Lecture 8 – Anthony Gill

Anthony Gill is an architect and designer for some of the best new bars and restaurants in Sydney. For the lecture he went through a few of his projects, unfolding the quality of the spaces and rationale behind the design scheme…

Gill’s designed the interior of the restaurant Vini in Surry Hills. In the restaurant, Gill wanted to let the wine dominate the space but not in a contrived way. He wanted an interactive and functional surface, being a working wall of wine and food. The size of the restaurant allowed this scheme to work. Additionally Gill used as few materials as possible, construct the main space entirely from ply wood. To add character to the space a complete blackboard exists in the space, an aspect which was fundamental to clients concept.Gill comments that the blackboard adds to the theatre of the restaurant, Vini wanted to expand without relocating and the only space available was the loading dock. Gill created a room within a room by designed a shipping container to be inserted into the space, allowing all the existing services to remain. The shipping container was an economical option and created a space a private dinning. The was lined with plywood to link continuing the theme on the inside bar.

Vini Restaurant - 3/118 Devonshire Street Surry Hills

Another one of Gill’s projects is restaurant and bar Berta, located on the ground floor of a re-developed warehouse. The space is built around a central open kitchen clearly defined by a working wall of suspended shelves used from the entrance to guide people through the space. The restaurant is divided into a bar and a dining area with subtle changes in level and materials (1)

Berta Restaurant & Bar - 17 Alberta Street Sydney

You can find more pictures of Gill’s Berta and Vini, plus a few more projects on his website

Reference List:

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Lecture 7 – Dust Reversals

Dustings, vacuum cleaners, (war) machines and the disappearance of the interior

Teresa Stoppani
University of Greenwich London/ University of Technology Sydney

Teresa Stoppani is an architect by training her main interests are in the relationship between architecture theory and the design process in the urban environment and the influence on the architectural factors on other spatial practices. Most recently Stoppani has been working on a project that explores Dust in relation to architecture.

The literal idea of Dust is a particle in which you can touch, however Stoppani looks at it in a more metaphorical idea of dust and how they relate to a space.
When looking at dust in a literal sense the ideas of dissection and analysis of a small part are brought to mind. However when considering it in a metaphorical sense as Stoppani does, size becomes relative and is no longer acceptable as a definition. Stoppani aims to challenge the literal definitions of dust through different possible ways of representation. She reconsiders the representation of dust by applying it to the ideas of the absence of the whole, the different economy of genders and orders and the redefinition of interior and exterior.

For example Stoppani researched the way in which the subject of dust is visible in the representation of figures in art over time. She demonstrated the potential of this relationship through exploring the Greek mythological female figure Danae.
Danae was a princess who was locked away in a bronze chamber when her father learned a prophecy that he was destined to be killed by a son of his daughter. However, Zeus who came to her in the form of a golden shower impregnated Danae. As a result her father placed Danae and the infant in a chest and set them afloat at sea. (1)
Danae is representative of the passive women where her action and non-actions manage to produce consequences. Her symbolism lends to the deconstruction of the domestic space as what happens with Danae is always in the interior. The imprisonment of Danae in room within a tower means she has been penetrated by dust but is incapable of defining her way through it. This idea of imprisonment continues as from the room she is next locked in a box. The story of Danae confirms the role of women who are essentially restricted to interior spaces, which are inhabited by dust. Furthermore Stoppani explores dust as a sign male dominance. The golden shower, which impregnates Danae, can be viewed as sperm, thus a sign of mans dominant role over her.
The way in which the story of Danae is depicted has changed over time. In the middle ages she was a symbol of chastity, the virgin mother interpreted in a religious way where as later on a sexual medium is portrayed. One of the most obvious changes from mid 16th century when the dust which had previously been depicted as suspended above Danae as seen in “Danae and the Shower of Gold (1554)”, by Tiziano Vecellio (2) was the representation of the dust now appearing in the form of golden coins being surrounded around the female figure, as seen in Gustav Klimt, created in 1907 (3) This 19th century representation likened to a luxury prostitute whose body is possessed and bought by coins. Through comparing the illustrations of Danae through art over time the importance of the representation of dust becomes obvious in the understanding of the role of the female figure.

