I was recently featured as the 'Student Pin-Up' nominee for the month of April! Check out the link below to read a bit about what I've been up to this semester!
I've had quite the final semester here at Iowa State. I'm humbled by the encouragement I receive daily, and the excitement built up for what is to come. I think to say I'm grateful would be the understatement of the century! I'm looking forward to our final review here on Saturday, and to graduation in just 9 days!
[ Part II: thoughts on the intensive 8 day Master Class with OMA co-founder Elia Zenghelis all wrapped up]
Team: Aniket Nagdive (GRAD), Jill Maltby (5th Year), Zhaoyu Zu (4th year)
“the goal for this week is simple really: I want to know what you stand for.” - Elia Zenghelis
The class, 48 students from 3rd year to graduate level, researched several projects Elia believed illustrate the impact of architecture. For the end production, we were tasked with creating an image where the "rulers and the ruled confront each other." An image that should "represent our own position - what we think about art, architecture, the political, and the social."
Our team's research allowed us to conclude that the public has an unusual amount of control over Bank of England (our assigned paradigm project). The Bank was fundraised for by bakers and aristocrats alike, protected through three wars, expanded maintain 3.5 acres, renovated twice and nearly completely demolished (with exception to a few a Sir John Soane's interiors) and re-built, and somehow managed to go untouched during WWII. The Bank of England appeared to be one of the greatest exchanges between the "public servant" and, in turn, the "serving public" in the history of most financial institutions.
We were keen on highlighting this relationship with the institution, and a bank's ability to help give the English identity through the circulation of wealth and the definition of value. However, we didn't believe the physical building itself represented the public demand for this institution to continue to survive since it's 17th century foundation. Rather, a drawing produced from the perspective of the building best depicted the utilization of the building by the British known as the Bond Panorama (see Part I below).
The big takeaway: Sometimes, shock is the only way to see through conceptualization and realize some images can be powerful without oral or written defense. In the case of my team, Elia’s selection of our final image came as a shock. Our image is not collaged, it hardly deals with any famous imitations or appropriated material from famous works, and it surely does not use any sort of architectural material to help form an interior within the image (all factors for emblematic image construction outlined by Elia). Our image is “the ultimate abstraction” of the Bond Panorama, a drawing inspired by the bank. Similarly, how one chooses which resources to inspire production, and even further how we choose which pieces of those resources to pull into our narrative is equally as subjective as the final image itself. The basis of an image isn’t always the argument, sometimes it can simply be the impact it has on the viewer. In our case, according to Elia, “less is more even when less can sometimes be less."
Team: Aniket Nagdive (GRAD), Jill Maltby (5th Year), Zhaoyu Zu (4th year)
Studying the Bank of England, assigned by Elia as our 'paradigm' project, our team was quick to identify the constant exchange between the 'public servants' the bank employs and the 'serving public' the bank receives willed labor from. Over history, London's citizens have volunteered to fund raise for the creation of, protect, build, demolish the bank. Their dedication to the institution, but not necessarily the physical building itself was a bit unusual for our team to find in our research.
Demolished or moved on two occasions, our team wonders if Herbert Baker's structure (the one visible today) would have been replicated had WWII not left the building untouched. In Part II of the Master Class, we've been charged with composing an 'emblematic image' that depicts our team's stance on Architecture through the transformation of the Bank of England. The image created doesn't have to use the physical bank itself, it can also be composed from a image inspired by the bank. We've chosen to use the Bond Panorama, an 360 degree panorama composed by ARP Arthur Bond while he stood watch on top of the bank during WWII. This was the most accurate depiction of the London skyline of the time, and is what we believe to be a direct representation of public contribution back to an institution working to serve the public. See our progress here:
Part II: Progress
This next week is shaping up to an incredible week. Elia Zenghelis is Ames-bound to conduct a week long master class with 48 students in the Department of Architecture. A bit of quoted text from Assistant Professor Ross Exo Adams:
"Elia is--without exaggeration--one of the greatest living architects of our time. Among far too many achievements to mention here, after mentoring Rem Koolhaas at the Architectural Association in the 70's, he went on to found OMA with him. Together, they produced arguably the most interesting body of work throughout OMA's long history. Along the way, he has taught and mentored many now legendary architects and thinkers such as Zaha Hadid and Pier Vittorio Aureli (Dogma)."
The master class will be divided into two sessions, the first of which will be a research-based formal analysis exercise which will finish with a review. My team and I have been assigned to study the Bank of England. The second session will be the composition of an 'image-manifesto', which will end with the final juried review, followed by a public reception and exhibition. From what I hear, Elia will become a sort of grandfather figure to the 48 of us participating in the week's events. I'm looking forward to posting updates over the course of the week!
Thanks to the introduction from a friend, Jon Bartkowicz, I currently can't get enough of Phaidon's Muse Music playlists on Spotify. Similar to what I explored through writing Agents of Production: Lens // Music for Datum (the student-run journal of a[A]rchitecture at Iowa State University), Phaidon has started to publish playlists proving what artists / songs / genres are driving professionals at the moment. Not that I plan to extract patterns to form dramatic connections across the site via every Muse list they've published (well I might do that), but listening to the process of drivers of others while working through your own creative process is bizarre.
