Tuesday, March 22

An ark kit puncture

There is an interesting post on BLDGBLOG about an architectural detail called a truth window, which reveals the construction of the interior of the walls, mostly of straw bale homes. There, the author considers the philosophical implications of the revelation of networked structures á lá the film "The Matrix" and the revelation of the living body in animal research.

I expected a truth window to come from a macabre tradition from the Victorian era, but could not find (in a brief Google search) anything relating to that kind of history. I was, however, reminded of intersections in built space that reveal the space outside the walls and the intermediary materiality of the building itself (like Gordon Matta-Clark's "Conical Intersect" from 1975, pictured above.) There is the use of space when we are in it, and the idea of walls protecting us from the elements but also from the public. I guess if we actually considered how thin or fragile that materiality is, versus the psychological belief of its solidity in creating a demarcation, it would be really surprising.  Like thinking about how thin a t-shirt is, but that it prevents a more complicated social interaction.

Matta-Clark's piece revealed a structure and created a conduit between interior and exterior that compressed history and time: the 17th century buildings to the contemporary street scene, and ultimately the Pompidou Centre. This idea of tying together history visually by opening up space can also be seen in the Orange Cube, a structure Jakob + Macfarlane Architects (pictured below.)

The goal of the project was to "reinvest the docks of Lyon on the river side and its industrial patrimony...These docks, initially made of warehouses (la Sucrière, les Douanes, les Salins, la Capitainerie), cranes, functional elements bound to the river and its flow, mutate into a territory of experimentation in order to create a new landscape that is articulated towards the river and the surrounding hills." The void at the center allows, as with "Conical Intersect," a experience of spacial geometry based on the position of the viewer.  As with the truth window, what is revealed alters not so much our physical being in the space, but our awareness of that being in relation to its materiality, geography and history.  There is the limitations or allowances of what we can physically navigate in a built space for sure; here there is also the implications of how what we see relates to a knowledge of where we are and how we interact with our location.

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