The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

Contributing To a New Imagination

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

Contributing To a New Imagination

Sylvie Hagens

Interview

Who influences you graphically?

Though there is no single definition of architecture, as it changes according to the context and the needs of man, ‘good’ architecture always has two main characteristics. Firstly architecture listens, secondly architecture speaks. The initial task in any project is always the observation. Once the reality is properly understood we can contribute to a new imagination. Basically a great idea can be illustrated in any form, pure objectively the aesthetics should not matter.  The objective is always that the project is clearly communicated. It should represent the main idea and the potential of a space.  Finding a good way to represent a project starts from the beginning, parallel with the start of a project. As every project is different it each asks for a different expression form. So my influences differentiate: collages of Lazlo-Mohly-Nagy; photographs of Martin Parr; paintings from  Hockney, Hopper & Magritte; projects representations from XDGA, Estudio Altiplano, Dogma, LCLA Office, Point Supreme, Something Fantastic & 2A+P/A; or the collage bible The Age of Collage (Gestalten 2013). But one may wonder if we still can get truly inspired after an overload of images we come to consume every day.

How would the format of the project as a medicine instructions paper have reinforced the project.

Today we are more than ever living in a health driven society, it seems like health has become the norm of everything. We are all expected to act in a certain way and be in a certain shape to obtain to this health norm. The faith in medication has never been greater. It seems like we are in a constant curative state of mind, especially in the urban context the human body seems to be at constant risk even within the urban context this medicalization is presents. Parks are referred to as green ‘longs’, problem areas as city ‘cancers’. The medicalization has become justification, medical terms are used to frame non-medical problems. When we use a medical term to address a problem it seems like there is no discussion possible, everybody is convinced that what is said is true. It is the perfect way to avoid a real debate, it is non refutable. History has shown that it is not correct to put architecture in a curative role, since architecture did not provide real answers within the health debate whatsoever. Nowadays architecture is often reduced to a service industry and becomes purely a symptom treatment. Urban investments are reduced to building large-scale projects that will cure the city of its ‘disease’ by offering a programmatic complexity. Rather than pretending that architecture has a healing, curative role I state that architecture, especially within the studio ‘Health as an Urban Common’, is in all means palliative, in most it has a placebo effect. We have to work with the conditions that we have instead of still trying to fight the aftermath of the nowadays consumption driven economy. I do not consider architecture as a static object but rather as an active instrument, as a tool to trigger human behaviour. Architecture rarely provides one comprehensive answer to a problem but ideally contributes to a larger critical thinking, to unlock the potential of a space. Palliative means that architecture is what it is, it is the structure of how we inhabitant the city, however it is not improving the actual health in the city, it is not fixing social problems, it can merely prolong our death. Architecture is not conclusive, it is not a certainty and it is not science. Health is science. Architecture provides wonderful possibilities for change, especially in city parts that are in crisis; it becomes an opportunity rather than an absolute answer. Architects need to take this responsibility seriously, become more critical and stop pretending to be urban doctors, as we are in fact clown doctors who take upon a palliative instead of curative function.

What role does the circle play in delivering an image/message?

When I started architecture school I was really inspired by the collages of Lazlo Moholy Nagy and his power of creating the perfect composition. In architecture the frame you wish to represent is off course key. I feel the circle is more suggestive, it looks more like a zoom, a detail that is clearly part of a bigger picture.  When using them as part of a presentation I feel a circle is more manageable and easier to plug in on a bigger presentation panel. Thinking about the importance of the border is important in every project since architecture decides a border between inclusion and exclusion, what is the building, what is the context, how do we define the border?

What influenced and dictated the specific views you chose to render?

 Choosing the right view is key to be able to understand the project to its fullest, in the sense the views are purely analytical. There only purpose is to represent the ambition and potential of the project. I do not see the collage as an object itself, as it is always part of a project. It is the series that makes them interesting, they need each other to be correctly understood. Each collage shows an important part of the project and together they try to communicate the project as a whole.

To what extent does the art of collage reinforce the idea of a purely man made environment we are confronted with nowadays?

 According to Harvey (2010) we now inhabit the “second nature” which is no longer part of the first nature, it is hard or even impossible to find something that has not already been modified by the human hand. The unexpected consequences of these forced modifications are now backfiring at us, reality is becoming more and more artificial every day. I feel that renders freeze a piece of this fake reality. This type of digitalisation often turns into a disillusion. It is like trying to copy Malevich’s Black Square and hang it in your living room. It is not the same. I maybe looks like it but It will never carry the same content, energy and greatness. I think collages gives a certain freedom to the viewer, the render is more constricted in that sense. I also see the role of the architect today as a collagist, reorganising the existing with a personal vision and proposing an addition when needed.

