Herwig Baumgartner, Scott Uriu discuss with Eric Owen Moss the imagery, analogies and interpretation of their Apertures installation. They debate the interactive audio component of the project, touching on the meaning of interactivity in architecture, and the role of sound in defining a space. Baumgartner and Uriu discuss the evolution of their design for Apertures, stressing the thin sheets of thermoplastic polymer resin laminated to CNC-milled polyurethane foam used to make the shells. Moss proposes Félix Candela as an analogy. Baumgartner argues that their project was less about maximizing structural efficiency than minimizing poché.
Mark Z. Danielewski characterizes the text he will read as an unpublished precursor to The Familiar, whose first of twenty-seven volumes will be published soon. A tiger in a cage observed by zoo visitors describes his situation, prompting considerations of selfhood, the body, imprisonment, amputation, voyeurism, nature, violence, pain and other issues.
After Elena Manferdini explains the history and format of the symposium, six students present their thesis proposals: Taryn Bone, Scotty Zane Carroll, Mustafa Kustur, Hannah Pavlovich, Julian Ma, and Yu Li. To begin the panel discussion, Manferdini reviews some of the key ideas that have shaped thesis at SCI-Arc over the last eight years. Marcelyn Gow, Hernan Diaz Alonso, and Andrew Zago debate what is needed now to keep thesis at SCI-Arc relevant, the crucial transition from thesis research to design, and plausibility. They discuss contexts, including the organization of thesis at the ETH, the work of the Futurists as presented at the Guggenheim. They also discuss authenticity, tools and nostalgia. Diaz Alonso stresses the unique ability of SCI-Arc students to discover new coherences. Zago defends the usefulness of engaging with abject or outré ideas. Gow distinguishes sobriety—as represented by greyscale work—from seriousness.
Florencia Pita, Joseph Rosa and Eric Owen Moss discuss the Table’s original installation at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), and the function of color in the work. Moss lists the architectural conventions that he sees Florencia Pita’s Table as rejecting, including tragedy, technology, spatiality, structure, material …; prompting mixed agreement and dissent. The panelists respond to audience comments on the art/architecture distinction, visual art analogies, and part-to-whole issues.
Mark Lee of JohnstonMarkLee’s discusses projects that fall under the category of Single objects, including houses in Argentina, Chile, Oxnard, and Spain. In the Poggio Golo Winery, Tuscany, (2010) and the house in Brentwood (2013), the geometry begins to reflect the topography. Sharon Johnston discusses projects that are Doubled in different ways, including the house project for Ortos (2009); the Pavilion of Six Views, Shanghai (2013); and the En Sully housing development (2010). Lee and Johnston discuss projects that expand from the Double into the Multiple, such as the Grand Traiano Art Complex, Grottaferrata (2008); the houses under one roof in Kauai (2011); UCLA Graduate Art Studios, Culver City (2011); and the Menil Drawing Institute, Houston (2014).
Wolf Prix begins by speaking of Raimund Abraham as a friend and founding father for a generation of Viennese architectural rebels. He identifies in Viennese architecture from the Baroque to now a concern with spatial sequences. He surveys many works by Abraham from the 1950s and 1960s, relating them to his own work, and work by Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, and Günther Domenig. Prix discusses the importance of drawing in his own work, and in the work of Abraham. He concludes by discussing recent projects, including the Dalian International Conference Center (2012); the Open Parliament of Albania project (designed 2011); the House of Music II, Aalborg, Denmark (2014); a small church in Hainburg, Austria (2011); and the European Central Bank, Frankfurt (2014).
Gregor Eichinger discusses his focus on what he calls the “user interface,” the way in which architecture interacts with people intimately and individually, stressing the corporeal and acoustic over the visual. Eichinger presents images of his interiors and buildings without comment, followed by a series of musical sequences from a range of movies.
Peter Kogler surveys his early work, and describes the impact of first using computers to design patters that were silk-screened directly onto walls. He describes his work’s evolution from the late Nineties, employing synchronized projectors to animate spaces inside and outside, in galleries and public spaces throughout Europe.
Andrew Zago surveys the recent history of graduate thesis at SCI-Arc, discussing the recession, dissatisfaction with the state of the profession, and the energy and critical acumen of Jeffrey Kipnis, among other factors. He discusses quotations from Eliot, Kubler, and Rothko to define a way for students embarking on thesis to understand themselves and their relation to history and craft. Zago encourages the students to think of thesis not as their last project as students but their first as members of the discipline, and argues that what matters is maturity of thought and execution. He challenges students to “calibrate the real-ness” of their projects carefully, to maximize impact.