Collected Fictions


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Odile Strik on language, art, play, and life

The heart of Salk is an open-ended central courtyard that divides two parallel wings, each lined along the inside face by five freestanding towers - the wings house laboratories; the towers, arcaded at the base, house private studies. In plan, labs and studies form two serrated bars that straddle the sun-baked courtyard.

Stoller, Ezra and Friedman D. The Salk Institute. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, The central courtyard is indeed the heart and soul of the Salk Insititute. Not only is it a magnificent architectural statement to behold, it is also the iconic view of the project. There can be found hundreds of similar images of this central courtyard. In fact, most people can only recognize Salk by this central perspective, which in the modern world came to represent the project as a whole. It is quite unfortunate, given that there is so much more to the Salk Institute than this single feature of the building.

This project of manipulating the Salk Institute to create a fiction aspired to challenge the blind obsession of general public with the central courtyard perspective. The proposed solution was to break the symmetry of the space by shifting the strip of water from the center towards the left wing.

A series of fictional images highlighting this imperfection were then produced. Simple shifting of the water fountain has a dramatic effect on the perception of Salk. The space looses its most identifying feature, making its obsrerver very disturbed and uneasy. The effect is most prominent in viewing the courtyard from the sentral perspective, multiple use of which in the project highlights the identified issue with public perception of Salk. The project therefore raises a fascinating question: would people admire and adore this manipulated and now assymetrical view of the building just as much, or would it perhaps deprive Salk Insitute of its architectural icon status?

To be modern is not a fashion, it is a state. It is necessary to understand history, and he who understands history nows how to find continuity between that which was, that which is, and that which will be. Le Corbusier. This villa was built with the utmost simplicity, for customers without preconceived ideas: neither modern nor old. Their idea was simple: they had a magnificent park formed of meadows surrounded by forest; they wanted to live in the countryside; they were connected to Paris by 30 km.


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So we go to the door of the house by car, and it is the minimum arc of curvature for a car that provides the same dimension of the house. Another thing: the view is very beautiful, the grass is a beautiful thing, the forest too: it will touch as little as possible. The house will land in the middle of the grass like an object, without disturbing anything. If one is standing in the grass, one does not see very far the extent.

Besides, the grass is unhealthy, humid, etc In our temperate climates, with frequent rain, it is useful to have a garden whose soil is dry instantly; the garden floor is paved with cement, laid on sand, providing instant drainage of rainwater. But we continue the promenade. From the garden upstairs, we climb the ramp on the roof of the house where the solarium is. Arab architecture gives us a precious lesson. She appreciates herself by walking with her foot; it is by walking and moving that we see the development of the ordinances of architecture. It is a principle contrary to Baroque architecture which is conceived on paper, around a theoretical fixed point.

I prefer Arabic architecture. In this house, it is a real promenade, offering aspects constantly varied, unexpected, sometimes amazing. It is interesting to obtain so much diversity when one has, for example, admitted from the constructive point of view, a diagram of absolute rigor. Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. It is a statement of what the author thought modern architecture should look and work like.

By digitally altering the images of this building we discover new perspectives and form to an old known friend. Edgar Kaufmann asked Wright to design a house on the southern bank of Bear Run facing the waterfall, however Wright had a different idea in mind. He designed the house on the northern bank, directly over the falls. The northern bank of Bear Run was not large enough to hold a foundation that would fit the size of the house requested, so Wright employed a cantilevering system throughout the project to remedy the problem.

The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright to physically and spiritually embrace the natural world is captured in the daring and innovative architecture set among the forest landscape of Bear Run. The materiality allows the architecture to blend in with the natural surroundings as it reaches out over the falls.

Accessed November 11, The original design intent of Fallingwater was for the house to seemlessly but boldly be incorporated into the natural surroundings of Bear Run Creek. By using a cantilever system, Frank Lloyd Wright was able to increase the square footage of the house as requested by the clients. Working from this initial concept, the fiction was created by exaggerating the horizontal cantilevers and getting rid of vertical elements.

By combining these two operations, the horizontality of the house is further emphasized. I believe one of the most important things in doing a building is writing a program, and that entails almost living with the people who are going to use the building, finding out how they hope to work in it, not listening to their solutions but listening to their needs. Gordon Bunshaft. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is located in Yale University, opened in , as the home for rare books and manuscripts from all over the world. The design is famous for its pre-cast construction by modulated cross-shape units and its translucent marble envelope which respects to the surrounding context and protects the books from exposure.

As for the form, it is a six-story rectangular box elevated above the plaza, in this way, the architect formulated a sense of lightness which responses to its heavy materials. The primary concern in the design of the library was the control of light. On one hand, the building needs ambient lighting to allow people to read; on the other hand, the over exposure to sunlight could damage the collection.

