DRAWING CODES: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation
January 17 – February 4, 2017 at the CCA Hubbell Street Galleries, San Francisco
July 8 – August 20, 2017 at the WUHO Gallery, Los Angeles
January 10 – February 9, 2018 at the Banvard Gallery, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University, Columbus
March 6 – March 28, 2018 at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Curated by Andrew Kudless & Adam Marcus
DRAWING CODES EXHIBITION TO OPEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TAUBMAN COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE & URBAN PLANNING ON MARCH 6, 2018 -- MORE INFO AT THIS LINK!
Emerging technologies of design and production have opened up new ways to engage with traditional practices of architectural drawing. The twenty-four experimental drawings commissioned for this exhibition explore the impact of such technologies on the relationship between code and drawing: how rules and constraints inform the ways architects document, analyze, represent, and design the built environment.
Each drawing engages with at least one of the below prompts that begin to expand the notion of code as it relates to architectural design and representation:
- Code as generative constraint. Restrictive codes often govern what is permitted and what is prohibited. Examples of this include building codes, urban codes, zoning codes, accessibility codes, and energy codes. How can such constraints become generative, opening up opportunities for design and representation?
- Code as language. A code can be understood as a set of rules, conventions, and traditions of syntax and grammar that structure the communication of information. The discipline of architecture similarly has its own language of typologies, taxonomies, and classifications. How can drawing engage with such architectural languages?
- Code as cipher. Encoded or encrypted messages are intended to hide or conceal information. Likewise, architectural geometries, forms, spaces, and assemblies are embedded with invisible organizational, social, political, or economic logics that may not be immediately evident. How can drawing engage with these latent meanings and messages?
- Code as script. A code can be understood as a script or a recipe: a set of instructions to be executed or performed by a computer, a robot, or (in the case of theater or film), an actor. Scripts often produce unexpected discrepancies between the intent of the code and how it is executed. How can drawing explore these open-ended processes that may not have a defined outcome?
The invited architects were asked to conform to a set of strict rules: consistent dimension, black & white medium, and limiting the drawing to orthographic projection. The intent is for this consistency to emphasize the wide range of approaches to questions of technology, design, and representation. Yet within this considerable diversity of medium, aesthetic sensibility, and content, several common qualities emerge. First is the unsure link between code and outcome: glitches, bugs, accidents, anomalies, but also loopholes, deviations, variances, and departures that open up new potentials for architectural design and representation. Second is a mature embrace of technology not as a fetishized end game, but as an instrument employed synthetically in concert with other architectural “tools of the trade.” And finally, these drawings demonstrate how conventions of architectural representation remain fertile territory for invention and speculation.
At the show's initial run at CCA in San Francisco, an adjacent gallery featured work by CCA Architecture students in Kinematic Code, a course taught by Clayton Muhleman that has been exploring procedural and robotic drawing techniques.
by Viola Ago
This drawing is process based. It is neither an abstraction nor a representation, but rather situated in an approach that places its desire on the slowness of the emergence of figure from field. The boundary of the figure is intentionally ambiguous so that the emergence of the figure from the field flickers as you get closer or further away from the picture plane. To be specific, the picture plane is the design agent in the compositional logics of the figure.
The lines, conceptually of annotative nature, register every possible state during the process of the drawing. Typically, an architectural geometry drawing will display the information of the final product. Here, the discrete line network further reinforces the notion of time in generating the drawing and delay in the reading of the drawing.
The input/output operation, very familiar to digital design, in this case functions as an apparatus that distances the authorship between user and drawing; that is between instruction and execution. It is in this space, between instruction and execution that there exists an area of indeterminate figure.
Of Process, Mark and Figure does not privilege any meaning beyond what it is; it rather questions the possibilities of what else it could become in terms of process based drawing and authorship.
Viola Ago is an architectural designer and practitioner. She is currently the William Muschenheim Fellow at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan. She earned her M.Arch degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, and a B.Arch.Sci from Ryerson University in Toronto. Most recently, she worked as a designer at Morphosis Architects in the Advanced Technology Team. She has previously worked at LA Patterns Inc. in Los Angeles, Perkins Eastman in Toronto, and was a Graduate Studio Teaching Assistant at SCI-Arc. She has lectured and has been an invited guest critic at SCI-Arc, UCLA, USC, Syracuse University School of Architecture, Taubman College of Architecture, Ryerson University, and American University of Sharjah.
by Kristy Balliet / Balliet Studio
Possible Volumes is a drawing excerpt from an ongoing series focused on possible volumetric typologies — volume for volume’s sake. The relationship to code and drawing is the systematic approach to expand our level of design attention toward the development of volume.
As an attempt to rewire our approach to design problems, this series focuses only on the representation and design of volume. The aim is to balance spatial complexity while maintaining an understanding of primary and secondary volumes. The research underscores the potential of volume to develop the architectural threshold — a contemporary pursuit to expand the role of side aisles, niches, coffers, apses and enfilades. The drawings favor the comprehension of multiple views in lieu of a singular view. There is an intentional oscillation between drawing as object and drawing as interior.
The drawing excerpt is an evaluation of internal qualities of geometric primitive volumes, such as cubes, cuboids, spheres and tetrahedrons. The geometry is modified by progressively shearing and adding volume, adjoining niches that expand along a three-dimensional coordinate system. A form of manual coding, each volume follows a system of increasing complexity, multiplying the addition of volumes with each iteration. The work uses a digital-manual method that only in concept engages the parametric promise of endless iterations. Possible volumes want to misbehave in order to be larger than they are; they aim to be full in qualities rather than cubic feet. In the architectural debate between autonomy and engagement, volumetric performance is positioned to address both as it lurches from one to the other.
