12 December 2016



“Lost in contemporary usage of the term, however, is the tension held in the original phrase between two seemingly incompatible conditions occurring simultaneously: “The normal and the fouled up. If something is normal every day, and ordered then how can it also be disordered, jumbled, and otherwise out of kilter?”


1)      We are all familiar with the quote that “Form Follows Function” however Lewis imposes the idea of SNAFU into this logic and questions if we can change that to “Function fucks with form” Here “function is not reducible to form, and form is not the inevitable conclusion of programmatic dictates. Instead, a self-critical, imaginative, recombnative conception of function opens up a new territory for formal and spatial exploration.” What are the roadblocks we face as architects to experiment with this change in Logic?


2)      Generic programs-stores, bars, apartments, office buildings, theatres – provide a rich ground for examination for these “dumb programs” possess recognizable architectural conditions. Because of how embedded Architecture is into economic and social systems we are tied to convention, discipline, and standards. How can we stop taking program and convention for granted and get out of the repetition?
3)      Friedrich Nietzche stated “What is familiar is what we are used to; and what we are used to is most difficult to “know”-that is, to see as a problem; that is, to see as strange, as distant, as ‘outside us. Lewis continues by stating that “critical architecture challenges the familiar, is there a point where something is done consistently due to its programmatic success or is this due to complacency and laziness.


4)      “Surrationalism is the self-conscious examination of the rational.” Architecture is an inherently surrationalist activity due to the manifestation of the self-conscious into a rational object. How the image is made material is through a highly ritualized act of the documentation process do agree that our current process is reduced to routine or is it an affective translation?
5)      In the reading Lewis discussed the works of Keaton and his unorthodox yet logical solutions to ordinary problems in film. In his films Lewis plays with the balance between the expected and the illogical by taking the situation normal of going from one threshold to another and maintaining the act of closing the threshold behind you while fucking it up by changing the door into a fence. In order for this act to be believable the proper code or etiquette of shutting the door on the way out is maintained. How can this technique translate into Architecture and subvert the standard we have today?

6)      With Architecture being a Surrationalist activity due to the translation between the self-conscious examination and the rational or built form how can Hybrid Drawings help to bridge the gap more effectively then our traditional process.

11 December 2016

Experimental Architecture

  1. In the reading Radical Reconstruction, Woods references that destruction has ushered in the need for a “radically reconstructed architecture”. He makes the case that “Now there is no choice but to invent something new, a new that neither mimics what has been lost nor forgets the losing….” In what ways can historical context and information be considered, without it becoming a reproduction or pandering?
  2. Woods states, “The architect must become, more than ever before, a creature of the present, fusing all that is remembered and all that is dreamt within it, as though existence itself were hanging in the balance” In what ways can we as architects convey the present state of society and its needs while still designing in a way that has longevity and avoids becoming dated?
  3. One of Woods’ twenty tactics of a new practice is “Make second-order designs,” which argues that previous architects followed an established set of criteria and guidelines, and that the architect now must be reconstructing what the rules are, and to “design the architecture of architecture.” Is it beneficial to architects to have certain set guidelines in place as references, or is it ultimately a constricting aspect that is often shoehorned in and limits design?
  4. Woods’ tactic, “Challenge old ideas of shaping space” makes the case that the new ways of living in will remain in a “paradoxical state of destruction and construction.” This creates the opportunity for us to challenge conventional ideas and redefine space. What are some examples of spaces or concepts in architecture that are commonly accepted, and where can reevaluating what these are take us?
  5. In Woods’ tactic “Build architecture as though it had never been drawn” Woods argues that the meaning if experimental architecture is to “set in motion events that result in unpredictable forms of building and living”. How can design be clear in the sense of having consistency and purpose within the design, while also still allowing for the unpredictability that Woods is referencing?

05 December 2016

Week 14 - Presenting your Work

1. In her reading, Representation As Articulation Between Theory and Practice, Agrest describes the production of Architecture through three registers: drawing, writing, and building. While these three registers seem to be very different from one another, do any of these seem to hold more importance over the other two? In what combinations can these registers come together to produce a successful representation. Do you see any other means of representation that may build upon these three registers? (film, theater, etc.)

2. Agrest states, "...representation is one of the first areas in which ideological changes manifest themselves." She goes on to describe, "...the understanding of the world was based on establishing similarities between things, images, and words." What role do analogies play in our work as designers?

3. On page 168, Agrest claims a clear separation between design and construction, in the middle being the place of articulation between theory and practice where critical thought and new theories are developed. Do you feel the production of Architecture falls evenly within this separation as a process from one side to the other or is one side more heavily weighted over the other? (Design vs. Construction)

4. "Given the nature and the characteristics of the contemporary city, and urban culture, the mode of its representation needs to be rethought." What different means of representation might be necessary when considering the scale of a city versus representing a static building?

5. In what ways might the computer be holding us back primarily as, "...a tool in the production of architecture..." and how might we be able to utilize these new technologies to their full capacity to represent our architectural designs?

Week 14 - Presenting your work

1.  In the reading The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint Tufte argues primarily about how PP in terms of data collection and a way to share information that needs to be analyzed.  He explains that PP "reduces the analytical quality of serious presentations of evidence" and talks a lot about how PP "is not a contemplative analytical method".  His focus on this begins to imply that Tufte doesn't believe that PP is used for anything other than ways of sharing data and analysis.  Can you think of any other ways that PP is used that wouldn't require the exchange of information and analysis? And can PP successfully support it?

2.  Tufte seems to have a negative connotation on the use of PP.  He goes on and on about how PP causes more troubles to the presenters  and the audience.  For example he says that "PP slides are very low resolution compared to paper" and that "audiences endure a relentless sequentiality, one damn slide after another".  Do you think there are ways we can go beyond the standard PP format and use it in a new way that creates an 'experience' rather than just a fact providing presentation?

3.  Tufte talks a lot about the presentations put together by NASA for various events.  He talks about how other forms of presentations would work better than PP, but is there an unconventional way that NASA could have used PP to share the engineering reports and data?

4.  How do we as students push the boundaries of the standard programs that are supplied and use them in a new invented and unconventional way to share data?

5.  Tufte argues that the standard default PP presentations are composed of "incompetent designs for data graphics and tables, and a smirky commercialism that turns information into a sales pitch and presenters into marketeers".  But we as architects and architecture students are often pitching or selling our designs- in essence marketing our ideas.  So does that mean that PP is a successful tool to us in that regard?