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Pure Architecture Reive, William 2019-12-19

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Pure ArchitectureWilliam ReiveB.I.D., Ryerson University, 2016Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree ofMaster of Architecturein The Faculty of Graduate StudiesSchool of Architecture and Landscape ArchitectureArchitecture ProgramCommitteeMatthew Soules (Chair)Tony RobbinsThomas Schroeder©Dec 2019 / William Reive / University of British ColumbiaMatthew SoulesB.A., M.ArchBlair SatterfieldB.Sc., M.ArchPUREARCHITECTUREiiABSTRACTThis thesis began in the pursuit for an alternative way of conceiving architecture that is meaningful and relevant to how we currently construct identity.  The thesis then looks at how contemporary architectural theorists and practitioners such as Rem Koolhaas, Kersten Geers and David Van Severen, and Valerio Olgiati are exploring the ideas of pure and non-referential architecture.The thesis situates itself in the period after post-modernism, where architecture can liberate itself from symbolism, uniqueness and extra architectural ideas to produce pure form.  This project stands behind the notion that architecture can operate autonomously from its context. As experience of form is the most fundamental engagement with a viewer, pure architecture, in its essence, is concerned with form, space, and their experience at the exclusion of all else.As a process-based thesis, a methodology was developed that created a set of governing principles for the exploration of Pure Architecture such as, a governing architectural idea, square volumes, interplay, compressed vs expansive spaces, light vs dark spaces, telescoping visual fields, syntactical alignments, misalignments and stalls, materiality and texture, and colour theory. These governing principles used elemental experiences and dichotomies to engage the viewer.Through the use of this methodlology Pure Architecture aimed to produce an architecture that is timelessly relevant - based off of elemental human experiences, not off of ever evolving social identity parameters. iiiivCONTENTSABSTRACTINTRODUCTIONFIELD OF INQUIRYCONTENTSLIST OF FIGURESACKNOWLEDGMENTSII35IVVIVIIII IDENTITYII MODERNISM AND POSTMODERNISMIII THE AGE OF SPECTACLEIV NON-REFERENTIAL ARCHITECTUREvINTRODUCTIONPRECEDENTSMETHODOLOGYSELECTED INTERPRETATIONSFINAL INVESTIGATIONTHE ARCHITECTUREBIBLIOGRAPHYFIGURE SOURCES414753657991119121Fig.  1 Streets of Stockholm, SwedenFig.  2 The Portland Building Fig.  3 Venturi HouseFig.  4 Amager BakkeFig.  5 Museum PlazaFig.  6 Villa SavoyeFig.  7  AT&T BuildingFig.  8  Dubai RenaissanceFig.  9  Crematorium, HolsbeekFig.  10  Crematorium Plan, Holsbeek,Fig.  11  130 Solo HouseFig.  12  130 Solo House PlanFig.  13 Residence for ResearchersFig.  14  Residence for Researchers PlanFig.  15  Klaus Field ChapelFig.  16 Klaus Field Chapel PlanFig.  17  Seattle Central LibraryFig.  18  Seattle Central Library SectionFig.  19  La Cathédrale des Sports de BordeauxFig.  20 La Cathédrale des Sports de Bordeaux PlanFig.  21  International Sports Sciences InstituteFig.  22  International Sports Sciences Institute PlanFig.  23 House IV project Fig.  24  Fin d’Ou T Hou S Fig.  25 Variations of Incomplete Open CubesviLIST OFFIGURESFig.  26 Base VariationsFig.  27 Aperture Location Fig.  28 Thickening VerticalFig.  29 Thickening HorizontalFig.  30 Thickening ApertureFig.  31 Thickening CompressiveFig.  32  Hinged InterpretationFig.  33 Hinged Interpretation Plans and SectionsFig.  34 Hinged Interpretation ModelFig.  35  Sectional InterpretationFig.  36  Sectional Interpretation Plans and SectionsFig.  37 Sectional Interpretation ModelFig.  38  Planar InterpretationFig.  39  Planar Interpretation Plans and SectionsFig.  40 Planar Interpretation ModelFig.  41 Governing Architectural IdeaFig.  42  Square VolumesFig.  43  Compressive vs. Expansive SpacesFig.  44 Light vs. Dark SpacesFig.  45  Telescoping Visual FieldsFig.  46  Syntactical Alignments, Misalignments and StallsFig.  47  MaterialityFig.  48 Colour TheoryFig.  49  Front ElevationFig.  50  Ground Floor PlanFig.  51  Section A Fig.  52  Second Floor PlanFig.  53  Section BFig.  54  Third Floor PlanFig.  55  Section D Fig.  56  Fourth Floor PlanFig.  57  Section CFig.  58  Fifth Floor PlanFig.  59  Side ElevationFig.  60  Roof PlanFig.  61  Back ElevationFig.  62  Sectional CollageFig.  63 Sectional CollageFig.  64  SitesFig.  65  ModelFig.  66  Presentation BoardsviiviiiACKNOWLEDGMENTSThank you to my committee mentors Matthew Soules, Tony Robbins, and Thomas Schroeder for their thoughtful insights and guidance. Their experience and expertise added clarity, rigour and depth to the project.ix3 PURE ARCHITECTUREINTRODUCTIONThis thesis starts with a general look at human identity formation and that architecture is both a reflection, product and producer of cultural identity formation. The research looks into the complexities of the “postmodern self” and the manner in which that has influence architectural form. The research pursues a way of conceiving and constructing architecture in the period of after-postmodernism with the goal of designing architecture  that is meaningful and relevant to current identity formation.Theories explored in the field of inquiry section are of individual and cultural identity formation and non referential architecture. These are explored through the architecture of modernism, postmodernism and recently the age of spectacle. Currently, architecture is characterized by the tendency to rely on uniqueness and extra-architectural ideas to produce form. The thesis aims to find a method that moves away from these tendencies by exploring the works of some contemporary architectural theorists.  4INTRODUCTIONFIELD OF INQUIRYI  IDENTITY5 PURE ARCHITECTUREArchitecture has always been and is still both a product and a producer of cultural identity. It helps us form and define who we are. It is our past, present and future aspirations. Architecture is the very real version of our mental selves.The contemporary world that we live in is going through rapid social, economic and political changes that have never before been witnessed in history. These rapid changes are significantly developing and altering the way we see ourselves and our place in the world. This has also changed the way humans perceive and construct identity in our minds. The two common definitions of identity are: “absolute sameness: the quality or condition of being the same in substance, composition, nature, properties” and “individuality: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual”1. For architecture these different views of identity can be challenging and contradictory at different scales. For architects to make sense of this we need to understand that these two definitions evolved at different times.