Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Book quotes

Quotes from the book "The End of Architecture?: Documents and Manifestos: Vienna Architecture Conference" edited by Peter Noever, 1993.

Lebbeus Woods: But I foresee another kind of architect, another kind of architecture, with another role to perform within this same society already so effectively dominated by the rich and powerful. It is an architecture operating outside the game. Let me be clear on this point: it is not an architecture of revolution, for to revolt is to confirm the game- in fact, to play the game. The architecture I have in mind is simply outside the prevailing game of wealth, power, authority. It is its own game, has its own rules, its own means and ends. The material of which it is made, however, is the same history, the same present, the same potiantiality as those of the aristoi and their willing public. If this other architecture threatens the prevailing one, all the better. Two birds with one stone. The architect I foresee is the experimental architect.

Architects, wh odesign the buildings symbolising the prevailing authority in society, especially those architects who monumentalize the authority by making its buildings into "art", are part of the repression, part of the weight against those whose who are today being crushed into submission by the most brutal means. No doubt these architects argue that their concern is architecture and not politics, not social conditions over which they might also claim they have no control. The best of these architects believe that they are serving the "higher interests" of civilization, those qualities of thought and action that transcend the passing problems of the world, that are timeless ingredients of art and science. But what if civilization itself is changing, and with it the very nature of its higher interests? What if these higher interests, that the architect seeks to serve, no longer require transcending the turbulent changes of the present, but active engagement with them? In that case, the architects who monumentalize authority resisting change, authority that seeks to maintain itself as a status quo, are not today serving civilization, but its enemies: categorization, oversimplification, typology.

Wherein the author attempts (a) to disclose an essential link between types of buildings currently commissioned for design and construction, and the prevailing system of ordering space for human habitation; (b) to state clearly that certain important building types are becoming obsolete, owing to profound changes in the philosophical, social and political conditions of living; (c) to call for the introduction of new building types, which shall be in effect building anti-types; (d) to concludethat architects are responsible for the introduction of these new building anti-types, owing to their position  in society as practitioners of a comprehencive art; (e) to assert that anti-types require new systems of ordering space.

Only architecture - the act, the idea, the discipline- can "somehow" break limits and at the same time establish them. Only architecture can embody the irreducible paradox of at once both being and becoming, of being the result x,y, and z and becoming something else- ineffable coordinates of mind which have no sign or significance at all, other than "free".

"Architecture and war are not incompatible.
Architecture is war.
War is architecture.

I am at war with my time, with history,
with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms.

I am one of millions who do not fit in,
who have no home, no family,
no doctrine, nor firm place to call my own,
no known beginning or end,
no 'sacred and primoridal site'.

I declare war on all icons and finalities,
on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness,
my own pitiful fears.

I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments,
and forms that appear with infinite strength, then 'melt into air'.

I am an architect, a constructor of worlds,
a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky.
I cannot know your name. Nor can you know mine.

Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city."

-Lebbeus Woods

Roberto Matta

Roberto Mata
Born in Nov. 11, 1911, Chile (deceased Nov. 23, 2002), a son of Spain
Architect, Catholic University Santiago

In 1935, he left to Paris and started working at "Le Corbusier Atelier". In 1936, when he acquainted with Marcel Ducham, left his job and the atelier and started designing. Gordon Onslow Ford, his friend, has told about his designs in this period: "Un-expected Spaces, full of Woven Body, Disturbed Architecture and Supernatural Plants".

Later, when he acquainted with Andre Breton, he became more close to Surrealist movement. His first painting was created in 1938.

He has leant Incas, Aztec and Maya cultures in Mexico, Jose Marti in Lisbon, Surrealism in Paris and he art was completed in Paris and New York. He knew Spanish, French and English and he has lived in Paris, New York, London and Rome.

In 1938-39, he has created two collections: "Psychological Morphologies" and "Inscapes".

In 1939, he traveled to United States and resided in Maine; this made a great change in his works and indeterminate his works.

His travel to Mexico, in 1941, and the intact nature of it creates some kind of volcanoes and galaxies, shaping and bursting, in his new works. Later, he used some elements as water, fire, stone, space, time and movement in his paintings.

His "Abstract Surrealism" works were created during 1943-45, which were rooted from the Surrealism of Marcel Ducham. Later, "New York School" was created by Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollack upon this experience.

On Nov. 23, 2002, Chile announced 3 days National Mourning.



