Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carlo Scarpa & Methodology

My interest in Carlo Scarpa is in the way he approached, incorporated and implicated the historical as well as the notion of transition in his architecture. In an article about the CCA exhibit they discuss "the manner in which he establishes a dialogue with the history of architecture [sic] moving into a new realm of thinking about interactions in the historic fabric." 

Excerpts from the article about the CCA exhibit, Carlo Scarpa, Architect: Intervening with History (1999)

"The CCA exhibit explores the work of Carlo Scarpa: its distinctive approach to contending with the layers of history that mark the fabric of a city and a building. ...he did not treat the found object, ie. the exsisting building, as a frozen entity, but rather as a living fabric onto which to 'collage' the present."

"Scarpa's ability to weave new work into - and out of - the desperate fragments of the old, Carlo Scarpa, Architect: Intervening with History moves beyond the focus on artistry, detail and material. It begins to unravel the complex and sometimes enigmatic symbolic programs that mark Scarpa's work and reveals how we use the irrational - anxiety and uncertainty - to open up architecture's expressive possibilities."

"Scarpa's projects unfold in time, light and space. Faced with the imperative of intervening in the historical fabric of Italian cities, Carlo Scarpa devised symbolic journeys through time and space: uncovering the various layers of a building's past, rediscovering the power of its strongest elements, transferring even its most banal accretions and returning the structure to a vital role in public life, notes Phyllis Lambert, founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CCA. He employed contemporary means rather than a repetition of old forms; he accepted and incorporated the commonplace, the damaged, the accidental, as well as the monumental."

"...the deeper significance of his architecture is singular ability to accommodate the structures of the past - is overlooked."

"...Castelvecchio (a municipal art museum in Verona) Scarpa embarked on an intriguing strategy of demolition, change and modification, which allowed each layer of the Castelvecchio's history to come alive and take its place next to the others. Older elements of the building complex were provoked into conversation with wholly intervened new forms, surfaces, textures and motifs. For the Brion Tomb, Scarpa integrated all the concerns of the works that had preceded it. He established a new landscape within an old one, constructed a complex narrative out of startlingly fresh freestanding forms, and explored radical design and construction techniques to effect them."

"These two projects reworked or added to historic  structures to accommodate carefully planned visual narratives, in which light, space and structure come into dialogue with works of art."

"Each of Scarpa's later projects seem to be invented de novo. Distinctly new forms and ideas develop to match each new situation, but certain key themes and motifs link them. Among these are the play of levels and the idea of bridging; the use of water and its play with light and shadow and even with the void of the sky itself; an evolving fascination with circular forms; and a return to the sense of architecture as allegory, narrative, and journey."


Festo Didactic

As part of my process I will be working with Festo Didactic, specifically their solenoid valves for the pneumatic component of my project. I had the opportunity to visit Festo Didactic at their Mississauga location. Festo is doing some amazing R&D as well as working closely with various pneumatic artists.  Artists have different priorities with respect to their projects and as such they can push their exploration in different avenues which can result in fascinating innovation. 

Here are two videos of Festo projects working with inflatables and interactivity. 

Discovery through making: the world of artists

There are some amazing artists working in the realm of pneumatics/inflatables/capillary action. Here are a few examples of ones I found particularly intriguing. 

Capillary Action - Compressed 02 by Kim Pimmel

Conceptually this could be an inflatable structure. 

E.A.T. - Experiments in Art and Technology, Pepsi Pavillion for Expo '70working with Japanese artist Nakaya. This pavillion uses fog, but the principle of air-water-gas applies - a continually changing structure. Nakaya designed the system to respond to and accommodate the changes in environmental conditions such as humidity and wind 


Lieven Standaert with his Aeromodeller2 is working with inflatables. Aeromodeller2 is a zero-emission airship that never needs to land to refuel and is self-sufficient in terms of its capability to replenish its energy in a renewable way. I appreciate Standaert's approach to this project, and his motivation for experimentation, which stems from the process of exploration rather than budgets and timelines. He is also using both air and water for his experiments at the level of the working model. 

Le Corbusier on Turkish Architecture

I purchased a book in Istanbul, Turkish Architecture and Urbanism Through the Eyes of L.C. In it Le Corbusier makes poignant remarks about Turkish architecture and how his experience in the city of Istanbul influenced his notion of design and the city. The city left an undeniable mark on the influential designer. Here are a few of his notes and comments during his visit.

In his book, Towards a New Architecture, Le Corbusier explains his development of a building plan. "The plan proceeds from within to without; the exterior is the result of an interior. the elements of architecture are light and shade, walls and space."