Kristy Balliet is principal of Balliet Studio. She is also the co-founder of the BairBalliet, a design collaborative and co-chair of the Possible Mediums Project. She is a visiting lecturer at SCI-Arc and an assistant professor at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture. The work of BairBalliet is part of the Architectural Imagination exhibition, recently at the US Pavilion of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and is currently working on a forthcoming book The Possible Mediums Project to be published in 2017.
Ink on Canvas, Drawn by: OX, Staubli TX60L
1. Contain following instructions within a 635*635*1mm bounding box
2. Take 3 digital surfaces and fold each of them 1 time, - intersect them
3. Generate 1 horizontal grid with 1.3 mm spacing between lines, project them onto the surface
4. Generate 1 vertical grid with 1.3 mm spacing between lines, project them onto the surface
5. Generate 1 horizontal grid rotated 45 degrees with 1.8 mm spacing between lines, project them onto the surface
6. Following operations cannot take longer than 90 minutes and not shorter than 45 minutes
7. Draw the horizontal grid, - pause at every third of the grid for minimum 30 seconds
8. Draw the vertical grid, - pause at every third of the grid for minimum 30 seconds
9. Draw the rotated grid, - do not pause
A set of instructions executed by an industrial robot.
The work takes inspiration from both Sol Lewitt’s instructional wall drawings and their reinterpretation by Casey Reas in software structures, particularly his comparison between wall and screen, and his thoughts on process. Maintaining the separation between concept and execution, Folds treats data, motion, and ink equally as material. Three grids are layered upon each other, projected onto virtually folded surfaces. The grids pushed into the third dimension are impossible to be indexed by a human hand. Each resulting piece carries qualities of the materials at play, the sequencing and structure of the data, the precision and timing of the machine, as well the nuances of the pen.
Curime Batliner works at the convergence of architecture, 3D animation, interface design, and robotics. His work stands out at the top level of the emerging discipline of creative robotics and embodies the shifting relationships between the human and the artificial in the process of making. He currently teaches and researches at the Robotics Lab of the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
by Erin Besler
This is a drawing of a drawing of a drawing. It’s actually one in a series of ten drawings produced successively. The other nine are not on display. I think that’s OK. This one is the fastest in the series and seems the most out of control. The others are drawings of the same thing but were done at progressively slower speeds and so you can imagine are less erratic.
The materials are black ink and coated craft paper. All of the drawings in the series were produced on 26”x32” paper, but this one was trimmed down recently to 25”x25”. At first I thought folding the excess paper back would be appropriate, but in the end trimming it off worked best.
Erin Besler was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is faculty at UCLA A.UD, where she was the 2013-2014 Teaching Fellow. Her work is situated within the gap between disciplinary problems and practical problems and seeks to refit things that have been relegated to practice, such as everyday aspects of construction, building information modeling, and architectural mockups, into a conceptual framework. Her work has been presented and exhibited in Beijing, Los Angeles, Paris, Chicago, New York, Sydney and San Francisco with publications in Log, Pidgin, FutureAnterior, Project, San Rocco and Perspecta. Recently she was awarded the Architectural League of New York Young Architects Prize. She is a co-founder, with Ian Besler, of the Los Angeles based practice Besler & Sons, an interdisciplinary architecture and design studio that works on buildings, mockups, interfaces and software. In 2015 they were finalists for MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program, participants in the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennial of Architecture/Urbanism as part of the exhibition “Now, There,” which was awarded the UABB Bronze Dragon.
by Central Standard Office of Design / Kelly Bair
In 1969 Herbert Bayer completed design of the Bauhaus typeface, a development from the earlier version, Universal, commissioned by Walter Gropius in 1925. Poised as a turn away from the elitist gothic font family of Fraktur, Bauhaus’ lack of serifs paired with geometric simplicity made for an easy read and injected a sense of casualness that seemed to influence the graphic design trends of the time. Sentences angled across the page, words wrapped around objects, and glyphs shifted nearer to one another to the point of complete overlap.
Glyph & Ligature is a drawing that exaggerates these graphic design techniques using the Bauhaus font as base taxonomy of geometric primitives. Moving from communicative typeface to architectural geometry, the drawing catalogs various means of ligature between closed 2-dimensional profiles in an effort to produce more open ended and difficult to decipher glyph assemblies. Simple rotational transformations are applied to the primitive glyphs such as revolve, reflect, and rotate. Each glyph then meets it twin through excessive letter kerning and a slight rotational deviation from the Cartesian grid with which the letter is typically read, suggesting a new syntax for architectural form.
Kelly Bair is principal of Central Standard Office of Design, a research practice based in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and most recently in the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015) and the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Bair is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also co-founder of Possible Mediums, a collaborative of four Midwestern architects and educators interested in shaking up the context and format in which architecture is taught, produced, and engaged.
by Amy Campos
This drawing assemblage reveals a lapse between material performance and architectural intention. Architectural drawing traditionally indicates an ideal, and often impossible, material situation. Inspired by the working processes of Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Tara Donovan, this drawing undermines intention. An ink drop is absorbed in an atypical way (asymmetrically, the viscosity of the ink changes drop by drop, it drops too soon on the wrong location, it splashes, etc) and produces imperfections. Cutting and stacking the paper reveals the material interaction between paper and ink and relates an ideal plan-based intention with a sectional material outcome. The nature of the material being somewhat out of control means that errors compound and the outcome of the assemblage is unexpected. The assembled drawing swells and deforms. By treating the paper as having sectional thickness, the assemblage falls somewhere between a drawing and a construction. Materials: black and pearlescent black liquid acrylic ink, 2.5cm thick cotton blotting and wicking paper.