Danaë - Gustav Klimt 1907

Beyond the idea of sexual connotations there is a technological obsession with the removal of dust. The attitudes towards dust changed culturally in time. During 19th century Paris, European culture considered dust as a notation of the familiar and the comfortable. In the city dust accumulates on spaces and sites and as it settles can preserve. This understanding questioned the idea of the duration of objects in a society. Furthermore, a lot is in considered in the management and the removal of dust. Dust is a reminder of our own perishable nature and women were considered essentially in charge of making dust disappear. As the process of removing dust became increasingly scientific it became more masculine. Stoppani explains that as we remove dust, the cleaned up dust becomes more visible, it can be displayed as long as it is controlled. Management of dust parallels the mounting of the interior space.

Artist Richard Hamilton’s collage titled Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? 1956 displayed in the London exhibition, This is tomorrow 1956 comments on what it is that makes today’s home so different. The use of red in the image represents the liberating of domestic space. The Lady of the house is seductively propped on the edge and she is looking at us trying to get our attention. The man in the image doesn’t appear interested in the women. In addition the tiny in red is dressed in proper attire. She operates the vacuum cleaner and is placed at the top of the stairs which are too big for her. The suction duct looks as though it is sucking her. This imaged is a proposed idea of domestic interiors, that they are clean and perfect. With the vacuum the dust has vanished – what has been sucked into the appliance is all familiar. The interior can no longer be sheltered and thus the women can no longer be sheltered she becomes an object and her image is multiplied and fragmented into various parts of the room, yet she continues to be present. Through understanding the relationship with the image and dust the artist is understood to be commenting that everything in the image is delegated to the machines while the bodies remain a display. (4)

What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? 1956 Richard Hamilton

The Movie- Our man in Havana – Alec Guinness is an example of how vacuum cleaners are continually represented in different ways and mediums. In the film the vacuum cleaners and their specifications are domestic appliances turned into weapons of mass destruction. (5)

Jeff Koons –Created a series of sculptures made out of vacuums. By deconstructing and desexualizing the vacuum cleaner and then placing them on safely display the vacuum cleaners are no longer able to gather dust from the outside. Juxtaposition is then created as the vacuum cleaner now accumulates the dust upon it as a display as oppose to consuming the dust. The vacuum is both masculine and feminine and Koons has displayed them as the exact opposite to what it does. (6)

New Hoover Convertibles, Shelton Wet/Dry Doubledecker, 1981–86, Jeff Koons,

(1) http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Danae.html
(2) http://lancechien.blogspot.com/2009/02/renaissance-artwork-danae-and-shower-of.html
(3) http://gustavklimt.onsugar.com/Danae-Klimt-10559612
(4) http://www.thisistomorrow2.com/images/cat_1956/cat_web/FrameSet.htm
(5) http://www.allrovi.com/movies/movie/-v105161?r=allmovie
(6) http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/aipe/jeff_koons.htm

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Lecture 6 – Adam Jasper Hyper Art: Thomasson

The Lecture by Adam Jasper discussed Japanese art and artists during the 1960s. Several artistic movements started in Japan in the 1950s -60s such as the Misshitsu no Kaiga (Secret Room painting ) 1950s. Artists in Japan and around the world post world war II were looking for new ways of presenting art. In the 1960s, as a part of the response to social contradiction and conflict, anti-arts movements started to emerge. Artist started to challenge social institutions and the boundary between high arts and non-institutionalised arts. They looked to do this by seeking new ways of presenting arts through the integration of art forms and technology. It presented a series of experimental exhibitions and performances combining contemporary music and visual arts. The movement was connected to the Situationist and Fluxus movements in the west. (1) This defines the era of Neo-Dadaism a movement denies traditional concepts of aesthetics through the use of audio and technology in particular.

Jasper took the lecture next to the subject of forensic urbanism looking at Japanese conceptual artist and writer Akasegawa Genpei. Early details of Genpei’s life were interesting and define his art direction. The artist involved himself with the law in January 1963 when he was arrested for counterfeiting the 1000 yen note. Genpei’s intentions were innocent, as he merely created a monochromatic colour copy, which was clearly different to the original note as an invitation for a solo exhibition at a gallery in Tokyo. The police came across the copied notes and arrested Genpei under the 1894 Law Controlling the Imitation of Currency and Securities act. In August 1966, he went on trial for what was known as the “Thousand-Yen Bill Incident”. In June 1967, he was found guilty, but appealed twice. Genpei was released in 1968 but the experience changed him. Japanese jails are notorious for their torturous environment. When in a Japanese jail prisoners are kept in complete isolation no human contact, no concept of time or place. They are tutored by their own existence. Jasper highlighted this point as he wanted to stress the idea that Genpei would have been release with all his sanity, the experience would have changed him as a person.

