9SG: The Production of an Architectural Idea

In light of the GSD’s Teaching Techniques and Superstudio launch this past fall; the 9SG exhibition pays tribute to the Nine Square Grid Project and John Hejduk following the fifteenth anniversary of his death. The spatial reasoning based on abstract forms and their part-to-whole relations became the Nine Square Grid’s most influential pedagogical heritage. Although perceived as an abstract exercise, the Nine Square Grid was in fact imbued with principles derived from both architecture and painting: structure, composition, and spatial arrangement as well as light, depth, and circulation. Like a canvas on which a painter develops a series of operations, the Nine Square Grid is self-referential. It is an exercise devoid of architectural styles, solely concentrated in the formation of architectural space. Through the exercise, Architecture became a language to be learned, rather than a functional problem to be solved.

John Hejduk ultimately sought to acknowledge the indeterminacy underlying architectural projects from their start. Given the exercise’s self-referential nature, Hejduk’s mission is assuredly tied to irresolution and is clearly focused in creating an architecture that lives in all the potential states conveyed by the exercise.

The 9SG exhibition includes a mosaic timeline with approximately 100 projects (including Hejduk’s Texas Houses), texts and books related to the tripartite composition throughout architectural history. The exhibition also includes “The Architect”, an interactive device in which you are encouraged to produce and record your own solution to the Nine Square Grid exercise.

The exhibition will also bring professors Rafael Moneo and K. Michael Hays in conversation with the exhibition’s curators to discuss John Hejduk’s contribution as a professor and architect, as it has underpinned the works and influenced architects not only within his pedagogical period but also for years to come.

We would like to thank the following individuals for their support and efforts towards the exhibition: Shantel Blakely, Dan Borelli, K. Michael Hays, Daniel Hemmendinger, Rafael Moneo, Alejandro Valdivieso and David Zimmerman-Stuart.

—Sofia Blanco Santos (MArch '16) and Caio Barboza (MArch '16), Curators