Amy Campos is Associate Professor of Interior Design at California College of the Arts. Her work focuses on durability and design with special interest in the impermanent, migratory potentials of the interior. The work spans a variety of scales and platforms from inhabited urban and architectural spaces to object and furniture design. Her forthcoming book, Interiors Beyond Architecture, co-edited with Deborah Schneiderman will be published by Routledge in summer 2017. Her essays include “Territory and Inhabitation” (Interior Architecture Theory Reader, 2017) “Interior Migrations” (iijournal, 2013) and “Optimistic Projections On The Cultures Of Mass Consumption And Waste” (Forward, 2011).
by Endemic / Clark Thenhaus
Then House No. 2 adopts an expanded notion of ‘drawing codes’ to include political, aesthetic, and representational codes beyond the digital environment of architectural becoming. Yet, it directly utilizes digital technologies to develop alternative expressions for how codes might inform our imagination and speculation on otherwise familiar architecture. Thus, if ‘Drawing Codes’ were afforded some terminological freedom, we might re-consider how the literal planning and preservation codes of a given municipality are implemented through architectural drawings, or how drawing historically salient features or building elements intentionally ‘wrong’ might still maintain specific aesthetic codes, or how manipulating conventional drawing techniques can frustrate the legibility of an architectural form. Then House No. 2 begins as a re-drawing the SF Heritage Haas-Lilienthal House. However, it is not a copy, but rather incorporates these alternative meanings of ‘drawing codes’ by imposing and manipulating current San Francisco planning or preservation codes onto architectural form and material. Formal, spatial, and compositional manipulations to bay windows, porticos, dormers, gables, fenestration, stairs, and turrets partner with abstractions to such common building materials as shingles, and uncommon effects like fat rolls, rubble stairs, and shaggy facades. Thus aesthetic, building, planning, and preservation codes are simultaneously upheld and manipulated affording alternative expressions for traditional Victorian codes. Finally, Then House No. 2 is composed with 59,975 lines in perspective, axonometric, and elevation oblique. Yet, these representational juxtapositions are not likely immediately discerned, but rather become apparent when reading the roof lines in relation to the walls, ground plane and/or shadows, frustrating a 3-dimensional imagination.
Clark Thenhaus is founding director of Oakland, California based Endemic. Thenhaus is a recipient of the 2015 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects & Designers, a 2014 MacDowell Art Colony Fellow, and the 2013-2014 Oberdick Fellow at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning. Thenhaus is currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the California College of the Arts and has previously held teaching appointments at the University of Michigan, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and the University of Colorado. Thenhaus earned his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied as the recipient of the three-year Fideli Fellowship.
by Mark Ericson
Tractate four of Guarino Guarini’s treatise, Architettura civile (1735), deals entirely with orthographic projection. In “Observation Nine” of chapter three in the fourth tractate, Guarini describes the process of obtaining the drawings for a vault that intersects a cylinder at an oblique angle. He begins by describing the oblique section of a cylinder as an ellipse, referencing Euclid. He goes on to explain that since we can measure the height and breadth of the ellipse in the orthographic drawings, we have the information to construct the ellipse that is the section through the cylinder at the plane of intersection with vault. He also provides a template for the ellipse and instructs the reader to make a drawing instrument out of “strong card” using the template as a guide. Guarini utilized an argument from Euclid to create an instrument that draws curves specific to the angle of incidence between a cylinder and an orthographic projection.
The drawing included in this exhibition, is part of series that translates the written and drawn instructions from the fourth tractate of Architettura civile, into a set of repeatable procedures that vary over time. This particular drawing uses the techniques of “Observation Nine” to orthographically project a semicircle onto cones moving about the minor and major orbits of an epicycle of ellipses. The cones vary in height, orientation, and radius over time, producing differing conic sections. Whereas Guarini produced a single static template, this drawing utilizes the same techniques to produce a set variable conic sections. Importantly, like Guarini’s work this drawing is confined to the use of points and lines on a two-dimensional plane. All of the apparent circles and curves are composed of points and line segments. There are no three-dimensional objects, surfaces, or curves of any kind. The drawing is an orthographic projection.
Mark Ericson holds a Master’s of Architecture from SCI_Arc and Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers College. His drawings have been published in LOG, 306090, and the catalog for the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Uneven Growth. His research and teaching focus on the relationship between historical practices of drawing and contemporary developments in the discipline. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Woodbury University in Los Angeles.
A total of 165 uniquely shaped polygons, named blankspots, are interlocked to form a continuous building skin with an area of 46,166 square feet.
The envelope clads a new 450,000 square foot 8-story mixed-used building and parking garage in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
The neighborhood of Wynwood has one of the highest concentrations of street art in the world.
Blankspots range in size from a few square feet to over 6 stories in height, and are fabricated with 1/8” thick aluminum panels that are uniformly painted white.
Randomly arrayed throughout the façade, 53 of the polygons (alias perfspots) are perforated with 3 ¼” diameter holes to allow for light and ventilation into interior spaces.
The remaining 112 blankspots remain solid and smooth, and together establish a collection of neutral yet irregularly shaped figurations open to mural-based intervention by others.