“Identity.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary, (2018)16FIELD OF INQUIRYCote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, (2014). 21. Ibid. 25.Ibid. 25.234Renowned early twentieth century psychologist Erik Erikson stated that a key distinction in identity formation is the difference between personal identity, known as “the self”, and the social roles a person partakes in, known as the “social/cultural identity”.2 For architecture “the self” becomes “the building”, and the layout, materiality, and style a building uses allows a building to partake or not in greater cultural identity. Our understanding of  self-identify formation has continued to evolve since Erikson’s mid twentieth century understanding, and it has had a direct effect on how architecture ideated and constructed. By the late twentieth century, American psychologist Kenneth Gergen described how “the self” had been conceived of in Western cultures and has been deconstructed and reconstructed in three main periods, those being: the romantic (pre 1900), the modernist and the postmodernist.3 According to Gergen, in the romantic period there were widespread ideologies and it was considered that the self identity of a person had “deeply committed relations, dedicated friendships, and life purposes.”4 This definition of self identity relies on a collective of social relationships. Therefore the understanding of a buildings identity in this time period is the collective relationships it has to existing buildings and its context. In architecture this can seen as the overarching styles that range in territorial scales such a Gothic, Georgian, or Renaissance, nevertheless they were all governed by a collective ideologies.7 PURE ARCHITECTURE“Streets of Stockholm, Sweden”. Author. (2018)Fig. 1Fig. 18FIELD OF INQUIRYCote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, (2014). 25. Ibid. 26.56In the modernist period (early 1900s and remnants to the present) identity of the self changed dramatically. The self was now governed by the ability to reason and became machinelike in nature.5 The effects on architecture was seen at multiple scales. From individual buildings to entire new cities, everything became highly rationalized and organized. Efficiency became the new common ideology and a sameness began to be seen across the world.According to Gergen, in the third period of “the postmodernist self”, a shift has taken place from an era which the self was governed by reason to the an era in which self is governed by relationships. However, these relationship are fundamentally different than the ones that existed in the romantic period. The “the postmodern self is free to slide from image to image and to eschew substance in favor of superficiality. The self is now presented according to the whim of the moment with constructed, situated identities, often conveyed through various forms of apparel.”6This third period of identity has had a profound impact on architecture. In postmodernism’s early stages, architecture attempted admirably to break from the austerity and sameness of modernist architecture often by relying on historical images. 9 PURE ARCHITECTURE“AD Classics: The Portland Building / Michael Graves” ArchDaily. (2013)Fig. 2Fig. 210FIELD OF INQUIRYCote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, (2014). 25-30. 7The postmodern identity formation has three developmental characteristics, being: the strategic manipulator; the pastiche personality; and the relational-self. The development of these characteristics are in line with what Gergen calls “social saturation” which parallels the growth of socializing technologies.The Strategic Manipulator:The first development in the postmodern identity from the modernist. The strategic manipulator experiences a sense of alienation from modernist beliefs, rejects social institutions, and sees identity as a series of role playing exercises.The Pastiche Personality:The second development adapted the position that there is no core identity. Identity is constructed as a form of representation from a series of sources that are desirable in a given situation. Identity becomes narcissistic in nature and the end goal is self-gratification. The Relational-Self:The third development in postmodern identity posits that all aspects of the self are constructed in relations to others. The relational-self intentions  are  not  private,  but  rather  the product of their encounters. 7These characteristics of identity formation have caused architecture to evolve into various forms that are now constructed to whim of the moment and constructed identities, that often conveyed through various unique forms.11 PURE ARCHITECTUREBernstein, Fred. “Robert Venturi, Architect Who Rejected Modernism, Dies at 93.” The New York Times (2018)Amager Bakke / Copenhill. BIG. (2010)Museum Plaza, Louisville, Kentucky. REX. (2005)Fig. 3Fig. 4Fig. 5The Strategic ManipulatorThe Pastiche PersonalityThe Relational-SelfFig. 3Fig. 4Fig. 512FIELD OF INQUIRYMODERNISM ANDPOSTMODERNISMII  13 PURE ARCHITECTUREModernism and postmodernism were the two prevailing ideologies during the twentieth century. These ideologies had profoundly different impacts on architecture. Modernist architects looked to liberate buildings from traditional ornament and character. Modernism was aided by developments in new technologies such as glass and steel that allowed forms to follow function. Postmodernist architecture began as a form of critique of the alienating aspects of the international style. Both styles “were still able to convincingly believe in a consensus value - a world ultimately still governed by a rather fixed moral code and values.”8 This consensus of value is and integral aspect of cultural identity.Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 21.814FIELD OF INQUIRYModernist architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe embraced minimalist principles that utilized new technological advancements in materials. Buildings gained a machine-like aesthetic that operated on highly rationalized built forms. Minimalism played a large role in modernist architecture which typically rejected ornament and traditional motifs. The embrace of these ideologies and the beginnings of global reach of architects created a uniformity in architecture that is the famously described as the “International Style”. By the 1960’s the functional modernist doctrines became criticized for their dogmatic approach and for ignoring the history and culture of the cities in which their buildings  were situated. 15 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 6Gibson, Eleanor. “Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye Encapsulates the Modernist Style.” Dezeen, (2016),Fig. 616FIELD OF INQUIRYRobert Venturi, and Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. (1977)9Robert Venturi’s 1966 manifesto, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, called for a new framework in architecture and embodied the beginnings of a reactionary shift to modernism. Targeting the shortcomings of the machine-like modernist buildings, Venturi believed that “richness of meaning, rather than clarity of meaning... a valid architecture evokes many levels of meaning and combinations of focus... It must embody the difficult unity of inclusion rather than the easy unity of exclusion. More is not less.”9Postmodernist architects attempted to resolve many of the shortcomings of the machine-like modernist building predecessors. They relied on historical images and tropes that were abstracted to give a building meaning within its context. Architectural identity took on the form of “the postmodern self” described by Gergen. The eclectic nature of representational facades in postmodernism is a reflection of how we constructed self identity through the latter half of the twentieth century. Buildings were designed and given meaning by sliding from historical reference to historical reference, resulting in a level of abstracted superficiality that were conveyed through various forms of a facade.  17 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 7 David Langdon. “AD Classics: AT&T Building / Philip Johnson and John Burgee” ArchDaily. (2019) Fig. 718FIELD OF INQUIRYTHE AGE OFSPECTACLEIII  19 PURE ARCHITECTUREFrom the ideologies of postmodernism stemmed several styles such as structural expressionism and the radical approach of deconstructivism. This approach fundamentally changed the way architecture was perceived, funded and constructed. The work of Frank Gehry as well as Gehry himself, became an embodiment of what occurred in the field architecture. Today, each building requires a unique idea that can become a symbol. Architecture has been transformed in some respects into a spectacle of arbitrariness. This spectacle has come to the forefront of architectural discourse with the likes of Peter Zumthor writing that “we get used to living with contradictions and there are several reasons for this: traditions crumble, and with them cultural identities. No one seems to really understand and control the dynamics developed by economics and politics. Everything merges into everything else, and mass communication creates an artificial world of signs. Arbitrariness Prevails.”11 While discussing the rise of starchitecture,  Rem Koolhaas stated “within that contradiction there’s a really wrenching feeling, of sensing the life-blood of the discipline draining away.”11Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture. Birkhäuser, Basel (2006) 16.Rem Koolhaas, Preservation is Overtaking Us. GSAPP Transcripts, New York, (2014) 22.101120FIELD OF INQUIRYSlowly, postmodern architecture lost its abstracted historical references and gave way to a new form of self-referential architecture that was conceived as a “misguided ... approach of architects who understand building as an overtly artistic endeavor by means of permeation with esoteric-rhetoric concepts.”12 This type of architecture, previously incomprehensible, was driven by the market economy and new technologies. Architects in the age of spectacle are merely responding to the undercurrents of change in identity formation in postmodern society that Kenneth Gergen had described in his three classifications of the strategic manipulator, the pastiche personality, and the relational self.13 The situation that has been created by these types of postmodern identity formation has left architects with an obligation to uniqueness in architectural form. In a lecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP, Rem Koolhaas stated “If you were to compile buildings from some of the major architects of the last ten years, whatever the individual qualities may be, it is very clear that together they don’t have a cumulative impact and somehow they are mysteriously self-canceling and therefore not really productive. But maybe this moment, at least, spells the end of the ¥€$ Regime, maybe these events will spell not only the end of capitalism but the end of “bling.””14 The absence of a common architectural identity has led to the absence of the collective traits which are a fundamental factor in  community, belonging and cultural identity.Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 17.Cote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, (2014). 