Tag Archives: Yamasaki


Construction/Deconstruction of the stage


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Manipulating Scale

The stage has no scale until the actor arrives. Much like each of the plinths in Yamasaki’s gridded city. Ever wondered what Yamasaki’s gridded city would have looked like if each of the plinths had been drawn to the same scale?

Perhaps this plan can be used somehow to inform the plan of the stage…


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The Edge of the Stage

Where does the stage begin and end?

This version of the flat-stage shows Xia (who played Yamasaki) helping me carry parts of the stage back to the studio after the re-con jury. It was the same evning that Zaha Hadid was giving her lecture.

Physically the limits of the stage are questioned as the drawing overlaps the defined plinth/stage-size.

The collage is another backstage view, this time exploring the deconstruction of the stage. In a sense, backstage is “reality”, and the stage-set a kind of facade that manipulates reality. The audience sit in their seats with controlled views of this imagined reality that for a period of time becomes more “real” than the physical theatre. Once the performance ends actors and audience assume their original identity, and the stage-set is deconstructed into physical pieces that feed back into reality. “Backstage” is huge – it is everything that is real and contributing to make something unreal – its physical limits are becoming impossible to define!

– I hope this makes some kind of sense!

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Flat Screenshot

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It (finally) arrived!

‘Minoru (“bearing fruit”) Yamasaki (roughly, “mountain ledge with a great view”) does not look like a man who would brew up a storm…’


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Yamasaki in Detroit

The Quo Vadis Entertainment Center, designed by Yamasaki, opened in 1966 in Westland, Michigan (26km West of downtown Detroit), when the population of the city was booming. It was immediately popular as one of the first cinemas to offer a cocktail lounge. But people began to leave the city at the turn of the 21st century, leading to a dramatic loss of business, and the movie theatre was forced to close in 2002. It remained abandoned until it was demolished last year, and now all that is left is a vacant lot.

The movie-theatre in better days

Demolition in 2011

The Site Today

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Framing the Plinths

Some thoughts:

Yamasaki sits on his own white marble plinth (he clad a lot of his buildings in white marble). He is immersed in his drawing board which obscures his view of Pruitt-Igoe. There is no longer a plinth in the drawing dedicated to The Architect as we are on The Architect’s plinth. There are 2 different sized plinths in the drawing, one square, and one half-square width so that square and rectangular plans may both fit. The grid survives, but is slightly more chaotic. In the bin is the bad press from Pruitt-Igoe. Projects which have been destroyed to be located nearer the bottom, where they are forgotten about and trampled on on the floor. Newer projects, or projects that have so far survived to be located at the top.

The Architect’s plinth is this time suspended in space, with items such as his monograph, degree certificates, AIA Award, and money (his airport in Saudi Arabia has been featured on their currency) floating past.

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