Curated by the building owners, the blankspot family becomes a sheet-thin infrastructure that embraces unpredictable superimpositions.
Blankspots: A Selection of Possible Adjacencies presents a random sample of these options arrayed into a collection of new shapes.
Construction begins 2017; overall building completion is 2018.
Thom Faulders, Principal; Project Team - Flori Kryethi, Andrei Hakhovich, Holly Hodkiewicz, Gregory Hurcomb, Clara Tresgallo, Stephanie Thompson, Marianna Diaz, Taylor Metcalf
Thom Faulders is founder of FAULDERS STUDIO and Professor of Architecture at CCA in San Francisco. His work is exhibited internationally, including at FRAC Centre Orleans in France, Oslo Triennale, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art New York, UC Berkeley Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, CCA Wattis Institute, and Lisbon International Biennale. The work of Thom Faulders is in the permanent architecture and design collections at the FRAC Centre and SFMOMA.
by Heather Flood / F-lab
The Tectonic Image translates a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional matrix of lines and surfaces. A sampling of information is extracted from the image Substrat by the artist Thomas Ruff. The extracted information is then mapped onto the surface of a hemisphere. In the translation from image to architecture, multiple discrete systems begin to emerge. The hemisphere is subdivided into thousands of triangulated pixels. The size of the pixels increases and decreases around nodes of structural intensity. The triangulated system shifts the conventional monocentric organization of hemispherical forms away from concentric, radial, or spiraling patterns and towards a polycentric pattern. The grey value of the pixel increases or decreases in a swirling pattern with multiple eddies. The overlap of a polycentric structural organization and a swirling image pattern generates an indeterminate presence in a form that’s highly determined.
Heather Flood is a designer and educator. Her professional work integrates the disciplines and techniques of cultural research, graphic art, and architectural design to create experientially dense environments. In 2008 she formed F-lab, a research based design practice committed to the production of architectural form in relationship to contemporary culture, both pop and sub. Located at the intersection of the graphic and the tectonic, Flood’s current research slips between two and three dimensions into the space of 2.5D where color, pattern, and texture synchronize with structure in an effort to push familiar architectural forms into new spatial realms that delight in affect and organization.
In addition to her professional practice, Heather Flood teaches design studios and design communication courses at Woodbury University, where she is the First Year Coordinator and the Assistant Chair.
There is a long and fascinating history of using tiling and tessellation patterns for surface decoration in architecture. Over the years we have studied and visited many extraordinary examples, including the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain and various mosques and urban spaces in Cairo, Egypt. The more recent work of M.C. Escher and Sir Roger Penrose has also provided insight into various tessellation and congruence transformation possibilities using parametric translations, rotations, reflections, and subdivisions.
For a recent commission titled the Albany Anemone Shade Canopy we were interested in exploring tessellation patterns beyond their decorative effects. We sought to develop a site-specific tessellation code as a means to both organize the master geometries of our site plan and to create rich and unexpected spatial transformations using three-dimensional surfaces. The constraints of the existing pedestrian circulation governed the scale of the base triangular site mesh and canopy column location. As the structure moves vertically more transformation and subdivisions are introduced into the mesh. Centers are inserted into the triangular mesh faces to create irregular tri and quad mesh planes. The result is a folded three-dimensional spatial tiling network held in suspension overhead. While each canopy umbrella tile is repeatable, the spatial, material and shadow effects of the panels are highly variable and differentiated.
Future Cities Lab - Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno with Jeffrey Maeshiro. Other team members: Ji Ahn, Emily Saunders, Alan Chiang, Ripon DeLeon. Special thanks to Ben Corotis, City of Albany Public Art Program. In Spring 2017 the Anemone Canopy will be installed as a permanent public artwork in Albany (neighboring Berkeley, California).
Future Cities Lab is an experimental design studio, workshop and architectural think tank operating globally out of San Francisco, California. Since 2005, founding principals Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno have collaborated on a range of award-winning projects exploring the intersections of art and design with advanced fabrication technologies, robotics, responsive building systems and public space. Future Cities Lab is an interdisciplinary studio employing an adventurous team of interaction designers, architects, technologists, digital craftspeople, urban ecologists and more. Johnson and Gattegno are also both Associate Professors at the CCA
by David Gissen
In the early 1970s, the architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown transcribed the language on the signs of the Las Vegas strip into a series of elevations and plans that blurred the lines between writing and drawing. They were interested in the varying scales of signage when viewed from a distance in an automobile. The Appearance of the Letters of the Hollywood Sign in the Smog reconsiders this type of representation within a more disturbing milieux of automobility and by utilizing a computational algorithm to generate a text-drawing.
While Venturi and Scott Brown were concerned solely with how the letters of the same large-scale sign appear smaller when viewed at a distance, this work uses digital text-production tools to simulate the same text when viewed through an increasingly intense and changeable layer of smog. When Los Angeles’ iconic Hollywood Sign is viewed through varying amounts of smog, its letters (H,O,L,L,Y,W,O,O, and D) take on the appearance of other letters. The “H” might look like a “K,” “R” or “U”, and the “Y” often looks like a “V” among other variations. This is due to a process called contrast reduction, and that can also be experienced when reading text in a very dark room.
There are over one-million possibilities of how the nine letters of Los Angeles’ most famous built icon appear when viewed through smog; and full documentation of this would take years to complete through typing by hand. The algorithm written for this project is crucial to its realization. The work shown here shows a small sample of the hundreds of thousands of ways pollution, language and experience intermingle.