25-30. Rem Koolhaas, Preservation is Overtaking Us. GSAPP Transcripts, New York, (2014) 24.12131421 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 8 . OMA. (2006)Fig. 822FIELD OF INQUIRYNON-REFERENTIALARCHITECTUREIV  23 PURE ARCHITECTUREThe recent reliance on uniqueness in architecture is often referred to as grotesque, junk and alienating - just as modernism once was. Just as Robert Venturi and Aldo Rossi did in the 1960’s, architects today are in search of an alternative. Rem Koolhaas stated “the directions that we have been trying to exploit, or pursue, in the search for an alternative to the unique, and the obligation for uniqueness, is the generic. And that we have been trying to do is see whether we could gain some initiative, not by being radically simple but radically pure.”15A pursuit for radically pure architecture is by no means a new idea. What is new is its relevance to today’s world. With fewer common ideologies and the ones that do exist in a constant state of question and flux, architecture can no longer embody ideologies as it did in the past. Architecture can only speak its own language in the pursuit of pure architecture.In their 2018 manifesto Non-Referential Architecture, Markus Breitschmid and Valerio Olgiati put forward a new set of principles for architecture to reflect social constructs of a twenty-first century non-referential world. In their manifesto, they state “there are two qualities that an idea for a [non-referential] building must have: an idea must be form-generative and sense-making.”16 Simply put, in order for a building to be relevant today it must be derived from formal architectural aspects and not extra-architectural ideologies that have the potential to change whenever. Some aspects of non-referential architecture exist in buildings today. Building can be paired with the principles of Markus Breitschmid and Valerio Olgiati. That does not mean these buildings are entirely non-referential, just that they have some aspect of those principles. In order to gain initiative towards a non-referential architecture, it is enough that aspects can be applied.1516Rem Koolhaas, Preservation is Overtaking Us. GSAPP Transcripts, New York, (2014) 26.Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 45.24FIELD OF INQUIRYThe first principle of non-referential architecture is the experience of space: how a person feels when they enter and move through a room or look at a building from outside. The challenge for an architect is to create memorable spaces that shape our perception of the world around us. In their manifesto, Markus Breitschmid and Valerio Olgiati state that “a widely-held misconception exists to the effect that each person will have a different and completely unique experience of space when, in fact, an experience of space is relative, for the most part. Instead, an experience of space is something objective. It is objective in the sense of a subjective universality.”17In order for a building to be relevant in a non-referential world, spaces must be designed to engage with a person’s basic senses in the formation of the idea of a building and its rooms. Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 51.17EXPERIENCE25 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 9RCR Arquitectes, Crematorium, Holsbeek, Belgium. EU Mies Award. (2019)RCR Arquitectes, Crematorium Plan, Holsbeek, Belgium. EU Mies Award. (2019)Fig. 9Fig. 10Fig. 1026FIELD OF INQUIRYThe second principle is oneness: everything must exist under one governing idea, otherwise a building will become collage of ideas held together by some loose thread. In Peter Zumthor’s Thinking Architecture he stated “when we look at the finished building, our eyes, guided by our analytical mind, tend to stray and look for the details to hold on to. But the synthesis of the whole does not become comprehensible through isolated details. Everything refers to everything.”18 For the viewer, synthesis of a building comes through its elements, therefore in order for a building to make sense “every element is subject to the governing idea for that building.”19 Central to this principle is that a building’s validity is based of its coalescence of elements to read as a whole.1819Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture. Birkhäuser, Basel (2006) 27.Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 65.ONENESS27 PURE ARCHITECTURE130 Solo House, Matarrana, ES. OFFFICE KGDVS. (2017)130 Solo House (Ground-floor plan), Matarrana, ES. OFFFICE KGDVS. (2017)Fig. 11Fig. 12Fig. 11Fig. 1228FIELD OF INQUIRYThe third principle is newness, as it is “impossible for a building in a non-referential world to trigger engagement without an aspect of newness.”20 For a building to have meaning in someone’s life, the viewer must be able to engage with it. Newness inspires creativity in the viewer to the endless possibilities that lay inside or around the corner. This inspiration provokes intrigue in the viewer and thus engagement with the building. Newness is the experience of space that triggers the basic senses of the viewer. A building must achieve this through formal architectural qualities and not by relying on historical symbols or waning ideologies, as postmodernism did in the past. The formal architectural qualities of a building centre on how it physically resides in the world. A building is then able to become a physically meaningful place.NEWNESS20 Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 75.29 PURE ARCHITECTUREResidence for Researchers, Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. Bruther. (2013)Residence for Researchers 12/13, Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. Bruther. (2013)Fig. 13Fig. 14Fig. 13Fig. 1430FIELD OF INQUIRYCONSTRUCTIONThe fourth principle states that a building’s construction should come emanate predominantly from a single governing material. Clearly there are exemptions to this, such as apertures, but the guiding principle stems from a desire for a building to read as a whole.Buildings were traditionally built and conceived from their one governing material, such a stone, brick or wood. This allows for architects to obtain a mastery of the material and exploit its inherent characteristics. The crucial aspect of this principle is that the building does not become a jumbled mess of materials creating an incoherent building.2121 Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 85-92.31 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 15Fig. 16Pietro Savorelli “Peter Zumthor, Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, A Saint and an Architect”. Domus. (2007)Pietro Savorelli “Peter Zumthor, Bruder Klaus Field Chapel Plan, A Saint and an Architect”. Domus. (2007)Fig. 15Fig. 1632FIELD OF INQUIRYThe fifth principle is contradiction, which allows architectural elements to create an incomplete conceptualization of space for the viewer. Elements are not collaged into a building in order to create contradiction but are part of the governing architectural idea. The example Breitschmid and Olgiati use is the difference between a room with singular staircase at the end of it and a room with two staircases at the end of it. In the former the viewer is able to conceptualize that there is a second floor that the staircase leads to it, in the latter the viewer is unable to conceptualize the situation and finds themselves questioning and imagining where the staircase goes, why there are two, and do they go to the same place.22 In non-referential architecture, contradiction can be used as a compositional principle similar to how Immanuel Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime came to the theory of how something (in this case a building) can be critiqued and judged as beautiful.23 In the concept of beauty and the sublime the viewers mental back and forth between the imagination and the incomplete conceptualizing provides a framework for beauty. This back and forth occurs where there is moments of contradiction in architecture.