Graphic design gone wrong?

Here’s a video showing the examples in which typography and graphic design made things harder and less functional where they needed to make it a lot easier. But I guess like the narrator says, it’s hard to realize well designed things until the aren’t there anymore…

And here’s a bonus video. Don’t get frustrated or ashamed that you just pulled a door that has PUSH written all over it. Maybe it’s the design that is problematic. (And try not to think of Hodor 😦 )

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Directorial “What if…”s

This video is a recut trailer from a youtube channel I’ve shared earlier. It’s for “what if Harry Potter was a forbidden love story between Voldemort and Harry?” It’s so out of the context, it’s hilarious. Even though it is very creepy, it shows the importance of narration, editing and sound designing. 😀

Here’s another one, “What if Inception was a goofy holiday comedy?” It’s amazing what clichés can do for trailers.

Prejury

As our project House: In Reference continues to develop, we’ve already left behind our first prejury. The project is about designing a house by only using certain references from already-designed cases. The design decisions should be explained by words like “referring to”, “translation of…”, “variation of…”, “adapted from…” etc. The list of cases that were handed to us before was a good place to start. I’ve started with analyzing those cases but the one I was most influenced by was Kaufmann House designed by Richard Neutra. I’m really interested in houses that are in a true coexistence with nature. Also, as I proceeded with my research, I was even more impressed with Neutra. He was an Austrian architect, designing houses mostly in the west coast. He was self-taught in evolutionary biology. This explained his common use of distinctive horizontal and vertical elements. He thought that horizontal planes give us comfort as they remind us the horizon which has always made humankind feel safe. And the verticality is almost a representation of the inevitable natural force, gravity.

This balancing horizontal and vertical elements can be talked about many other cases as well, but another architect I was directly referring to was Frank Lloyd Wright and his infamous residential project Falling Water House which was also designed for Kaufmann family.

As these cases created a library of relations for me, I was not done with Kaufmann House just yet. On the plan, the house has a central space from which other spaces start to grow, branching onto the site. This “branching” of spaces was a principal that I later referred to in my proposal. I translated the concept of branching in the vertical direction too, creating a sequence of spaces both on the x axis and y. To achieve this, I quoted the L shaped relationship of a space coming on top of another.

I’ve worked on other references as well. As a means of relating and reaching out to nature, I’ve adapted the extension of roofs which can be found in House in Kifisia by Nicos Valsamakis. This Greek architect is also very interesting. He went to the same architecture school with Mies van der Rohe, but he is lesser known.

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House in Kifisia
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another example of the extensions by Valsamakis

Other references I took were for the application of openings and transitions between spaces. First, I’ve decided to quote a full surface of openness because I observed that it creates a distinction between spaces without the need to use a partition wall. I’ve observed this mostly in the Smith House designed by Arthur Erickson. The surface of transparency, with the help of a vertical plane nearby, created a less active space, almost specializing that space for relating to the outside. 

For creating this circumstance, I also took reference from Jacobs House by Frank Lloyd Wright which also has strong ties with nature. I varied the framed windows covering the whole surface and adapted it into my design without the frames.

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As my design goes, there is a big central space on the ground level that later relates to sub-spaces and other levels. But this big space is also divided into sub-spaces by certain elements, like the vertical plane I used. This vertical plane creates a sort of division in the big central space. Not using partition walls yet, I’ve looked for references that can complete this division by adding connections in-between. Then, I had a fun idea. I took on the challenge of adapting and varying the connection reference from Azuma House by Tadao Ando. In Azuma House, two concrete masses are related by using a passage in the middle, which is almost the exact opposite of my study. Actually, that’s why I thought it would be a good “what if?” question to work on.

In the end some references found themselves to be lost along the design process while some continue to reflect their strong existences. I’m sure a lot will change in the process. For once, I will work on the scale of my references as the scale problem was the main critique I got from the jury. And I will work on this branching idea with “what if”s such as “What if the house branches to the inside?”.

Let’s talk about the Beats.

Let’s go a little back in time. To an era that inspired so many forms of art, an era in which a few guys started something big, even without the intention of doing so. Long after my punk phase in high school, I got the urge to read the words of the Beat generation again nowadays. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to really get it back then and I’m not even sure if I get the whole thing still, but it sure is one of the most interesting group of people I’ve read about. For me, it all started with reading Jack Kerouac. His novels embodied the most interesting atmosphere of freedom. Plus, I’m quite interested in any kind of outcast.

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well unless you’re homophobic or conservative or simply are not ready for this. If it’s the first option please log off.

