After my cousin gifted me a book that intrigued her in its sense of different approach to architectural design, I really loved how this book changed my perspective on how I design. “Siteless” by François Blanciak offers a different way of looking at creating siteless, contextless, program-less designs and then adding these values in. This approach allows for an interactive way of observing the qualities of objects and concepts and then emerging and integrating them with each other. Below are a few examples from this book that I tried to re-illustrate.
In my first PreJury, we firstly had our main design idea of producing a proposition of a house that is being designed and critiqued by the set of references and quotations that govern that building.
We also produced our main design diagrams and drawings that explained our thought process visually. The thoughtfully produced further analysis on our references and the scaled drawings of them helped us grasp the idea behind designs and hopefully notice and analyze new qualities and spatial experiences that was not specifically mentioned by the architects themselves. Also because we are students, discovering and understanding the technical drawings and diagrams helped us improve our designs and also take reference the way real-world architects design things as well as the designs themselves.
In my jury, I showed how I integrated my previous idea and how I changed my first idea of referencing the vertical circulation volume of stairs that are in the Fukuta house. I first produced my main element of the slanted surface for having a reference place for the insertion of the volumes also referencing Fukuta house. But I noticed that this volumetric formation was very suitable for the slanted surface of the hill. This creates a point that the big surface is the projected abstraction of the ground surface. After the insertion, I anticipated that these volumes became intertwined and rotated to change their direction this later allowed me to use the analysis gathered from the Tolo house which is very modular and formed in a path that goes down a hill’s slope. Then I added my quote from this house which is the tilted bedroom formation allowing for a private way of passing through the house.
But in my jury, we noticed that the big slanted roof was not functioning spatially, therefore, being kind of an ornament. The Tolo house reference and the Fukuta house reference were working properly but not fully integrated with each other. I could further study and try three main approaches that could solve this. One is improving the Fukuta house reference by improving the spacial quality if the slanted surface to use it to solve my problems. Another one is to eliminate the slanted roof, choose the Tolo house reference or the last one can be connecting them through the middle space that is being produced by the angle of turning of the house as a path idea.
After the production of our sketch problem, we now had the opportunity to bring our projects up to a more complex level by adding the much-needed topography aspect of it. Before, the thought process was that we should have our references and quotations and then think in how to bring them together and form some kind of an essay organization that creates a narrative that is related with influencers, references, and appropriate quotes.
I think this is an interesting approach to a real-life building design since most design choices stem from real site analysis and go from there to provide a good design. But this is definitely not the only approach to design. The process can be the other way around concerning the site-less design and then integrating it with the topography after the first initial state. This is very similar to a book that I have called “Siteless” that I will make a later blog post so stay tuned for that!
Anyways, I think this is interesting and very beneficial in understanding the importance and the influence of the site also while not being trapped by it in the first stages. Since we had our quotation/referencing sketch problem, our instructors gave us our randomly chosen sites that only have the topographical information on them.
Mine was a triangle shaped bordered site that had a hill formation on the center that merged downwards creating two directions towards the point ends of the site. Therefore from now on, I tried to integrate the site and the model. Because they are both strong characteristic elements they are both influenced by each other and influence each other.
In our Arch 222 course, we were assigned to make groups of 2 or 3 in order to create a presentation for a certain topic related to our class. But the interesting structure of the class was that other than our instructor giving us a lesson and making the interaction one way, we are the ones researching and analyzing the topic beforehand. Our presentations are designed to be more analytical in their sense that we are expected to venture out from the topic and explore what are the referencing points and related thinking structures that influence the ideas that are expressed in that certain topic of discussion.
The class communicates through an online platform and after the presentations are uploaded, all the other participants read the piece of text that starts the line of thought and after that evaluate the presentation at hand. Therefore, both the presentation and the audience is immersed in this topic and reach a level of understanding that creates a ground for an intellectual discussion in class.
By doing this, the class can be used to be concentrated in questions regarding how those people who are instrumental in the emergence of the modern architectural theory thought these ideas and how they relate and influence each other in their time. The knowledge of the instructor is reserved for the guidance of the topic in the right direction.
People who mostly come from a more traditional background of education cannot comprehend the role of the instructor in architectural education. Because architects are designers who design spaces, they are also frontrunners in the modernization of the education of future generations. The studio and these lessons are designed in a way that creates individuals who are great critical thinkers by making the lessons interactive in their sense that through creation, participation and discussion relate the class to the level of interaction from the students. Without the participation of the students, the studio would not operate well but students who are not used to this contemporary way of learning may have difficulties adapting. Therefore we should remember that our instructors are not teachers.
To come to our presentation topic regarding the text that was published in 1905, by Hendrik Berlage, called “Thoughts on Style” he was very influenced about the Sachlichkeit way;
Also, you can reach the complete presentation containing his influences, how his mind structure emerged, changed and affected future thoughts in the link below;
Arch222 Hendrick Berlage from thoughts on style