After being released Genpei came into the realm of Neo-dadaism art. Another artist, which had been working on such a design focus during this time, was Yoko Ono as she started to produce avant-garde artworks using mediums such as music and film. Ono for example in 1971 used a fly as her alter ego from which she created a series of images and films. What is important is artists during this time were focusing on a complete engagement with the city.

Akasegawa Genpei formed a group called Hi-Red Center with fellow artist friends such as Ushio Shinohara, Shusaku Arakawa, Yoshimura Masanobu, Jiro Takamatsu and Natsuyuki Nakanishi. One day when the group was walking through the streets coming back from lunch Genpei noticed a staircase that they had walked past everyday was odd as the staircase in fact led to nothing. Genpei returned later on to have a closer look.

The Staircase that inspired the research into Thomasson Hyper-art

He began to learn the staircase – playing with it walking over it as an obstacle. He came back to the staircase many times and photographed it. He noted that the staircase had no entrance at the top but merely ked to a window. Ahead of the current work situation capitalism didn’t allow for this kind of architecture, everything in capital society has to have a purpose, which left the classification of the staircase undefined – as Jasper describes in an architectural hangover and Genpei redefined it as art. He devised that a door had probably previously existed but due to some justifying circumstances a renovation converted the door into a window and the staircase although intended to be removed had remained as it was economically unjustifiable – this made the staircase appear completely useless. However this alone was not what intrigued Genpei, the staircase railing on one side when looked at closely had actually been repaired, meaning somebody found value in maintaining this useless staircase. From this case study Genpei started an investigation with her art students into the Hyer-Art of the world. The team developed a name for their research as they found Hyper-Art gave the impression of a finding of all types of Hyper-Art where as they were in fact focusing on a subdivision of this. Hypa Art – spontaneously made by the city its self – creation of urbanism and he called these objects Thomassons. The name was derived from the baseball player Gary Thomasson. It was around 1982 the year that Gary Thomasson was playing for Yomiuri Giants in Japanese Nippon Pro Baseball. During his two years on the team Thomasson developed the nickname the electric fan as he would whip around to hit the ball but would miss every time. Beside this the team put him on every night and continued to pay him although he was useless to the game. Genepi saw this as a beautiful circumstance illustrating Thomasson of a living hyper art. Like Gary was useless on the field so were the object – beautiful uselessness. Jasper explains that this interpretation of the usefulness of Gary Thomasson in the game is something which is apart of Japanese culture and aesthetics. Japanese are drawn the transience of things – a term they use to describe this is Wabi-Sabi meaning imperfect, impermanent and incomplete – where fragility is more precious and beautiful then the robust. A large contrast to western culture who would not tolerate the useless performance of Gary Thomasson on the field.

An example of a ‘thomossan’ is the ‘Chongqing nailhouse’ which is positioned on a high uneven terrain hill surrounded by a excavated junkyard. It is purposeless and has no function due to it’s site and where it is positioned.

Chongqing nailhouse

The criteria of an object to be Thomasson as defined by Genpei is as follows. The found object must be:
1. A ruin – that once had critical function but is evident no longer
2. Singled off and accessible – meaning to evokes a sense of frustration as the object its seductive in a beautiful/ glamorous form but you cant have it, requires a barrier of distance.
3. Maintained purpose.

Still to today there is a Thomasson Report sheet which one can download if they believe they have found a Thomasson. This website welcomes online submissions of found Thomasson objects/ structures. This continuous research has brought up strange findings which Jasper revealed such as the amount of Thomasson in a country can be linked to suicidal rates in that country.

Jasper also looks at the idea of the Thomasson from a human point of view, where we are ourselves can be considered Thomassons when viewed in a larger sense – we are useless entity with no ultimate function, in the purest sense we are figures dwelling aimlessly continuously being moulded and shaped in accordance to the development of the City.