[ ]CONTRADICTION[ Stimulus ] + = Beauty[ Imagination ]Incomplete Conceptualization2223Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 93.Ibid. 96.33 PURE ARCHITECTURESeattle Central Library. OMA. (2004)Seattle Central Library, East West Section. LMN. (2004)Fig. 17Fig. 18Fig. 17Fig. 1834FIELD OF INQUIRYORDERThe governing “idea for a building is first articulated by an ordering system.”24 In order for a building to read as a single entity, non-referential architecture must begin with a top down deductive approach to the ordering system. The ordering system is the embodiment of the governing architectural idea, which must be derived from the use of the building. In contrast, a building will appear as a bricolage or, as Breitschmid and Olgiati put it, an “objet trouvé” if a bottom up inductive approach is used. This approach uses   factors such as plot size division, building codes, and material attributes as deciding factors for the order and not the use.25 The governing idea of La Cathédrale des Sports de Bordeaux Brazza (reference number 44 and 45) was to facilitate sports. A deductive approach used for an ordering system allowed the building to make sense for all its uses and all the sporting activities to take place in a variety of compelling ways. 2425Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 101.Ibid. 102-108.35 PURE ARCHITECTURELa Cathédrale des Sports de Bordeaux Brazza, Bordeaux, FR. NP2F Architectes.(2016)La Cathédrale des Sports de Bordeaux Brazza - Plan, Bordeaux, FR. NP2F Architectes.(2016)4445Fig. 19Fig. 2036FIELD OF INQUIRYSENSE-MAKINGThe previous principles were concerned with the “how” in non-referential architecture. Sense-making is the principle concerned with the “why” in non-referential architecture.26Simply put, for a building in non-referential architecture to be sense-making, it is not all about a clever ordering system, a construction method or a unique experience: it is about the right architecture for those using it.26 Markus Breitschmid, and Valerio Olgiati. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, (2018) 113.37 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 21Fig. 22International Sports Sciences Institute, University of Lausanne. Karamuk Kuo.(2013)International Sports Sciences Institute, University of Lausanne - Plan. Karamuk Kuo.(2013)Fig. 21Fig. 2238FIELD OF INQUIRYINTRODUCTION41 PURE ARCHITECTUREThe thesis situates itself in the period after post-modernism, where architecture can liberate itself from symbolism, uniqueness and extra architectural ideas to produce pure form.  This project stands behind the notion that architecture can operate autonomously from its context.As experience of form is the most fundamental engagement with a viewer, pure architecture in its essence is concerned with form, space, and their experience at the exclusion of all else.42INTRODUCTIONRomanticModernistWhat Next?Identity Formation PeriodsPost-Modernist1. Strategic Manipulator2. Pastiche Personality3. Relational-Self43 PURE ARCHITECTUREThe project started with understanding how personal identity has been formed over time. The renowned social psychologist Kenneth Gergen states that there are three main periods of identity formation. The first two periods are the romantic and the modernist which, had widespread ideologies. The last period of identity formation in psychology is the postmodern which, we are currently at the end of. The postmodern is broken into three evolutions, starting as a reaction to modernism which used abstracted motifs to construct identity. As postmodernism continued, two more forms of postmodern identity formation evolved in psychology.The second postmodern identity is the pastiche personality, where identity is constructed as a form of representation from a series of sources that are desirable in a given situation. In architecture, this can be seen as deconstructivism and hyperationalism. The third evolution in postmodern identity posits that all aspects of the self are constructed in relation to others and that one’s core identity is a product of their encounters. In architecture, this can be seen as critical regionalism.44INTRODUCTIONGergen states “the postmodern self is free to slide from image to image and to eschew substance in favor of superficiality. The self is now presented according to the whim of the moment with constructed, situated identities”27. For architecture these situated identities has created an endless pursuit for the unique. As Rem Koolhaas states, “the directions that we have been trying to exploit, or pursue, in the search for an alternative to the unique, and the obligation for uniqueness, is the generic. And what we have been trying to do is see whether we could gain some initiative, not by being radically simple but radically pure.”28A pursuit for radically pure architecture is by no means a new idea. What is new is its relevance to today’s world. Today, a lack of common ideologies has created a fragmented discourse in architecture which has presented us with a great opportunity to open a dialog about the fundamental experience of architecture. This project looks to create pure experiences that are devoid of these fluctuating ideologies. Thus, creating an architecture that is timelessly relevant - based off of elemental human experiences, not off of ever evolving social identity parameters. 27 28Cote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, (2014). 