Contingent Processing: The Making of Episodic Architecture
Written: September 2012
The following is a series of excerpts from my thesis at the Architectural Association.
Part 01 : CONTEXT FOR EPISODIC ARCHITECTURE
PROVIDING A FRAMEWORK | The intention of this thesis is to develop a framework to provide knowledge and a flexible methodology for creating episodic architecture – that is by definition smart spatial design to support and enhance temporary cultural events in the city. This thesis proposes that using this framework will allow for a predetermined and permanent afterlife for design elements that guarantees sustainability as an inherent feature of the process and that the feasibility of multi-phase episodic architecture projects is reliant on simultaneous engagement of both public and private sectors(….)
Contingent and Processing are two terms that will occur often in this thesis. Both were selected for the relevant potential of their multiple meanings. Contingent is defined first as “conditional / varying based on circumstance”, and second as “a collective within a larger network”. The first definition refers to the manner in which the design process of episodic architecture must perform. A fundamental aspect of this process is the ability to make productive adjustments when necessary and to adapt to evolving conditions. The second definition refers to the idea that episodic architecture exists in an expert creative network. When understood as matters of concern, episodic architecture, along with its creators, become actants in the larger network of ‘spatial culture’ (Latour p303). The second term, Processing, refers, most obviously, to the idea of design as an active and evolving process, which is an argument at the crux of this thesis. Alternatively, the term can also mean, “to carry out operations on data or programs”(1). This second definition alludes to the importance and influence of technology on episodic architecture. Without the accelerated technological advances of the past decade these projects simply could not exist.
REALITY CHECK | In 2010, LSE Cities, a Deutsche Bank funded research program at the London School of Economics, published a volume of research on the urban condition. The circulated research highlighted three important points, amidst many, relevant to the creation of the framework generated by this thesis.
 Why urban? Cities are growing. The United Nations has predicted that by 2050 the world’s population will be between 9-10 billion (UN DESA 2011), three quarters of which will dwell in cities (LEC pg34). This urban growth and densification will require, amongst many other things, that society develop programs to support smart use of efficiently planned spaces.
 Why cultural? Urban human potential is increasing. The Human Development Index (HDI), which measures education attainment, life expectancy, and economic development, is universally increasing at rates that indicate a more uniform global distribution (LEC pg40). Higher HDI levels reflect the potential of cities to provide occupants with better hard and soft infrastructure that sustain an overall improved quality of life. This means that, in addition to improvements in sanitation, and transportation, there will be a demand for new cultural spaces and events in the city.
 Why multiple phases? Urban work is shifting. Major cities across the globe are transitioning from manufacturing to knowledge-based economies (LEC pg264). Movement away from economies of physical production means increased difficulty in sourcing local building materials for architecture projects in the city. Resultant transport distances for attainable construction materials will add to projects’ overall carbon footprint(2). The economic transition from industry to information is necessary for progress, and so it is thereby necessary to adjust to these new conditions by developing new strategies. Adaptive reuse of local spaces and materials will be a key tactic in sustainably navigating the changing nature of 21st century cities.
Consideration of these three points is critical in generating ecological urbanism, a concept that aims to sustain our evolving urban condition(3)(Mostafavi pg17). Architects, engineers, planners, scientists, artist, sociologist, alongside urbanists have been developing creative projects that explore the conflict between the natural environment and man-made cities for centuries. The current generation of these thinkers has already been set to work: investigating strategies for productive urban landscapes, developing minimal spaces that maximize quality of life, and designing public spaces that intelligently salvage and adaptively reuse materials. The continuation and further exploration of these core ideas is fundamental to the development of episodic architecture.
THE ARCHITECTURE THAT WE KNOW | Architecture has historically operated within innumerable contexts across scales, philosophies, cultural ecologies, political movements, and economic models, consistently undertaking not only edifice but also objects and space, itself, as an entity to be designed. The 1932 International Exhibition of Modern Architecture at MoMA New York, married architecture and technology in the public eye through Modernist ideals and from that point forward technology became an inextricable part of the making of architecture. Digital design tools have since defined and redefined the style and formal qualities of architectural projects infiltrating ideas about fabrication, ornamentation, project management, and conceptual design. Still, despite these explorations, an unwavering image of the architecture is that of brick and mortar, and with the exception of a few temporary installations traditional architectural typologies have remained unchanged. Episodic architecture aims to counter this stagnation and re-envision the potential and shape of the typical contemporary architectural projects that exist in our cities.
