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The Earth is an Abyss

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Thesis Book - Ahmed Mohtaseb …

Thesis Book - Ahmed Mohtaseb
Critics DanBucsescu+MarcSchaut

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  • In case the viewer is not in my thesis class, this is a book I have put together for my Architectural Design course. I am a 5th year Thesis student at Pratt Institute. Please feel free make suggestions and leave comments.<br /><br/>
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  • 1. The earth Is an Abyss Ahmed Mohtaseb Pratt Institute School of Architecture Degree project booklet submission Dan Bucsescu / Marc Schaut ARCH 484p.03/.04 11.20.2007
  • 2. Table of contents The overall purpose of the titles and subtitles of each chapter is to provide a frame for the reader to reference in reading the pages that precede. The chapters also suggest a turnpoint in the thinking, and making process. Inspired by contemporary cinematographic techniques in direction, shooting and editing, This bookelt is presented linearly in that its chapters follow a structured outline. The Subtitles of each chapter, however suggest a non-linearity in that the concepts may apprear in previous or preceding paragraphs. This ‘o -sequencing’ is a product of the thinking process, and naturally of the revision process in writting (or for lm’s sake editing). Once recorgnized, the o -sequencing was embraced, and therefore controlled so as to create total coherence. Ironically, the Thesis of this book is inspired by the lack of total coherence that terminologies create. I. Precis - Re-Appearearance Within this short chapter is the thesis of the project. The thesis of the project is the main state- ment which will re-appear in some paragraphs of later chapters. II. Genealogies - Questioning Supportation Within Genealogies are the supporting precedents, the responses which turn into precedents, common initiative questions, and the responses which turn into questions. In every response that attempts to ground any of the immaterial ideas inherent within the precedents, a branching idea is given birth. With this realization, the term and method Replacement is thus given birth. III. Performative Techniques - Replacementation Replacemention is the perfomative technique of choice. In literature, literary devices are tech- niques that may be used in the creation of a story, such as metaphore. In Architectural design, Perfor- mative techniques are metaphorically literary devices, and Replacemntation is metaphorically a meta- phore. In literal terms, it may mean the replacement of a decaying older structure with a new one. in gurative terms, idealogies. This Chapter attempts to track the motion of an idea, and begins to materialize its presence in diagrammatic form. IV. Programmatic Frame - Intervention This chapter will explore the dynamics of an architectural intervention. It will attempt to chal- lenge the symbollic status a certain building type may have within a community. It is the look of a building as an object that anticipates human inhabitation, and the look of human habitation in the presence of the object. V. Field of Operations -Placement Once an idea is materialized it exists in space. In architectural terms, the space that an object exists in is site. within this chapter, a speci c locus is identi ed, and explored in depth. Questions of placement as replacement and of impact on location are asked. page 1
  • 3. I. Precis Of all living organisms on the planet earth, the human being is by far the most complicated. What brings irony to the above fact is that human beings are the only living things on earth able to comprehend complication. It is partly the duty of a human being to make sense of not only human complication, but also those other complications found in every aspect of the world and beyond. Acadameia is filled with different approaches of clarification, each focusing on a different complication, wheather it be human or non. Education is that which helps a human being fulfill his duties, and simulateneously that which creates new complications . While communication and interaction is not specific to human beings, it can only be found patterened and in organized form among human beings. Communication is that which attempts to clarify complication; perhaps it is that which contributes to it. COMMUNICATION- the gift given to us from education for the purpose of education and the prepetuation of education. My thesis will emphasise the way we learn about ourselves and the world around us. It simultaneously will attempt to challenge the way human and non-human communication is understood. Language is a structured form of human expression that attempts to answer the uanswered questions of existence. Answers often are found, however may take the form of questions, which open up series of questions that may or may not be answered. My thesis will attempt to track motions of arising ideas, questions, and