GSD Course Bulletin - Spring 2012

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:53:34.

Courses taught by George L. Legendre

01316: Real and Imaginary Variables (STU 0131600)

Architecture
Option Studio - 8 credits - Limited enrollment
This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. Please see full course description.
Monday Tuesday 2:00 - 6:00  

Instructor(s)
George L. Legendre

Course Description

Halfway between the socially responsive discourse of programmatic freedom and the alleged futility of parametric form-giving, this studio celebrates architecture’s critical return to form. Our interest in the topic of form is neither aesthetic nor ideological. Contrary to the notion of shape (with which it is often confused), form is for us a syntactic, procedural, and (increasingly) technical proposition with a fair amount of disciplinary autonomy, like the study of language in the 1970s -or the more recent emergence of object-orientation in the software industry.
Our past briefs have systematically explored the architectural potential of the variable parametric surface, a conceptual vehicle chosen for its relentless abstraction and relative resistance to predictable questions of function and architectural figuration. The investigation continues.
In conjunction with the spring term elective VIS-02404-00 Superficial Spaces, this studio will aim to produce sophisticated (if counter-intuitive) new formal prototypes –incorporated into a pragmatic urban and architectural proposals located in a variety of sites ordained by size and character and sited in South Korea, Norway, and the United States. 
Real and Imaginary Variables
Building on the disciplinary ambition of the recently concluded high-rise design experiment conducted between 2007 and 2011 on sites ranging from Singapore to New York (‘Rising Masses’ 1, 2 and 3), we will further explore the seminal thesis of architecture as a complex interplay of desire and automatic writing.
Architecture, in this view, depends on achieving a practical and theoretical balance between real and imaginary variables: real variables depend on empirical knowledge of a given type, site, and programme; imaginary variables depend on the equally important though far less rational properties of indexical modelling (term to be defined). The two parts of the typological equation need one another to fulfil themselves: without the imaginary part, a type withers into predictability and repetition; without the real one, it is merely self-fulfilling and forfeits all relevance.
Beyond the single, mono-functional, and ‘semi-automatic’ brief of high-rise dwelling, we will open up the real part of the typological equation to more types of drastically different scales and uses, some well-rounded, others less so, in the spirit of open exploration, and at the participants discretion . In every other respect our objective will remain the same: to figure out fresh ways in which a formal analytic model (otherwise known as a seed) might correlate to a building type’s functional organization, programmatic uses and affinities, material structure, etc. and successfully integrate the type’s real and imaginary parts. 
Site and Methodology
Using the studio’s trademark seeds and a correlative brief, participants will develop in tandem the two parts of the process. When each part is sufficiently developed and integrated with the other, participants will begin work on either or 4 fully documented sites ordained by size, character, or theme, from a coastal location in South Korea to prime urban locations in Oslo, New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. There will be a studio visit to the New York site.
 
 
 


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02404: Superficial Spaces (VIS 0240400)

Architecture
Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. Please see full course description.
Wednesday 1:00 - 3:00   Gund 508
Wednesday 4:00 - 6:00   Gund 508

Instructor(s)
George L. Legendre

Course Description

At a time when architectural discourse and practice are brimming with references to new geometries, this offering investigates the architectural potential of abstract three-dimensional surfaces. In tandem with the practical ambitions of the option studios, it is intended to help us devise formal prototypes for architectural consumption, while broadening our understanding of the rigours of abstraction and formal analysisWith equal emphasis on theoretical reading, graphic analysis and diagramming, elementary mathematics, numerically controlled fabrication techniques, and theoretical writing, the seminar will circle, in increasingly tight loops, the surface as object of knowledge.
Semi-monthly hands-on sessions on modulation and fabrication will supplement a cycle of theoretical readings and discussions, leading to the conception, analysis, calculation, drawing, and making of an intricate superficial structure.
The seminar will incorporate a reading sequence of 4 classic texts. There will be one assigned group reading per session, followed by a short presentation and group precept.
 
Precept Reading List
Roland Barthes Cy Twombly: Works on Paper in The Responsibility of Forms, pp.157-176, University of California Press Berkeley, 1991.
Peter Eisenman Iconicity and Instrumentality*, Cahiers de L’IRCAM, Instruments, Paris 1995.
Greg Lynn New Variations on the Rowe Complex, in Folds Bodies and Blobs, La lettre vole, Brussels 1998.
George L. Legendre Shin & I, essay on the ontology of the surface, in AA Files 52, AA Publications, London 2005.
 
Reading List (Optional)
George L. Legendre, Pasta By Design, (Thames & Hudson, London 2011).
George L. Legendre, IJP: The Book of Surfaces, (Architectural Association, London 2003).
George L. Legendre, JP’s Way, in Mathematical Form: John Pickering and the Architecture of the Inversion Principle (Architectural Association, London 2006).
 
 
 


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