Harvey, D (2010) ‘The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis this Time’, American Sociological Associa- tion Meetings. Atlanta, August 16th

Palliative Architecture

It seems like we are in a constant curative state of mind, especially in the urban context the human body seems to be at constant risk. According to Harvey (2010) we now inhabit the ‘second nature’, an ‘environment profoundly marked by hu- man presence and, as a result, by creative destruction.’ (Zardini, 2012) The second nature is no longer part of the first nature, it is hard or even impossible to find something that has not already been modified by the human hand. The unexpected consequences of these forced modifications are now backfiring at us, reality is becoming more and more artificial every day. The blurred line between healthy and unhealthy has become difficult to define, we are maneuvering in a constant grey zone. Believing that architecture can provide an answer to the ongoing obsessed queste for a healthier city is naïve and even slightly hypocrite. History has showed that it is not correct to put architecture in a curative role, since architecture did not provide real answers within the health debate whatsoever.

The city is a sick body, it is diagnosed with different mutations of cancer and it needs treatment! Only with this treatment the city can transform from a sick city into a healthy city, a city where people are more fit and are enjoying a richer lifestyle in general. When an urban site is diagnosed with cancer there are different symptoms which can characterize its illness: broken glass, loitering, loners hanging around in the area, abandoned trash, graffiti and overgrown weeds. They all contribute to an unhealthy, unsafe and non-hygienic situation. It is clear that a medicine is a must, it is the only remedy. The Museumol is an element of the treatment plan to operate on the city cancers. A museum as an antidote for modernity! It has no guarantees whatsoever but it does assure to be a professional placebo, it provides consolation. The museum will not solve any problems that are expected to be treated, it will change nothing but it is a placebo, a hold, it provides comfort and trust. The Museumol acts like a palliative décor, the answers are given, but there is no progress only decline.

Rather than pretending that architecture has a healing, curative role I state that architecture, especially within the studio ‘debate’, is in all means palliative, in most it has a placebo effect. We have to work with the conditions that we have instead of still trying to fight the aftermath of the nowadays consumption driven economy. Palliative means that architecture is what it is, it is the structure of how we inhabitant the city, however it is not improving the actual health in the city, it can merely prolong our death. Palliative treatment does not mean giving up, it can still improve life in the city and create hope. Architecture provides wonderful possibilities for change, especially in city parts that are in crisis; it becomes an opportunity rather than an absolute answer. Architecture is not conclusive, it is not a certainty and it is not science. Health is science. Instead of architecture providing the cure, architecture’s first aid is to provide care.

palliative-architecture_4

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_5

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_3

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

presidential-potlatch_8

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_1

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_2

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_6

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_7

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_8

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_9

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

palliative-architecture_10

Palliative Architecture – The Architect as an urban clown doctor

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

Objective: As a democratic act the monumental structure focuses on remembrance of a national collective memory instead of the glorification of one single individual.

Strangely PowerPoint’s voice-overs with robotic voices are still selling ideas of green harmonious happy make-believe communities, merely playing on emotions of possible buyers. Most of these projects only contribute to an evanescent, non-sustainable way of doing urbanism. Urban investments are mostly equal to building infrastructure or investing in the area by building large-scale projects that will ‘fix’ the city by offering a programmatic complexity. Architecture is reduced

to a service industry and becomes purely a symptom treatment. The architectural ambition of the project is to create a new urban condition instead of prescribing predictable architecture as an antidote. The autonomous character of the project can be seen as a critique on the predictable, homogenous condition in architecture today. It is not analytical but instead it is a proposition for form. Until now the Presidential archive, the edifices of political power, always have celebrated the individual in which the role of the attraction overshadows the memorial. Should the archive not reflect on political affairs instead? Which means not building to a person but building to the laws, the society. An archive: 1. A building which only goal is to achieve eternity; 2. representing the content without the content being visible and thus reflect on the presence of the eternal absence? The object in architecture is always seen as irresponsible but can the object in this context not be a generator? Is there a potential in an extreme reduction? A mega form, as a continuation of the American tradition of massive scales and even more important, a remembrance of the power of the grid.

presidential-potlatch_7

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_1

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_5

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_2

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_3

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_4

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

presidential-potlatch_6

The Presidential Potlatch – An Archive of Anomalies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s