The design of translucent panel balances these two requirements. The fiction is addressing the infinite growth of the form. If a buildings is aggregated by units, that means the prism of the building is not fixed and can be expanded under a logic. Additionally, the increasement adds up a sense of heaviness of the structure which strengthes the concept of elevated ground floor-the contract between heaviness and lightness.

The structural growth brings a new spatial experience to the people in the plaza.

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In the up left image we can see the boundary between sky and building is clearly defined, while the fiction the middle image blurs the boundary and merge the form of building into the sky. I honor beginnings. Of all things, I hornor beginnings. I believe that what was has always been, and what is has always been, and what will be has always been.

Having studied under Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania, and having worked for him for ten years, David Rinehart was an architect who knew him better than many of his other employees. Salk was a temple for science. Dhaka was a temple for government. Exeter was a temple for learning. The library tells you of this offering.

Kahn made the experience of entering the library a dramatic, almost theatrical, one. A student comes in under a low ceiling, then proceeds up a divided staircase, and suddenly encounters the atrium, a space that virtually explodes with spatial and tectonic excitement.

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Reference: Wiseman, Carter. Kahn: beyond Time and Style: a Life in Architecture. New York: W. Norton, No less important than the idea of the book was the idea of the monastic community, which had such a contribution to the Salk Institute design, as well as those for Indian Institute of Management and Dhaka National Assembly of Bangladesh. But if Salk was about investigation, IIM about the conveying of knowledge, and Dhaka the implementing of knowledge through government, Exeter was to be about contemplation.

The fact that the scholars were teenagers, not monks or aged sages, made little difference. This was to be a place where respect for learning was to be instilled through built form. The final design showed a cube measuring feet on a side and rising to feet with twelve levels, including mezzanines. The library program had called for brick as the primary material, and the type Kahn selected for Exeter came from the Eno brickyard on the outskirts of the town.

To save money Kahn decided to use concrete on the interior. Stairs, elevators, and toilets were located at the corners, but set in from the walls to allow circulation around perimeter. The Exeter Library by Louis Kahn. For many critics of the library, the most obvious shortcomming of the design was the absence of an easily identifiable front door.

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At Exeter, Kahn totally concealed the main entrance by putting it behind the ground-floor arcade. But the only other clue to the entrance was a slight variation of the window treatment on the main facade, where four full-height windows interrupted the rhythm of opennings on the other three facades, thus providing natural light for the staircase behind and a view of the campus from the staircase balcony. The architect explained his avoidance of an identifiable entrance rather weakly by saying that the arcade that circled the ground floor allowed a student to enter from any point.

In fact, the reason was probably compositional. To make a traditional entry would have meant compromising the geometry of the cube. If the omission of an obvious entrance preserved the geometry, the treatment of the corners relieved it. By chamfering-or cutting off-the corners, Kahn exposed the thinness of the exterior brick walls, making them appear like screens rather than massive bulwarks. Of course, in the New England climate there was no need for protection against sun glare, so here he used the device to lighten what might otherwise have been an intimidating bulk.

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A further device to soften the impact of the building was the use of teak panels as part of the window composition. The panels recalled those at Salk, and had much the same effect, although at Exeter they complemented brick rather than concrete and made a correspondingly warmer combination.

This project depicts doubling spatialities by extending the atrium space through fictionalizing structures and tectonic languages. The Exeter Library is a piece of architecture that embodies great aesthetic of space and ordering tectonics. The symmetrical atrium space recalls simple and graceful geometries.

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This makes one wonder if the space is mirrored what new spatialities of the central atrium will have, if that can bring another perspective of reality. No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it. Hill and house should live together, each the happier for the other. Frank Lloyd Wright. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other His Prairie Style and open plans serve as such good examples for this explanation that they both illustrate how concrete constructions and the specific sites merge well into images.

The first time I started to question this is when I was making a study of how Wright dealt with the urban context in his design. I tried to find the masterplan of Guggenheim Museum in New York, but failed. So, would this attitude of taking no context into account be inconsistent with his own words? Or maybe, people have been misunderstanding Wright from the very beginning - his description of building in his autography is actually not about the final visual effect, but about the way to design a new building.

Belonging to it That is why Wright made horizontal houses in horizontal prairie, and designed tree-like windows to create the atmosphere of living in forests. Actually his language is so simple and strong, just to put his original ideas with the exsiting environment together. In this fiction, I will show four experiments on how this originally siteless design - Guggengeim Museum in NYC adapt itself to different surroundings. The first is to change the site of the museum to another place in NYC.

The second is to adapt the museum to an exsiting building from the exterior. The third is to transform the interior of the museum based on another site. The last but not the least, the size of museum get changed so that we can see what the design would be like if not being a building. Study the image first and find out the most suitable place for the moved Guggenheim Museum.