the methods used in the field of science SCIENCE - the study of science differes from other fields in its method of aquiring information. in a restrictive sense, the “scienctific method” refers to a systematic practice, as well as to the organized body of knowedge gained through research. Science is of interest in this thesis precisesly due to the “Restriction” its folowers must undergo. The scientific method is a product of the structuring of ideas. It may also be argued that the scientific method is a metaphor for the structuring of ideas which is a product of language. This Thesis will attempt not the break down of the restricted and structured practices of science. It will rather incorporate into the pedagogy a nonhuman method, which is to say a non-human structure. INVOCATION - An act of utter communication. The intersections and coexistence of several entities. The question of how a nonhuman method can be accomplished by a human is essential to this thesis. For this, a look at Deleuze’s theory of Non-human Expressivity, and at Malinouski‘s Functionalism in “Magic, Science and Reli- gion,” will prove to be equally vital. This thesis is the interdisciplinary marriage of two methods of communication. 2 page 1
  • 4. II. genealogies “The Shining” by Stanley Kubric The idea of the container is obviously a motif in the shining which Kubrick translates architecturally. One example is manifested in the scene where Wendy locks her husband Jack in the kitchen cabinet to contain the danger he has increasingly become to her and her son Danny. In this scene, Kubric plays with the paradox of containing danger while simultaneously being contained from danger. The audi- ence's understanding of the person contained once Wendy securely locks Jack in the cabinet is suddenly switched when Jack reveals to Wendy what he has done to the snow cat and the radio. From that moment on, the crushing feeling of claustrophobia that is caused by the monstrous architecture of the Overlook hotel is only intensi ed. Kubric also introduces the idea of correction to the original script. The idea that a persons thought can change, or be changed by architecture. “Sixth Mirror Displacement” by Robert Smithson Robert Smithson is an American installation artist is famous for his land art. One of the pieces he is famous for is entitled “The Sixth Mirror Displacement” and is a part of a larger series entitled “The Yucutan Mirror Displacements.” In this installation, Smithson places fragments of mirrors at on sand-scapes and photographs the sky re ections that “become part of the ground.” for Smithson the act of bring- ing the sky down to earth is metaphorically the opening of the earth. “Smithsons concious awareness of the earth as a dangerous maternal image is clear when he refers tio the earth beneath his overturned rock as ‘nameess slime, raw roots, abyss, a damp cosmos of fungas and mold.” The opening of the earth allows one to enter in to the otherwise structurally sound earth, and begin an exploration. The earth is what we are contained from, the mirrors help us escape by bringing the endless sky to the ground, but for Robert Smithson, the mirrors are simply teasing mirages, because one can not really fall into a mirror. “ the artist redirects in his own words “The Earth is an abyss.” He eplores the dissatisfactions of escaping into the unknown. “The Abyss” by Ahmed Mohtaseb In my Film quot;The Abyss,quot; The camera puts to use fore- ground close-ups to capture what is otherwise 'over- looked.' Implications of a further reality and of non human experssivity is also captured in mid-ground and back- gound shots within those close-ups. Light is a mirage, it creates space that isn't really there. Light fools a lost hiker into thinking there is a way out. It may also fool an observer into thinking something may be seen better in light. Nature's language affords a walker the opportunity to create shelter as in the tent which is supported by the fallen tree. Vision is constantly interrupted by thought, which is made up of Human Language. The Film also question human presence in the woods. page 3
  • 5. Sonic - level 1 un-satisfying start escape un-satisfying un-escape + 1 l i fe oxygen st at ion ??? ??? + 1 l i fe Dynamics of an Escape Robert Smithson In an attempt at understanding Robert Smithson’s meaning with his quote “ The Earth is an Abyss,” a look at Sonic the Videogame proved necessary. The Sixth Mirror Displacement created a seem in the structurally sound surface of the earth. It allows an escaper to enter the earth’s inside, and therefore become part of its mean- ing. The Abyss is a place lled with unknowns. For Robert Smithson, there is no such satisfaction in an escape, but the attempt allows him to experience what previously was not available to him. He simultaneously becomes part of the world. One of the goals this thesis attempts to achieve is to provide di erent meanings of satisfaction by providing education
