An Architectural Binocular to the Bermuda Triangle
Michelangelo La Tona
The project developed out of an interest in a question of purpose or use. The aim was to develop a formal architectural language that appeared both familiar, but also novel. The work consists of two structures that exist in a very specific relationship to each other. The first, a tilted cube, functions as a viewing platform from which to see the second.The second presents itself as the physical embodiment of an abstract territory, the Bermuda Triangle.With generic specificity these two objects hope to receive whatever narrative viewers desire to place on them, but also propose their own narrative.
We impose our beliefs as to how to use or think about objects. Oppositionally, objects propose to us how to view them.
Who influences you graphically?
For this project I don’t think I was directly or intentionally looking to any artist or architect for inspiration graphically. This was the first architectural project for which I mainly hand-drafted and I went about it in the only way I thought I should. Nevertheless, some artists and architects I was interested in at the time include Christo and Jean-Claude, Paul Noble, Jean-Jacques Lequeu, István Orosz, Ivan Leonidov, Marcus Trimble, Alexander Maymind, and James Stirling.
What role does texture play? Is it used to embody and help achieve the notion of familiarity you talk about?
The texture in the drawings was a decision made to emphasize a false sense of age in each of the monumental forms. The cube and pyramid needed to carry an archaic and possibly enigmatic aura. I actually hand-drafted the drawings on paper with the texture, scanned and finished them digitally.
You speak about the cube as the viewing platform for the Bermuda triangle which is physically represented as a triangular form, however you then chose to use the classic binocular approach, why so?
I decided on the binocular view in order to help call into question the age of the two constructs. They intentionally appear to be of ancient origin, but drawings like the section of the cube with its interior framework and wrought spiral stair propose a different age to users. The binocular apparatus, identical to those found on viewing decks of buildings like the Empire State Building, functions along a similar vein.
If you were to map the physical specific relationship between these two objects how would you go about doing so?
Section would be super important. The placement of the pyramid developed out of the desire for the function of the cube to be in question up until the moment of peering through the binoculars. From ground level a person standing next to the cube cannot see the pyramid because it hides behind the horizon thanks to the subtle curve of the Earth. At the top of the cube the pyramid, 39.4 miles away, remains to far to see with the naked eye. A macro-section would serve to show the curve of Earth’s surface hiding the pyramid from the cube.
The Map has been around since the beginning of humanity, and your choice of representation and inclusion of this is very traditional. How different do you think the outcome of your project would have been if you had decided to approach the project using the now too common google maps application? To what extent would the graphics have altered the whole perception of the project and context?
This is an interesting question. I think by default designers shy away from resorting to the google map. Graphically the google map would not have raised the intended ambiguity about the age or date of origin of the design. It would put the project firmly within the past decade or so. For me, nautical charts were a choice based on siting the project in the Bermuda Triangle, but also intended to keep the viewer in question of when this project was proposed.
Michelangelo N. LaTona (b. Evanston, Illinois 1990) is an architectural designer based in Boston, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois.
He is currently completing the final semester of his Master of Architecture degree at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College in Fine Art with a concentration in hand drawing and drafting. Michelangelo holds a Graduate Student Instructing position under Associate Professor of Architecture Melissa Harris.