a) Does this illustrate that Zumthor doesn't use a concept but instead imagery?
"I think that every project has its theme. And it has to be formulated in a very strong way, so that the entire building and all things, can be explained by this principal theme. For me, the principal theme isn’t an abstract idea, but a physical one. The architecture which interests me is concrete architecture, not architecture as an abstraction. So there is already a body: the idea is a real body."

b) Quotes of Interest
“I think the chance of finding beauty is higher if you don’t work on it directly,” Zumthor has said in describing his philosophy. “Beauty in architecture is driven by practicality. This is what you learn from studying the old townscapes of the Swiss farmers. If you do what you should, then at the end there is something, which you can’t explain maybe, but if you are lucky, it has to do with life.”

“I start with the collection, which is the basis of the museum. I think of separate collections, putting them on different floors, and then I have this terrible feeling, like I am in a department store, with shoes and shirts. So then I draw a forest. And in the forest I find jewels. I have to go here, there, to get them. I think of these jewels as parts of the collection, with their own pavilions, and this gives me a new feeling.”

Imagine the pavilions as metaphorical trees, he went on, “their volumes up in the branches, up in the air. So then I need a system of ramps. Maybe there is a catwalk system.” He sketched more quickly. “Now we have the opposite feeling from a department store. But I am getting confused, weak. I want the sense of informal freedom. I want to feel I am outside. I want a village, but with an upper level, a lower level.” He was sketching, sketching. “But it must give a feeling of peace. Now I feel it will be right only if the collections have real homes.”

Zumthor paused. “To say, ‘Let’s build something flexible,’ this doesn’t produce good results,” he said. “I have to give these alienated works of art some energy, something so that people don’t just pass by them and say, ‘Did you see African art?’ ‘I don’t know.’ So now I no longer see a village but a park. I hate a didactical museum. The goal is a highly emotional place, to put someone in a mood to listen or read or feel.”

“It’s about elevation,” he added. “Everybody can go up, after all.”


Our closest most human bonds are not forged easily. Fleeting glances and serendipidous encounters cannot shape the internal bedrock of our most guarded emotional memory. Only the strongest most beautiful human ties achieve such a rare feat. Our traditional employment of physica ltools and brute force for a task of this nature are of no facility. Patience, heart, and chance are some of thequalities required for a miracle such as this. And, only if individual patience remains sound and fate is allowed to reveal her true motivations may profound human bonds be born from tears of forgotten loss. The emotion thriving in embedded bonds born of patience become capable of more than simply marring stone. The strongest of these connections conjure a penetrating brilliant magnetism whose embodiment etches and vaporizes the most durable of nature’s geology. The relief buried in these stones, echo in memory of the phenomenal and beautiful power born from one relationship given two. Embedded those memories resonate.


Simple & Powerful Rendering Techniques:

Check out Alex's blog (under Links_tutorials @ right) for more tutorials like this one. He is creating quite powerful renderings in little time and surprisingly with little or no use of a rendering program.


Thesis Statement_3.0

Inducing Indigenous

I am first and foremost interested in designing a sensory experience, born from the indigenous cultures of our past, and re-contextualizing them in the modern era. It is my contention that the modern condition does not create architecture that caters to the five senses; instead it caters to one sense. In this distillation everything has been lost. When imagining powerful phenomenological environments that stimulate all senses, imagery of man’s primal beginnings resonate. Our primal beginnings were nomadic in nature and tied to notions of the indigenous. Indigenous tribes were defined through a close connection with the processes and materials of the natural world. The rising and setting of the sun, the gradual changing of the seasons, and the sheer power of the weather were processes our primal ancestors experienced and retained. What is it about the experience of a warm igloo buried in a frozen landscape that is so phenomenal and experiential? When imagining it’s internal shell, I picture brilliant white sunlight transformed into a tapestry of blues and grays washing across the surface like colors on a concave canvas. The implementation of natural materials, like ice, in systems such as an igloo, produced honest tectonics. These materials were unrefined, unfinished, and retained the inherent earthly properties. I believe the material assemblages and sensations experienced by these indigenous cultures are most phenomenal, architectural, valuable, and human.

If we assume the above to be true, then it is follows that we should aspire to model buildings of the modern era after the successful materials and imagery associated with indigenous architecture. Can we use the knowledge and rules of past cultures to inform a ‘new vernacular’, a vernacular of the modern era born from the ideas of our ancestors? It is my contention that there is a vast reservoir of primal knowledge trapped in the indigenous which is more relevant today than at any other time in the history of civilization.


Architectural Model? Interactive Video Game?

The graphics in this walk through are the most visceral I have seen yet. Beautiful!


Thesis Statement_2.0


Architecture creates space for the inhabitants of a society to both function and thrive within the cultural, economic, and social fabric of civilization. As digital technology becomes more pervasive, it threat­ens to fundamentally augment societal norms, changing the member’s way of life. How then will architecture itself change to perform it’s primary task of creating space for the, now changed, inhabitants of the technological society?

Every culture throughout the course of history has worshipped some kind of symbol, icon, or way of existing. In Christianity, this symbol is God, manifested as Jesus Christ. In the Pagan religion, it was multiple gods such as Poseidon, the god of water, or Zeus, the god of lightning. Finally, during the Industrial Revolution it could be argued that the machine was the symbol of worship, which drove the society. Worshipping does not require a god; it merely requires a symbol or ideal to which a culture may align their views and actions. Societal day-to-day goals and activities are largely driven by the cultural zeitgeist they follow. In es­sence, cultural values affect the paradigms and decisions of the members participating in that society. I believe our modern society has an object of worship, but one that does not have religious connotations.

Digital technology has become modern societies object of worship. Every day hundreds of thousands of employees in the field of technology work grueling hours to pump out and produce the next technological breakthrough, conscious of the benefits of their efforts, but ignoring the vast implications this new techniques potential may have to harm their society. As the number of these developments rapidly increases and accumulates, a need develops for us to take a step back and truly contextualize the implications of these techniques. The myriad of problems associated with the rapid increase in technology is just beginning to reveal their ef­fects on the denizens of the expanding technological society.

For the sake of example, employees of companies that rely heav­ily on technology for their daily production are being given the opportunity to work from home. While this is a benefit in the sense that employees lives are freed to be productive when they wish, to reduce the stress of a commute, or to provide increased autonomy over ones life, it carries with it the inher­ent problem of the human condition. Human beings are fundamentally physiological and social beings whose function and happiness decrease without physical or social inter­action. What happens to an employee who can generate revenue to remain financially stable and have their necessities of food and shelter satiated, but who lack a network of friends? If ones only connection to the political world of friendship and networks is through ones employment, how do these privileged individuals maintain this human aspect of their existence? In the new technological frontier, I believe these individuals will increasingly need a place of social interaction as their employers re­move them from the culture inherent in the office setting. While this only serves as an example, I believe many examples exist to illustrate how technology can both increase our potential for production and connectivity, while simultaneously eroding the fundamental being of what it means to be human.