[ 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."
- jazz enthusiast