University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
critic: Michael LOVERICH.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Alex TAHINOS: This project adopts the narrative of a temple dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, in Crete, Greece. This temple was set in a cave on the side of a mountain on the island.
The idea of a cave or ruin, at its most primitive form, is an aggregation of natural components. My Cathedral was to be developed in a similar fashion using parametric tools.
The goals of the project stemmed from the nature of the program (a bear cage and a cathedral) and precedents (Temple of Artemis, Lebbeus Woods’ War and Architecture, and Sagrada Familia). Thus, my goals were to:
1. Create a parasitic aggregation.
2. Create an object to object relationship and constant feed between the site and the building.
3. Implement the idea of controlled organics: the randomization of growth with a controlled spatial output.
A bottom-up aggregation system to create an iterative form with a top-down set of rules to define the space created.
The site is PECO tower located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Three points on the site would be labeled as points of interest where the cathedral would respond directly. The main space is defined by floating parameters to create larger overlapping components. The residual components, because of their more intimate feel, would be cloisters for monks and pilgrims migrating to the site.
The interior reflects the synthesis of the two systems within controlled organics as one. The spaces created on the interior are controlled by the systems implemented. The iterative design process gives the designer an educational experience each time, learning from the aggregation and learning the possible solutions to the large polemic.
The ultimate form is created to blur the lines between parasite and host. Through the aforementioned processes the cathedral becomes the prominent feature on the site rendering the question: Which of the two structures is now the parasite and which is the host?
sP: What or who influenced this project?
ST: Lebbeus Woods; Antoni Gaudí; Greg Lynn; Perry Kulper; Neil Spiller; rock formations and caves; temple ruins; geodes, and Baroque cathedrals.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AT: Reading: Any and all Lebbeus Woods; any and all Architectural Design magazines; and any and all Pamphlet Architecture. Listening to: Mos Def; Talib Kweli; Common; Logic; Eminem; The Fugees; and Lauryn Hill. Watching: Seinfeld and Top Gear.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
AT: Thom Mayne, Tobias Klien, Roland Snooks, SHoP, COOP Himmelb(l)au, and MVRDV.