Reference List –
(1) http://www.culturalprofiles.net/japan/Directories/Japan_Cultural_Profile/-10860.html
(2) http://thomasson.kaya.com/about.php

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Lecture 5 – The ecology of occupation

This lecture broadly looked at three main ideas:

1. Idea of history about thinking about the occupation of space
2. The envelope in which that occupation occurs within
3. Case studies

The Blur Building 2002

Form: A noun and verb – making and engaging to construct.
The book the History of a House – was the first time the user was considered when forming ; ask the user and former the brief from the user. Previously architects designed facades, which were a monument of your skill and understanding of architecture. The French were interested in social form. A 13th century French château had a shower, fence, chapel and one big room where people living, bathed, ate and slept. The history of domestic houses is not multiple rooms but one big room. This sophisticated idea of lots of rooms stemmed from the idea of the designer starting to question what is the space for. Not designing a space from the outside but from the inside, articulating a program formed from the user.
The continuous building, notion that a continuous building makes the city. Figure ground, the thing that matters to you against a setting that is not important. Started to consider the space as the figure and the building as the background. French developed an entire thinking, a new shift where the space was priority. A building that is not derived because it is static but because it is active, with a program of use within in.
The implications of this, is us today are users who are living within our homes based on this French thinking. Series of rooms now known as lodgings, 17th the apartment arrived. Idea of status, started to name things within the space such as the space between the bed and the wall. Started to divide the room into sections, became obsessive. With the apartments became a new set of social relationships. This incredibly radical revolution was driven by women, social relationships salons, where women held dinner parties where they were having rich and fascinating private lives and conversations. Houses were being used for radical engagement. Allowing you to live in a more intriguing and individual way.
Space now became the medium for experimentation and within this occupational development. Apartments then became two stories, conversations, games, dinner parties the ‘salon’ became the social event. In the city this was being pushed to the next phase. ‘Otels’ chateaus in the city designed to have your friends over, built around a courtyard on three sides. The French were interested and valued the city. The city was a social stabilizer and the Otel was the space within, the Figure within the building.
The French looked at moving through space as a sequence and experience, a sequence that someone engages with as the move through a space, which can then be considered theatre and a performance. Designer was playing games with the user, through the location, shape and scale of the room. Spatial theatricality making you feel emotions.

Residential squares, inside and outside saw an interest in public and private boundaries. The space was the defining angle of figure – the art of distribution and planning was essentially the arrangement of space. French facades began to express what was happening internally – neo classical architecture, the way a building was understood was via layers. French used a mix – gothic facades, Italian detail renaissance – combined the fact that they were concerned with the use of the space example larger windows.

Did not all necessarily radically change. For example, the emergence of the Domino Plan – le Corbusier notion on how to join together French thinking and modernism. Italian thinking – The minimal gesture in a continual landscape – French design was about the space and the figure. Take the logic look at society and use these tools to design. The space thinking, space designed from the inside out. Le Corbusier was different to other modernist who favored Italian thinking he looked at the French design values.

20th century – collapse of public space, we have produced public space that is being consumed rather then just made. American land art in the 1970s started to recapture these ideas.


The convention that we live in such as suburban houses can be modified. Situationists mapping layered research of where people go to do things and where places are located– developed an idea through research that you need to control space by keeping people apart. Suburbia is about isolation, keeping people apart, such as trees and gardens.

METASTASIS: Patterns of behavior rituals social and technical processes are critical actors.

What is important about space is not physically about where it is but how it is used. ‘Crystal house’ 1938 Chicago fair. Occupation in terms of actors and how actors engage in a network. Gives us a structure to develop new prototypes and develop social progress. Allow for a social and event based response.
As designers we are set designers, we direct and advise actors, we shape roles and write scripts. This process is dynamic fluid and social interaction. Architectural space designed by an active envelope, Marshal Kloon. The art of building should be understood by the process of clothing, followed by the development of structure merely to support it – the building acts an a wrapper for functions and events, architecture is nothing more then texture – Godforrey

The space/ architecture is about filtering and control, artificial reality, architecture takes on board other technological digital means. A mixed reality environment creates a whole presents very powerful networks not just furnished with physical objects but with data. Within the we have biology, not just what it is but what it does. The architecture transforms the environment around them. The boundary itself can be dynamic. Buildings as processes of change and flow increase the reliability and flexibility of the occupation internally. What is its role as an external control for the users

Case Studies

1. 1970s
Constructed by Fabric, balloon that is air controlled, by changing the balloon you are radical changing the involvement for the user. Represented a new form of space. Uniform spatial experience for the visitor, software over hardware, radical opposition for its time. It was programmable by the designers but also changeable the occupants. Designed a building to let the users write their own script. The idea of autonomy, you are the controller, that is coming back today.

