visualization”?

2.       According to the reading, a moire is given as an example of figure and field. How can we define the moire and what are the features of moire? Can we find any real-world architectural examples that has moire?

3.       What does the author wants to suggest by introducing an oxymoron, “digital materiality”?

13 November 2015

Fall 2015 - Exercise 04_Personal Research Topics

Your final exercise of the semester is a personal research topic. This topic may be related to your current/past studios, Master's project topic or other topic that you would like to graphically research for this course. Your topic may be directly related, tangentially related or reciprocal to architecture(al) thought. You may critique conventions, processes or projects. You may also decide to explore phenomena that are not directly related to architecture, in that, it is not a building, drawing or other.

By 9:00 AM on November 25, you must submit a 500-word abstract of your research topic via d2L Dropbox. Within your abstract you must clearly state the topic as a thesis of inquiry, your methodology for research and your expected out comes. Keep in mind, this topic must be formatted to fit the final document per the syllabus.

To view examples of previous research topics view the blog archive for April 2013.HERE

Please post any questions as comments to this post so that the entire class may benefit.

12 November 2015

Week 11: Research Methodologies

"Too often, contemporary practice oscillates between mechanical repetition and shallow novelty. Conventional practice renounces theory, but in so doing, it simply reiterates unstated theoretical assumptions. It works according to a series of enabling codes, which themselves comprise a random sampling of the dictates of professional practice and the learned habits of normal design culture. It is these unexamined codes that give practice a bad name. The protocols of normal practice may be modified or adapted in response to circumstance, but are rarely challenged." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen. 
Why do you think that the boundaries and limits of code are rarely examined in theory, and almost never pushed in practice?

2.   Do you think that the codes that practice live by should be examined more closely, or do you feel that this system of rules should be treated as concrete, and therefore true innovation comes from successfully navigating these codes?

"If conventional practice and theoretically driven critical practices are similarly structured, it cannot be a question of going beyond theory, or of leaving theory behind. What is proposed here is instead a notion of practice flexible enough to engage the complexity of the real, yet sufficiently secure in its own technical and theoretical bases to go beyond the simple reflection of the real as given. Not a static reflection of concepts defined elsewhere (either the codes of professional practice or the dictates of ideologically driven theory) but a rigorous forward movement, capable of producing new concepts out of the hard logic of architecture’s working procedures." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
Do you believe that what the author is proposing is possible in today's world? Do you know of any architects or projects that have attempted or succeeded in this regard?

"Why do we—the architectural academic community at large—ask students to do a thesis if most practicing architects do not work in this manner? Only some architects practice by grounding series of projects through individual theses. Nonetheless, we insist on testing the students’ abilities at this mode of working before they conclude their studies. And therefore, we continue to contradict ourselves when we present the thesis as the stepping stone for a future architect to project his/her understanding of what architecture is through how he/she believes that it should be practiced by only allowing students to follow one of the possible models of practice, the thesis." from How to Do a Thesis: Practice Models as Instigators for Academic Theses by Sergio López-Piñeiro
Why do you think, that with the problems with the problems the author describes, the exploration of code, (or other factors of traditional practice) in the theoretical realm isn't more commonly pushed for in architectural academia?

"Architecture itself is marked by this promiscuous mixture of the real and the abstract: at once a collection of activities characterized by a high degree of abstraction, and at the same time directed toward the production of materials and artifacts that are undeniably real. The techniques of representation are never neutral, and architecture’s abstract means of imagining and realizing form leave their traces on the work." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
Do you agree that the techniques of representation can never be neutral? If not why?

6.  On design intelligence:
"On the one hand, it recognizes that architects and other design professionals possess a specific form of expertise, a synthetic and projective capacity unique to their own discipline. In this sense, it implies the thoughtful application of that expertise to problems specific to architecture. On the other hand,.. it implies that architects need to be open to the “chatter” of the world outside of their own field, and alert to new ways of interpreting, and putting that information to work... With immense quantities of information now simultaneously available, it is no longer access to information that counts, but the ability to process, organize, and visualize information that is crucial." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen
With new technological advancement in design software, parametric design, BIM, etc., do you feel that architects and firms that are resilient to embrace this technology are showing a lack of design intelligence?

7.  Do you think that it is possible to stay innovative in architectural practice and/or theory without embracing these new technologies, or is the ability, "to process, organize, and visualize information" the only crucial requirement?

"Material practices must be robust, information-dense, and open to change and revision. Its practitioners realize that the new reality of technology and the city is one of continual obsolescence, and that the only way to survive change is to change." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
There are two trains of thought: One being that there is no such thing as new architecture, and the most effective methods of design already exist. The other being - as stated above - that, "the only way to change is to change." Which do you agree with? Is it possible for both to be true or would that be paradoxical?