THE LIVES THAT WE LEAD | The 21st century city is a complex dynamic network thriving on systems of interconnected domains of capital, which contemporary urban theorist Charles Landry (2008, p60 & xlvii) separates into fields of human, social, cultural, intellectual, scientific, creative, democratic, environmental, leadership, financial, and time. It is the capitol of time, that allows (or disallows) for the construction, usage, and longevity of urban spaces. The acceleration of time, via constant updates to digital technology and the over-saturated information landscape that we traverse daily, has propelled society into a culture of rapid speed and endless flux bolstered by the ubiquitous shifts and flows of urban transit systems, global economics, and cyber technologies(4).
Cities and their occupants have adapted relatively quickly to this new pace perhaps because our transient nature is not so much a coincidence. Movement is, after all, a part of innate human stasis – meaning that if ever the electrons, that constantly move about every nucleus which comprise all matter that construct our physical reality, came to a halt, then our reality would cease to exist as we know it(5). The argument then is that if human-life is engineered by movement and transformations, then the built environment in which it exists should reflect this fact. Episodic architecture is designed to accommodate this societal need.
NEW SPATIAL NEEDS | Sustainable evolution requires that we understand and actively respond to our surroundings. In order to generate appropriate responses, it is necessary to consider all scales from the planet, to the built environment, down to the way in which individual members of contemporary society live. The current conditions at each scale, outlined above, call for environmentally conscious projects that may transform in order to generate various spatial designs for cultural exchange at urban centers. Episodic architecture answers this call by creating event(6) spaces, where the events are made of an indeterminate set of occurrences (Tschumi, 2000, pg13). For the purpose of this thesis, event space exists specifically at the intersection of a happening and spatial design.
Part 02 : DESIGN PROCESS
FINDING BALANCE | In Chinese philosophy, opposing forces are considered to be interconnected in a reciprocal relationship where one gives rise to the other and vice versa. Episodic architecture embodies this principle as it addresses matters of permanence and accessibility – creating private temporary cultural event spaces pre-processed for a permanent public afterlife in the city(...)
What if….the Basketball Arena at London 2012(8) was reconfigured into hundreds of small public contemporary arts centers, or the stall structures from Curve NY(9) fashion tradeshow were able to be converted into handicap accessible playground equipment in low income neighborhoods, or the dinner tables/market stalls from AoI 40°3° found new form as a rainscreen one of the new construction project at Matadero Madrid(10).
Each of these transformative scenarios represents a potential Two-Phase Design project, which aims to find balance between temporary and permanent projects by combining separate episodes and linking them through a common design lineage and shared materiality. It proposes that privately-funded temporary events which require physical spatial design can be adaptively reused in alternative ways to create permanent public works that better urban communities; and, in this way two-phase designs provide a two-fold multi-demographic solution to increases in the Human Development Index noted in Part01. The process necessary to successfully generate these complex projects is reliant on a flexible design strategy, thorough design engineering, and intensive project management. This process is defined as Contingent Processing.
THE DESIGN CONTINGENT | A core principle of episodic architecture is that collaboration produces enriched results within a well-managed framework. This belief presumes that the disciplinary autonomy customary to architectural design must be abandoned in order to more efficiently and effectively produce quality work. However, abandonment does not mean that architects should become “multidisciplinary” themselves and further exploit their stereotypical generalist role. Rather, it calls for the development of an interprofessional team that taps into the expert within-discipline knowledge of each member, who ideally hail from various professional fields and global locations. Individual team members with ‘deep smarts’ from their field will speed up workflow by efficiently completing profession-specific tasks thereby freeing up space for group creativity (Napier pg29). Innovation and creativity can then be generated as a bi-product of the team’s collective intelligence(11).
The composition of the design contingent defines the potential of its collective intelligence and is therefore critical to its success. When assembling a team to create episodic architecture one must consider profession and persona, as both play a fundamental role in collaboration. However, profession and persona are not mutually exclusive, so it is important to define all roles and then select individuals for the team based on ability to ideally fulfill at least one persona type in addition to their profession. Personas tend to be related to people skills, work ethic, and life experience, while professions are directly related to fields of study and practical application. The following are the 5 core personas necessary to create episodic architecture(12).