  • 6. Gille Deleuze Non-Human Expressivity Gille Deleuze argues that in the absence of terminology, one is able to comprehend the expressions of the non-human world A Thousand Plateaus -Geology of Morals -Postulates of Linguistics Non-Human expressivity is the theory developed by Gille Deleuze in his book “A Thousand Plateus,. In the excerpt entitled ”Who does the Earth Think it is - The Geology of Morals, Deleuze talks about the earth’s ability to express it self. He uses examples geological examples such as rock formations that express the materials that make it up, and the techtocnic movement of the the earth’s plate. geology for Deleuze is the begining of non human expressivity. “ The substantial elements may be the same throught- out a stratum without the substances being the same. The formal relations or bonds may be the same without the forms being he same. in biochemisty, theere is a unity of compostion of the orfanic stratum de ned a tthe level of materials and energy, substantial elements. (Deleuze, 45) ”Maps should be made of these things, organic, ecological, and technological maps one can lay out on the plane consistency. on the other hand, language becomes the new form of expression, or rather the set of formal traits de ning the new expression in operation throughtout the statum. Deleuze displayed a deep interest in ethology, which is the science of animal behaviour. He believed that one of the biggest dangers that human beings can fall into is to live only within the small provincial world of humanity The danger is in closing ourselves into ourselves, and believeing we were chosen by god to be the way we are, and live in the world and do what ever we want to it. He urges human beings to become part of a rock, or to have a conversation with a rock. He believes that there is an innate communicative ability found in all human beings that is taken away in the development stages when human beings begin to pick up cultural knowledge. there is a sense of “otherness” outside the human world that can only emerge in the absence of human constructions. Deleuze argues that there is infact a way for human beings to be a part of that “otherness. ”Vocal signs have temoral linearity , and it is this superlinearity that constitutes their speci c deterritrialisxation and di erenciates them from fenetic linearit. genetic linearity is above all spatial, even though its segments are constriucted and reproduced in succession. For Deleuze, the world exists outside the human mind and a ords opportunities that any living thing that exists within it may take. An example may be a spiders ability to create a web where opportunites for a web may be handed over to the spider. This thinking, for human beings, is an essential step forward into understanding that the world does not belong to us, and that we belong to it. It is also essential to think of ourselves as guides of the planet, and not owners. one of the ideas that may be taken forward is the idea of emergence. In the absence of terminologies, a new set of termi- nologies emerge. terminology new terminology quot;To see is to FORGET the name of the thing one sees” emergence Architecture EMERGES in the absence of Language, or in the birth of a new one (as in the case of the bounding light in quot;The Abyssquot;). Light is the Architecture of the Abyss, which emerges only when one is fearful of being stuck. page 5
  • 7. Berlin Wall destruction de ty 11.09.1989 m er oc “The fall of the Berlin Wall lib ra unleashed forces that om ultimately liberated the cy freeeee -d captive peoples of the Soviet Empire. It tipped the balance of the c balance of power across a p the world toward those it advocating democratic, al consensual, free maket- ism orineted governance, and away from those advocat- Thomas Freidman ing authoritarian rule with centrally planned econo- mies” distruction of wall distruction of communism or or construction of democracy construction of democracy construction 06.16.1961 It can also be said that in the distruction of architecture, a counter force emerges, as in the explosion of democracy in berlin once the berlin wall came down in 1989. Gille Deleuze emergence
  • 8. Emile Durkheim Emile Durkheim The Social current... Durkheim’s theory of religious forces seeks to explain belief in the contagiousness of the sacred. In this, he demonstrates that the sacred is the expression of social forces. The sacred is that act on the individual means of these forces and are not intrinsic to the objects or other realities to which they are assigned. However he argues that the assignment is completely arbitrary. If so, the forces are mobile, and are capable of being replaced, such as the replacements of any organic things with their o spring. quot;The man who lead the religious life and have a direct sensation of what is really is object to this way of regarding it, saying that it does not correspond to their daily experience. In fact they think that the function of religion is to make us think, to enrich our knowledge nor to add to the conceptions which