"De Certeau understood that there can never be a perfect correspondence between the regulated geometrical structure of the planned city and the unruly practices it supports. The city’s inhabitants are always ready to take advantage of this mismatch between structure and performance. This in turn suggests that the control exercised by any disciplinary regime can never be total. Resistance will find other pathways around, or under, or through, the constraints imposed from outside, pathways that lead away from transgression, catastrophic overthrow, withdrawal or retreat." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
Do you believe there is a way to design space that can effectively counter this resistance or do you think a better method might be to design in a way that embraces this resistance?

"Consistency and rationality are guaranteed by the hard logic of structure, and by the indifferent behavior of materials themselves. In the case of Wright, the rational behavior of structure is not an absolute fact to be given material expression, but an opportunity and a resource — a point of provisional stability to be freely handled. The measure of Wright’s “mastery” of the terms of building is as much his knowledge of where and when to compromise, as in any mythic appeal to integrity and the 'truth to materials'." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen. 
Do you agree with the author's statement about compromise? Is this contradictory to anything talked about previously in the discussion?

04 November 2015

Week 10: Collage - Syntactic Thinking

Collage Making
  1. The Introduction to Collage Making reads,

    “[Collage] counters monopoly and it terrorizes guilds of knowledge. Every professional academy, institution or organization is vulnerable to collage, as orders of logic are broken apart by the collagist” (16).

    What do you make of Nicholson’s dramatic view of collage? Do you agree that collage has such a power to shatter modes of thought? Can it go so far as to threaten an institution?

  2. Why is it that juxtaposition in the creative process triggers such powerful trains of thought? Why is it fundamentally, that college is visually appealing and thought provoking?

  3. Nicholson writes of errors:
    “Consciously gluing something in the wrong order is done out of desperation to make an inroad into a mat of impossibilities. It is an activity that requires the collagist to glue anything that seems to not rely upon something else, a muculous anarchy. Once the illogical move is made the gluing continues as if nothing had happened at all. Making requires living with something that is knowingly incorrect. It is this anti-idealistic incorrectness which mysteriously permits the work to advance” (22).

     What kind of power do errors hold? Are we to leave mistakes be and incorporate them into a greater understanding of the collage, or do we correct them to accommodate your original plan?
Collage and Architecture
  1. The reading discusses a development in experimental art, starting with the cubists, and eventually leading to collage as we know it today. Can we narrow in on a definition of “collage” by looking at all the collage-like elements that influenced these movements in western art?

  2. Monumental events had a significant impact on art. Shields explains for example how the Dadaists,

    “conceived their work as a rejection of existing cultural and aesthetic values through their adoption of collage. Like the Russian Avant-Garde, their art was highly politicized, protesting the war and the political and social structures that led to it” (8).

    In any case, collage played an important role in almost every modern art movement in responding to social change. Are there social or economic factors currently influencing contemporary art and design today? How might collage be driving that change?

  3. Are there any particular advantages or disadvantages to digital collage? How has digital media influenced the way we collage?

  4. Shields cites the Fundación Sancho el Sabio as “a reappropriated landscape that has been reactivated by the processes of disassembly, fragmentation, and synthesis for the creation of a dynamic cultural space” (12).  In what ways might you see collage as a driving force in your studio projects, or in architecture in Milwaukee and beyond?
Eidetic Operations and New Landscapes
  1. Eidetic refers to “a mental conception that may be picturable but may equally be acoustic, tactile, cognitive, or intuitive.” Further, “eidetic images contain a broad range of ideas that lie at the core of human creativity. Consequently, how one images the world literally conditions how reality is both conceptualized and shaped” (153). In what way do your “eidetic” images produce an interpretation of the built environment different than that of others?

    Follow up: Corner writes that visual representation has the agency, or effect of creating eidetic images. What power does this give the architect? In what way can you influence the reality of a project through representation?
  2. Corner separates people between insiders and outsiders to a landscape. Outsiders see a landscape as an object, much like the first definition of landskip. Insiders see a landscape with no clear separation between self and the scene. Such a view falls in line with the definition of landschaff, which has an eidetic perception of patterns of occupancy, activity, space, and time. How can a distinction like this influence visual representation? i.e. How would being an insider influence a design, as opposed to being an outsider?
  3. Corner writes about “difficulties and potentials that underlie representational design, especially those conventions—such as plan, perspective, and rendering—that have become so institutionalized and taken for granted that we fail to appreciate their force and efficacy in shaping things” (162). Do you agree with Corner? In what way can our current conventions force us into the “pictoral impulse” that corner describes? In other words, are we misusing our modes of representation in order to create static, pictoral, objective architecture?

  4. How might the technique of collage aid in producing images that are more eidetic in nature?