Apply recent technology which allows one to be the controller such as Ipods to social space. A world without boundaries moving beyond the mundane, create your own experience.

2. Rod and Crater
A space where the ecology of occupation Is cosmetic. Extending an interest in land art – your system of values you are inhabiting the space as well. How cosmology can come into a space. A space where you are dwelling with the stars. A space where you can begin to see yourself engaging and seeing eternity.

3. Blur (2002)
Interactive cloud. The occupation is about the relationship the people and the environment. Entirely achieved through process not a static environment.

For those who are craving some more reading about interactive environments…
This article explores a few designers who have taken on the idea of human interaction and shifting atmospheric variables to create some design and product innovations! An amusing article to say the least, you won’t regret clicking below ..

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Lecture 4 – The Panel

Today’s lecture saw the tutors forming a panel to battle out their opinions and ideas in regards to design. The lecture highlighted the importance of conversation as a way of challenging one another’s views and as a result expanding your knowledge and appreciation of design. The conversation moved randomly from tutor to tutor as each wanted the chance to provide their own view on the topic. The conversation lecture taught me the importance of being knowledgeable to not just exist but to have an opinion and political standpoint and what has happened in the world and most importantly what is happening today. It was to say the least inspiring; it made me want to form my own design language, to know all the designers/ designs that they knew off hand.

A short talk by Dan Phillips was played to kick start the conversation.

The video is available from Ted Talks and is titled – Creative houses from reclaimed Stuff

Dan Phillips is an American designer and builder. Phillips and his wife established a called The Phoenix Commotion in 1998, which specializes in designing affordable houses from reclaimed and recycled materials. (1) Sustainable living is something the Phillips are trying to achieve through the recyclable homes. In doing so Phoenix Commotion hopes to Low-Income Housing. The company believes that it is to the benefit ones social community that families own their own homes, as a certain esteem and happiness is associated with ownership. The company keeps the cost of building low through Training Unskilled Labor. All workers are hired as unskilled laborers at minimum wage.

All of the houses constructed by Phoenix Commotion are built  from 70- 80% recycled materials. These materials are sourced from landfill areas or from places, which are planned to be demolished. From these unused items Phillips sources objects such as stoves, doors and wood. Objects are also recreated using founds materials. For example Phillips created a bath tub 2×4 from recycled wood. He retransformed in into a unique shape achieving both environmental sustainability and considered design.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a complete set of anything because repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern,” – Dan Phillips (2)

Repetition to create new patterns

Phillips design aesthetic of repetition is evident in his project The Tree House, located in a Bois d’arc tree thirty-five feet above Huntsville’s Town Creek in Huntsville, Texas. The tree house space has a multi-purpose function. It was designed with many proposals in mind, being an attachment to the main house, efficiency apartment, working studio, and large outdoor patio area. The main house sits in. The ceiling is covered with discarded frame samples from frame shops. It includes lots of power for sculptors, mirrors for dancers, lots of natural light for painters, and a sink. (3) The ceiling is an example of the way in which recycled materials can form new and interesting design possibilities. The aesthetic is craft like and it creates unique and individual designs at an affordable price.

Phillips designed another house using the American ‘Budweiser Beer’ as an inspiration. The external façade of the house has been produced based on the colour scheme and the pattern of the beer bottle. Phillips considered the idea of a beer throughout many aspects of the house. For example in the bathroom a circular design stems from the bathtub, likening the bubbles that surface in a beer and the tap handles for the bath are made from beer taps. . Furthermore the piecing together of uneven and irregular shaped tiles along with the refining of old porcelain toilets with sand paper and paint were used to construct other necessary details in the bathroom.