we come to science. [Religion] is another origin and another characteristic to aid us to live.quot; Durkheim observes in the Australian Aborigi- nes the believed function of religion and is able to conclude that religion provides social control, cohesion, and purpose for the people as well as another means of communication ad gathering for individuals to interact and rea rm social norms. Bronislaw Malinowski Functionalism. Basic need and Bronislaw Malinowski Cultural Response Bronislaw Malinowski’s contribution provides anthropology with a di erent approach and understanding of culture and religion than that of Durkheim. He makes the distinction of the elements of a culture, but recognizes their traits as part of an integrated whole, and not isolated. quot;The rst human need, metabolism, refers to the process of food intake, digestion, the collateral secretions, the absorption of nutritive substances, and rejections of water matter.quot; (Website, check bookmarks) Culture meets this need by possessing the domains such as how food was grown, prepared, and consumed, and where food was consumed, etc. these domains are linked and function together to meet a basic human need- metabolism. He is credited for bringing the idea of functionalism to anthro- pology, which explains the cultural response to basic human needs. For example- Cultural Response Basic Need 1. Metabolism commissariat Religion 1. Emotional stress 2. Reproduction kinship Magic 2. Di cult tasks 3. Bodily comforts shelter Science 3. Organization 4. Safety protection 5. Movement activities Gille Deleuze 6. Growth Human as Excitable cell... training 7. Health hygiene page 7
  • 9. III. Performative Technique Writing Techniques Metaphor Replacement Brainstorming Revision Film Techniques Non-Linear Editing Non-Linear Editing Sociology Techniques Sociological Perspective Semantic Di erential At the arrival of an architec- tural performative technique, two main methods come back from the earlier genealogies. The First comes to us from Science- the scienti c method. Sociology in particular is of interest in its use of the Sociological perspective. It allows human beings to be seen as a whole, which is to say as a single entity. It provides an abstract view from a distance, and blurs the detailed interactions that may bring one back to the surface of the earth. As an architectural metaphor, the sociological perspective is the view of the world from a map. The variations of line thickness and placement may suggest circulation, congestion, or lack there of. In this sense, the diagram on the left may serve as the replacement paths of the revision process. One of the gifts abstraction a ords us is the ability to weave in and out of ideas, while simultaneously abiding by it’s law. The diagram on the left, as a case, suggests also a sectional quality. This transformation may also extend to its scale, and meaning. 8 page 1
  • 10. Kubric relies on the minds reconstructive abilities to make associations between and SOUND LIGHT The second method comes to us directly from an interest in lm editing, and screen play writing and revision. Brain storming is perhaps the method that gives birth to a thesis. In a very literal sense, the process of revision allows a writer to replace terms, ideas, and in lm’s sake, scenes. As a literary device, metaphor replaces an idea by way of disguise. The gathering of ideas may take the form of a written outine, or the form of a scattered web. The former is organized, and universally structured, the latter is chaotic, and seemingly un structured. In lm, visual metaphors can be used as methods to make associations between two seemingly irrelavent ideas. In “The Shining,” Kubric relies on the mind’s reconstructive abilities to make associations between sound and light. The time it takes for the tricycle to make sound between the two di erfent surfaces it rolls on is the same amount of time that it takes for the camera to pass through the light in a latter scene. These associations prove to be important in the stories overall coherence. Architeturally, these associations are the structures that maintain the idea’s soundness.
  • 11. quot;Nostalgiaquot; Fog in film implies isolation and distance. associations are made between DISTORTION and MEMORY Andrea Tarkovsky’s “Nostalgia” uses a similar associative method to that of Kubrics “The Shining.” The Di erence is in that Takovsky will make associations with a persons memory. Although everyone of us has di erent memories, one thing we all have in common is that our memories are in the past. The Image that is captured by our mind is a distorted image that is often very unclear. Tarkovsky uses Fog to distort an image in hopes of making associations with an audience’s memories of Nostalgia. The Model below is photographed from several di erent perspetives. though the Volumes never physi- cally intersect, the di ernt views suggest so. each volume may be space a di erent program, which intersect from certain vantage points of view.