25-30. Rem Koolhaas, Preservation is Overtaking Us. GSAPP Transcripts, New York, (2014) 26.45 PURE ARCHITECTUREPure architecture, in its essence, is then concerned about the experiences of form and space at the exclusion of all else. Experience transcends ideologies as it is relational to the human body and the senses. The exclusion of all else is the situated and constructed identities that Gergen speaks of.Form + Experience, at the exclusion of all else = Pure ArchitectureExperience is:TactileVisualAcousticOlfactoryMovementEmotionalCognitiveInterpersonalForm is:ShapeProportionLightMaterialityColourTextureThe Exclusion of All Else is:ContextTypologyProgramPoliticsSustainabilityEconomicsSymbolism TechnologySignificationCultureHistoryLongevity46INTRODUCTIONPRECEDENTS47 PURE ARCHITECTUREAs the project is concerned with the exclusion of all else, the project continues in the lineage of autonomous architecture.However, this project separates itself from the traditional thread of autonomous architecture by placing emphasis on phenomenological experiences. 48PRECEDENTSThe work of Peter Eisenman and his syntactical developments of a cube and its divisions of planes for his House IV project (fig. 23) and the Fin d’Ou T Hou S (fig. 24) which Eiseman states that it “suggests the architectural object must become internalized so that its value lies in its own processes”29. Eisenman’s work embodies the processes by which it was conceived.29Fig. 23Eisenman Architects. Fin d’Ou T Hou S. 1983.Eisenman, Peter. “House IV Project”. 1975.Fig. 2349 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 24 Eisenman Architects. Fin d’Ou T Hou S. 1983.Fig. 2450PRECEDENTSSol LeWitts’ “Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes” was observed for its methodological approach to the human perception of a cube. What is key is to LeWitt is that his methodology is form generative.Endless possibilities become available when we open ourselves to form that is devoid of common ideologies, associations and program. Because of this there were a myriad of choices made to limit the field of research in order to gain initiative for clearer insights. Sol’s famed quote, “Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically” resonated as a concept from which to begin the exploration of pure architecture. 51 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 2552PRECEDENTSMETHODOLOGYWith both precedents and methodologies in mind, a study was conducted on the variations of a 12x12m square. This square was subdivided by a 3x3m square grid which, informed the possible variations within. These variations could be used as either plan or section. 53 PURE ARCHITECTUREVariations 148101316Fig. 2654METHODOLOGYAperture LocationUsing the first study as a base set, apertures were then introduced at edge, center, intersecting, alternating and two apertures per conditions.If these are thought of as plans, the aperture location deeply effects sequence of movement. But if these are thought of as sections, the aperture locations affects the light conditions and the visual understanding of the adjacent space.55 PURE ARCHITECTUREEdge ConditionIntersecting ConditionAlternating ConditionCentre ConditionTwo Apertures Per Fig. 2756METHODOLOGYThickening VerticalFollowing the introduction of apertures, a thickening was then applied to all vertical planes.Thickening in a direction creates the experience of passing through the mass of an underlying structural logic.57 PURE ARCHITECTUREEdge ConditionIntersecting ConditionAlternating ConditionCentre ConditionTwo Apertures Per Fig. 2858METHODOLOGYThickening Horizontal This thickening was then applied in the horizontal planes.59 PURE ARCHITECTUREEdge ConditionIntersecting ConditionAlternating ConditionCentre ConditionTwo Apertures Per Fig. 2960METHODOLOGYThickening ApertureThis thickening was then applied to aperture planes, which create the experience of passing through a significant threshold.61 PURE ARCHITECTUREEdge ConditionIntersecting ConditionAlternating ConditionCentre ConditionTwo Apertures Per Fig. 3062METHODOLOGYThickening CompressionA thickening was applied to create compressive spaces. This last form of thickening has an effect on the viewer’s body and perception of space. From this study, it became evident that an attempt to 3-dimensionalize these must be made. Various combinations were selected to be explored further.63 PURE ARCHITECTUREEdge ConditionIntersecting ConditionAlternating ConditionCentre ConditionTwo Apertures Per Fig. 3164METHODOLOGYSELECTED  INTERPRETATIONS65 PURE ARCHITECTURE66SELECTED INTERPRETATIONS01 Hinged InterpretationThe first interpretation looked at two of the previous study combinations as a plan and section. This produced an interplay of compressive and expansive spaces. Apertures provided light in variety of ways, notably that a low corner slit to the exterior creates a sense of mystery and an aperture that pierces a ceiling and wall plane in double or triple height spaces creates an aura of intrigue through lighting.Fig. 3267 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 3368SELECTED INTERPRETATIONSFig. 3469 PURE ARCHITECTURE70SELECTED INTERPRETATIONS02 Sectional InterpretationThe second interpretation looked at two of the previous study combinations as sections. This produced interesting long telescoping views with layered visual fields, which was achieved through planar misalignments and stalls. Fig. 3571 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 3672SELECTED INTERPRETATIONSFig. 3773 PURE ARCHITECTURE74SELECTED INTERPRETATIONS03 Planar InterpretationThe third interpretation looked at two of the previous study combinations as plans. The interplay of compressive and expansive spaces in the third interpretation creates a sense of grandeur and awe within the building. A key insight to this was the back and forth movement between compressive and expansive heights for the viewer to experience. In this exploration, the division of space occurs through planes or change in ceiling heights.Fig. 3875 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 3976SELECTED INTERPRETATIONSFig. 