Find a proper photo of the museum and paste it in the photo. Then adjust the light and shadow to make it realistic as if the museum belongs to this site. Find a circular building or a circular monumental in the collection of Josef Schulz and test for the potential of Guggenheim Museum. Crop the museum and paste it to the original photo. Examine the similarity of the columns and Guggenheim Museum, and find out the internal relationship in between. Modify the original design of the museum and make the modified an object.

One can say that the city itself is the collective memory of its people, and like memory it is associated with objects and places. The city is the locus of the collective memory. Aldo Rossi. He fused ideas from the Costa and Jewish cemeteries of the 19th century to design his cemetery for a competition with Gianni Braghieri in , winning the competition. Rossi uses a bounding wall similar to the one found in the Costa Cemetery to define an axis and break down the rectangle into a series of zones.

The Rossian cemetery has no roof, floors, windows or doors; instead it is only a shell with openings. Some of the openings are for light, others for views, access, and even containment of cremated bodies. Many do not hold this building in high esteem, as they find it depressing or ugly. But Rossi has found a way to make architecture metaphysical the visitor is inevitably confronted with the thought of death, where truths are constant and irrevocable.

Thanks to all symmetrical geometry planned in all area, it required to be delicate on the relationship between different elements, such as between centered gate and walls extended from it, and between the ending point of the column grids and ground green space. They permit a intergrity of both illusion and clearness Only now can we articulate space freely, open it up and connect it to a broader possibilities.

Mies van de Rohe. Luwig Mies van de Rohe was invited by Joseph E. His design concept can be traced back to a Proposal he made for Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper Project in Germany in A solely glass-facade building that frees it exterior from the burden of structural requirements to achieve pure simplicity. The Seagram Building was the first skyscraper with single plain curtain wall facade in new york, which stands out in among the stepped back stone-facade skyscrapers compromised by the FAR restriction of New York in s.

However the facade was not intimidating with the architecture stepping back from the edge of the block. Seventyfive percent of the lot was contructed into a gorgeous symmetrical plaza with a pool at the center, which became the buffer and comfortzone between the two great architecture in different eras. Lambert, Phyllis.

By glancing the entire buidling under strong day light, the urban is able to see the profile line of the opposite street scape due to the effect of strong reflection. The constrast between brightness at the exterior and darkness ar the interior is creating a vague outline of the st. By standing on the Plaza and facing the lobby enclosed by glass, people see more levels of urban landscape and the Seagram as the continuation of the palza while the pool is hindering people to get too close to the truth.

As the grand entrance is rendered on the glass while the interior space of the lobby is still visible, the interaction of architecture on both sides are well represented. By looking out towards to the entrance from the lobby. The Plaza acts as a chain that links the landscape of the Seagram Building and the st. The sunlight poured from the direction of the church trespasses the plaza and stretch into the Seagram.

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The Seagram building becomes a part of the plaza by hiding itself, leaving only steel structures like sculptures. This fiction is to misplace the seagram building without removing it from its original context nor alternating the physical buildings in the photography. The powerful glass facade is already able to shake the belief of its location and environement.

Alternating the reactions of facade to its surrounding environment can achieve illusion at maximum within an urban context. Through either reflection or refraction, people would start to question the physical reality even when materials are within reach. The centralization and sysmetry of Seagram desires similar configuration to correspond to its orientation.

Therefore the pool was enlarged moved to the central of the plaza from both sides to emphasize this notion. Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of geometry assembled in the light. One of the greatest architects who claimed to be an antitheist designed a convent for a year old religion, Catholicism. The collision between distinct positions towards religion accomplished this legend of art and religion, that has attracted thousands of architectural lovers to appreciate and praise from all over the world.

Religion and art have often been regarded as the origin and essence of human civilization, and the latter has usually learned inspirations from the former. La Tourette is an integration of architecture and religion, but also a combination of contradiction and separation. Contradicted with the well-known convent itself is the few number of monks, and the antitheist cultural background of designer himself. The founder once said if this building was not designed by Corbusier, they would already give up the site and move to elsewhere.

The implication is that it is art, but not the eternal faith, has continued the destiny of the convent. Like the French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, has said the civilization cannot save anything or anyone, but it is the product from human. Human put themselves into it to realize themselves, because it is like a strict mirror reflecting human themselves. Magnificent light and shadow moved in architecture like voices calling me. This might be fine in a continuous story, where the listener would be unlikely to jump around, but it makes selective reading of these stories impossible.

Why not someone with a Argentine accent? Jorge Luis Borges, is the master of storytelling. Roberto Bolano believed it and I agree. I have read each of these stories more than once, some of them many times and was pleased to find them available on itunes. Borges has been called the "world's librarian" and that feels right. Pulp fiction slides easily up against spiritual introspection, revelation and science fiction.

This book has been inspiring to me as a writer but perhaps more importantly as a reader and a listener. Customer Reviews See All. Listeners Also Bought See All. Borges in 90 Minutes. The Castle. The Savage Detectives: A Novel. Invisible Cities.

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