  • 12. IV. Programatic Frame In thinking of a program that best ts the accomplished research from the previous chapters, several building types come to mind. However the aim of this thesis is to recreate the meaning of edi ce. The rst of the di erent elements that entail the invention of program is the paths that connect spaces. Cirulation allows the building to breath. As a metaphor, hallways are the vessels that allow blood to ow from the organs to the rest of the body. This thesis will aim to invent a new system for people to ow. A second element is that of function. A building is often expected to have purpose and the Space within it anticipates a number of occupants. As an example, a theatre is not presumed to house one person, similiarly, a bathroom does not accompate hundreds of people. The activities that occur in a volume may be challenged and assorted to alter the expected experience. As a technique, the scienti c method anticipates non-arguable programatic facilities. However architectural suggestions may impact the process in a positive manor. Invocation on the other hand does not require a speci c location. for example, a Mouslim who is not in the vicinity of a mosque, is only required to nd the direction of east. A place for budhist meditation is de ned by the invocator himself. “In the Western work, the personality is conceptualized as comprising the physical body with emotional and mental elds interpenetrating it. Integrating these three worlds of the Self is the principle of the Will, and Self Consciousness. The Superconscious level of the mind is the eld in which the human individuality evolves to achieve ever-higher states of mastery over its vehicles and the powers inherent in them. This process of spiritual evolution is called initiation in the West, and constitutes an expansion of the conscient principles together with a new state of attunement with the Divine Life. The Western Work characterizes major Initia- tions that culminate in the mastery of Superconscious vehicles.” (George Boyd, 23) The edi ce is an education facility which will combine the method of science with that of religion. The crossprogramming of these two seemingly opposing practices will prove their similarties, and alter their implementations. page 11
  • 13. 5.1 In diagram 5.1, two types of formal languages are present. One is the orthogonal, and the other is the diagonal. There are 6 squares that are connected to each other by parallelograms. Although each square may be sectioned o by the bounding lines, the diagonal line suggest a connection and may break the boundary of the sqaure. In plan all of the lines suggest a seperating wall, in section the at lines suggest a walking surface, and the diagonal lines suggest an elevated circulatory path. 5.2 inner-connectors in-connectors out-connectors 5.3 page 12
  • 14. In diagram 5.4, the module’s versatility is determined by the crossing of the program. In certain cases, a space may be multi-functional. In other cases, a space must be seperate from the others. The size of the space is also determined by the maximum number of occupants. The module anticipates further growth as dis- played in diagram 5.1. The direction of the growth is to be determined on the site that it will exist in. Chemisty Courtyard Lecture hall Labs Chemisty path Physics Labs Meditation path Meditation labs 5.4 In Diagram 5.5, the form “The city is the place of availabilities. It is the place where a small boy, as he walks through it, may see something that will begins to take a sectional qual- tell him what he wants to do his whole life.... ” ity. The 2 dimentional diagram from above is no seen as a three dimentional. some of the vol- umes that are connected are above ground, while the others are cantilevered over a court- yard. The space that is seperated may become a place for medita- The measure of the greatness of a place to live must come tion. Its orientation on the site from the character of its institutions, sanctioned by their sensitivity to desire for new agreement, not by need, because 5.5 will face away from the stree and need comes from what already is. Desire is the thing not made, the roots of the will to live. (--Lobell, pp.44-5) towards the back of the site page 13
  • 15. V. stite William Paterson University, Paterson, NJ William Paterson University was Founded in the city of Paterson in 1855. It is one of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey. Set on 370 wooded acres in north- east New Jersey, the campus is located just 20 miles west of New York City. The University has 10,600 students. William Paterson University o ers 33 undergraduate and 19 gradu- ate programs through its ve colleges: Arts and Communication, Christos M. Cotsakos College of Business, Education, Humanities, and Science and Social Sciences. Four of William Paterson’s colleges are located on the main campus which is on the border of Wayne NJ. The science and Social Science college is located 5 miles away in Wayne. The aim is to relocate the college of science and social science closer to the main campus in hopes of unifying the univeristy, and moving the isolated college closer to the city of paterson. One of the challenges will be to transport the tranquility of the forest that the old department was situated on to the new site in the congested city of Paterson. The Main campus in on the intersection of Pomton Road, and Hamburg Turnpike. Within the new site, which sits across pomton road is a pond and a parking lot. Although the parking lot will eventually be the site that the building will sit on. A. science building B. Campus page 14 1
  • 16. V. stite William Paterson University, Paterson, NJ Section