¡VAMOS!

I think moving forward from the crit, I’m going to identify the elements of the building which can change, which can’t change etc. within a drawing/ set of drawings. Also drawing the reprogramming occurring side by side is important I think. I’ll make an inventory of possible uses (performance spaces, rehearsal spaces, bike repair shops, workshops, residences etc.) and hypothesise on how these interact with each other. This way I’ll have a list of dualities and reconfigurations, which can be used to manifest the way in which the reconfigurations are recorded in the buildings history.
I think what Igea said about the specificity of the site is very important. Shes right in that it was just the same as any other story of a city, and that the specific history and story of the site should come out. I think I have a lot of information on the site that can come into use here that maybe I haven’t fully utilized before.
With the details, I have a process of reconfiguration for the building, however, with Igea’s comments that I need to be more ambitious, maybe I need to look at relationships between other buildings on the site, the remnants of the railway tracks still evident in dumbo, other uses etc. Engage more with the site and assess the actual parameters of my site. The route down to the ferry is an important one that I need to trace I think, as well as the becoming of the area as a whole. Construction methods changed over the course of the sites development, uses changed, reasons for building changed, power was shifted from hand to hand in deciding what happened on the site.
Also, the rationale for the project needs to be defined. I’m taking these different time periods and studying the relationships, but how does this benefit people. How does it affect the public, does it affect them? I want to see it as an alternative perspective on the life of a building. The building would wear on its sleeve the marks of time instead of trying to stay true to an original vision, wherein needs and future uses may be neglected or misrepresented. The venice charter talks about alterations being distinguished from the original design, which is interesting because some architects still regard the original architect’s mark to be the one true configuration of material for that particular site (as seen in a book about retrofit, the author remarked on the terrible new additions which betrayed the original design intent), which is absurd. Looking at ‘how buildings learn’ by Stewart Brand, its obvious that needs dictate alterations, as the alteration of the house. He makes the case that in new orleans, wooden balconies werent suitable for the climate on british style townhouses, so they were replaced with cast iron balconies which became a characteristic of the area. We could say the same for New York. Most structures in NY had metal fire escapes added after the fact, and this became an iconic characteristic of NY.
But I need to spend some time narrowing down why its useful, and consider the extent to which I design and intervene

One thought on “¡VAMOS!

  1. It sounds like the cross crit has been really helpful in identifying what needs more definition and complexity, but also on how the proposal can be expanded which is great. I think your reflection that the wider area should be considered is right. As thinking about your project I realise that I know/understand little of the context beyond the parameters of the building. You clearly do so make something of that research and experience. Assessing the parameters of the site is a good move, how do you demarcate these – is it geographically, historically, materially? By following the train line? I am interested in your suggestion of the becoming of the area as a whole. Is your building a nucleus that manifests the becoming of the wider area, or a nucleus which sends strategies out into that wider context? I am reminded of something AMO/OMA say about ‘heritage’ blur, here is a transcript from a talk at the RA a few years ago, https://cracpreservation.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/saturday-24-04-2011-amo-preservation-destruction-oma-cronocaos-lecture-minutes/
    particularly this statement:

    “In historical centres somehow all over the world, when you are close to a monument, and this is for example for me very eminent for the place where I come form which is Italy, you are supposed to build according to specific rules that don’t allow necessarily to build new architecture or, let’s say, architecture with a new or modern style. That generates somehow a sort of ‘fake’ or a condition that we call a historical blur, where you don’t rally realise what’s new and what’s old. It’s a sort of melting pot that doesn’t really have any sort of historical identity.”

    Returning to your mention of the Venice Charter, if this is something, an ideology perhaps, that informs the project through a critique of it then I think section 11 is particularly suggestive for your project. What does this mean in a building / site where you acknowledge its continued becoming?

    Article 11.
    The valid contributions of all periods to the building of a monument must be respected, since unity of style is not the aim of a restoration. When a building includes the superimposed work of different periods, the revealing of the underlying state can only be justified in exceptional circumstances and when what is removed is of little interest and the material which is brought to light is of great historical, archaeological or aesthetic value, and its state of preservation good enough to justify the action. Evaluation of the importance of the elements involved and the decision as to what may be destroyed cannot rest solely on the individual in charge of the work.
    http://www.icomos.org/charters/venice_e.pdf

    How Buildings Learn is a useful reference, as is http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Altering-Architecture-Fred-Scott/dp/0415317525 I would really recommend having a look at it over the break.

    The drawing(s) to understand what can and can’t change will be really important, this came up in the crit at the start of the semester. This will allow you to understand your constraints as it were ( but constraints are not creative limitations, Perec and his Oulipo friends show us)! Looking forward to seeing this work on Tuesday.

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