I’m rendering some images so cant post them at the moment, BUT I can talk about TS:
I’ve been reading this text, sent to me by Natasha http://c-lab.columbia.edu/images/0128.pdf by Alejandro Zaera Polo (Foreign Office Architects) [If you are interested, skip to page 12/87 for ‘Spherical Surfaces’].
Crazy – the guy read the same people that I did, googled the same stuff and formed pretty much the same opinions and ‘thesis’ that I’ve been pushing for! Perhaps evidence that I’m letting what I read influence my ‘world views’ too much (
He defines the historic importance of the building envelope in relation to socio-political concerns. In summary:
In classicism the envelope was symbolic – social codes embedded and encoded in the façades of country villas, representing the building allegorically and locating the building within a hierarchy of socio-political meaning.
In the modern period, the façade was cleaned of any reference to stylistic convention and merged with the interior in a symbiotic way – the new found idea of the transparent façade worked on a technical and aesthetic level, as well as inviting social understandings of ‘openness’ and a democratic society.
Corbusier’s brise-soleils for the first time acted to [in Sloterdijk’s terms] immunise the interior from the biological effects of the outside – the sun. [The ‘globes’ guy I’ve been reading – Peter Sloterdijk – speaks of buildings in general as constructed immune systems – immunising the inhabitants from the effects of the outside world]
Globalisation neutralised the language of façades and increased the demands for ‘insulation’ and ‘immunisation’ – as seen in Novartis.
The age of individualism and spectacle brought about the concept of ‘faciality’ in façades [relating to my concept of ‘testimony’ in a post below]. As I understand it faciality works as a complete identity for the building. The façade is not in a technically symbiotic relationship with the inside, but rather in an immunising relationship with the outside. The same an individual’s face is – the identity holds dear what is inside. Two buildings ‘face to face’ are two independent individuals. This relates to Sloterdijk’s idea of ‘foam’ – what he derives from the apartment building – to him an apartment building is foam – the inhabitants are individually secluded but communally linked.
My TS was meant to focus on the development of the façade. The intro up until now has been:
‘The super-surface is the expanding boundary of the corporation. The corporation is in this project seen as an insular institution, which grows internally with an expanding outer facade, shell. In relation to the Spheres trilogy, this relates to the way the world was seen in antiquity – the idea of the sphirra – the all encompassing whole, where god was the centre and at the same time every point within the sphere. The outer shell was somewhere out in the cosmos defined by the furthest reach of the divine power. In the Modern Age, the world is seen as having no such shell and the cosmos is infinite. Cities that developed in insular ways, growing powerful cultures have also been challenged by globalization as every notion developed has found reasonable counter notions in other world cultures. The ethnological ‘tumours’ have burst. However in my view, corporations still remain insular, building knowledge and their own notions of the sphirra. The surface will have to technically deal with security, identity and should allow the corporation to play an active part in the city. PR and knowledge gathering and knowledge dissemination. giving a face to the company in the way that the modern artist gives face to their system of production – like the notion of testimony – testimony of the skin. Through the notion of security it would allow for open access to the corporate campus. It would allow employees to be citizens – meaning have scope beyond their task. Make products beyond their function.’
The text has reaffirmed my interest in façades, however I do not fully agree with the outlook from Alejandro, that it necessarily has to be technical to relate to architecture, rather then ‘being a simple representation of politics’. It seems to slightly go against his own statement that I fully embrace – that the best way for architecture to engage with the modern world is through the market. He poses an interesting notion that the materiality of the façade is linked to the market through its materiality – as he says – on a molecular level [links nicely to my molecule-to-campus scale pink series]. I want to explore this in the TS, will research tonight and speak about it in the 3 TS tutorials I have lined up tomorrow However I would also like to focus on the identity represented by the skin – the ‘facialised’ skin – as an architectural project – the implications of identity in the skin as an architectural project – rather then calling the technical resolution of it the architectural project, as Alejandro seems to imply. I would look into the engagement of the architecture with the markets and the city through this identity [primarily, rather then its materiality].
I’ll post some TS research here in the night time. In the mean time, check out the Novartis buildings without furniture – just skin!