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Content for the Continuous Surface Reference Book


Chapter 1 - Scale: Urban

The continuous surface was the ultimate answer to all the problems in the universe. It was the ‘magic carpet’ that would be able to fold on to itself and generate all the activities necessary for human life to unfold. There would never be a moment where one would experience repetitions. The magic carpet was woven with fluid activities and flexible boundaries all of which were promoting constant states of change.

“What I mean to say is that what started off as an exploration into projection that how we could inject new life into segments of the world gradually became the project the surface itself, as a project.” – Zaha Hadid on ‘The World Painting’, 1983

  1. The Function of the Oblique, Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, 1964-1969
  2. No Stop City, Archizoom, 1968
  3. Continuous Monument, Superstudio, 1969
  4. Yokohama Masterplan, OMA, 1992
  5. Yokohama Port Terminal, FOA, 1994
  6. Arnhem Central, UNStudio, 1997 (IMAGE OF TOWER TO BE ADDED)
  7. City of Culture of Galicia, Peter Eisenman, 1999

Chapter 2 - Scale: Building

The continuous surface was and is one, if not the main project that is commonly associated with parametric and design. Being the ‘magic carpet’ of multiple and continuous programmatic and circulatory folds, aerial perspectives and overhead views are the only images that do it justice. Plans and sections of it are pointless and near meaningless due to its field – like quality. The individual building/ program has no value without it can only be read within the context of the surface that embraces it.

“A mass is enveloped in its surface, a surface which is divide up according to the directing and generating lines of the mass and this gives the mass its individuality” – Le Corbusier in Vers Une Architecture

  1. The Function of the Oblique, Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, 1964-1969
  2. Kunstahl, OMA, 1992
  3. Jessieu Library, OMA, 1992
  4. Columbus Convention Centre,  Peter Eisenman, 1993
  5. Möbius House, UNStudio, 1993
  6. Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology,  Diller + Scofidio, 2004
  7. Rolex Learning Center, SANAA, 2005
  8. Taichung Metropolitan Opera House,  Toyo Ito, 2009
  9. Museum of Image & Sound,  Diller + Scofidio, 2012

Chapter 3 - Scale: Room

When one takes into account that any individual element within the fabric of the continuous surface has a limited value, it becomes clear that the fluid movement and transitions are important. The continuous surface is more concerned with smooth transitions as opposed to the traditional use of a series of framed devices that would allow you to connect between the interior and exterior, the furniture and substructure of the room. It can only exist in an urban scale and not at the scale of an individual building + room. It posses the same drastic contrast when addressing the individual scale as Le Corbusier’s Urban proposals do to his individual buildings.

  1. The Function of the Oblique, Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, 1964-1969
  2. Agadir Convention Centre, OMA, 1990
  3. Möbius House, UNStudio, 1993
  4. University of Utrecht, OMA, 1997
  5. VPRO Villa, MVRDV, 1997
  6. Rolex Learning Center, SANAA, 2005
  7. Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Zaha Hadid, 2005

 The Continuous Problem

The continuous surface needs to exist on the flat plane. In order for it to flourish a tabula rasa must be built upon which a new ground can grow. The continuous surface relishes on being site-less/ context-less and over all just less. It keeps advocating that it is the provocateur of constant change and fluid transitions but the reality of the situation is that the cracks begin to show on its shiny rendered surface the minute scale is assigned to it and this is due to the need to shrink down the urban plan to the scale of the building. It just becomes a sterile condition of nothingness.

Here in lies the problem, what began as a liberating force became a rigid orthodoxy. All revolutionaries often up as tyrants as we are unable to fully liberate ourselves from their utopian theories. What needs to happen with the continuous surface is we need to reassess it by adding in all the qualities that it ignored. We need to link the cultural and scalar stages through the folds to generate the ever changing liberating events

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