HYBRID CITIES : notation | surface | flow


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Our next exploration will zoom into the scale of the human body within the scale of the city. We will attempt to register, measure, draw, represent the movement of the systems and networks that you investigated in the previous project. Are these systems vast and chaotic? Are they quantifiable? Is there a way that we can measure them? Capture them? How would one contain them? Ultimately how would one experience 'them' in the city?
We will attempt to reveal these systems to the scale of the body and the inhabitant, we will explore the possibility of an enclosure to register, of passage to measure, of architecture as a device of measuring urban phenomena. How could the design process respond to these vibrating, temporal and fluctuating set of systems that you have explored?
In this project you will work individually on your projects, through three stages:
ON NOTATION will ask you to explore the notation of a temporal system. In order to do this, you are asked to select one system in the school of architecture to measure. Set up an experiment or a measuring device to measure the flow / movement of that system through your device. This system could be anything from the circulation system in the stairwell, elevator, to the foot traffic through studio, or the rhythmic hum of your computer. The key to this exercise is to abstract the information of the system that you are measuring into an element that can be quantified and therefore drawn.
ON SURFACE will ask you to develop a surface capable of measuring and registering the passage / flow of a system. You will investigate the possible material and spatial capabilities of this surface as it transforms itself into a measuring device. This surface becomes adaptive, malleable, flexible and ephemeral. Your task is to design it, deploy it, document it. Our trip to DC will include a site visit that will ask you to 'measure' a site according to its systems. In order to do that you will need to begin thinking about what you are going to measure.
ON FLOW will be the final stage of our second project. You will be asked to investigate the potential of the previous exercises in a larger architectural proposal for the re-design of the Judiciary Square metro station in Washington DC. Could architecture become a measuring device? Can a metro station become a place of registering flow? Can a metro station actually transform itself according to frequency, rhythm, usage, light, volume?
notation | surface | flow : 02/04/04
Diderot, Arts Militaires
Select one of the following systems and develop an 18" x 24" drawing that measures, registers, counts, quantifies or visualizes one of the following:

1. Flow of people in the stairwell
2. Elevator usage
3. Movement of people through studio
4. Frequency of printing from one printer / plotter / photocopier
5. Waste disposal
6. Computer usage
7. Cafeteria usage
8. other

In order to draw this drawing you will need to measure the system and its usage over a period of time. The temporal aspect of this exercise is incredibly important. The systems that you are exploring are constantly changing and fluctuating - you are focusing on a particular aspect in a particular time frame. How does one measure flow? Could one measure an enclosure simply by observing and counting people moving through a space? Do people gravitate in one direction? How do they respond when a barrier is placed to interrupt their movement?
These systems are dynamic. Think of your drawing as an equally dynamic object. Your drawings should represent the potentiality of flow and the temporality of the spaces that you are drawing; they need not be representative of the literal spaces.

NOTE: This is a short 1 day exercise - you need to be innovative, speculative, resourceful.

notation | surface | flow : 02/06/04
ARO, Paper Wall
Can a surface measure? Could you design a passage or a spatial sequence that allows you to measure flow? Could you design a microclimate that controls temperature or light? What are the possibilities for architecture to register, to become a device that measures and ultimately controls flow? That transforms and adapts itself according to certain parameters?
You are asked to select a space in or around the school of architecture as a site to deploy your surface. This device should extend the surface of a floor, ceiling or wall and could create a three dimensional passage. This exercise asks you to design a sequence of movement and the circulation pattern in and through your device. You do not need to work with the same movement systems that you previously notated, but you need to however think about the notation of the new system that you are measuring. Does it produce a drawing? How does it measure?

For Monday February 9th 2004:
1. Closely study the area that you are going to deploy your surface in: what do you want to measure? Generate a drawing [11" x 17"] that documents the flow / movement / fluctuation that you want to register.
2. Design a texture, a material surface that is capable of deploying itself on the site and able to register material flow. Draw a plan, section and axonometric at ½" = 1'
3. Generate a physical model of this texture at ½" = 1'. Think about different techniques of joining: weaving, braiding, binding. Also consider materiality, issues of transparency, opacity, structure, framing etc.
Work on a series of 4" x 4" small models [at least 4] and then generate an 8" x 8" surface.
4. Develop a Form-Z model that allows you to consider issues of structure and develop the surface three- dimensionally. What happens on the back? How does it attach? How is it structured?

These are study models - you should be as resourceful and innovative as you can. This exercise asks you to challenge the normative understanding of surface and begin considering it as a three-dimensional object that can contain and be inhabited. Note that you are not siting your designs yet!

notation | surface | flow : 02/11/04
DC metro
Could architecture become a measuring device? What is the potential for a space to be a register of flow and movement? How can the transformation of the use of a space inform spatial and formal configurations of a site?
You are asked to consider a site of maximum flow and movement - a place of rapid transit and constant transition: a metro station. Your challenge for the next couple of weeks asks you to redesign the entry sequence into the Judiciary Square metro station. How could your proposals engage this temporal site? What are the possibilities when one reconsiders a metro station as part of a larger system of movement that engages DC and beyond? What is the weather underground and above ground? How could your proposals explore the different speeds that occur around the site?

The boundaries of the site extend as far underground as you need them to. You should question the boundaries of the existing station; your sole restriction is to respect the site of the memorial that is located above ground adjacent to the metro entrance.
You are asked to design a 'people-mover' rather than an entrance. This project asks you to design a new circulation route from above ground to underground that reveals the systems it is connecting to. You are connecting pedestrians, tourists, commuters to the networked system of the metro that currently lies hidden beneath. How could you transform the above and below ground relationship into something that is much more expressive of the movement and the flows that are occurring in the subterranean? How do you reveal the parallel motion of trains, cars and people?
Where does the platform begin and end?

>> For Friday's DC trip:
1. Find out everything that there is to know about the site, location, history etc. Do your research before you visit the site and come to some preliminary conclusions about the way you will measure the site [assignment 2].
2. Work with a partner [different to your previous partnerships] to develop a measuring device / a measuring technique that you will deploy / implement when you get on site. This could be anything from a technique of measuring cars, people and escalator treads, to measuring light, sound, weather phenomena, wind speed. Buy / borrow a light meter, a device to measure sound intensity, distance, speed etc. We are not only going to perform a 'conventional' documentation of our site, but will also attempt to register all the other forces that have an impact on our site besides the existing site conditions. What are the invisible forces that you can measure and respond to?
3. In teams, print a 1/32" =1' site plan and aerial photograph of the site to take with you and make notes on. Use ArchGIS to do so [DC Info project folder on Olmsted / Classes].

NOTE: You will have an assignment to work on while we are traveling in DC on the bus, so you cannot rely on that time to figure out your device! Come prepared! Cameras, measuring tapes, recording devices - bring everything that you think you will need.

Friday 13th February @ 7:15 am CULBRETH PARKING LOT!