Explorer(…)curious visionaries(…)worldly extroverted researchers(…)
Inventor(…)creative intellectuals(…)concept designers(…)
Strategist(...)pragmatic problem-solvers(…)goal-oriented realists(…)
Conductor(…)quiet leaders(...)confident logistical planner(…)
Nurturer(…)patient caregiver(…)the people person(…)
In addition the specific personas, episodic architecture also requires that all team members be “T-shaped” meaning that they have a depth of knowledge in one field, but enjoy a breadth of knowledge in many fields (Kelley 76). A team of “T”s make cross-pollenating between disciplines and ideas easier because the “T-shaped” individuals tend to be inclined to be both teachers and students(…)
The design contingent is proposed as a 12-profession assemblage with varying professional expertise.
1. Urbanist(…)reports on the city at a micro-scale(…)
2. Economist(...)is a macro-scale advisor(…)
3. Philanthropist(…)investigates social problems and cultural opportunities for public projects(...)
4. Architect(…)designs and organizes spatial layouts and constructions(…)
5. A|V Artist(...)uses performative elements to create atmospheres and experiences(…)
6. Designer(…)creates human-scale project elements(…)
7. Graphic Designer(…)produces printed and web-based materials to communicate the project(…)
8. Engineer(…)solves technical issues to ensure practicality, safety, and cost are achieved...
9. Operations Manager(…)oversees accounting, legal matters, facilities maintenance, etc(...)
10. Project Manager(…)organizes, manages, and plans each project from start to finish(…)
11. Event Manager(…)manages necessary connections to external collaborators(...)
12. Public Relations Manager...manages marketing and social networking(…)
The structure of the design contingent defines the many aspects of the design process - the most important of which is group decision making. The entire team is involved in Networking and Design Processing, and these phases, not by coincidence, are the most instrumental in fostering the overall direction of the project. They require that the group reach agreements, not compromises, regularly on matters large and small. Success is achieved when all contingent members are able to contribute in order to shape a project that embodies the richness born of their collective intelligence. Collaborating in this way provides a passive quality control mechanism during ideation, as no idea will pass through the process without being considered by each professional discipline represented in the design contingent. This fact ensures that episodic architecture will never be one-dimensional and will always be in tune with its surroundings.
ACHIEVING CONTINGENT CONSENSUS | (…)Individuals arrive at group consensuses regularly in their daily lives. Consensus is the typical process by which decisions are made on what to do, where to go, and when to act in a social setting. Often times, several ideas or suggestions are made and the group agrees on one. This is, of course, not a scientific method and there are many instances of disagreement based on individual expectations, motives, opinions, and desires. However, generally, it is an accepted method for causal group decision making in scenarios where the stakes are low. If, for example, the group decides to go to a restaurant that a particular individual is adamantly opposed to, then he/she can simply decide not to go with little or no consequence. However, as stakes increase, so too does the level of difficulty in reaching a consensus.
Nemawashi (根回し) is a Japanese term, which is often translated to ‘laying the groundwork’. In 2003, Dr. Jeffry Liker, a University of Michigan Professor of Industrial Operations and Engineering wrote the Toyota Way, a profile of the manufacturer’s lean management principles. The 13th principle is to “make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering options; implement decisions rapidly - nemawashi”. The process, though time-consuming upfront, helps to increase the breadth of potential solutions by collecting ideas from all parties involved and then subsequently allows for rapid execution because all parties are in agreement on the path forward (Liker pg40). Nemawashi promotes communication of ideas and their consequences across project networks, relying on flexibility in order to synthesize design.
If the design contingent can apply nemawashi to collectively define the project’s concept and overcome the typical barriers to consensus that arise when creative individuals have personal attachments to a priori ideas, then moving forward to design development will become a fluid process(13).
PROCESSING NETWORK ENERGY | Being and staying flexible is an imperative of postmodernism. If you’re flexible, you relate – to space, to themes, to your own time, to history, politics and people(14).
