Máster en Arquitectura

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G2. Joaquín Alvado

 The Art of FugueCounterpoints

Architectural Projects 2 and Architectural Projects 3. Group 4. Professor: Dr. Joaquín Alvado Bañón

In music, a fugue (/fjuːɡ/ fewg) is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition. Counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are interdependent harmonically (polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour. (Definitions from Wikipedia).

The Art of Fugue (or The Art of the Fugue; German: Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080, is an incomplete work of unspecified instrumentation by Johann Sebastian Bach(1685–1750). Written in the last decade of his life, The Art of Fugue is the culmination of Bach’s experimentation with monothematic instrumental works. It consists of 14fugues and 4 canons, each using some variation of a single principal subject, and generally ordered to increase in complexity. “The governing idea of the work”, as put by Bach specialist Christoph Wolff, “was an exploration in depth of the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in a single musical subject.”

Contents:

“Architecture is a fuzzy amalgamation of ancient knowledge and contemporary practice, an awkward way to look at the world and an inadequate medium to operate on it… Architecture is too slow. Yet, the word “architecture” is still pronounced with certain reverence (outside of the profession). It embodies the lingering hope –or the vague memory of hope- that shape, form, coherence could be imposed on the violent surf of information that washes over us daily. Maybe, architecture doesn´t have to be stupid after all. Liberated from the obligation to construct, it can become a way of thinking about anything –a discipline that represents relationships, proportions, connections, effects, and the diagram of everything.” Rem Koolhass. “Content”

Architectural Project Design is a subject to understand, at the first steps, the new architectural practice. We have to relate concepts and media to approach the new urban reality. Our approach is related to creativity and imagination (“the aspect of the mind that organizes what we see, and which sees an object incalculably larger than ourselves, and feels infinite” Jean-François Lyotard)

Language and Concepts (Themes):

The usual language in the classroom will be English. We are going to use the English language as a way to internationalize the School of Architecture of Alicante; it is the third year of a pilot experience but it is the first step to create an open international future school. We will try to focus on the expression tools (media) of the Architecture as an abstract language to make our work understood. It is not a question of using words to explain the projects, is a question of architectural language; sketches, drawings, diagrams, graphics, physic models, performance, mock-ups, actions and media_lab procedures…

Architecture manages space, structure, color, skin, interior-exterior relation, material, construction, economics, site, social networks, scale, the city, landscape, nature, bodies, time, services, infrastructures, architects, program, private-public relations, territory… As architects we are going to do projects connecting all those items and we are going to change the reality. We are searching for the structure of the fiction as Toyo Ito underlines

As an internationalization process, we are going to be connected to the Universities in Tokio (Japan) and Bristol (UK).

Method:

Exercise (Subject): On the first semester, we have to find relations between the concepts that architecture manages using architectural media. One exercise is a quickly response. We are going to learn in an elastic way. Every week we try to find the way space and time, body and city, program and scale, material and infrastructures… talks about architecture. It is a work done continuously, day by day. One thing that the student has to take into account is that every exercise starts with the work made previously, that’s way we are going to talk about the musician method of composition. There is a question, all the time, over the table: What kind of architect do you want to become?

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin’s 

  1. Keep your pen aloof from inspiration, which it will then attract with magnetic power. The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself. Speech conquers thought, but writing commands it.
  2. Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Literary honour requires that one break off only at an appointed moment (a mealtime, a meeting) or at the end of the work.
  3. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written. Intuition will awaken in the process.
  4. Consider no work perfect over which you have not once sat from evening to broad daylight.
  5. Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.
  6. Stages of composition: idea — style — writing. The value of the fair copy is that in producing it you confine attention to calligraphy. The idea kills inspiration, style fetters the idea, writing pays off style.

Project: The second part of the year we are going to do a slow work. We have to precise and measure all our work developed in the first semester.

Place:

The space of the classroom will be a “Round table”, everybody disposed around a table as a politic representation of the democracy. The role of the teacher, researchers and students will be the same, everybody is allowed to present, discuss and defend their ideas. The proposal consists in the physical construction of a structure of discussion to find the real items of the knowledge of the contemporary architecture. The classroom and all its furniture will be transformed to create a new space for spreading ideas and work day by day.

Every morning we create a round table formed with the students, the teacher, some invited architects or people involve in the contemporary construction of the culture of the project in order to discuss about architectural programs, social networks, contexts, materials, citizens, structures, construction, economy, history, city shape…, and architecture.

Every week appears new items to be discussed and, if it would be possible, a new expert voice to improve our consciences about the new understanding of our reality as students and as an architects.

We start the first week with one question over the table; what kind of architect do we want to become? Every student has to take a position and construct a discourse above the item discussed during the week.

We work with architectural expression tools and instruments of the cultural architectural project: drawings, models, performances, video, actions, etc, in order to present one approach to the intelligent reality of the city.

The first day, after the individual presentation, we will start working in groups of five students to construct and defend our arguments. Working in group is a way to implement our knowledge; we do not have to reach a consensus, we have to create a new object with all the ideas and drawings of the students in the group.

Objectives:

The objective of this course is that the student will be capable to stimulate his/hers conscience and take a position in the architectural world of the contemporary projects. They, also, have to generate their skills and thoughts about the new situation and to learn how to express it in an architectural way.

Timing:

The first semester (Project 2) consists in an approach to the cultural world of the project. We are going to talk, think and construct many items that constantly appear in the recreation of the new reality. It will be a work developed week by week. The round table is going to focus in experiences and these experiences probably will take us to some places in the city or abroad (the possibility of an architectural trip will be discussed during the sessions).