In Agents of Production: Lens // Music, I attempt to break down the rituals we assign ourselves within our own creative methods. Obviously, though oftentimes difficult for the reader to instantly become familiar with, the best way to analyze such a process is first through analyzing your own. Pattern seeking and building upon strengths in similarities and differences in turn lends to better understanding across a team. Music, as it has across several varying histories, has the ability to draw us together. So how can we further refine this acknowledgment to help us understand our own process so that we might better understand other's? Would that be 'forcing' it?
Regardless, the playlists are wild / exciting / new and I highly suggest you put some time aside to listen.
I'm looking forward to seeing how continuing to invest interest in process drivers such as music or performance play into my comprehensive studio project under the direction of Professor Jungwoo Ji. An experimental music complex in Boston is on deck, and I've been waiting for this project for quite sometime. Check out the link to Phaidon's Spotify page: here. I've also linked Agents of Production: Lens // Music if you've yet to check out DATUM No. 5: Binocular Vision.
Arch 431: Drawing (Rome Style)
I had the opportunity to study several spaces in Rome, however few recent works resonated with the same strength in comparison to Renzo Piano's Parco della Musica. Under the direction of Professor Francesco Mancini, I was able to develop a study starting with human movement and it's progression through both historic and modern space in Rome. Using the Parco della Musica as a modern piazza, I was able to map and compare user navigation of a historic piazza on the Tiber Island. Together, the drawing series investigates human interaction with the public setting, and attempts to map human progress across the space.
Find the entire series, including initial sketch work, in the Rome: Sketch and Studio tab.
“The most fascinating adventure for an architect is that of constructing a concert hall. It might be even nicer for a violinmaker to make a violin; but (given all the differences there are in size and time) they are similar activities. Ultimately, the objective is always to make instruments that are made for playing or listening to music.The sound is what rules. The harmonic chamber must vibrate with its frequencies and its energy.
Music has always been the focus of my attention: working with acoustics, working with musicians. The Roman Auditorium, however, is not simply an Auditorium, but a complete City of Music: with three halls, an open air amphitheater, large rehearsal and recording rooms.
The Roman adventure, therefore, has been enriched by an important urban dimension: The Auditorium is not simply a musical establishment; there is also a square, Santa Cecilia, people who work there, there are shops, bars and restaurants.
All these activities add an additional dimension to the project: to give an urban sense to an area that needs urban participation.
Cultural locations, just like musical ones, have the natural ability of enriching the urban texture, stop the city’s barbarization and give back that extraordinary quality that it has always had in history. Musical instruments, therefore, are submerged in the Parco della Musica’s vegetation, which rolling down from Villa Glori, surrounds the Auditorium’s large lutes and two architectural gems such as the Flaminio Stadium and the Palazzetto dello Sport (Sport Palace) and ends up on Viale Tiziano. This gives the City of Rome a large twenty hectare Park inhabited by Music.”
Renzo Piano - Fondazione Musica per Roma
Today, we woke up to the sound of the market taking place just below our balcony, once again. The market below takes up about 2 miles of street, with vendors stacked in about three rows --- a bit larger than the Des Moines Farmer's Market!
However, last week brought some of the most exciting days I've had in Rome yet (which is exactly the way it should be, right? Each day getting more exciting than the last and such!) BUT - Thursday was, by far, the most entertaining day I've had yet due to the man in the image directly below this post. Jan Gedayne teaches at several of the American University programs in Rome (RISD, Cornell, Minnesota, etc.), and is known as the "Rockstar" when it comes to understanding and communicating the layers of history that exist in Rome. On our 3 hour morning walk with Jan, we covered almost 7.5 miles of built history from early BC to just a few hundred years ago.
Walking around with Jan is easily one of the true experience types that makes one understand why study abroad is so essential to students today. In a way, 3 hours worth of information from Jan embeds years of knowledge that some Romans will never know about the city in which they live. Power of knowledge is truly an understatement once one truly understands the context where we now live, study, and continue to embrace. It's not necessarily the "power you feel that you suddenly have" once equipped with said knowledge, rather the "power of the impact" upon your perception of your surroundings.
A list of a few things I saw this week!
- Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Alle fratte di Trastevere (free food for us -- "we're regulars")
- La Basilica di San Vitale
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Michelangelo's final architectural restoration work -- preservation and scheme for the Bath's of Diocletian)
- Quattro Fontane
- Gelateria Valentino
- Trevi Fountain
- Cappuchian Crypts
- Borghese Gardens
My new favorite places exist in the Borghese Gardens. Everything about the land (architecture, gardens, people, dogs, vegetation) is absolutely gorgeous!
Take a chance to check out this article about ISU's architecture program being ranked 9th in the nation. Pretty exciting happenings going on in the College of Design. Also, it features the work of a friend of mine as well as some great insight from current students in the program, myself included.
- jazz enthusiast