The Budweiser House is one of Phillips homes which makes a political comment other then the ecological sustainability of materials. Phillips utalises the design of the home to make a comment on the middle class and socio-economic backgrounds of his users he is designing for. He reuses a glass panel commonly found on middle class peoples doors and considers the placement of the glass. If he were to be use the glass on the front door where it is usually used, it would then be assumed that the house and its owners are trying to blend in and be accepted by the rest of society. Therefore Phillips placed the glass elsewhere and created a unique design for the front door in order to make a comment on the vanity of society. This concept was further used in the home when Phillips took a light commonly found in middle class home foyers and placed it in the bathroom, removing it from its usual or ‘acceptable’ context.

Phillips continued to discuss the idea of culture and society. He defined society as being one of two things. He claimed people either had an Abeloniam perception – meaning they were wasteful because things need to be perfect. These kinds of people throw away damaged materials without thought. It is what people in the building industry such as– tradesman, builders, architects based their work on and in consequence it is what consumers want. Everything becomes redundant or ‘not suitable’ and is then thrown out without considering giving it a new context or place in the home. Phillip claims that it is this type of marketing driven by the industry that influences society. The second group in society is the Dianesium personality, were people base their wants and needs on intuition and are more organic in their approach.

To further this idea Phillips draws on the analogy of an ‘apperceptive mask’ which drives society to behave in a wasteful way. We are programmed to think that flaws in objects are bad and instantly look to replace them without seeing the beauty and potential.
Phillips references Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the talk. He highlights how this hierarchy is now unconsciously making it’s way into the building industry –he claims the building industry and society are vain when it comes to either choosing or designing our home as we see it as a commodity.  Phillip notes that this is a result of being a social species, we continuously are concerned with what other people think.  We do what a group does that we want to identify with, we make vain decisions that we cant afford. It’s about status and commodity not about purely putting a roof over our heads.

Phillips made a brief comment of interiors. He states Interiors has the strongest non-professional practise as society craves individuality to gain esteem, to have things (e.g. furniture, clothes) that others don’t have. This has led to the production and success of interior magazines such as Vogue living and Belle – Design professionals deciding what is beautiful. Interior design is an arrangement of objects that when brought together can create space.

A project in Shanghai by Sarah Jansen came into conversation as the project looked at the user as the designer.

Reference List
(1) http://www.phoenixcommotion.com/
(3) http://www.phoenixcommotion.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=33&Itemid=20&lang=en

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Lecture 3: The Century of the Self Part 1 Happiness machines

Sigmund Freud with daughter Anna.

Today’s lecture was British documentary film, we watched part 1 of the series ‘The Century of the Self’ by Adam Curtis. The documentary looked at Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays influence over the way the government and various corporations approached and presented them selves to the people of society. Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis – the theory of personality that focuses on repression and unconscious forces and includes the concepts of infantile sexuality, resistance, transference, and division of the psyche into the identity, ego, and superego. Fraud’s findings fascinated and shocked Americans about undercover people controlling. Unconscious and irrational forces controlling the country – not a democracy. The series reveals the way in which Freud’s ideas and theories were utilized by his nephew Edward Bernays to control the way people thought and perceived things. Bernays is depicted as the father of advertising as he introduced the large American corporations to techniques that could be used to convince and manipulate people to want their product. Barneys initiated the mind thought one must purchase objects that they did not want or need by systematically matching mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Edward Bernays experimented with the minds of the popular classes, he understood what opens the human mind. He was the founder of advertising techniques such as Product placement in movies and Celebrity endorsement. Within the commercial industry Bernays was viewed as a God, who knew how to control the minds of society.


I found this film intriguing in that without one man the world would be a very different place…. Maybe

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Lecture series 2: Adam Jasper

The interior

The Lecture by Adam Jasper was intriguing in a sense. The main idea of the lecture looked at the human body as an interior. When viewed in this sense the interior of the body and all its intricacy is paramount to the exterior. This analogy was then compared to the notion of a building, when the exterior is removed the complexity of the interiors alone can be considered beautiful. Jasper however noted briefly about the subjectivity of beauty, how it is an individual experience. Conversation about the beauty of a space is difficult, to indulge in as each will have their own opinion and interpretation.

