Posts Tagged ‘ Modern architecture ’

Finding the future

This is the final version of the movie, with sound added by the extremely lovely and talented sound artist Chantal Janvier. The narrative is simple, what I am interrogating is a new position in architecture, one that would be described by meta-modernism, an dialog and oscillation between modernism and post-modernism, a tension between utopia and dystopia, between the past and the future. We cannot make the mistake of building a future that would completely destroy a past, the modernists did it, and the urban context is in a state of continuous deterioration, specially for countries that are in development now.

If we use Bucharest as a case study, we will observe how the communist regime practically butchered the capital under the pretext of modernization but with the only goal of imposing authority through monumental megalomaniac architecture. The tabula rasa approach was forced on the homogenous urban fabric of the city creating large voids which are impractical for any human activity, it was called the New Civic Center, and but there was nothing civic about it.dadada

This is the middle of nowhere in the core of the capital.

cacasasa

The voids served two roles: to serve as collective housing for the communist elite thus being a symbol of authoritarian power and to set the scene for the grotesquely large People`s Palace, which is the second largest building on earth after the Pentagon. The quality of architecture is questionable, but the impact on urban life in Bucharest is dramatic. The voids hinder any type of dynamism or identity or Balzacian drama (as Colin Rowe puts it) within the city, they create placelessness and fragmentation of the city, and the most dramatic thing about it is that it was carved right in the heart of Bucharest, splitting the city into 2 halves.22222

As Rem Koolhaas observes in his essay Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture on the case study of postwar Berlin, that as soon as a city is divided into 2 halves, there will always be a good half, and a bad half, thus splitting the population by their social status. Bucharest went through the same thing, while the New Civic Center was being constructed, entire communities were uprooted and relocated and Bucharest was split into the rich and enterprising north half and the poor and disenfranchised south half. Population is split more or less evenly but the the office, retail, cultural, religious and services facilities are roughly 80% in the North side of the New Civic Center. large_palatul-parlamentului_54

This massacre was done under the consent of  modernism with the sole goal of imposing the regimes authority on the people, with complete and utter disregard to history, culture and tradition, this cannot happen again, transforming the boulevard in a symbol of power and the public square into a space of intimidation. A multifaceted dialog must be employed when dealing with an urban context, in contrast with the ignorant, naive and tautological solution of the tabula rasa . The post-communist period of privatization in Bucharest did little to change the course of the butchery, with hardly any public projects, the new star in the scene is the office building which is as ignorant to the human condition as the People`s Palace is an insult to the people. PP_1romanianparliament1

There can be change, if we seek the future in the past, the enthusiasm of modernism is still lingering, and the reserved pragmatism of post-modernism keeps things in scale, while a return to neo-romanticism might carve the way forward, tension and dialog are the key factors, the way to get the best of both modernisms. The tension between two opposing poles like the past and the future, unity and multiplicity, temporal and atemporal, purity and corruption, order and chaos will infuse “the common place with significance, the ordinary with mystery, the familiar with the sense of the unfamiliar and the finite with the semblance of the infinite”-Novalis.

The first exhibition

It was a success, although the crowd was a bit underwhelming, I was extremely impressed about how everyone pulled through, I was very lucky in having dedicated and ambitious teammates so that we could deliver the center piece of the exhibition (in my humble opinion). Now let me divulge some secrets about Percy, we chose bones as a element for him because we wanted him to be a critique towards the sites we were given, New York and Liverpool, cities which both thrived on the slave trade, and were at a time two of the biggest slave trade centers of the world. The two sites are set in the docks so the correlation is even more obvious with the idea that Percy would illustrate how both cities were built on the bones of the slaves, and that fact was slowly overwritten, to the point of people not being aware of it anymore. A friend said he could name 10 streets in Liverpool named after slave traders/owners, but being embedded so deep in routine and normality, people eventually forget the atrocities committed in for the comfort of others. The architectural device we created through Percy will help develop buildings that will be strongly correlated with the past of the two sites and will make people aware of it. Some might say that what is history it is already written and nothing can be changed, but keeping a close eye on it will prevent it from repeating itself. There are a lot of mistakes that humanity made along it`s history, and most of them should never happen again. Architects should enforce this idea through the statements of their architecture, people can be made aware of the past through subtlety as well, not only history books, tangential learning could be a key element in making a whole demographic aware of a real problem that could be affecting them without even knowing. But I`ll leave that rant for some other time in the meanwhile enjoy the exhibition, there are photos of us setting it up, and of the final look of it.