David Gissen is the author of books, essays, exhibitions and experimental writings and projects about environments, landscapes, cities, and buildings from our time and the historical past.
David is Professor of Architecture and Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts, a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University, and a visiting critic at numerous schools in the United States and Europe where he lectures and teaches in the areas of architecture, urban, and landscape history-theory, writing and design. At CCA, he co-directs the Experimental History Project and the MAAD HTX degree.
Despite widespread hand-wringing about the massive coming loss of jobs to automation, architects, reports say, can relax, since our complex, creative industry has only a 1.8% chance of being automated in the next 20 years*. However, architecture firms and technology companies are scrambling to build platforms that facilitate automating much of architecture, all in the name of productivity and profit.
This drawing takes automation as a given, but takes two opposing viewpoints of its purpose. The 11 pairs of drawings on the left are selected from a potentially infinite series of randomly-generated versions of the “Revit Basic Sample Project” - a model that ships with Autodesk’s ubiquitous BIM software. Here, automation is practical, precise, predictable, information-rich, and labor-saving (or labor-eliminating).
On the right, a different sort of automation has post-processed the generated drawing sets into a kind of digital “Micromega” hybrid - a composite uniting the linework from all 11 houses. Here computational automation serves to create, challenge, estrange, and make ambiguous, resulting in a drawing that demands (at least) the human affective labor of interpretation and reflection.
These two attitudes about automation mirror two ways of understanding architectural drawing itself. First, a drawing as an artifact, a strictly pragmatic representation of “the model,” bound by convention to convey information about an intended built work. Second, drawing as a process, itself generative and projective, a conceptual apparatus and scaffolding for ideas.
* Frey, C.B., Osborne, M.A.: The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation? Accessed Dec 22 2016, Oxford Martin School, Oxford (2013)
Andrew Heumann is an artist, technologist, and architectural designer based in New York City. Professionally, he develops workflows and bespoke tools for design teams and practices, aiding in the management of project metrics, environmental and urban analysis, and building design. As a generative artist he works with data, algorithms, geometry, and pixels to create rich visual abstractions that engage and challenge the limits and affordances of digital media and systems of representation.
by Janette Kim
Energy codes are written for collective benefit, but are executed individually, building by building.
Codes like the International Energy Conservation Code enforce energy efficiency to conserve resources and cut energy bills. (The IECC makes no mention of climate change). They dictate, for example, the thickness of insulation in the walls, calibrate tradeoffs between glass and masonry, and seal off threats to a building’s thermal envelope—all to create maximum interior comfort for a minimum of means. And because such standards are applied only when buildings are renovated or constructed, they effectively produce a patchwork of varying states of compliance—a cosmopolitan mix of thermal regiments.
Across the city, buildings inhale and exhale. Air-conditioners cycle on and off. A minimum amount of heat passes through the reinforced bubbles of architectural enclosures. Meanwhile, plumes of hot air spill from the back end of air-conditioners, and are carried out into our shared atmosphere. This cloud is a by-product of energy codes. Depending on the season, it’s too hot, too cold, or just right. It’s an instigator of collective, mongrel spaces just waiting for revision, inversion, and enjoyment.
Janette Kim is an architectural designer and researcher whose work focuses on the politics of ecology. Janette is assistant professor of architecture and co-director of the Urban Works Agency at California College of the Arts, principal of the design practice All of the Above, and editor of ARPA Journal. Her projects include The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform (with Erik Carver), the Fall Kill Creek Master Plan, the Safari tours on urban ecology, the Pinterest headquarters, and the National AIDS Memorial. Janette was also adjunct assistant professor from 2005-2015 at Columbia University, where she directed the Urban Landscape Lab and the ARPA initiative.
by Joris Komen
Hartlaub’s Spurfowl | Pternistis hartlaubi
Alarm Call: “Wa-ak-ak-ak-ak”
Sample XC184534 is a component of an ongoing research project looking at Non-Violent Alternatives for taxidermy and their parallel relationships with architectural representation.
Architecture can be an operative process for taxidermy in that they share the same desires to capture and permanently fabricate some kind of perverse monument to volume, form and texture. This project is a collection of two dimensional taxidermy, where drawing replaces object.
This particular operation uses an antiphonal duet call of the Hartlaub’s Spurfowl to produce a three dimensional sonograph. The sound is captured using a shotgun microphone and translated using bullet-time processing for particle simulation. The resultant pathways are subject to the pitch and volume of the bird call and represent the extended spatial and volumetric occupancy of a small fowl (280 cubic inches).
The Hartlaub’s Spurfowl (formerly Francolin) is an endemic species of avifauna to North Western Namibia.
Joris Komen is the founder of DNKMN, a bioliteracy research group focussed on taxidermy and object kinematics for architecture. Born in Namibia, but currently practicing in Oakland, CA, Joris is a Lecturer at San Jose State University, Department of Interior Design, and a Project Designer and Manager for Rael San Fratello Architects.
1. Open a floor plan in Photoshop.
a. For ease of selection, the floor plan should have mostly straight walls.
2. Select the ‘Rectangular Marquee Tool’ (M).
3. Drag your mouse over the selection of the wall you would like to cut out.
a. Be sure to choose architecturally attractive walls.
4. Select the ‘Move Tool’ (V).
5. Right click and remove the wall from the overall floor plan.
6. Drag the wall section into a separate Photoshop file. This will become your stock file of new walls made from old walls.
