Neil Denari surveys historical examples of buildings that might or might not constitute a thesis, starting with Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and the Florey Building, Oxford (1971) by James Stirling, to Toyo Ito’s Taichung Metropolitan Opera House (under construction). He feels Robert Venturi’s house for his mother (1964) definitely argues a thesis, as do Peter Eisenman projects from House III (1961-71) to the City of Culture of Galica (2013), and projects by Superstudio, Buckminster Fuller and Coop Himmelb(l)au. Denari discusses his own Interrupted Projections (1996) as a project that presented ideas worked out in detail in his subsequent career. He discusses the difference between designs that exist in movies and reality, and the distinction between just going with your interests and attempting to make a contribution.
Video Archive | Materials (185)
Neil Denari begins with a description of unexpectedly encountering a house in Fort Worth designed by Paul Rudolph (1970) when he was seventeen. It was a shock that convinced him architecture was an adventure he wanted to be part of. Denari turns to historical examples of building that might or might not constitute a thesis, starting with Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and the Florey Building, Oxford (1971) by James Stirling. Denari points out how Frank O. Gehry’s Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2014) employs very traditional materials, but delivers them in a new way.
Greg Lynn joins Jeffrey Kipnis for a conversation with Devyn Weiser and Peter Testa about their work. Lynn praises Testa and Weiser’s work for not being focused on optimizing the properties of new materals such as carbon fiber, but using that research to develop a new architectural sensibility. Testa characterizes their work as working with an already established technical language, and engaging in a dialog with architecture. He describes their house proposal as floating free of the ground, structured by pressure rather than gravity.
Jeffrey Kipnis talks with Greg Lynn and Devyn Weiser and Peter Testa about the applications of carbon fiber in buildings, the dialog between material research and design. Lynn talks about the origin of his interest in Northern Sails boat-building technologies.
Jeffrey Kipnis, Greg Lynn, Devyn Weiser and Peter Testa respond to questions from the audience about different ways of being influenced by materials, freedom, and the interaction of materials and design.
Alejandro Zaera-Polo surveys innovative building materials and technologies since World War II–from Albert Kahn, and Lee Porter Butler, to the textile facades of the London Olympics. He notes the disconnect between sophisticated materials employed in pedestrian designs. He argues that the architectural and political resides at the level of the detail.
Thesis proposal presentations by Garet Ammerman, Alex Blugerman, Leonora Bustamente, Eileen Won and Marilyn Hu, Mei Zhi Neoh, and Shawn Rassekh are followed by discussion by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Jeffrey Kipnis. Zaera-Polo surveys innovative building materials and technologies since World War II, noting a disconnect between sophisticated materials and pedestrian designs. Kipnis discusses different modes of the political as they relate to architecture. He argues that science and technology, far from being in opposition to the aesthetic, can actually work together to reinforce art’s original political project. Elena Manferdini joins Kipnis and Zaera-Polo to discuss practice, facades and envelopes, the engineering model and the art model, typologies, audiences and critics.
Billie Tsien and Tod Williams present some of their core beliefs:
- To be of use
- To move slowly
- To say No
- To connect
- To last
They discuss their central design principles, illustrating each with examples from their work. They stress
- Natural and artificial topography
- The presence of the human hand
- Rethinking material
- Specificity of place
- The primacy of the interior.