The Beat generation is the name used for a group of American poets and authors that formed a literary movement, mainly centered in New York in the 50s. After the great depression, people, most of them being unemployed railroad workers, traveled from state to state to work daily jobs. These travels of the labor class had influences. It is the influence that established the Beat generation in the first place. In 40s, a group of students at Columbia University started having meetings including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs who were very much affected by the idea of being on the road. They believed that literature should be real, coming from the author’s experiences and philosophy. Nothing about the Beats could have been considered “conventional” as they formed a very nonconformist group, living on the road, defying common rules in a time America was creating new norms and insisting on making them permanent and effective through media.

Nothing exists until it’s observed. The artist observes something invisible to others and puts on paper or canvas something that did not exist until they observed it.
—  William Burroughs

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Most of them did not have the intention of having an influence on American literature, maybe except for Allen Ginsberg who wanted to make people realize more. Or, like he said in an interview: “There’s no beat generation. It’s just a bunch of guys trying to get published.”

What’s interesting is, in the never-ending eventfulness and chaos of the 20th century, these guys’ words were a celebration of life, even though it was almost a condemnation to the society and sometimes life itself. Traveling penniless, working tiring jobs, reading and writing, meditating, experimenting with drugs, loving people they weren’t supposed to love, even stealing… Just enough reasons to become “obscene”. No wonder they created great controversy. Allan Ginsberg’s Howl even had a filed suit, accusing the publisher for the obscene work but the judge ruled against this accusation. The FBI had so many files on Ginsberg that they could touch the ceiling when put on top of each other on the desk. And yet, Howl is considered one of the best examples of American literature today and one of the most popular poems of history. So don’t let their hedonism fool you.

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the publisher of the beat generation: Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Bookstore
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Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac

On The Road

On The Road is one of the milestones for the underground literature, telling the adventures of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady and the people they met along the way. This book has one of the most interesting muses in history, in my opinion: Neal Cassady. The book is about writer friends traveling through America, doing whatever the hell they want. It’s written from Jack Kerouac’s point of view. What’s interesting is that out of all the characters in the book, the whole thing feels like it’s about Cassady rather than Kerouac himself. He is the muse, both for his adventures, his life on the road, and for his book.

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a piece from the Beat Museum in San Francisco

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” -Jack Kerouac

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Ginsberg and Cassady

Kerouac was not the only person Cassady had an influence on. He is being described as this extremely lively person (even as the adonis of Denver by Ginsberg in Howl) with an utter charisma. It’s important to recognize his influence on Ginsberg too. Ginsberg was in love with him and they had a love affair for some time but Cassady broke it off except for their occasional,on-and-off relationship that went on for 20 years. So, going through the writers’ works, it’s impossible not to get curious about Neal Cassady.

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The 120 foot scroll on which Kerouac wrote On The Road. Even the publication method was unusual and unconventional.

Dharma Bums was also a book with a similar tone and subject. The beats also introduced America to Zen, Buddhism and Eastern culture. They combined the meditative way of Zen with the idea of being on the road which they saw as the ultimate goal. A search for nothing. It was searching that mattered.By providing a new way of critical thinking and philosophy, they freed some part of the youth from the lie of living in the happiest place in the world, waking them up from the consumptive utopia.

“Writing at least is a silent meditation even though you’re going a hundred miles an hour.” – Kerouac

The beat generation had its many influences on music and culture. It almost directly led to the Hippie movement in the 60s.  The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Janis Joplin and Pink Floyd were some of the artists that were referring to the Beats.

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If you don’t want to read the books but would like to dive in to the movies about this there are 3 that I liked which were filmed in recent years:

  • Howl (2010)
  • Kill Your Darlings (2013)
  • On The Road (2012)

P.s: The post was supposed to be specifically about Ginsberg but I got distracted too much, so here it is. Might elaborate more on Ginsberg later.

Relevant Documentary: West Coast Modernist Architecture of The States

While digging up for some information and references for our term project House: In Reference, I came across this fun documentary about the modernist architects in search of an answer for the housing of the West Coast.

The episode explains the modernist movement and discusses the major works of modernist architects mainly based in the west coast from 20s to 50s. I loved that it gave clear examples and the social problem of housing was critically examined through time. The launch of the Case Study Program is also mentioned. I found this very informative as it is very parallel to what we study in the studio -and outside of it.

3D Collage revise/addition and “Quotation”

In this revision I added to the model a new human scale as a representation of how different means of “inhabiting” can be. Not only they can be on different dimensions, facing different directions, they can even have different scales which shows a great deal of variation.

I also added new extensions to the box and a new excluded surface as a new means of observing. I used it to emphasize the frames I created which also show ways of observation.

The next part of the assignment Continue reading “3D Collage revise/addition and “Quotation””