Sunday, November 6, 2011

Clements_5_Technological Mediations

This thesis proposal builds upon some of my previous proposals and research interests.
I think its getting closer to how I can work on investigating how architecture may operate to level a condition between two parties, a space of diplomacy.

 Technological Mediation
This proposal places a university’s new multimedia/library/classroom architecture/space (of a similar scale but not character to 41 Cooper Square) within a global urban city, possibly New York.  

The American government supports the “public” university, yet education, due to both physical isolation -  the university is often placed in an isolated territory- and classroom’s physical opaque character - being essentially closed boxes - prevents the public from being able to participate and share in learning/teaching as an active part of an urban experience. 

The cost of education has made it out of farther reach from many Americans.  Of particular note is how fast the increase in the cost of education has outpaced other metrics, including the increase in housing prices. The university here is positioned as one whose education is more open and engaged with the city, refuting the idea of a “private” school for one that is more open and accessible.  

This context is further relevant because of the increasing global competition in education and its relevance to jobs in the workplace.  American students have consistently been shown to be behind their international peers in their knowledge of science, math, and technology.  Architecture, in this case, is seen as enabling a reinforcing these fields and making them more visible and open to conversations with the public.  

In our world of promoted “interdisciplinary” work, the traditional classroom hinders this, fostering an isolated model of learning, one as exclusionary, rather than one which promotes a sharing of knowledge.  

Technology is being used more and more in the academic world, either through ipods, cell phones, or presentation screens; its role in education, both physical and digitally, can continue to be investigated by architecture and educators.  

These conditions provide the framework for the investigation of an architecture that changes education, information, and media and its relationship to the urban experience.

The Architecture:  
1.  Reframes media/information access’ relationship to its users
2.  Transforms the idea of perception and perceiving - how content is viewed/learned.
3.  Rethinks architecture’s ability to serve as a framework or armature for a new models of institutions, in this case, that of education.
4.  Promotes new experiences and environments enabled by adaptable and responsive architecture and technology.

The primary players are the professors and students - who have a direct, contractual relationship - and the common public, who are viewed as deserving education also, but of being a third party not mandated to receive such.  The secondary players include government policy/policy makers, unions, and global universities.  

Seattle Public Library by OMA
The Seattle Public Library is a model precedent because it reframes how we conceive of and interact with knowledge. It also exemplifies a project which takes into consideration public accessibility and urban experience.

Culture Shed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The Culture Shed houses an institution that is global and interconnected.  The architecture is seen as being adaptable and reconfigurable, allowing for the institution to survive economic downturns and expanding programs.

Eye Beam Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
This precedent is important because of its relationship between production and viewing spaces. The architecture’s integration with technology and media promotes a new way of understanding how we may learn/interact with the world through a technology mediated architecture.

Sendai Mediateque by Toyo Ito
The Sendai Mediateque exemplifies an architecture that is perceived as barrier free and accessible, promoting the idea of an open architecture enabled by technology.

Pompidou Centre, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers
The Pompidou Center is applicable because of its concept of overlapping activities and its reframing of the institution.
"It is my belief that exciting things happen when a variety of overlapping activities designed for all
people—the old and the young, the blue and white collar, the local inhabitant and the visitor,
different activities for different occasions—meet in a flexible environment, opening up the
possibility of interaction outside the confines of institutional limits. When this takes place, deprived areas welcome dynamic places for those who live, work and visit; places where all can participate, rather than less or more beautiful ghettos."  - Richard Rogers

The program of this new place of education will be place for both the physical and the digital, with an emphasis on the integration of both practice and teaching.  Its location in an urban setting promotes relationships with other institutions and businesses.  Furthermore, this promotes its ability to be always teaching and instructing, an instructor’s voice carrying beyond the confined doors of the classroom to a world open to the public.

The architectural intervention is seen as providing both large spaces for physical prototyping, other spaces more conducive to group gathering, discussion, etc, and spaces for computing, with a hybrid of these also appearing.  This place of learning is public, private, physical, digital, and gradations in between.

This project reverses education’s role as of being both exclusionary and elitist.  Through a changeable and interactive architecture, it promotes a model of education which includes and promotes an open framework, taking as a starting point the conceptual basis the internet as a source of open access to information.  

ALLIES (in no particular order)
Primary Allies:
Diller Scofidio + Renfro  - form + technology, architecture viewed as a catalyst.  Their architecture observes and then makes statements about relationships.
Toyo Ito - emphasis on technology and mediating with it, “soft spaces” as well as hard spaces.
Rem Koolhaas - critical rethinking of programming, overlapping, and adjacency. 

Tectonics and Materials:
Renzo Piano - elegant details/assembly
Foster + Partners - technology emphasis, clean aesthetic
Herzog and de Meuron - using materials to bring out relationships

The Business Consultants:
SHoP Architects - Rethink how architects work/operate, interdisciplinary
Kieran Timberlake, Loblolly House building and construction

Non-allies (enemies...): Form overpowers program/relationships/clarity in meaning
Zaha Hadid
Gordon Gill

49 States Flunk College Affordability Test by Kim Clark, US New and World Report
Library as Space: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space by Council on Library and Information Resources.
The Role of Libraries in the Information Age by Viviane Reding
Media Fields: Contested Territories from Carsey Wolf Center (UC Santa Barbara)
Media of the United States:  Wikipedia entry.
Media in the online age by Peter Fraser
Only the Rich and Gifted Need Apply by Julia Hinde, Times Higher Education
Global Competition: US students vs International Peers by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, Education Week.

Digital Ground by Malcolm McCullough
Sensing Architecture - Blog by Maria Lorena Lehman, GSD
The future of the library by Seth Godin, Stanford MBA
Technologies of Writing, by Kittler
Cult of Distraction by Kracauer.
This is not Architecture, Media Constructions by Keiller
The Post Modern Condition by Jean-Francois Lyotard.
From Control to Design by Michael Meredith.
Prosthethic Theory by Mark Wigley
Tarzan in the Media Age by Toyo Ito
Project Japan by Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulbrist
The Question Concerning Technology by Martin Heidigger

Centre Pompidou - Great Buildings Online
Open Building Concepts - International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction.
Slimbouwen, smart building theory, jos lichtenberg, Tu Delft
Interactive Architecture

How is this a Space of Diplomacy?
The proposed new school becomes a place of diplomacy as it attempts to level the access to education and information to a broader public. Architecture here is used to negotiate between the “public” - or is it private - institution and the public people of the city.  It reframes education as occurring not in isolated territories but embedded within the city.  Technology conveys the happenings of the institution to a larger city audience than education typically impacts.  It promotes accessibility and messy hybrid spaces that fuse learning with working, one discipline with another, and the informal public “students” with the “formal” university student.  

Week (11.7.2011)
Background - What is the disciplines understanding of technology and buildings, physical and digital?
What is your position on this relationship?
Week (11.14.2011)
What structure might your thesis project take?  What might a semester schedule look like?  What might it include, exclude?  What do you see your final project being (installation, display, etc)?
Refine thesis positioning/relationship.

Appendix:  Architecture Diagrams and Images.  

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