7. Using the ‘Rectangular Marquee Tool’ (M), clean up the old wall. Edges must be straight.
a. Delete all white space from the old wall.
b. Walls should be open and not fully enclosing space.
1. No closed off squares, circles, triangles, etc.
8. Contemplate all the new walls that have been made from old walls and gathered in the separate Photoshop file, the stock file of new walls.
a. Be sure that new walls do not overlap.
b. New walls should be organized be size and line weight.
9. Create a new file in Photoshop, this will be your shape file.
a. The dimensions of the shape file are arbitrary, and can be adjusted for any particular use.
b. The followers of these steps may choose a size for their document.
10. Select the ‘Shape Tool’ (U).
11. Choose a shape.
a. Users may select any of the shapes offered by Photoshop, sample shapes from elsewhere, or create their own shape.
b. Shapes may be layered, stacked, or overlapped.
12. Drag shape to desired size and position in document.
a. A small margin of white space should be left on all sides of the shape.
13. Fill the shape with color #ff0000.
14. Using the shape as a guide, begin to drag walls, using the ‘Move Tool’ (V) from the stock file that contains new walls made from old walls into the shape file.
a. All walls should be different.
b. All walls should be closely related to other walls in their thickness.
c. All walls should be rotated on a unique axis and not parallel with one another.
d. All walls should have distance between them and not touch.
e. Some walls should spatially interlock with the walls adjacent to them.
f. All walls must densely populate the shape.
g. All wall thicknesses should remain consistent for each individual wall.
h. All wall edges must be straight wherever the wall ends.
1. This should be taken care of in steps 7 & 7a.
i. All walls must be unique and beautiful.
15. Do not use the same wall twice from the stock file, in any shape file.
16. Be sure to line the edges of the shape with walls to show the contour of whatever shape you have selected.
a. From time to time turn the shape layer off to see how your project has developed.
1. The selected shape should be legible to the viewer.
17. The overall organization of walls should be labyrinthine without fully enclosing space. You should imagine people meandering within the shape of new walls.
a. If the shape of new wall does not appear labyrinthine repeat steps 14a – 14i.
18. If you run out of walls you can go to archiveofaffinities.tumblr.com.
19. Make new walls from plans with old walls that have been collected there.
20. Return to step 1.
Andrew Kovacs is a Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA Architecture & Urban Design. Kovacs studied architecture at Syracuse University, The Architecture Association in London, and Princeton University. From 2012‑2013 Kovacs was the inaugural UCLA Teaching Fellow for which he produced GOODS USED: AN ARCHITECTURAL YARD SALE at Jai and Jai Gallery in Los Angeles. Kovacs’ work on architecture and urbanism has been published widely including Pidgin, Project, Perspecta, Manifest, Metropolis, Clog, Domus, and Fulcrum. Kovacs is the creator and curator of Archive of Affinities, a website devoted to the collection and display of architectural b‑sides. His recent design work includes a proposal for a haute dog park in downtown Los Angeles and the renovation of an airstream trailer into a mobile retail store that travels the Pacific Coast Highway.
by Andrew Kudless / Matsys
1. On a site of any size, create a closed wall at the site edge.
2. Gradually increase the perimeter of the wall while making sure the wall never intersects itself or the site edge.
3. Continue increasing the wall perimeter until all available land within the site is full.
4. Increase the wall thickness by some amount so that it can contain program.
5. Divide the wall into smaller sections.
6. Go to www.google.com and in the search box enter the word “rooftop” followed by a space and, sequentially, each letter of the alphabet. From the list of auto-completed suggestions for each phrase, choose one phrase that suggests a possible program for the Walled City and record it. If typing only one letter after “rooftop” does not produce any interesting suggestions, type an additional letter starting from letter “a” and iterate through the alphabet again until a better suggestion appears. For this iteration of The Walled City, the following program suggestions were used:
a. Rooftop Antenna
b. Rooftop Bar
c. Rooftop Cafe
d. Rooftop Deck
e. Rooftop Exhaust
f. Rooftop Film
g. Rooftop Garden
h. Rooftop Hotel Pool
i. Rooftop Ice Skating Rink
j. Rooftop Jacuzzi
k. Rooftop Kitchen
l. Rooftop Lounge
m. Rooftop Market
n. Rooftop Nightclub
o. Rooftop Observatory
p. Rooftop Park
q. Rooftop Quad
r. Rooftop Restaurant
s. Rooftop Solar Panels
t. Rooftop Terrace
u. Rooftop Unit HVAC
v. Rooftop View
w. Rooftop Wind Turbine
x. Rooftop Xmas Tree
y. Rooftop Yoga
z. Rooftop Zen Garden
7. Randomly sort the wall subdivisions into 26 groups.
8. Populate each group of wall subdivisions with one of the rooftop programs.
9. Populate the area outside of the wall with various landscape features and the area inside the wall with various urban street furniture.
10. Connect the rooftop with the land inside the wall with stairs.
Andrew Kudless is the founder of Matsys, a design studio exploring the emergent relationships between architecture, engineering, biology, and computation. The work of Matsys has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France.
Matsys explores the agency of material systems to produce emergent and integral relationships between form, fabrication, and performance. The studio’s interest in craft, combined with a fascination with the emergence of structure, form, and intelligence in the natural and synthetic worlds, drive us to create objects, spaces, and landscapes that are complex, playful, and a bit uncanny.
by Jimenez Lai / Bureau Spectacular
When Theo Van Doesburg rotated the square, an important disagreement occurred with Piet Mondrian: should the grid travel with the frame, or should the power of the grid be resistant to rotation? More importantly, should the frame be rotated at all?
