The Seductive Axonometric
Who influences you graphically?
It varies, really. However, it is pretty much interconnected with each and every project, and the architecture as such. I must admit my affinity towards old hardcopy world maps, printed symbols and signs/typography, and photographic journals. Daily, this affinity is being enforced and critically evaluated in terms of originality and validity. I am always very interested in discovering CIAM’s Projects, looking back to Russian Constructivist projects and theories as well as futuristic manifestoes of the 60s. A recent research on Los Angeles through Reyner Banham’s fantasy has influenced me and while being familiar with David Hockney’s paintings, Edward Ruscha’s art projects and Robert Venturi’s view on “Learning from Las Vegas”(1972). Of course some other influences come directly from the world of architecture, while others come from other artistic approaches, such as the underground cinema and its cinematographic atmospheres.
What is your work process in terms of programs used?
The projects are developed in a way of celebrating their initial sketches and loads of tracing papers, while they tend to be explored afterwards in a 3D. Therefore the visualised images come from either a rendering process or collaged investigations. Few times PS becomes the dominant programme in case it is required to express an idea, whilst always CAD is implemented in sort of a way.
To what extent is the axonometric the most complete method of representation?
Axonometric drawings to me offer a positive seduction. Having said that, I do believe that axonometric is also the most interesting technique to project, present, and explore a project. I mostly enjoy drawing them via CAD, while sometimes they are converted from 3D programmes and carefully edited in 2D programmes.
What is the effect and purpose of texture especially with regards to the ΜΕΣΑ project?
Texture is one of the most necessary ingredients to understand architecture and its depth or concreteness in terms of drawing. I use texture and specific colour palettes in each project which best describes the narration as much as it reveals its quality as an architectural decay. Valuing the architectural decay and philosophical influence in each project, specifically project ΜΕΣΑ follows a very detailed architectural essence from which you can tell a story by its textures but also the other way round. The purpose of texture and decoration of the drawings is exactly this interchange between either telling the story or reading the pictures first.
In the City of Artificial Extrusions you talk about hollywood hills and pacific ocean as to major points of reference but seize to show these as context to your images, why so?
In the case of Los Angeles is just inevitable to not talk about the Hollywood hills, as a point of reference to the city’s extravagance, as well as the Pacific Ocean as a second reference due to the site location of the chosen project (Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica). The oceanfront of Santa Monica and the Pier has influenced the architecture of the blocks while they enhanced the conditions of the façade and viewing perspective. The monumentality of the architecture itself, the barrel vaults and height variations, focused to only those two sceneries which best describe the Angelenos lifestyle and fantasy. In the interior/exterior renders, the site is showed to enrich the project’s narrative, but also locate itself in the first place.
Μέσα comes to mind when thinking about the mood of garden. Observing the architecture in stillness, while its concreteness appears in a quiet motion. Garden is the constant movement from an interior state to an exterior; a hide and seek between physical and mental observations. In this garden, the “between” is manifested in a number of ways, solid as an architecture of detail proportions, in a physical to a mental conceptualisation of a shadow, questioning the presence of an exterior space being an interior space, the need to be within its transformational qualities. Through the clear transformation of something else, in this case the architecture within its site conditions, we are able to see the transformation in us. The very own, kept secret – μέσα – the garden, which you will never tell me.
‘Smaating’: A Museum for Hans Christian Andersen, ‘House of Fairytales’ Competition
‘Smaating’, which means ‘little, unimportant things’, is the Danish word that H.C.Andersen used in order to describe his own fairytales . He believed that his plays, poems and novels were more important than his little stories, which he considered mere trifles, bagatelles. At the same time it is today widely recognised that in his stories he found a way to deal with important, universal, even philosophical issues in a playful manner, using humour, irony, allegory, passing through important themes, and at the same time referring to serious, even grave notions -death or redemption- like a playful walk in the forest.
We have resulted in a list of themes that we consider to be recurrent in Andersen’s work, as they appear in similar forms at parts of his work, like for example ‘the grotesque’, ‘nature’, ‘weather’, ‘water’ etc. The themes correspond to specific spaces, which we provide with a specific title: ‘Huge’, ‘The Glorious Sea’, The Fragrant Forest’. etc. In each space the themes unfold through techniques that trigger experiences, like performances, workshops, exhibitions or playful processes. In this way the spaces of the “House of Fairytales” become universal, as they refer to stories but at the same time they refer to universal qualities, through which children can learn about the world and adults can reflect upon the world.
Nostalgia Producing Instruments
Derived from the initial study of the Collage City of Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter 1978, the project is based upon the idea of Nostalgia producing methodology and an implemented elemental narrative in order to fantasize a residential condition in the city of “Angels”. The arch and column system is selected as a repetitive architectural element that best represents the spatial qualities, while producing different situations due to the allocation of the residential towers. The project evaluates the site as a clear figure ground plan of a deconstructed cross, exposing its pillars. As a matter of fact, the towers are visually perceived both by the highway and oceanfront of the Pacific Ocean. The ground floor plan enhances the idea of concrete and marble textures yet remaining an undefined space capable of implementing its identity to the Ocean Avenue’s future. The towers are collaged in order to achieve the intersections of the canvases of the two barrel vault geometries and thus recreating an unusual lobby space with terraces of different heights, private entrance to the apartments, sharing an integrated roof. The barrel vaults are kept as the purest of the vaults’ typologies, which the apartments celebrate due to the directional view, favouring the two astonishing points of reference; the Pacific Ocean and the Hollywood hills.
Christiana Pitsillidou is a Greek-Cypriot student based in Oslo. Currently about to complete her master degree in Architecture at The Oslo school of Architecture and Design, followed by an internship in Draftworks* Architects in 2014.