4077 PURE ARCHITECTURE78SELECTED INTERPRETATIONSFINAL INVESTIGATION79 PURE ARCHITECTURE01Governing Architectural Idea02Square Volumes03Interplay04Compressed vs Expansive Spaces05Light vs Dark Spaces06Telescoping Visual Fields07Syntactical Alignments, Misalignments and Stalls08Materiality and Texture09Colour TheoryFor the final investigation, insights from the previous selected investigations and combinations were then used to create an autonomous architecture which places emphasis on phenomenological experiences.As a process based thesis the following elements make up the building’s methodology...80FINAL INVESTIGATION01 Governing Architectural IdeaThe final version expanded from the initial tests size to an extruded square volume of 15m x 15m x 21m. The governing architectural idea and organizing principle was to create a series of square volumes around a central atrium which, would bring light into the core of the building.15m15m21mFig. 4181 PURE ARCHITECTURE02 Square VolumesSquare volumes are extruded in a variety of proportions based off the previous investigations and their impacts on time, space and movement.Fig. 4282FINAL INVESTIGATION03 InterplayIn the previous investigations the interplay of spaces created powerful experiences of movement in the building. In certain circumstances, this interplay can be described as moments of beauty.For instance, in Kant’s “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” beauty is described as the interplay between imagination and the incomplete conceptualization of the stimulus.The application of this in architecture means that within a space a viewer will never fully understand what they are looking at, how it has been made, or what lies beyond. This project looks to achieve this through elemental dichotomies.[ ][ Stimulus ] + = Beauty[ Imagination ]Incomplete Conceptualization83 PURE ARCHITECTURE04 Compressed vs. Expansive SpacesThe interplay of compressive (shown in black) and expansive spaces (shown in white) engages with the viewers body.This interplay creates a sequence of unfolding unknowns experienced through time and movement.FL 1 FL 2FL 3 FL 4FL 5Fig. 4384FINAL INVESTIGATION05 Light vs. DarkAn interplay of light and dark spaces intensifies the incomplete conceptualization of these spaces.FL 1 FL 2FL 3 FL 4FL 5Fig. 4485 PURE ARCHITECTURE06 Telescoping Visual FieldsTelescoping visual fields fuels the viewer’s imagination of the potential experiences that could lie beyond. Fig. 4586FINAL INVESTIGATION07 Syntactical Alignments, Misalignments and StallsThe architecture’s processes become evident through moments of Syntactical Alignments, Misalignments and StallsFig. 4687 PURE ARCHITECTURE08 Materiality and TextureMateriality was chosen to be unpolished concrete, allowing the texture to be inherent by the method of construction.Large board-form concrete panels will allow for a textured grid to emerge showing the underlying logic within the building. A 3m x 3m textured lines on horizontal planes provide viewers with insight into the syntactical alignments, misalignment and stalls. The 1m x 3m board-formed vertical planes furthers this dialog with the locations of apertures and telescoping visual fields. Polished metal was chosen to be used for the details in the building such as railing and aperture frames.The choices in materiality is about feeling the dichotomy between the sheer mass and texture of the concrete and the delicacy and smoothness of the polished metal details. Horizontal Vertical Polished MetalFig. 4788FINAL INVESTIGATION09 Colour Theory A tertiary triadic colour scheme was chosen because it simultaneously creates visual contrast and harmony.  Pigment and coloured aggregates will be added to the concrete mixture to achieve these colours. The architecture uses colour theory to engage the viewer on every floor, gaining in complexity of experiences.The first floor is designed to introduce viewers to this red-pink concrete aggregate that is used as a base colour throughout. The visitor’s eyes will become adjusted to the saturated light qualities on the first floor.The second floor introduces white and black concrete aggregate rooms to highlight brightness and darkness, as well as, soft and harsh shadows. The third level introduces the second colour of the triadic colour scheme. The previous exposure to red-pink concrete will create the experience of a more vibrant sage green concrete room to the eye. The fourth level combines the previous experiences of colour, light and shadow while changing the proportions, apertures and form experiences previously encountered.The fifth and final level completes the triadic colour scheme by adding a gold-plated room. It is harmonious in colour but distinct in materiality and texture. The element of this third colour is also displayed throughout the building’s detailing through brass railings and gold framed apertures.89 PURE ARCHITECTUREFL 1FL 2FL 3FL 4FL 5Red-Pink ConcreteTertiary Triadic Colour SchemeColour: Qualities:Red-Pink ConcreteWhite ConcreteBlack ConcreteRed-Pink ConcreteSage Green ConcreteRed-Pink ConcreteSage Green ConcreteWhite ConcreteBlack ConcreteRed-Pink ConcreteSage Green ConcreteWhite ConcreteBlack ConcreteGold PlatedLight and DarkBright and AbyssSoft and Harsh ShadowsMute and VibrantLight and DarkInfinite and AbyssSoft and Harsh ShadowsMute and VibrantMatte and Reflective Light and DarkMute and VibrantLight and DarkLight and DarkBright and AbyssSoft and Harsh ShadowsFig. 4890FINAL INVESTIGATIONTHE ARCHITECTURE91 PURE ARCHITECTURE92THE ARCHITECTUREWhat follows is a transcript of thesis presentation given on December 13th, 2019. The transcript leads a reader through the project narrative, rational, insights and architecture.From the exterior, the building has one distinct entrance and a few apertures that elude to the different experiences inside. A visitor must step onto a plinth before passing through a low, compressive entrance.93 PURE ARCHITECTUREEntrance ElevationFig. 