 Le Doute des Trois Mondes


 Contra vosotros asesinos de Palomas

 Chilean-born artist Roberto Matta was an international figure whose worldview represented a synthesis of European, American and Latin American cultures. As a member of the Surrealist movement and an early mentor to several Abstract Expressionists, Matta broke with both groups to pursue a highly personal artistic vision. His mature work blended abstraction, figuration and multi-dimensional spaces into complex, cosmic landscapes. Matta's long and prolific career was defined by a strong social conscience and an intense exploration of the his internal and external worlds. 

  • Matta broke with the conventions of the Surrealist movement by adding a dimension of social and political awareness to his work.
  • Matta often supplemented an aesthetic of pure abstraction with elements of figuration and precisely rendered, though fantastically conceived, three-dimensional space.
  • Matta's exploration of the unconscious mind through a symbolic language of abstract forms greatly influenced the early development Abstract Expressionism
 In the mid-1940s, Matta's work changed dramatically. Responding to the continuing horrors of the Second World War, Matta expanded his artistic interests beyond his exploration of the subconscious mind. He moved towards a more active engagement with the world in a series of works that he called "Social Morphologies". Many of Matta's paintings from this period incorporate strangely menacing, machine-like contraptions and totemic human forms. He pitted these elements against each other in seemingly constant battle within a landscape of amorphous spaces and vaguely architectural planes. These works have a new emotional immediacy, reverberating with a formal tension created by the often violently oppositional forms. 

Monday, 28 November 2011


Idea behind my searchings coming across is that the boundaries and territories I am trying to determine comes from the places within, in a form of energy, in a state that is untangable. Each object, each place, each city got its own territories, a system of ordering the space and energy that encourages to create a mental image of the place. What I want to determine visibly is those systems of organization that exists in the city, and perhaps, clashes to one another eventually. That clash- breaking point becomes an invisible line that splits differing zones. Line of splitting becomes a mark of territory, mark that represents spaces differing mentaly and physicaly. In paradox, zone of separation becomes connecting point, too.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Still cannot get enough of Lebbeus Woods work- Drawings, Stories 3

The following is the second in a series of three posts presenting drawings and stories behind them by LW.
The cognitive scientist explained it to me this way. “For a few thousand years, architecture had been the conscious communication of a few important ideas within a particular human community. Chief among these ideas was stability. People considered their existence as fragile within a natural world basically hostile to them. In order to survive and, beyond that, to flourish on the planet, people had to struggle against the effects of nature, one of which was their own inevitable mortality that most often came about as a result of ‘natural causes.’ The cognitive processes that produced these ideas have their roots in the emergence of the human brain and its own self-reflectivity millions of years earlier than the invention of architecture and indeed of human society and the very idea of individuality. The neural structure of the human brain evolved differently from that of the animal brain, becoming larger and more complex. The brain’s complexity led to the invention of diverse defenses against natural forces and their effects, one of which was architecture. Architecture—the conception of enclosed spaces for living—made possible a balance between human fragility and natural hostility, a stability that encouraged and assured the establishment of both human society and individuality.
The structure of the human brain is the key to understanding the evolution of the human mode of existence. It is crucial, as we learned in the 20th century, that the human brain is ‘two-tiered.’ It is, like all brains, comprised of neural nets that function according to principles of electromagnetism—neurons processing electrons. The nets are biological computers computing what we broadly call ‘thoughts.’ The human brain on the first tier computes ‘rules’ of behavior, and, on the second tier ‘rules of the rules’ that enable us to change our behavior as our changing circumstances require, making us ‘adaptable,’ our supremely and particularly human trait. This means that we can change ourselves as well as change our environment, say, through making buildings.
When the severe environmental crisis struck our planet at the end of the last century, it became urgently necessary to change not only our behavior, but also the rules by which we govern our behavior. In short, we had to engage in second-tier, or second-order, thinking.  It was only by doing this that we as individuals and as a global community were able to break out of our old, dysfunctional ways of thinking and living and invent, for example, new modes of constructing buildings. It was equally important that we also change our ways of living in them. Indeed, it would make no sense to build new kinds of buildings if we were unable to adapt ourselves to them. This had to happen on the level of individuals and not only the societal level, and within a generation or two at most.
Was it coincidence that the new way of building mirrored, in effect, the neural structure of the human brain by creating a continually regenerating network form that resembles the structures of both matter and energy? Or, could it be a sign that attitudes towards nature are less defensive than they were and more conciliatory? Debate continues on these questions up to the present moment, no doubt because the process of invention left little time for philosophical considerations. However, it seems certain that changes to the neural structure of the brain will result in a few generations. Our idea of what is human will necessarily evolve.”