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High baroque/rococo modern reinterpretation extended

There is no such thing as too much baroque!!! Feel free to zoom in on the details, for the image is quite large. Enjoy!chape4

High baroque/rococo modern reinterpretation

 

 

 

High baroque/rococo modern reinterpretation, through Percy. Feel free to zoom in, the images are quite large.(check Urban Dweller on my blog if you haven`t already, more information will be available after the exhibition) Enjoy!

 

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Of eyes and flowers

 

These are some compositions I`ve kept hidden away for the exhibition, but I`ll most likely create more of them by the time it will be exhibited. With them I am exploring compositions based  on nature while still being constrained by the object of Percy.

circle of bones

 explosive

 

violent symetry

 

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This one I found to be a very interesting interpretation of Baroque style ornamentation in a pure meta-modern composition.

  downunder

 

New sky-scrapper concept for New York?

I have taken my speculation further into investigating the vertical rhythmic properties of the device I`m using (Percy). Enjoy!

 

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Sohei Nishino

Interesting reinterpretation of the urban context. It grasps the chaotic growth of the metropolis in an uncanny, organic way, showing a side of the modern city that was never dealt with. The modernists promised us the ideal of the gestalt, but felt too short and crumbled under the heavy boot of capitalism, while their doctrine of form follows function became nothing more than an excuse to build boxes. And then came the glass boxes, stacked on top of the other, the gargantuan machines that maintain their interior metal bowels at the expense of the breathable air outside. It almost like there is no answer: this is the city center, there is nothing we can do about it, better build up, better build out of glass because it`s light weight, who knows how much temperature management would cost, but then again who cares, who cares about the traffic density`s impact or about how breathable the outside air is, because everyone spends all their time inside the glass box where the air is clean, arrive there through a means of mechanized transport, and besides outside is dangerous anyway. Interesting enough we happen to live in the 21st century, the age of information, things don`t have to be in the same place in order to happen. There are oceans of information on our finger tips, in less than a minute we can be anywhere on the globe. So the question is why is everything so centralized, maybe this is the normal evolutionary status of human activity. Just like nature tends to dissipate, to exhaust its energy in order to achieve equilibrium, we tend to conglomerate in our attraction towards being where its at, where stuff happens, to concentrate, gather,vibrate just like ants over a dead rat. How can anyone build a glass box with no windows and claim it was raised in the spirit of the gestalt, it seems to be very compelling to agree at first glance: it`s a glass box, its cohesive, its consistent and no part of it is better than the whole. But that is a very fetishistic, perverse and almost juvenile way to look at it, because the object does not exist in a pocked dimension that can be observed through a tiny keyhole that exists under the architects desk so you can properly bend over in front of the creator of such a magnificent masterpiece. Whats the glass box`s relationship with the surrounding buildings ? Whats its relationship with the people outside or inside for that matter? Is it critical about its surroundings? Is it a technological breakthrough in something else than stacking glass on top of steel? Is it complex and original work of art that is critical of itself? Does it have an poetic subtext only visible to the trained eye? Is it a satirical interpretation of the human condition???maybe?? NO! Then where is the architecture, where is the frozen music, where is the abstract or the erotic? Because I don`t see it, all I see is glass boxes that shatter fundamental concepts on how life should be lived.

---ArchiPress---One---

These maps of famous cities by Sohei Nishino encapsulate the bustle of the metropolis in the modern world. Skewed and twisted, the irregularity and flexibility of city life is conveyed through the warped pieces of the cityscape.

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Nishino’s collage represent his experience of the cities he painstakingly combed through; photographing as many places as possible, from all angles he could chance upon. The work is not about creating a precise geographic recreation of a cityscape, but instead an emotive scale is applied to the imperfect mix of monuments and landmarks, to re-create the image of the city through his own lens and his own hands.

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