4994THE ARCHITECTUREA BACDCDBGround FloorPassing through the compressive entrance a visitor is then in the expansive light-filled atrium.The ground floor is made up of light and dark spaces, as well as, expansive and compressive spaces that range in scale and proportions from width to height.Fig. 5095 PURE ARCHITECTURESection AWithin one of the spaces, a 300mm-high corner aperture illuminates the space and provides a mysterious glimpse to the exterior without allowing a full understanding. Telescoping visual fields are also present in several of the spaces.Fig. 5196THE ARCHITECTURESecond FloorAs a visitor moves to the second floor, they will enter from a compressive space into an expansive one. Fig. 5297 PURE ARCHITECTURESection BAn incomplete conceptualization of the floor occurs on this level. Visitors are given a view to the atrium platform but are unable to access it until they proceed to the following level where circulation provides access to rest of the second floor.Fig. 5398THE ARCHITECTUREThird FloorThe third floor is where a visitor will first experience being in the vibrancy of the sage green room. The room is divided into light and dark, and compressive and expansive spaces, by a series of stalls - this being a hanging panel of concrete and a revealed slab Fig. 5499 PURE ARCHITECTURESection DThe hanging panel creates a sense of awe and grandeur in the triple height space, in which, a visitor must pass under a strikingly large amount of weight to experience the following telescoping compressive dark space. Within that space are telescoping views into other rooms in the building and the outside.Fig. 55100THE ARCHITECTUREFourth FloorThe fourth floor consists of a series of 3m-wide spaces that change in proportion giving compressive or expansive experiences. Fig. 56101 PURE ARCHITECTURESection CApertures on this floor act a framing elements. An interplay of all previously encountered coloured spaces occurs on this level with differing aperture and light conditions.Fig. 57102THE ARCHITECTUREFifth FloorThe fifth floor is comprised of a complex interplay of light, shadow, colour, materiality, texture and movement. This level takes the visitor from inside to outside. It uses the sky as the expansive spaces and rooms as the compressive spaces. A series of stairwells allows visitors to access the fragmented floor plate.Fig. 58103 PURE ARCHITECTURESide ElevationFig. 59104THE ARCHITECTURERoofThe roof level demonstrates the inherent logic of the building through its textured formwork and provides access to the gold room.Fig. 60105 PURE ARCHITECTUREBack ElevationFig. 61106THE ARCHITECTUREFig. 62107 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 63108THE ARCHITECTUREAs the building has been imagined to be without ideology and program it is also has been imagined to be without site. The ability to be everywhere and nowhere - an autonomous architecture.109 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 64110THE ARCHITECTURE111 PURE ARCHITECTURE112THE ARCHITECTURE113 PURE ARCHITECTURE114THE ARCHITECTURE115 PURE ARCHITECTUREThis process-based thesis looked at creating a pure architecture that was free from symbolism and extra architectural ideas.An architecture that is timelessly relevant - based off of elemental human experiences, not off of ever evolving social identity parameters. Using elemental experiences and dichotomies to engage the viewer, this project looked to find a methodology for the practice of pure architecture.116THE ARCHITECTUREPresentation Boards117 PURE ARCHITECTUREFig. 66118BIBLIOGRAPHYAureli, Pier V. The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 2011.Bernstein, Fred. “Robert Venturi, Architect Who Rejected Modernism, Dies at 93.” The New York Times, 19 Sept. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/09/19/obituaries/robert-venturi-dead.htmlBreitschmid, Markus , and Olgiati, Valerio. Non-Referential Architecture. Simonett & Baer, Basel, 2018Cote J. E., Charles Levine, and Taylor & Francis. Identity Formation, Agency, and Culture: A Social Psychological Synthesis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated, New York, 2014.Eisenman Architects. Fin d’Ou T Hou S. 13 Nov 2019.  https://eisenmanarchitects.com/Fin-D-Ou-T-Hou-S-1983.Koolhaas, Rem, and Hal Foster. Junkspace with Running Room. Notting Hill Editions, Widworthy Barton, Devon, 2013.Koolhaas, Rem. Preservation is Overtaking Us, with a supplement by Jorge Otero-Pailos. Edited by Jordan Carver, GSAPP Transcripts, New York, 2014.119 PURE ARCHITECTUREMerriam-Webster. “Identity.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/identity.Rossi, Aldo, and Peter Eisenman. The Architecture of the City. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1982.Venturi, Robert, and Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977.Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. Birkhäuser, Basel, 2006.120BIBLIOGRAPHYFIGURE SOURCES“130 Solo House, Matarrana, ES.” OFFFICE KGDVS, 2017. http://officekgdvs.com/projects/#office-130“Amager Bakke / Copenhill”. BIG, 2010. https://big.dk/#projects-arc“Dubai Renaissance”. OMA, 2006. https://oma.eu/projects/dubai-renaissance“Fin d’Ou T Hou S”. Eisenman Architects. 1983. https://ei-senmanarchitects.com/Fin-D-Ou-T-Hou-S-1983Gibson, Eleanor. “Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye Encapsu-lates the Modernist Style.” Dezeen, 31 July 2016, www.dezeen.com/2016/07/31/villa-savoye-le-corbusier-pois-sy-france-modernist-style-unesco-world-heritage/.Gili, Merin. “AD Classics: The Portland Building / Michael Graves” ArchDaily. 28 Jul 2013. https://www.archdaily.com/407522/ad-classics-the-portland-building-michael-graves/Eisenman, Peter. “House IV Project”. 1975. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/799?artist_id=6969&lo-cale=en&page=1&sov_referrer=artist“International Sports Sciences Institute, University of Lausanne”. Karamuk Kuo. 2013. http://www.karamukkuo.com/projects121 PURE ARCHITECTURE“La Cathédrale des Sports de Bordeaux Brazza, Bordeaux, FR.” NP2F Architectes. 2016 http://www.np2f.com/projet/cathedrale-des-sports/Langdon, David. “AD Classics: AT&T Building / Philip John-son and John Burgee” ArchDaily. 12 Jan 2019. https://www.archdaily.com/611169/ad-classics-at-and-t-building-philip-johnson-and-john-burgee“Museum Plaza, Louisville, Kentucky.” REX. 2005 https://rex-ny.com/project/museum-plaza/“RCR Arquitectes, Crematorium, Holsbeek, Belgium.” EU Mies Award, 2019, https://miesarch.com/work/1249“Residence for Researchers, Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.” Bruther. 2013. http://bruther.biz/projects/residence-for-researchers/Savorelli, Pietro. “Peter Zumthor, Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, A Saint and an Architect”. Domus. 19 Sep 2007. https://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2007/09/19/a-saint-and-an-architect.html“Seattle Central Library”. OMA, 2004. https://oma.eu/projects/seattle-central-library“Seattle Central Library, East West Section”. LMN, 2004. https://lmnarchitects.com/case-study/seattle-central-library-curtain-wall-design“Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes”. Sol LeWitt. 1974. https://www.moma.org/artists/3528?=undefined&page=3&direction=fwd122BIBLIOGRAPHY

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