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Extracts/ideas while talking about Zaha Hadid's drawings

-Modernism in architecture had two competing directions. One—prominently represented by the Bauhaus—aimed to redesign the world in conformance with the demands of industrialization, including its social dimensions, such as workers’ housing. The other—represented by De Stijl and the Russian avant-garde—aimed at a transformation of spirit and the creation a new society taking radical forms of every kind.

-Constructivists, with their technological symbolism and collectivist social programs.

-Fragmentation can be philosophical, too. It can be systematic and not merely chaotic or accidental. This can be seen in some of Malevich’s earlier paintings. Or, even if it is chaotic, it can reflect an existentialist edge, a risky form of play with disintegration as a prelude or even an impetus to a higher re-formation. As long as forms remain whole, unified, coherent, they cannot be transformed. Only when established forms are broken up are they susceptible to change. This formal verity is a virtual metaphor for modern society: the break up caused by political revolutions and new technological capabilities has created a human world not only susceptible to new forms, but demanding of them.

Pulse of the Wall- Lebbeus Woods

In the last decade of the 20th century, the newly recognized country of Bosnia and Herzegovina was under attack by two neighbors, intent on destroying it and dividing the spoils between them. Croatia
attacked from the north and west, making Mostar, the provincial capital of Herzegovina, the center of their assault. From the east, Serbian forces attacked, focusing on the national capital, Sarajevo. Both enemies of the fledgling nation claimed that the attacks were made by local militia, but it was clear that the materials of war and its strategies came from the two largest countries of the former Yugoslavia. The sieges of Mostar and Sarajevo, which lasted for years, and other towns such as Srebrenica, were resisted by the undersupplied armies of the small nation, at a great cost in lives, many of them civilians.  
 It was during this dark time that I imagined a defensive wall that could be constructed to protect Bosnia from the invaders. Aerial warfare had been effectively banned by the European powers and the United States, through the creation of a no-fly zone over the entire country, enforced by NATO fighter aircraft. The war was fought, then, on the ground, in an almost Medieval manner, though with tanks and artillery. The idea of the wall was not to build an armed fortification in order to repel invaders, but rather to make it function as a sponge, and absorb them.
 The wall would be built very high, with a vast labyrinth of interlocking interior spaces, creating a structurally indeterminate system that would be extremely difficult to bring down by demolition charges or artillery fire. Tanks and mobile artillery could not be brought through the wall. Foot soldiers could not climb over the wall in large numbers, but would have to go through it. Once inside, they would become lost. Many would not be able to escape. They would either die, or, as it were, move in, inhabiting the spaces, even forming communities. Local farmers from the Bosnian side, could arrange to supply food and water, on a sale or barter basis. In time, they would move in, too, to be close to their market. Families would be living together. The wall would become a city.
 Of course, it was a fantasy. There was not enough time to build such a wall, even if there had been the will, and not enough metal and industrial scrap-yards to supply the materials. I never proposed that it should in any way be realized, as I did with other reconstruction projects during and after the war. However, as a metaphor and even an architectural strategy, it has some value. Walls can be an armature for transformation, an instrument not for dividing and separating, but for bringing opposing ideas and people together. It all depends on the design, the architecture of a wall. Later, in my proposals for La Habana Vieja and The Wall Game, I pursued this idea at a less fantastic and more realistic, realizable scale.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


The truth is, knowledge does not endure, but must be recreated anew by each person, by each generation.
Knowledge is created by and dies with the knower. Only data, or evidence that knowledge has existed survives death, in all the books and buildings and artifacts that people have created as a demonstration of what they knew or came to know through the hard-won process of living and working. These things are not knowledge itself, though some make the mistake of thinking so. Rather, they are the applications of knowledge, its effects.
So, too, in the age of computerization and satellites, the technology once used to launch spaceships to the Moon, and to land on it and return to Earth, has been superseded and is, for us, useless. If we want to go to the Moon again, we will have to invent all over again the technical means—and the moral reasons—to do it. The old ways and ambitions, just like the old technologies, remain inspirations, but they do not embody the knowledge we need. We of the present must invent that for ourselves. Yet, we must accept in advance that our knowledge will always be greater than can be contained by any construction we make with it.
And that it will die with us. Contrary to   received wisdom, it is Art that is short, and Life that is long.

Ars longa, vita brevis are the first two lines of a Latin translation of an aphorism by Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. The words are commonly translated in English as art is long, life is short. The full text in Latin is:

Ars longa,
vita brevis,
occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum,
iudicium difficile.