In the late nineties, there was much discussion of how to navigate the new technological terrain. The discourse often broached the topic through speculations in formal potentiality validated by theoretical writings of the poststructuralist generation of French thinkers that include Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Lacan. In the haze of excitement aroused by the ability to produce never-before-seen 3-dimensional shapes and spaces, the approach regularly failed to recognize the relevance of process required to produce these new forms. In 1998, Mark Goulthrope of dECOi wrote an essay on “Technic Praxis” in which he hypothesizes the experimental process energized by the internal dynamics of an architectural design project (Goulthrope 44). He proposes that time and force are inherent aspects of the “new” creative process and that force itself propels design into a new realm of cultural potential, in addition to opening the gates to the boundless spectrum of latent forms. This notion of a force-based paradigm need not be limited to computation i.e. within-device technological processing. If instead, the principles of dynamics are applied to the entire project network, which may include computational processing, the potential for new forms of cultural projects exponentially increase.
Each two-phase design is situated within a project-specific network comprised of the people, objects, processes, settings, regulations, etc, that actively influence Design Processing. These active elements and circumstances originate from sources either internal or external to the Design Contingent and exert a force on the form of design. Force, with respect to both time (sequencing and duration) and scale (magnitude), can then be considered as a variable of the creative process. It is the various combinations of these forces, when productively used as mediation tools that ultimately generate the look and feel of the final design. Intelligent flexibility is required when working with network forces, to allow for the shaping and reshaping of the resultant output design while still maintaining an alliance with the previously established project concept. In this way the project is never compromised by its flexibility, it is merely recalibrated.
For the production of episodic architecture, specifically two-phase design, network forces render the event spaces to the fullest of their cultural potential. Understanding the difference between internal and external forces is crucial to using them constructively. Internal forces are relegated primarily to the design contingent members and the physical/digital tools as well as facilities that they require. External forces, then, include elements such as the public and private client entities essential for each project, design network partners, city/site specific policies, budget, schedule, and even weather. Internal forces typically will have a greater magnitude than their external cohorts because they are the forces that ultimately sustain design processing.
EMERGENCE OF THE DESIGN LINEAGE | Roads may fork or by-ways be opened along which dissociated elements may evolve in an independent manner, but nevertheless it is in virtue of the primitive impetus of the whole that the movement of the parts continue(15).
At the onset of the 20th century, French philosopher, Henri Bergson, wrote extensively on the relationship between process and life, proposed that objects and occurrences alike are inextricably tied to the dynamic system of processes that brings them into existence(16). Bergson hypothesizes that ‘pure mechanism’ is not plausible because in the wake ‘accidents’, life manufactures ‘divergent lines of evolution’ (Bergson 54). Considering then the force-based paradigm proposed by this thesis in Processing Network Energy, a singular and pre-determined project is not possible because the project’s internal and external forces will inevitably result in a non-linear trajectory, where junctions of digressive designs arise out of network opportunities and contingency plans. This trajectory is the Design Lineage.
There are 4 categories for junctions in the Design Lineage: Tangential Work, Contingency Planning, Network Opportunities, and Multi-life Engineering.
Tangential Works are the most divergent of all four junctions and accordingly they possess the most potential for experimentation. Tangential junctions occur at moments of traumatic phenomena during the Design Processing phase. Traumatic phenomena can be defined as events that result in injury, damage, distress, disruption and/or termination. Their subsequent tangential works are born of this incurred misfortune and attempt to translate negative incidence into positive opportunity by supplementing the design process with additional side or tangent projects – in essence finding good in bad situations through design. The end product of tangential works need not be aligned with the original project concept; however, it should serve to bolster the Design Contingent through increased within-discipline knowledge. Tangential works also do not require a client – a fact that combined with their experimental nature and pursuit of new expert knowledge may result in the wrongful identification of the projects as independent and research-based. This perception is most certainly false, as even in their most nascent state the work is treated as a new design project complete with a new concept to be subjected to the same Design Processing that it was born of(…)
Contingency Planning junctions occur when deadlines are nearing and things have not gone, per say, as originally planned – as they most tend to do. These junctions are moments in the Design Processing phase where creative adjustments must be made to move the design forward. Contingency Planning requires that materials and methods be altered in pursuit of the project concept. They are typically tailored to have fast and tangible results. If Tangential Works are forks in the Design Lineage, then Contingency Planning can be thought of as a bend. Contingency Planning maintains the project’s original client and project goals, but represent an instance of necessary, yet still designed, mutation in the formal qualities of the final project(…)
