Subdivisions, Squishing, and Objects in Objects

suckerPUNCH, March, 2013
For the past two years I have been focusing on the relationships between objects, and what I call ‘the problem of subdivisions’. ‘Subdivisions’ has two meanings for me. The first is in terms of how buildings can be dealt with in terms of wholes rather than part-to-whole relations. I am tired of how building massing, interior, articulation, and ground tend to be dealt with hierarchically in contemporary architecture, or one after the other, towards a consequent and linear relation of systems and subsystems.

Imagine instead a horizontal plane, where massing, interior, articulation, and ground are things-in-themselves, and can all influence each other equally but differently. One cannot usurp or subjugate another. Each has some degree of autonomy, although they communicate with one another, push into or anticipate one another, anything just short of fusing together. I call this ‘Objects in Objects on Objects’. Specifically, we are considering enclosing objects, internal objects, and ground objects, an objective which links back to Kipnis’ ‘box-in-a-box’ problem in Towards a New Architecture (1993) . Whether these objects are inside one another or on top of one another, they retain their discrete character. The silhouette of an internal object is just as important as the silhouette of the enclosing object, as in an aquarium full of fish. The ground in this model is no longer the receiver of architecture, but rather a pulled-up, dug-out architectural object in its own right, which communicates with other architectural objects and the land it inhabits.

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