Kent independent film center.

Our second project in Design Studio 2 has finally come to a close. We had an informal jury directly following the turn-in at 1:10p. Needless to say, I was pretty tired and had only slept 16 hours in the span of 5 days in hopes that I would finish with a final project I could be proud of. To my amazement, my work once again came up short of my expectations. I didn't finish a section, plan, and elevation, and didn't even come close to touching the drawing I really wanted to do; a multi-view immersive perspective. Oh well, I'm only human, I suppose.

Our site was given as the corner of water and main in downtown Kent, Ohio. The program > an independent film center for recreation [movie theater], implementation [movie-making], and education [film-school]. To begin these projects there is always a process which is essentially given to us and guided by our studio instructor. Frankly, this was the most confusing and nonsensical process I've ever been through. We began by observing a movement throughout the site. There wasn't much going on, it was the dead of winter and everything was covered in snow and ice; but I was drawn to the Cuyahoga River which the site confronts. After some investigation in this we had to research a movement/technique in film-making, I chose film noir. Some of these discussions lead to the introduction of 'tensegrity', which I spent some time replicating. Then we had precedent studies in which we had to essentially publish a book on a certain project, which for my team was Diller Scofidio + Renfro's plan for The Lincoln Center and Alice Tully Hall. Eventually we began constructing program relationship vignettes and then FINALLY built a sketch model. Once we reached this last point we had two weeks until the due date. Awesome.

It's hard to say what I got out of this schizophrenic design process. It was incredibly hard to relate one idea to the next and to keep moving forward. Because of that, I feel my final design, although good, was lacking. I still like it though, maybe I'm just being hard on myself. I definitely feel as though there was a lack of interest from my professor during the 6 week project. He would be excited to talk about tensegrity, Archigram, or the Tate Modern installation, but as soon as the discussion led to what I was actually producing, we would hit a wall. I still don't know how he felt about the whole thing. Awaiting the grade to beam to my inbox.

Anyway, here are the basic floor plans. My main idea went with opposing forces; I first separated the three main programmatic components to give them each a formal identity and so that they could each impose on the other (without separation, there could be no opposition). This allowed a large public pavilion within a semi-interior condition of the building. One of our discussions had to do with Hitchcock's Rear Window in which all the drama takes place in one set. The public would be able to sit on a bleacher-style form in the center and view activity in all three zones of the building from one place. As well, the plans are kept largely open with few interior walls in order to foster a sense of involvement within the building itself and the broader community.

The sections reveal cuts through the building to allow more light into the interior and to gain views from one floor to another across disparate programs.

Aesthetically, the design for me recalls the impression of a geode, whose surface has been chipped away to reveal a crystal interior, defined in this iteration as a triangulated glass curtain wall.

Non-studio creative outlets.

To start things off here's an article I wrote for t r a c e, the student zine that I co-edit at Kent State University. >>

In a time where our reality constantly feels as though it’s turning into a video game, it may be normal for one to question what constitutes their existence in the 21st century. With this in mind, insinuating that in the digital age many of us reside in a form of virtual space more often than in “real space” may not be as far-fetched as might be first perceived. Not only do many of us engage in conventional thoughts of virtual reality such as video games, we also enter other forms of intangible space as well. These spaces, often caused by a collision of new and pre-existing forms of media with the physical world, will increasingly define our existence and possibly even redefine what it is to be human.

Of the multitude of “media spaces,”
[1] most apparent of these for the young scholar are social networking sites. In digital platforms such as Facebook, it may seem as though a user is simply viewing online profiles, but while snooping around for the latest gossip, the user subjects themselves to a series of spaces that are constituted by an array of words, pixels, and friend requests; a space that is defined by the human interaction that occupies it. When one uses the phone, that person loses their physical body and is reduced to a voice lingering in the abyss. As well, listening to digitally reproduced music (a Mozart concerto over headphones, perhaps), interacting with an in-car GPS system, watching television, and surfing the web are all additional forms of virtual reality.