Network Opportunities manifest themselves in the Design Lineage as extensions of other physical designs generated during Design Processing, Component Fabrication, or Phase 1|2 Installation. Network Opportunities are afterlife scenarios for artifacts of the Design Lineage via a fecund re-appropriation process. They are the bi-product of network connections and usually require an agreement between network partners. The benefit of these opportunities is the great net gain from minimum input work for maximum exposure, a feature that augments the potential for additional future projects. These opportunities may include, but are not limited to, the creation of alternative temporary or permanent event spaces independent of their project of origin, the sale of an idea or artifact, or the public showcasing of formerly private work(…)
The final type of junction is Multi-life Engineering or the embedding of multiple designs into the project’s physical matter during the Design Processing phase. Multi-life Engineering is not about reactionary design and retrofitting. It is focused on pre-planning and prototyping to manufacture intelligent designs. The Multi-life Engineering junctions represent the major points along the Design Lineage logging the culmination of each phase of a project. Multi-life Engineering is a fundamental principle of 2-Phase Design, as each project is structured to have at least 2 lives: a private temporary event followed by permanent public works project. The Multi-life Engineering junctions rely on digital technologies to predetermine two different formal approaches to solve different design problems using the same materials. In order to achieve this goal, the Architect and Engineer must work closely together to resolve fastening and bracing scenarios in addition to component sizing, such that the solutions are flexible, removable, and/or adjustable to preserve the aesthetic nature of the assemblage(...)
The development of a catalogue with typical details to accommodate potential flexible scenarios for different materials will serve as a design reference, similar to Architectural Graphic Standards(19), in order to accelerate production time and sustain continuous innovation. Innovation in Multi-life Engineering is reliant on an up-to-date knowledge of available materials, fixings, and technologies for custom fabrication methods required for the translation between the preset phases. The catalogue of the information should be an ongoing piece of research that continuously develops with each element of each Design Lineage.
Each junction on a project’s Design Lineage is a sustainable tactic. Without waving a Green flag, junctions employ responsible design practices through their passive pursuit of an afterlife for project materials and methods. Junctions do not have to proclaim their sustainable temperament because they can boast, instead, a robust quality design born of the Design Contingent’s collective intelligence. Multi-life Engineering broaches the topic of episodic architecture with a sustainable attitude with respect to the ratio of material life to project duration; and, in doing so, it becomes the singular most important part of 2-Phase Design. It undertakes the necessity of embedding intelligence into structure beyond what is standard for architectural practice – an action that yields opportunity for both private events and public works. The Robinhood-esque(20) scheme provides a mutually beneficial product for both client entities involved(…)
In general, lives seem to veer abruptly from one thing to another, to jostle and bump, to squirm. A person heads in one direction, turns sharply in mid-course, stalls, drifts, starts up again. Nothing is ever known, and inevitably we come to a place quite different from the one we set out for(22).
Like the coincidences, chances, and occasional failures of Paul Auster’s plots, the junctions of Design Processing motivate action. They pave a road map for the making of Episodic Architecture, actively calling attention to conditions that have always been a part of the production of architecture and resolving to capitalize on each part of the process regardless of circumstance. The Design Lineage is “the sum (of) contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events(23) ” that declare outright the importance of elasticity in the Design Processing.
NECESSITY OF A FIX POINT | For all of the agility and flexibility that Design Processing boasts, ironically the pinnacle of a Two-Phase Design is the Fix Point. The existence of the Fix Point poses a time-based limitation, or control, on Design Processing. This control is both an operation and a parameter. As an operation, it transmutes the tasks of the Design Contingent morphing the looseness of their processing into a structured production program. Conversely, as a parameter, the Fix Point represents the constraints and realities of deadlines. The Fix Point’s parametric manner renders it a constant and passive force akin to those previously discussed in Processing Network Energy.
By virtue, Fix Point is the point of ‘no return’ in a Two-Phase Design project when fabrication of components commences and construction/installation follows closely behind. At the Fix Point there is no longer need for design engineering, as all components have been thoroughly considered and prototyped during Design Processing. From a practical standpoint, the thoroughness of Design Processing is an exercise in optimization that will mitigate the Sketch Revisions (SKs) typical to the construction administration phase of a standard contemporary architectural project and, in an architectural utopia, it would serve eliminate the need for corrections, clarifications, and changes following the Fix Point(…)
Part 03 : Managing Mutability
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT | Rules of Engagement (ROE) is a military term that refers to responses permitted in the course of duty that comply with the law of armed conflict initially established at the Geneva and Hague Convention(24). There is no political agenda behind the use of this term. Its relevance to Episodic Architecture is rooted in the mission of ROE to provide a legal framework in which military personnel should behave. This framework takes into consideration circumstances that may arise which require action outside of the ‘rules’ and allows a degree of tolerance for these actions with proper justification. The same level adaptability inherent to ROE, as well as Design Processing, can, and should, be applied to the managerial sector of Episodic Architecture(...)