Using this frame of reference, we are using this drawing to re-look at the Diamond House by John Hejduk. By describing a circulatory choreography between two halves of the same square, two rules are established and violated at the same time, like halves of the same evil twin. One that rotates, and one that does not.
Jimenez Lai works in the world of art, architecture and education. Previously, Jimenez Lai lived and worked in a desert shelter at Taliesin and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam. Lai decided to proceed with life by drawing cartoons and build architecture. He currently teaches at UCLA and works as the founding partner of Bureau Spectacular.
This drawing is part of a suite of elevation studies called “Building Portraits” developed by Atelier Manferdini in the past two years. These drawings explore the potential of intricate scripted line work depicting building facades. The collection exists simultaneously as architectural research and as autonomous artwork. These drawings can be understood as scaled down reproduction of imaginary buildings, and at the same time as full scale printed artifact. The collection plays with the graphic potentials of woven grids and scripted vector lines, while exploring the canonical relationships of shape vs. form, ground vs. figure, pattern vs. coloration, orientation vs. posture. The title of the suite, “Building Portraits,” alludes to two distinct disciplines, the field of architectural drawings—building—and the one of fine artistic pictures—portraits. This body of work tries to claim a territory where these two attitudes find a common ground, where pixels and vectors get closer in scale of perception. This research updates the project of the grid in the age of computation and globalization. The belief behind this work is that the grid applied to the city façades (with a revised contemporary materiality and computational geometry) is able—once again—to estrange the buildings from the ordinary and render them unique architectural experiences.
Elena Manferdini, principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini, has over fifteen years of professional experience in art, architecture and education. She graduated from the University of Civil Engineering (Bologna, Italy) and later received her Master of Architecture and Urban Design from the University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA). In 2004 she founded Atelier Manferdini in Venice, CA. The office has completed projects in the US, Europe and Asia. Since 2003 Elena has been part of the design faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), where she is now the Graduate Programs Chair.
by Adam Marcus / Variable Projects
This drawing explores the overlap between procedural design processes, conventions of architectural representation, and perceptual multiplicity. One hundred arced walls are arrayed according to an algorithm that allows for both continuity and discontinuity, producing a labyrinthine space within and between the curved walls. This space is conveyed via plan oblique projection and rendered only with line work—14,404 arcs and lines, to be exact. The projection and line work yields an ambiguity between architecture and picture plane, allowing for new, ghostly figures to emerge within the field.
The project rejects the all-too-common use of parametric and computational tools as a superficial, fetishistic accessory to architectural design. Instead, it insists that such workflows be synthesized with intuitive processes and disciplinary conventions in a way that opens up new spatial and perceptual possibilities. The code generates the drawing, but the drawing is more than the code.
Adam Marcus is an architect and educator based in Oakland. He directs Variable Projects, a design and research studio that operates at the intersection of architecture, computation, and fabrication, and he is also a partner in Futures North, a public art collaborative dedicated to exploring the aesthetics of data. Adam is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at California College of the Arts, where he teaches design studios and electives in collaboration with the CCA Digital Craft Lab.
For architects, the 2016 election highlighted the role that space, particularly the spatial organization of built form, may have on one’s politics. This is surprising as the two things that this election will be remembered for are the inaccurate identity politics that were foregrounded by pollsters as well as the ability of social media to consolidate as well as isolate those with similar politics. Neither one of these are directly spatial, yet when examining a detailed map of the election results—at the scale of the County—one is struck by the similarity between population density and political affiliation, wherein those in populated centers tended to vote Democrat and those in rural areas leaned towards the Republicans. If it is true that population density has a critical as well as consistent impact on one’s politics, it would mean that the environments we inhabit shape our politics more than the effects of non-spatial forms of communication and information that the internet provides, or even the identity profiles of the subject. The closest seismographer to our politics might be the spaces we inhabit, making politics a question of architecture and urbanism.
To unpack this hypothesis, we extracted a series of ‘core samples’ from around the country that corresponded to different political alignments — ranging from ninety percent Trump voting counties to ninety percent Clinton voting counties. In each case, we isolated an emblematic one-acre plot that was consistent with the county’s overall population density. Leaving identity politics of the subject behind, we asked if our spatial organization is the code — a consistent determinant of political affiliation.
Already in 1909 Patrick Geddes’ famous valley section posited that the geographic environment acts on people and their dwellings, and in turn, people shape their environment through labor. Geddes’ section illustrates the hierarchical relationship of the city to the larger region that supports it. Team X’s Doorn Manifesto built upon Geddes section by linking social scales of association to their geographic context. Overlaid on Geddes section, they illustrated a region of associated dwellings from the city to town, village and farm. Both Geddes and Team X’s sections reveal the expansion of the city into a region that, while not depicted, would rely heavily on infrastructure as a connective tissue. Their geographic scenarios foreshadow the expansive nature of globalization, and it is in this vast territory where the hinterland is connected and separated from multiple urban centers that we surpass the scales of association. Today our code is density.
Our findings do in fact show a correlation between political affiliation and density. Echoing studies from the 2012 election analysis, the tipping point between Democrat and Republican affiliation occurs at approximately 1.25 to 1.56 people per acre. In largely democratic states such as California, the lower density counties in the Central Valley still swayed Republican, while in Red States such as Texas urban areas of the Texas triangle voted Democrat. Building upon our findings, we propose a Valley of Density—where the space between you and your neighbor plays a critical role in determining your politics. If the spatial environment is the subject of the architect, this reminds us that architecture is always political.
