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  • Slim Verticality: a graphic massing

    Slim Verticality: a graphic massing
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    SCI-Arc
    advisor: florencia PITA

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    daniel ALAJAJIAN: Imagery plays a major role in the Los Angeles landscape. It is a rapidly growing presence across various mediums. Buildings and images collide on a daily basis in the form of billboards, advertisements, graffiti, visual projections and video.

    Architectural designs, such as Robert Venturi’s Decorated Shed, study the separation of the sign and the building, ultimately exploring the relationship between the sign and the buildings’ context.

    Herzog & de Meuron’s Ricola Factory incorporates the image of a leaf as a pattern that articulates a cosmetic effect by printing the image into the material used for the facade of the building. The contrast between the two approaches makes a case for “Graphic Massing”. Graphic massing is not only an opportunity to embed the image into the building but also a play between flatness and volume. The 2D nature of the graphic ultimately generates an exploration in the technical arena of lines, points and patterns.

    This thesis advocates the relationship of a 2D graphic to a 3D volume in developing a silhouette. The silhouette is slim and vertical while the graphic massing is wide and voluptuous. The combination of the two creates slim verticality. Graphic massing then has the opportunity to work with or against the shallowness or depth of the surface, ultimately challenging the typical relationship of a 2D-as-sign applied onto the 3D volume. The shape of the profile outlines the slimness resisting a binding definition for an extrusion. This results in an exploration of the relationship between profile and elevation, in this case, the slim and the graphic.

    My thesis prep research began with Coco Chanel and how she revolutionized the silhouette through the little black dress (LBD). This lead to the typology of a slim and vertical building.Two important precedents were the Flat Iron Building which wanted to utilize the corner (an extrusion of the site) and Herzog and De Meurons’ Pyramid which was a tiny footprint with a fat elevation.I also started to consider how one might play with the perception of slim verticality therefore I looked at different graphic references in modern art such as Bridget Riley and her use of the stripes to create an optical effect. Therefore I began to develop the graphic through the reductive architectural strategies of scale, shift, rotate. Reinforcing the relationship of the pattern and its surface effect. The panalization of the pattern becomes an argument for the plausibility of cladding the building. The graphic becomes a skin system of opaque and tinted windows. The black and white panels work with and against the slimness- can create the illusions of cinch and buldge much like a garment.The relationship of the slim profile to the fat elevation engages the Sunset Blvd. commuter.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    dA: Florencia Pita, Jeff Kipnis, Dora Epstein-Jones, Alexander McQueen F/W 2009, Ed Ruscha, Sol Lewitt, Givenchy S/S 2010, Herzog & de Meuron, SuperFlat by Takashi Murakami, The Little Black Dress by Coco Chanel.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    dA: Charles Aznavour, Kings of Leon, Alabama Shakes, Watch the Throne, Diplo, M.I.A.; TheSartorialist.com, JakandJil.com, Kelly Cutrone, Archdaily.com, dezeen.com, Contemporist.com.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    dA: FPmod, XTEN, Zago Architecture, BIG, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, Herzog and De Meuron, Riccardo Tisci, Kris Van Assche, Hedi Slimane, Karl Lagerfeld, Maruta-E, Naureen Meyer.

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