HURDLING DESIGN PROCESS BARRIERS | Bringing together people from different backgrounds to work together creatively to produce a singular project is anything but easy. There are many barriers, stemming from issues of location, system, psychology, and physiology, which need to be overcome in order to create Episodic Architecture(…)Understanding that barriers will always exist in a project is crucial to productively negotiating them. The solution will rarely be the same, which is why establishing Rules of Engagement is the optimal. Episodic Architecture is not produced by a leaderless Design Contingent; rather, it is the product of a rotating leader that adapts, much like Design Processing itself, by empowering particular individuals during the different phases. Thereby, the mutability of Episodic Architecture’s project management will work in tandem with the Design Processing that creates it.
ENTERING THE VOID | Tomography is a technique that uses transmitters and receivers to pass electromagnetic waves through matter to determine a materials compositional massing. The process is used by geophysicists to locate oil and other natural resources that exists below the Earth’s surface. To do so, the scientist typically drill boreholes on the perimeter of an area they are interested in surveying, fill them with the electromagnetic devices, and then measure the frequency and velocity of the transmitting waves to determine the porosity of the zone. Permeability is then measured by tracing fissures in the matter that enable the flow of material, such as oil, between voids. In her book The Creative Discipline, Nancy Napier compares this geophysical method to a means of managing creativity (Napier 191). For the purpose of this thesis, tomography can be thought of as a metaphor specific to managing Design Processing.
In this comparative process, the bounded matter can be likened to Design Processing and the located voids might be seen as spaces for profession-specific ideation. Void spaces will manifest themselves as design charettes and circulating representations of ideas. The fissures in the system are analogous with the essential flow of ideas between the different professions involved in the making of Episodic Architecture, while the boreholes themselves can be considered the Design Contingent (transmitter) and Two-Phase Design projects (receivers). In this model, more fissures equal greater permeability, which can be equivocated to increased flow of ideas between the team; and so, just like the geophysicists, where natural cracks are not present it is necessary to artificially induce them to create connectivity. The primary intension is to create a network of voids the enable a productive dialogue between the interprofessional team.
Part 04: CONCLUSION
At the core of this thesis is an argument for assembly – the making of a of parliament of objects, processes and people that can produce Episodic Architecture (Latour MTP 27). Without ever conjuring a complete specific instance of Episodic Architecture, in a deliberate attempt to leave its formal potentials untethered, the thesis explores the means and methods needed to produce urban episodes. These episodes, which are defined as smart spatial design to support and enhance temporary cultural events in the city, are the by-product of a curated assemblage that is situated in both the public and private sectors. Acting as a guidebook, but not an instructional manual, the thesis first explains the contextual relevance of these projects, second outlines the type of necessary human design input, then sets forth a strategy for design technique, and finally suggests how to facilitate the proposed ever-evolving process.
Translation is defined as the process of change or conversion to another form or appearance(26). In addition to the Angles of Incidence event series, this thesis proposed Two-Phase Design as a category of Episodic Architecture that specially focused on the potential for temporary architecture to navigate the public/private threshold. Within the last decade political scientists, have brought forward several theories on the “Third Sector”, which can be described as the intersection of the elements, goals and methodologies of the private (industry) and the public (government)(Napier 16). The Third Sector is required to address issues that are not covered thoroughly by the operations of either sector. The mass dissemination of culture is an example of an issue that commonly slips through the cracks. This slippage occurs because it is not clear who exactly should be sponsoring cultural events and accordingly both the public and private sectors fund a spattering of culture with a loose agenda. In light of this problematic lack of clarity, many emerging businesses are now implementing Public Private Partnership (PPP) within their new corporate structure (Napier 16). This means two things for Episodic Architecture. First, the notion that there is market for temporary events in the city is valid; and, secondly, that the desire to create architecture for events navigate both private and public sectors, essentially solving multiple issues via one design path, is a powerful argument that positions Two-Phase Design very well to engage with the new PPPs as potential clients.