The second semester (Project 3) consists in an approach to the technician world of the project. We are going to talk about many items that constantly appear in the recreation of the new reality. It will be a unique project work developed during the whole semester, individually.

Evaluation:

1.-The year proposes that students begin to build a complete thought to tackle projects, to process, organize, view and display information so that “data collection” became proactive rather than an analytical tool.

I have been able to go beyond analysis procedure and convert the project into a proposition display.

2.-The Students must learn to self reference and criticize their work and to draw conclusions. They have to process systems and models of architectural production, reformulating non obvious descriptions, focusing his gaze on the invisible structures, not having preconceived ideas, producing unexpected findings, and non-discursive (arguments that are made but which does not follow anything immediately) reasoning.

I have used my own ways of expression reformulating descriptions and avoiding the obvious and the use of direct images of the project culture

3.-The student begins to explore architectural expression systems to formalize their projective ideas.

How many ways of expression have I used at work and what is the value expressed by each of them?

4.-We have to learn to talk and discuss about architectural sustainability criteria, adding the concept of ecological niche project (mental territory, social, material, technical, medium-environmental, etc …).

This year the project common theme is “Innovation”.

Have I addressed the common theme of course responding to the proposal on the sustainability?

5.-We are going to known how to work in group to discover the roles in production systems.

How much information data made in group have I used to express my project?

6.-The student must participate and contribute with their ideas to the class as an essential part of knowledge.

What is the intensity used to express my ideas through the architectural expression ways? How much time do I need to make a drawing or a model to express my ideas?

7.-The student must learn to establish a personal lexicon to express his architectural ideas.

Have you expressed your ideas through a personal lexicon or have you imitated expression systems used by other designers seen in the media (magazines or Internet)

8.-You need positively assess risk and innovation as a necessary condition of design. Innovation defined as the use of allied disciplines to develop intellectual and technical tools to create new realities, within their own reality, exceeding the established models.

Do I use allied disciplines for innovative production?

9.-The student must enter, step by step, work details the project culture, you must learn to interpret and criticize from their own proposal.

How many data have you appropriated from the culture to express my project?

  1. You should produce an open system work, with more questions than answers. The number of questions the student will be assessed is more than the number of certainties, you must use fuzzy logic, to support multiple possible truth values, allowing multiple possible truth values and strategies to create unpredictability.

How many questions have you made throughout the design process and how many have you tried to answer?

11.-Skills: Interest in the contribution, regardless of the attitude from which it was generated

What is the interest considering my contribution to the course?

12.-Attitudes: how to tackle the problem independent of the outcome

Have I tried to solve with intellectual and material effort to present the proposal. The project has developed enough quality

Presentation:

The whole course will be developed in the social networks. We will create a web-page for the video presentations. Facebook and twitter will be used for the communication between students.

Here, you can see an example of the webpage we usually create every year to implement the information between students. The Word press page is also accurate for the presentations in order not to plot the work and spend money every week. We usually present the students work with the computer and the projector through the web.

http://alvado-gironella.blogspot.com.es/

We will start the year with a web page TED. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

http://www.ted.com

We will see the following lecturers to start with a vision of what is happening in the contemporary architecture

Magnus Larsson. “Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself. Magnus Larsson hopes to build new structures in the desert — by using bacteria to turn shifting sand into a solid mass.”

Rachel Armstrong. “Venice is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too. TED Fellow Rachel Armstrong is a sustainability innovator who creates new materials that possess some of the properties of living systems, and can be manipulated to “grow” architecture.”

Liz Diller. “In this engrossing EG talk, architect Liz Diller shares her firm DS+R’s more unusual work, including the Blur Building, whose walls are made of fog, and the revamped Alice Tully Hall, which is wrapped in glowing wooden skin. Liz Diller and her maverick firm DS+R bring a groundbreaking approach to big and small projects in architecture, urban design and art — playing with new materials, tampering with space and spectacle in ways that make you look twice.”

Alastair Parvin. “Designer Alastair Parvin presents a simple but provocative idea: what if, instead of architects creating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses? The concept is at the heart of WikiHouse, an open source construction kit that means just about anyone can build a house, anywhere. Alastair Parvin believes in making architecture accessible to 100 percent of the population.”

Norman Foster. “Architect Norman Foster discusses his own work to show how computers can help architects design buildings that are green, beautiful and “basically pollution-free.” From the 2007 DLD Conference, Munich; www.dld-conference.com

Sir Norman Foster, winner of the 1999 Pritzker Prize, is perhaps the leading urban stylist of our age. His elegant, efficient buildings grace cities around the globe.”

Cameron Sinclair. “Accepting his 2006 TED Prize, Cameron Sinclair demonstrates how passionate designers and architects can respond to world housing crises. He unveils his TED Prize wish for a network to improve global living standards through collaborative design.

2006 TED Prize winner Cameron Sinclair is co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, a nonprofit that seeks architecture solutions to global crises — and acts as a conduit between the design community and the world’s humanitarian needs.”

Thomas Heatherwick. “Building the Seed Cathedral. A future more beautiful? Architect Thomas Heatherwick shows five recent projects featuring ingenious bio-inspired designs. Some are remakes of the ordinary: a bus, a bridge, a power station … And one is an extraordinary pavilion, the Seed Cathedral, a celebration of growth and light.”

After the presentation we will start with the Worth Spreading ideas of all the students, teacher and researchers.