Enfolding the Expanded Field: Cartopological © Space

TYPOLOGY displaced through TOPOLOGY


 Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa (Head Professor and Coordinator-Associate Professor adj.) James Lowder (Assistant Professor), Katerina Kourkoula (instructor).

Design II 2011 Fall Students: Alonzo John Angelo, Atlas Dustin, Barrett Henry, Burgess Evan, Chiu Kristy, Chong Febe, Cuevas Kyra, Cuttica Franco, Friedberg Sam, Hall Cory, Hui Vincent, Jiang Mabel, Katz Ashley, Knutson Maja, Lee Kyung Ho, Kohl Lewis, Li Binhan Marcus, Maiello Matthew, Majekodunmi Iyatunde, Nguyen Phong (Kiwi), Orizondo Gisel, Osako Aisa, Pabon Jaime, Pacula Nicholas, Perezic Arta, Recalde Andrea, Smith Ian, Song Johae, Stewart Christopher, Taleff Chris,  Tsai Wan-Jen Wang Janine, Tyler Froelich

Design II studio's cultural context builds up on the problem that many contemporary canons, in reaction to the architecture of the previous decades, have abandoned the engagement of spatial structures. Within this process, the recognition of referential structures in spaces of representation have been progressively replaced by the apparently un-problematic striation of computer algorithms. In this scenario, architecture has been informed merely by technology through computation, which has been providing material for its disciplinary expansion. But this expansion has also been deeply structured by other questions, such as  the post-structuralist reaction to universal space informed by the logic of the place which derived in the integration of the architecture object with the landscape. Such direction provided a new tectonic in regards to landscape continuity, spatial continuity and ultimately the autonomy of the surface. But current post-structuralist theories, as a reactionary force against structuralist ones, broke away from the philosophical conceptual premise of deconstruction: to develop a full decomposition of any assumed disciplinary fundamentals. The aim of the studio was to work with the redefinition of the disciplinary limits after this expansion.

Through the reconsideration of structure, the studio investigated strategies to redefine post-structuralist theories as a continuity of previous structuralist theories. The reconsideration of stable structural organization and relative displacement to activate organizational typologies, is based on the revision of latent ideas in the common nine square diagram delineated in Wittkower’s analysis of Palladio’s villas, the common nine square diagram that Rowe traces between Palladio’s Villa Malcontenta and Le Corbusier’s Villa Stein, Terragni’s underlying spatial organization based on Palladian strategies, as well as Hejduk’s and Eisenman’s Houses series. These constitute a structuralist axis of reference based on the presence of types and the continuous state of revolution of the discipline through the establishment of canons that displace previous sedimented structures.

Post-structuralist canons, on the other hand, relate to a reactionary criticism of the modernist paradigm of universality, which demanded the reconsideration of universal order and the generic container space in regards to the role of the place and the territory. The displacement of the art-object from the gallery to site-specific interventions unmotivated the autonomy of art-object relative to the specificity of the place and the measurement of the territory. Informed by such movement, architecture incorporated a new philosophy displacing its canonical relationship between contained space and ground. By assimilating the logic of space with that of the place and the territory, architecture resolved in the canonical thickening of the ground as an inhabitable surface (K. Forster), its new tectonic. After a few decades of experimenting with landscape-buildings, also informed by the ability to control differential geometry with computation, this process culminated with the autonomy of the vectorial surface. This disciplinary expansion based on the aesthetic of continuity of the surface, derived more recently into the emergence of spatial warping (A. Vidler) which provided a new conditions for topology.

Part of this scenario left only two opposite alternatives: the reconfiguration of neomodernist boxes ignoring the displacement of the discipline by post-structuralist theories and postructuralist blobs ignoring the presence of types and stable structures. Multiple predetermined modern spatial typologies are questioned through relative topological displacements. What this studio proposed, was to transcend this pendulum opposition between the establishment of a renaissance and its baroque displacement (H. Wölfflin).

Students studied the constitution of form through the development of source codes and systems that striate them. Considering representation as a critical creative moment where questions become problems to work with, visual logic was understood in function to the recognition of the emergence of formal systems. Critiquing oppositions between structure, embodiment and perception, students were asked to investigate implicit conflicts between referential structures and the intrinsic quality of representation through perception, materials and the presence of the body which both infer and displace metaphysical notions of structure.   

Structures and typologies were activated and deconstructed both from top-down and bottom up through multiple definitions of topological displacements: topology as a way of resisting predetermination; topology as relative forces, or as degree deformations displacing absolute categories; topology as the topo-logos or the logic of the place; and ultimately non-Euclidean geometric topology of bi-continuous surface deformation that forces spatial continuum and activates spatial warping; topologies as immersive experiential space that will question the stability of referential order through the recognition of the movement of the subject through space, embodiment and the activation of affect in spatial organization.  

The enfolding of contemporary canons to revisit architecture limits, proposes the institution of a state of suspension that demands the recognition of a hybrid transitory space. Therefore a space historically suspended between a potential topological surface-space and its absolute stable referential Cartesian coordinate system. This space is defined as Cartopological.

Design II studio developed an un-house for two individuals.


2012 The Cooper Union. End of the Year Show Opening: Monday May 21st of 2012 at 6pm, The Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street, New York, NY, Foundation Building, 7th floor lobby. Design II Cartopological ©  Space by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa (Coordinator), James Lowder (assistant professor) and Katerina Kourkuola (instructor) studio is being featured in Cooper Union's web site. http://cooper.edu/events-and-exhibitions/exhibitions/cooper-union-end-year-show




End of the Year Show Exhibition The Cooper Union, School of Architecture - Installation 7th Floor Lobby May 21-June 9 2012