In the Fall of 2008, the Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government launched a ”fully integrated joint-degree program in business (private) and government (public) that represents an innovation approach to preparing leaders for a growing area of practice important to global society”(27). The program is undeniably geared towards finding solutions to Third Sector problems that bridge the gap between private and public. This thesis argues that design can be a powerful medium to solve many of these issues addressed by the program through interventions in the built environment. In this way integrating Harvard’s Graduate School of Design as a participant in the joint-degree program could be a lucrative initiative. Doing so could pave a way for Episodic Architecture.
Simplexity is a theory about the relationship between complexity and simplicity. In his 2008 book titled Simplexity : How Simple Things become Complex (And How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple), Jeff Klunger proposes that complexity actually exists between the states of chaos and stability and typically appear simple (figure 30 – Complexity Arc) (Klunger 28). As this thesis has described, the making of Episodic Architecture is complex. It requires many purposefully moving parts to come together to produce two projects under a blanket one, which exists at the top of Klunger’s Complexity Arc. The framework provided by this thesis aims to manage chaos and control stability to allow for complexity to resolve itself in smart and simple designs in the city defined as Episodic Architecture.
1 Definitions for ‘contingent’ and ‘processing’ taken from Dictionary.com
2 Carbon dioxide emissions from buildings are set to rise from the 2004 level of 8.6 billion tons to 11.1 billion tons in 2020 (UNEP 2011).
3 Ecological Urbanism is a term coined by Moshen Mostafavi, Dean of The Harvard Graduate School of Design, in a 2010 publication. The term calls to light a new sensibility about the environment and the city, where the conflict between ecology and urbanism is resolved through design innovation rather than conventional solutions.
4 The Lives That We Lead is a summary of research from my previous coursework for the AAIS Cultural Generators Term Paper submitted on 23-Apr-2012 titled Permanent – Not Fixed: A Time and Space for Slivers.
5 The condition of the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of weakly interacting bosons confined in an external potential and cooled to temperatures very near absolute zero (0K or −273.15 °C) proposed by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924–25 (Arora pg43). At absolute zero, material is in BEC where it is hypothesized that particle movement stops, wave functions of electrons would disperse through the material and it would breakdown. In BEC chemistry is meaningless, thereby rendering material properties non-earthly. However, 0K has not yet been reached, so actually no one knows (information from a survey internet-based physic forums).
6 In Architecture & Disjunction, published in 1995, Bernard Tschumi raises the question “is (there) no space without event, no architecture without program?” (pg139). Also notable in the lineage of the architectural ‘event’ is that this concept was borrowed from French theorist, Guy Debord. and Situationist International (S.I.) of the 1960s (pg255).
7 The Blur Building was defined by it’s creators as ‘the making of nothing’. For the temporary Expo project, Diller and Scofidio considered how the architecture of a impermanent nonentity could have a permanent effect. The team resolved approach the creation of a lasting architecture through the distribution of documentation that described the process of making the indelible spectacle of the blur (Diller 2002). Publically circulating this information was, for Diller Scofidio, to create an aftereffect long after it’s fog-infrastructure and bridges were dismantled.
8 The Basketball Stadium at the London 2012 Olympic Games, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, was conceived as a temporary structure erected of 20,00 sqm of lightweight phthalate‐free and recyclable PVC components and a portable steel frame. The intention is to relocate, and potentially reconfigure, these materials into a new arena after the 2012 Games have concluded (information from 22 July 2012 ArchDaily internet-post).
9 Curve NY is one New York City’s largest fashion tradeshow held biannually at the Javits Center. Every year Curve hosts over 250 different international and domestic sellers, who either rent pre-fabricated stalls or design and build temporary booths.
10 Beginning in 2005 with renovation work to the 148,300 square meter facility on the Madrid's newly developed riverfront, Matadero Madrid has become a living, changing space catering for creative processes, participatory artistic training and dialogue between the arts. It was created as a reflection on the contemporary socio-cultural environment, as well as to support processes for constructing the culture of today and tomorrow.
11 Collective intelligence is a concept explored in depth in the late 1990s, with the rise of Internet technologies. French media scholar, Pierre Levy, a pioneer of the topic, noted that it is born of the idea that “no one knows everything (and) everyone knows something” (Levy p14).