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Lecture Series 1: Richard G

Richard Goodwin is an architect/artist who has been exhibiting since 1974, his work to date totals to 39 solo exhibitions, and 106 group exhibitions. (1) Goodwin reacted to his educations in the 70s by making the decision to change from architecture to a performative focus.  Richard used performance as a way of discovering himself as an artist and society. He claims that performance makes people value like and through taking a performance seriously it can create a resonate effect on individuals.

Furthermore, Goodwin works largely with the transformation of objects. In his opinion it is no longer the designer’s role to design shapes, but rather re-design what currently exists. Thus Goodwin works largely with existing objects by deconstructing, remodelling and rethinking the objects at various design shapes and scales. His core design philosophy in approaching this practice is to firstly name the object and make known its function. When the function is identified, this knowledge is then ‘digested’ and  ‘regurgitated’ allowing the effect comes secondary. Goodwin also works by giving the idea a name. Naming finds the centre of idea. Next the idea is fed into metaphor, where it can apply to reality and its role in the real world. Along with this process Goodwin states every designer must take a political position on everything that is occurring in the world today, he even goes as far today that “you shouldn’t be allowed to design anything unless you know where you stand on everything”.

Goodwin has made this observation, as he believes social awareness is paramount to creating respectable designs. He stated that the client is the body of society that educates you as a designer. He emphasized the importance in giving the client not what they want, but what society needs, as it is our role as designers to understand how society is functioning and have an opinion what we believe society requires to improve and develop. Through this approach designers will meet the needs of the client and consequently society beyond what they had expected or intended.

In addition social awareness today requires a connection with technology, in particular the Internet. According to Goodwin, technology feeds our imagination. He spoke about the importance of the Internet today as a forum for designers to be critiqued. He describes the Internet as a ‘slum’ a place where nonsense is endlessly attainable and that we need to find the jewels within the slum.

Goodwin comments that Functionalist modernism in the 1970s was partly why he became disconnected with architecture as he became apathetic about the design process, which consisted of creating a standard design that lack innovation and was only visualised when the building had finished being built. Goodwin newfound principles formed in his early 20s when he met a group of architects in London who were challenging public spaces. Together the group acted out performances and generated 1:1 scale models to spark an emotional an affect from the public. From these experiences Goodwin established a new design language, which redefined the power of materiality. Since Goodwin changed his focus from architecture to performance art he has applied the combination of hands on modelling and CAD work to all his design processes.

Goodwin relies heavily on the process of model making, as he believes there is an extreme accuracy when modelling in drawings and CAD that sometimes fail to translate into the real product. He works by moving consistently between the computer and hands on design adjusting the design as errors occur. However, he reinstates the significance of model making as it guarantees faults and resistances, which are essential stages in the design process in order to make things happen. “Shit happening” as Goodwin describes it is the experimental stage where the design material proposes a resistance to the idea. This resistance creates problems that need to be solved and in turn feeds into the design potential as it kick starts your imagination.

As a performance artist Goodwin works by setting himself a script or program, which he used to challenge himself, to reach certain goals and push boundaries as apart of his personal and professional development. Performative work by Goodwin entails a generative nature, as the machine of performance design becomes an architectural relationship between two bodies. This concept developed Goodwin’s theme of Porosity – an approach that considers types of public spaces that can exist within private spaces. This is seen in a project that was produced on an architectural scale in 1995 for a show called Working Public where Goodwin linked the Art Gallery of NSW to the Finger Warf using a 300m rope. As a model Goodwin made the comment that the place of Sydney represented by the Art Gallery and the Finger Warf is dislocated from the place of culture joining them, suggesting that an architectural connection such as a bridge was required between the two spaces.

‘Parasite’ architecture is Goodwin’s current focus and architectural vision, where he is attempting to make the city a three dimensional space by linking unused spaces. He names this idea as the ‘buildings desire’ and Goodwin attempts to propose a fulfilment of this desire by creating models using existing shapes of prosthetic machines to invent new public programs and parasitic architecture. These new forms are a way of connecting public spaces as they attach to existing buildings throughout the city. This practice enables that transformation of existing bad buildings, creates opportunity for a consideration of urban architecture and introduces a sustainable architectural practice.

What the Building Desires

Goodwin currently runs a program at the University of NSW called the Porosity studio. This studio is cross-disciplinary focusing on establishing connections between art and architecture through the use of the city as a medium for research and planning. (1)

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