Neeraj Bhatia & Cesar Lopez with Elizabeth Lessig
The Open Workshop is a licensed architecture practice situated at the intersection of Architecture and Territory. The practice is committed to the project of plurality through re-examining Umberto Eco’s concept of the Open Work. Originally founded in Toronto by Neeraj Bhatia in 2012, the office is now located in San Francisco. In 2016, it was awarded the Young Architects Prize from the Architectural League of New York as was named an Emerging Leader by Design Intelligence.
In addition to the somewhat obvious code-based techniques used to regulate the representational strategies, geometric subdivisions, and fabrication methods, this project for 3DS Culinary in Los Angeles has an interesting CODE related back-story.
Built in an existing bank building from 1928, the current number of parking spaces falls well short of the number required by today’s zoning CODE (one space for every 500 square feet for our proposed use). Consequently, it appeared in the early stages of the design process that no additional square footage may be added, effectively preventing the proposed mezzanine space from being built.
Further study of the Los Angeles Zoning CODE uncovered [Sec. 12.21 A 4(k)]: Fractional Space. When the application of these regulations results in the requirement of a fractional automobile parking space, any fraction up to and including one-half may be disregarded and any fraction over one-half shall be construed as requiring one automobile parking space.
Based on this section of the Los Angeles Zoning CODE, the mezzanine was reduced very slightly to a floor area of 249 square feet and constructed in 2015.
Oyler Wu Collaborative, established in 2004 by Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu, is an experimental architecture and design firm located in Los Angeles, California. The office approaches architecture and design with a critical and rigorous intent that challenges the typical vision of the built environment. The office has been published globally and is recognized for its excellence in architectural design, research, and fabrication. Recent projects encompass a variety of scale including a pavilion for Exhibit Columbus in Indiana; a 16 story tower in Taipei, Taiwan; and infrastructural elements for the Los Angeles River Bikeway/Greenway redevelopment.
The use of hair, fur, and fibers have long been expressed in architecture as a textural phenomena. Flocking can be traced back to circa 1000 BC, when the Chinese used resin glue to bond natural fibers to fabrics. Fiber dust was strewn onto adhesive coated surfaces to produce flocked wall coverings in Germany during the Middle Ages, and in France, flocked wall coverings became popular during the reign of Louis XIV of France. Camel and Yak hair continues to be collected today, either by shearing or combing, and felted or woven by nomadic cultures to create a durable textile for tents.
If architecture can be hairy, how might we draw hairy drawings? In 1925, the architect Le Corbusier, asked the then 21-year-old artist Salvador Dalí if he had any thoughts on the future of architecture. Dali retorted, with some disdain for Le Corbusier’s work, as he viewed Le Corbusier as the inventor of the architecture of self-punishment, that the architecture of the future would be “soft and hairy.” Hairline Drawing explores the use of custom gcode scripting for 3D printing to create a surface, not unlike a technological flocking or a bioplastic weaving, that depicts Notre Dame du Haut, a work where, perhaps influenced by Dalí, Le Corbusier expressly sought to deny the “machine age aesthetic” of his previous work—a return to the soft, and drawn here, as hairy.
Rael San Fratello: Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Barrak Darweesh
Ronald Rael is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley. Virginia San Fratello is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Design at San Jose State University. Rael San Fratello designs things in their studio in Oakland, California sometimes under the name of Emerging Objects.
by Young & Ayata / Michael Young & Kutun Ayata
Symmetry as a compositional device is one of the most codified of all formal systems in architectural design. The interpretations that have been attached to symmetry are multiple and varied; transcendental perfection, mystical symbolism, humanistic harmony, cultural order, mathematical abstraction, academic formalism, complete banality, erotic sensuality, social domination, etc.—the list could go on. As a convention, symmetry is usually rejected or embraced based on one or more of these interpretations, but what is often ignored is how symmetry operates aesthetically as opposed to metaphorically, symbolically, epistemologically. Symmetry is aesthetically complex, but to pull out one aspect, there is a distinctly different aesthetic affect between global and local symmetries. A dominant global symmetry pulls a composition out of its ground as a figural object; it becomes a thing, an object. On the other hand, the even repetition of local symmetries produces patterns that push a composition into the background, into atmosphere.
The drawing included here titled LIMA/MALI/AMIL/ILAM is a shuffling of local and global symmetries. It is created out of the repetition of multiple locally symmetrical figures. Slight differences in each figure produce clusters of independence while also eliminating the possibility of a tight fit of an overall repetitive pattern. The result lies somewhere between Piranesi’s Campo Marzio, Baroque Poche figuration, and flower arrangement.
Young & Ayata is a New York City based architectural design practice formed in 2008. They are recipients of the 2016 Design Vanguard Prize from Architectural Record and the 2014 Architecture League Prize. Michael Young is an Assistant Professor at The Cooper Union, Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University, and Visiting Instructor at SCI-Arc. Kutan Ayata is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute GAUD.
Curators: Adam Marcus & Andrew Kudless
Exhibition Assistant: Gina Bugiada
Acknowledgements: Jaime Austin, Stephen Beal, Mark Donohue, Nataly Gattegno, Jason Kelly Johnson, Jonathan Massey, Karina O’Neill, Amanda Schwerin, Dustin Smith, Justin Smith, Cathrine Veikos, Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter