Off: On a Tangent

This course uses the tangential as a formal, rhetorical, and mathematical framework to interrogate the relationship between the part and the whole, between the thick and thin, the complex and contradictory. Working with forms like cones and cylinders (amongst others), we will investigate formal tangential relationships and their implications on bringing programmatic spaces closer together or farther apart.

Conceptually, a tangent implies the permutation of an existing idea into a completely different line of thinking. A tangent articulates a moment where one thing diverges into two or, inversely, where two things merge into one: the moment they kiss. In Kissing Architecture, Sylvia Lavin teases out this tension between the discipline of architecture and new types of art practices. We will focus our exploration within the discipline at a more intimate scale: two mediums, two masses, two surfaces, or two curves. This tension — a version of are ‘they’ or aren’t ‘they’—is further activated by moving between the precise and the imperfect. This seminar will explore the role that image creation plays in articulating these tensions. We will engage in a rigorous investigation of rendering and drawing techniques to study the material, tectonic and spatial implications of tangential forms. At what scale does the tangential relationship build excitement?