He supports this theory when describing the Green Mosque:
"A building is like a soap bubble. This bubble is perfect and harmonious if the breath has been evenly distributed and regulated from the inside. The exterior is a result of an interior. In Broussa in Asia Minor, at the Green Mosque, you enter by a little doorway of normal human height; a quite small vestibule produces in you the necessary change of scale so that you may appreciate, as against the dimensions of the street and the spot you came from, the dimensions with which it is intended to impress you. Then you can feel the noble size of the Mosque and your eyes can take its measure. You are in a great white marble space filled with light. Beyond you can see a second similar space of the same dimensions, but it half-light and raised on several steps (repetition in a minor key); on each side a still smaller space in subdued light--turning round, you have two very small spaces in shade. From full light o shade, a rhythm. Tiny doors and enormous bays. You are captured, you have lost the common scale. You are enthralled by a sensorial rhythm (light and volume) and by an able use of scale and measure, into a world of its own which tells you what it set out to tell you. What emotion, what faith! There you have motive and intention, The cluster of ideas, this is the means that has been used." (43)

The Morphological Structure of the City
"In regards to the main functions of the city he states: "It is the city's business to make itself permanent, and this depends on considerations other than those of calculation. It is only Architecture which can give all things which go beyond calculation." Le Corbusier observed two different building types in the structure of a city. He explains that through the example of Istanbul: "In Stamboul every dwelling is of wood, every roof is of the same pitch, and covered with the same kind of tile. All the great buildings, mosques, temples, caravansarais, are of stone. The basis of all this is the existence of a standard. But the spreading red roofs of Stamboul are like a sea from which the mosques rise up serenely in their sculptural whiteness. Stamboul is a closely knit agglomeration; every mortal's dwelling is of wood, and every dwelling of Allah is of stone. Here there are only two types of architecture: the big flattened roofs covered with worn tiles and the bulbs of the mosques with minarets shooting up." The first type of buildings are in majority in cities. They mostly resemble each other on their scales and materials. They are neutral, anonymous buildings like dwellings, office buildings and etc. But the second type of buildings are found rarely in the cit texture and are different from the first type in terms of scale, structure and material. they are significant original buildings. The first type of buildings constitute the main part of the city. They form a background to the second type of building."" (102)

"They have symbolic values and with their original and sculptural forms, they are in contrast to the other neutral background buildings of the city. This fact is clearly seen in the urban structure of Istanbul. With their different  scales, materials, structures and sculptural values, a Suleymaniye, a St Sophia can easily be distinguished from their surroundings."(103)

"After the Istanbul example, Le Corbusier gives us the examples of Rome, Venice and Sienna and strengthens his thesis. His observation in relation to Rome are as follows: "Against a background of houses, that is to say, of elements of the same kind, Rome raises high its palaces and its temples. They stand out from the rest. Architecture disengaging itself from the urban confusion." (103)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beyoglu District

District of Beyoglu

Originally know as Pera (meaning 'across' in Greek) for its location across the Golden Horn and was separate from the historic peninsula of Constantinople by the Golden Horn. It was renamed Beyoglu, by Ottoman Turks to mean son of Bey, referring to the Venetian Bailo (bailiff) in Istanbul during the 16th century. Beyoglu includes Galata, the medieval Genoese citadel from which Beyoglu itself originated, which today is known as Karakoy and maintains a direct link to the old city center across the Galata Bridge and Unkapani Bridge.

Beyoglu was once the most progressive community in Istanbul, the first to install telephone lines, electricity, trams, and the underground railway. Taksim used to be the financial center of the Ottoman Empire and part of its banking district still remains in Karakoy. This initial wave of modernization gradually slowed down and Beyolu struggled with economic and social decline throughout the second half of the 20th century. As such Taksim maintains a very cosmopolitan air. Many consulates remain in the area and people of various cultures live in the neighboring areas of Cihangir and Gumussuyu.

Located in Beyoglu is the largest Catholic Church in Turkey S. Antonio di Padova, the largest synagogue in Turkey, the Neve Shalom Synagogue, the seat of the Catholic Archeparchy of Diyarbakir, the Orthodox church Hagia Triada Church and the only Jewish Museum of Turkey. Several Sufi orders were also founded in Beyoglu.

The following are several maps of the Beyoglu District from the Beyolgu Belediye (Municipality) analyzing the slope, land use and activity of the area.
Map of Land Use 

Metro, Funicular, Tunel Transportation

Contour Analysis 

Slope Analysis 

 Inhabitation Density

 Transportation Arteries

Road Attributes