In this commonly found Latin translation, the first two statements have been switched from the Greek original.
The full text is often rendered in English as:
[The] art is long,
life is short,
opportunity fleeting,
experiment dangerous,
judgment difficult.
The most common and significant caveat in this translation is that "art" (Latin: ars, Ancient Greek: τέχνη (techne)) is interpreted as "technique, craft" (as in The Art of War), not "fine art", Hippocrates being a doctor and this being the start of a medical text. The following line "The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate," makes the medical context clear.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Representation of differences:

Of course, coding would vary immensely depending on users' view point. Experimenting with different view points indicated me where breaking points would be and it is clear enough that it would change every time. But then I realised maybe that could be the determination of its own territories within the place.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Trying to identify/clarify my aims and proposal

Area: Between London Victoria and Sloane Square. Where Good meets Bad. By Good I mean areas that serve as mentally safe places for me. Bad areas is my definition of places that makes me be cautious of environment I am surrounded by. Although buildings in both areas differ to each other visually and by stereotypical views I am able to guess rich and poor areas, I am more interested in codes, elements within those spaces that produces an emotional and mental image of the place.

Good areas: Vertically positioned, rhythmical in terms of the structure and the way it falls to perspective. Repetitive. Windows taller. Light white colour.

Bad areas: Horizontally positioned, rhythmical but dynamic. Horizontal lines of the building is highlighted with white against its dark brown colour. Boxed image of the building. Windows squared and repetitive. Even if it is a block building built vertically rather than horizontally, it still has white lines determining horizontal line. Normally estate is "wrapped" with set of fences and secured by gates. Red, blue, white colours.

My input and proposal: Within my location, invent place(s) where Good meets Bad. Good is white, grand (?), falling into perspective. Bad is powerful, strong, surrounded by fences. Have many perspectives.
Invented area would become a coded place and would exist by a new set of rules, which would determine differences between places.
Present visual of buildings would become the past. It would become coded into elements, segments that would make a system. I would judge the space and its differences by where elements would juxtapose with each other.

Aim: representation of un(comfortable) spaces and determination of the line where those spaces juxtaposes.
Breaking the elements of the buildings that identify the place into codes and how it would change the space and its boundaries.
Creating new, invented territories out of existing ones.

Monday, 21 November 2011


Fundamental Forces - Version FF00
CTM.11: CINECHAMBER - Monolake [DE/NL] 

 Audiovisual work based on coding audio language into visual virtual spaces. 
Although subject matter is different to mine, I think it is a good reference of an idea how mental forms of untouchable can be turned into coded systems and provide us with visual forms of spatial experience.


Any city is comprised of many systems—economic, technological, social, cultural—which overlay and interact with one another in complex ways. Each system is different, but from one point of view all share a common purpose–the organization of energy—and a common goal—giving the cumulative energy of the city a coherent form.

According to Maxwell’s second law of thermodynamics, the entropy in a system will increase (it will lose energy) unless new energy is put in.

According to Newton’s law of inertia, a system will stay at rest unless it is disturbed by an external force.

Energy exists in two states: kinetic and potential. A brick sits on top of a wall—potential (it could fall). A brick is pushed from the top of the wall—kinetic (its potential is released).

Energy takes many forms, each created by a system that contains it for a particular purpose. Architecture is one such system that contains energy by establishing stable boundaries, limits, edges. New energy—in the form of maintenance—must continually be added to the system of materials, or they will decay. Metaphysically speaking, new energy—in the form of human thought, emotion, activity—must continually be added to the system of boundaries, or they will lose their purpose and meaning.

The first task of experimental works of architecture and art is to stake out new points of view on what already exists. The second task is to test them.

“What exactly do the vectors represent?”
“They don’t represent anything. They are just themselves—embodied energy.”
“They contain energy?”
“Yes. Can’t you see it?”
“I see white lines on a black surface.”
“Tell me, what do you see when you look at that building? Bricks, windows, metal, glass?”
“That’s all?”
“Ah, then that’s the problem. You can’t see energy, just its effects.”
“The vectors contain the energy that it took to make them. It is a measurable amount of energy, but it has not yet been measured. It consists of physical energy, intellectual and emotional energy. Certainly we will be able to measure it by its effects, if and when there are any.”
“So, then, the vectors are a form of energy?”
“Yes, that is what they are.”
“Well, there’s nothing new there. Any drawing, any word or act has the potential to have an effect. All you’re doing is seeing it differently.”

Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau

Merzbau is a vast architectural/sculptural project of the poet and visual artist Kurt Schwitters (1887 - 1948). Schwitters himself has described it as his life's work. The construction was first begun in Hannover, Germany (sometime between 1919 - 1923).

Schwitters was forced to leave his homeland in 1938. Having been previously designated an entartete Kunstler (degenerate artist) by the Nazis and being an outspoken critic of their activities, he had recieved an official request for an interview from the Gestapo. He fled, nearly escaping arrest.

Schwitters traveled to Norway and here began a second Merzbau. When the Nazi's invaded Norway in 1940, he was forced once more to flee.

After the war Schwitters settled close to London and then in Ambleside in the Lake District. In 1945 he began his third and final Merzbau. It is the only one still existing. Schwitters' Hannover and Norway constructions were destroyed respectively in an Allied bombing raid and a fire. (Documentation of the Hanover Merzbau exists in the form of photographs taken in the 1930's.)

Schwitters' built his constructions into his residences incorporating rooms he lived in into the structure. The ceilings and walls were covered with three dimensional shapes and countless nooks and grottos were filed with a variety of objects -- "spoils and relics" (personal items Schwitters stole from friends and acquaintances). These nooks and grottos were sometimes obliterated by future additions, leaving them existing only in the memories of the earlier versions of the work. Schwitters considered the Merzbau on principle, an uncompleted work that by it's very nature, continued to grow and change constantly.

This dedication to expressing the dynamism in things as they existed in process and his beliefs that the making of art was not to be cordoned off from the life out of which it was produced were central themes in his work. (To learn more about Schwitters' aesthetics, see his essay on Merz.)

RIEAch Research Institute for Experimental Architecture

RIEA.ch is an institution with the purpose of advancing experimentation and research in the field of architecture, in response to changing political, economic, technological and cultural conditions in the contemporary world.

RIEA blog

Talk about thinking outside the box: an “urban outhouse” that collapses when the occupant exits; an altar device that computerizes reactions of participants; and, more recently, a floating mobile cityscape that provides additional public spaces.
Such are some of the concepts that Bryan W. Cantley — professor of art — has envisioned over the years as a theoretical architect. In addition to teaching 3D design, he also runs his own architectural studio Form:uLA.

Form:uLA blog 

LW quotes

In the outside world today, I think architecture has to be not the safe and known but the unknown space. Architecture has to provide the new territory, the new place to go hunting or to find something authentic because the outside world has become so surveilled, controlled, predictable. In my work, I have been trying to create unknown spaces.

 Architecture is a discipline which is defined by limits, just like any other discipline. While one may try always tries to break through those limits, they cannout be circumvented. They have to be confronted.  I think that for me this reality is very critical. I can only challenge the limits of my discipline if I know them. So that is the problem: when a drawing or a construct breaks through the limits and becomes something else, or breaks through the limits and remains architecture, it is because the limits of the discipline are known and confronted. There are many borderlines that are important to explore. There are borderlines that we cannot say clearly carry architectural conditions or structural conditions—they are hybrid in a way. One of your questions here is about the social significance of architecture—that is one of the limits challenged by any formal architectural condition, a pragmatic one. It has to be true. The architectural form is confronted with the inhabitant. Whatever habitation means, however broadly you interpret it, it is still a very archaic condition. The body of the inhabitant is a very archaic condition.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lebbeus Woods

It is amazing to find an architect that inspires you so much, tells about everything you believe in architecture and makes you nod to each sentence you read about his work.
Theory, experimentation and extravagant thinking about spaces, concepts and understanding of contexts creates extraordinary pieces of work.
The way he manages to confront the social crisis, issues in order to create new.

I’m not interested in living in a fantasy world ... All my work is still meant to evoke real architectural spaces. But what interests me is what the world would be like if we were free of conventional limits. Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules.
Woods, Lebbeus and Nicolai Ouroussoff (Reviwer). "An Architect Unshackled by Limits of the Real World." in: New York Times. August 25, 2008.

Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no "sacred and primordial site." I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then "melt into air." I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Alderney Street- Horizontal

Uncomfortable areas


Here I extracted the "bad" areas of Victoria to see and experiment to see how it would look materialised into deconstructed landscape.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Alderney Street- Vertical

Stenciled Victorian style building. Pattern is set vertical, which helps identify the building.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Colin Rowe works

Rome is the result of historical stratification and the setting of different urban forms. These parts of the city coexist in a formidable "collage" as defined by Colin Rowe. The city is therefore an interesting case study for the anlysis and comprehension of the urban complex and of the architecture.