12 The idea for 5 personas was derived from IDEO’s 10 Faces of Innovation developed by Tom Kelley, the general manager of IDEO. The formulating of each character draws on Jung’s individuation theory written in Psychological Types, 1923.
13 An alternative to nemawashi, is the manner in which AAIS 2011/12 arrived at a concept for the Angles of Incidence project. In a meeting with the “fresh eyes” of external tutors, the studio used a method of distillation - viewing each individual’s ideas as an entity of potential. This method affords the opportunity to distill the ideas down to their basic make-up. Once all of the ideas are exposed in their raw form, they can then be juxtaposed and overlaps can much easier be identified as well as agreed upon. Fundamental differences can much easier be revealed when ideas are in this pure state. It took the AAIS studio 6 months to arrive at a consensus for a concept; and, it only came about after each student’s design project was decomposed to its most basic intensions and those intentions were then compared with course goals and objectives. In that moment, the concept became almost obvious (fig. initial project decomposition).
14 M. Heller, ‘A Matter of Posture’, in Sagmeister: Another Book about Promotion and Sales Material, ed. C. Prod'Hom, New York, 2011, p. 64
15 H. Bergson, ‘The Evolution of Life -- Mechanism and Teleology’, in Creative Evolution, trans. A. Mitchell, New York, 1911, p. 54
16 Writings refer to Creative Evolution (1907) and Matter and Memory (1896) by Henri Bergson both translated to English in 1911.
17 Steel is the world’s most recyclable material. Worldwide, steel scrap is regularly collected, re-melted, and formed into new usable steel forms. In 2008, more than 475 million tonnes of steel scrap was diverted from the waste stream into the recycling stream. This figure is greater than the total combined amount reported for other recyclable materials, including paper, plastic, glass, copper, lead, and aluminum. In a 2010 report by the World Steel Association, it was estimated that by 2050 the steel recycling industry will have the capacity to recycle an additional 38 million tonnes - a figure that implies 90% of all steel used for construction, automotive, machinery, appliances, and shipping containers will be recycled. The paramount recyclability of steel combined with advancements in production techniques that mitigate carbon emissions, make it a smart choice for sustainable design (World Steel Association pg3).
18 The Nigerian Hospiality House was sponsored by New World Nigeria, an initiative by the Bank of Nigeria, designed by Mappamundi Design collective. The project brought together different professionals from across the globe to create a temporary event space that was exemplary of Nigerian culture.
19 First published in 1932 by Wiley, Architectural Graphic Standards (AGS) is a comprehensive resource for architects, builders, draftsmen, engineers, students, interior designers, real estate professionals. The book is a visual reference of typical architectural and construction data as well as details, which continues to change and expand with each new edition as it takes into consideration advances in the field.
20 Robin Hood was a vigilante in English folklore. His motto was to take from the rich and give to the poor.
21 The contemporary arts program at Matadero Madrid consists of a reading center, a design center, a cinema with an archive, cultural & art center, a music facility, a performing arts center, flexible exhibition spaces, restaurants, and cafes. During my time in Madrid, there were discussions about the potential of opening an architecture center/school in one of the undeveloped Naves. This is the site of the presented speculative Phase II Multi-life Engineering project for 40°3°.
22 P. Auster, The Locked Room, Penguin, New York 1988, p. 87.
23 P. Auster, The Locked Room, Penguin, New York 1988, p. 35.
24 J. Stewart, “Towards a single definition of armed conflict in international humanitarian law: A critique of internationalized armed conflict,” IRRC Vol. 85 No 850 (June 2003): 313-339.
25 The best option for dispersed creative collaboration is ConceptShare, an online collaboration environment that allows teams to live edit and discuss any file type. It handles video, image, text, vector files alongside organizational tools and a text/video communication interface. Although ConceptShare does not allow for live editing of computation design it does have the capacity for file sharing. Frankly, the only pitfall is the cost, which unfortunately is more geared to its corporate client-based – HBO, BestBuy, EA, Sainsbury, etc. (Information taken from http://www.conceptshare.com/)
26 Definition for ‘translation’ is taken from Dictionary.com
27 Quote from HBS/HKS Joint Degree Program mission statement at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/degrees/masters/joint-degrees/harvard-university-joint-degrees/hks-hbs-degree
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