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  • Building the Picture

    Asli TUSAVUL, "Building the Picture." Axonometric drawing.
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    SCI-Arc
    critic: Elena MANFERDINI.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Asli TUSAVUL: This project is working within a contemporary rereading of the politics of the envelope, producing new models of “faciality.”

    The site in Geneva, Switzerland, next to Jean Tschumi’s building, can be read as canonical in the European modern movement. The main aim of this project was to challenge the classical reading of this building’s facade. Rather than reading the building from right to left or top to bottom by having the plinth raised off the ground, the facade is read in two different zones: upper and lower.

    The coloration of the facade creates a tension between reality and illusion, derived from Italian painters quadraturisti (to achieve illusionistic effects). The project applies quadraturisti to the contemporary problem of faciality of architectural envelopes. The upper and lower zones have completely contrasting coloration techniques, aiming to generate a perception of duality in the building. The area with lighter-colored images represents the new ground level, and the other describes an underground level with multiple darker-colored images. The textures challenge everyday imagery and graphics, creating differentiation between abstract and photorealistic figures, as well as colorful and monochrome shading. The coloration of the envelope affects the organization of the form, generating multiplicity within the whole—one mass becomes five separate masses through the coloration and texturing techniques.

    Extrusions on the facades generate a shallow depth effect that creates an optical illusion; in other words, from the front view these extrusions do not seem to exist but are perceived from different points of view. Texture stretches from the exterior toward the interior, challenging the flat notion of the envelope and integrating more architectural elements and openings. The mirrors used on both the facade and the interior of the extrusions create reflections that transform the two-dimensional imagery into perceived three-dimensional spaces, giving movement to the space. Also, the plinth level plaza and ground level ramp organize flows throughout the building, and to Jean Tschumi’s building, allowing pedestrians to move continuously between inside and outside.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    AT: René Magritte, Petra Blaisse, Jean Tschumi, and Bernard Tschumi.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    AT: Reading Alejandro Zaera-Polo, “The Politics of the Envelope” and Sylvia Lavin, “Petra Envy:The Designs of Petra Blaisse.” Listening to Nigel Kennedy.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    AT: Rem Koolhaas; CEBRA Architecture; Rei Kawakubo; Elena Manferdini; Andrew Zago; and Florencia Pita.

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