We can also see examples of media space in immersive online gaming environments such as Second Life. SL is an online virtual world that enables users from across the globe to interact with one another. Unlike other popular social networking models such as Myspace and Facebook, Second Life places people, represented by avatars, into a virtual environment that in many aspects attempts at representing real life. Still, the possibilities in Second Life verge on endless due to the fact that, as part of its platform, it easily adapts to the needs and wants of its users. Because of this, the computer program is generating a great deal of commotion among analysts, scholars, etc. for the potential and implications of the game.

So in these new conditions, where does so-called tangible space end and virtual space begin? It’s apparent the distinctions are becoming increasingly blurred. The consequences this virtual phenomenon brings with it are central to the way we live. As Tor Lindstrand has commented, “…The profound effect that we live our lives in an accelerating rate through media is something that clearly changes our perspective and understanding of the reality around us.”
[2] In these situations the space we occupy is not comprised of the physical and tangible elements that surround us. Instead, we find ourselves in a paradox of place; an absurdity of our indication of position as one or more sensations acts as a deceit to the truth of our current condition. It is true that many of us live life through interactive media that, in some respects, places an obscure threshold between the individual and real life.

Moreover, the way in which we interact with real space is influenced by our connection to these virtual spaces. Take for instance wi-fi signal. As CityofSound recently examined
[3], areas in which signal is strong, one can find a collection of illuminated faces toiling on unknown projects. Spaces where signal is weak or non-existent are considered undesirable, sometimes regardless of their physical spatial qualities.

In essence, our presence is constantly divided between two dimensions; one foot in the “real” world and one in the virtual. So what does this mean for the future of architecture and society as a whole? Will the succession of our lives into the virtual continually increase until we experience life in a wholly illusory environment? While life in the digital age continues to progress into unknown realms, experimentation in the world without limits becomes more and more legitimate and less ‘unrealistic’. In essence, our definitions of real and virtual could reverse, where what architecture now considers fantasy becomes the truer manifestation of human interaction and life as a whole.

For instance, in Second Life an enclosure is not meant for shelter from en­vironmental elements; there is no rain. Rather, architecture here serves a much more abstracted role in the lives of the users of the game. In any virtual reality the “rules” of architecture no longer apply. Therefore, ar­chitectural dialogue has an entirely new dictionary. Of course, designing for the virtual is nothing new at all. Lebbeus Woods recently released a set of conceptual sketches done for the movie Alien III.
[4] Although the movie Woods was commissioned for was never realized, his design for a decaying world of the future dealt with conditions of an entirely dif­ferent environment that is legitimized by the possibility that it could one day be our own.

In a world increasingly defined by degrees of virtualized space, considering the implications of virtual architecture, and at a broader scale virtual life, becomes more and more relevant. No one in the millennial generation can deny that our lives are experienced in both reality and a computer often simultaneously. If this is where we exist, then shouldn’t our spaces be informed by that juxtaposition as well? Whatever the case, it seems as though the newest frontier lies not beyond our atmosphere or even this solar system, but within the capacities of our technology and the little illuminated screens directly in front of us.

[1] Doesinger, Space Between People, p. 16
[2] Doesinger, p. 137

The begining?

In the cold and dark corners of cyberspace I have staked out this portion for myself, to write and reflect, and possibly find something interesting in my own thoughts that others may also find worth reading.

In this blog I intend to talk of my architectural studies mostly so that the mysteriousness of the allusive 'studio' may subside to those unknowing of what I do with the vast majority of my life.  But I hope to, occasionally, write of other things as well. things that inspire me, trouble me, confuse me, and so on.

I decided to name the blog as I have because it represents how we in the digital age exist in both the real tangible world as well as the digital world simultaneously.  This thought is always in the back of my mind and seems to constantly affect my thinking.  I feel that this will present itself repeatedly throughout the posts to come.

And so the digitally documented journey begins...