Henry Cobb comments that he will use his lecture to talk about his tower projects, as well as reflect on his career. Recalling Robert Venturi’s idea of the “double-functioning element,” Cobb describes architecture as both dream and function.
Video Archive Subclip | Yearly Archives2003 (86)
Henry Cobb describes a series of early towers, and then focuses on Boston’s John Hancock Building. Cobb talks about the existing site conditions of neighboring Copley Square, as well as the political motivations that shaped the project.
Henry Cobb contrasts the muteness of tower forms with the verbosity of signage. He discusses his intention to manipulate the cube into a form that changes shape as the observer moves around it. Cobb argues that skyscrapers meet the ground, not the sky, and looks for the typology to change from portraying authority to portraying diversity.
William Massie discusses his winning MOMA/PS1 competition project for an urban beach, which for Massie was about surface and sensuality. Massie takes us through the project from concept to realization, and gives us insight into some of the more technical aspects of how he developed his curved surfaces. He concludes his lecture by discussing his ideas behind the use of puzzle pieces in fabrication, and projects such as Ear for the WPS1 Internet radio station, which was made of orange acrylic and white steel, and the American House, which features a roof line that parabolically drops to the floor level.
William Massie discusses his ideas of subject/object relationships, technology, experimentation, and fabrication through a series of projects. Included in these projects is the Belt House, the Big Sky House, and a design for a house in which the shower is visible from every point in the house. Each project has a distinct relationship with the landscape; the first merges with the landscape, the second marks the landscape, and the third being alien to the landscape. Massie explains the rationale behind his studies in concrete forming, curved surfaces, and his unique use of PVC piping in creating surfaces.
Tim Durfee indtroduces William Massie, and frames the lecture around the ideas of reference, form technology, and modernism. Massie begins his lecture by addressing some important themes such as forming, complexity, repetition, variation, speed of fabrication, and the subject/object relationship. He describes experiments with concrete form-making, and a diaphragmatic curve study in concrete, which increases the wall strength by 30 times.
Charles Jencks uses the recent World Trade Center Competition to argue that enigmatic signifiers and metaphors can connect architectural ideals to society. Jencks urges the use of composite messages that enable architecture to communicate on many levels, returning to his 1970 ideas of multivalence. He wraps up his lecture by explaining his belief that architecture is in the beginning of a new phase that can be both terrific and terrifying.
Charles Jencks talks about his last point in realizing the new shift in architecture, the enigmatic signifier. Jencks describes Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as moving architecture from monument to landmark. He also talks about the computer revolution which makes projects like Gehry’s possible through combining logistics, design, and production into a seamless structure.