It seems that image making as a way of thinking has been
long forgotten in architecture. These days images are no
longer ‘seductive’ but ‘sexy’ they are to sell but not to entice
and suggest; they are retrospective makeovers and not
explorative tools. Images can be a practice of architectural
production in themselves and the many unbuildable projects
of the architecture canon can be called upon to testify here
for they have never ceased to inspire because of the forever
giving power of their imagery. Representation can only lead
us to casual relations where as an image for imagination can
lead to a variety of relations that can be connected or
disconnected. Imagery can determine the framework and
outcome of a project and save it from fashion and cliché.
When representation takes over important issues of space
and time are replaced with the empty promise of
programme, and objectified categories such as tectonics,
envelop, and matter. To view and draw architecture in such
reductive terms is to forget that architecture actually
happens in their void.
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The end of the decade of 1970s in England was a turning point towards a new political, social, economic and cultural paradigm that would radically change the way the city was experienced and architecture was thought. The remaining ruins of a dismantled heavy industry become the place to experiment with new kinds of production based on social relations. The thesis will examine how these new conditions produce a new body liberated of manual labour and surrendered to total leisure consumption; a re-eroticized body that will be placed in the centre of the architectural experience redefining its materials, tempos and status.
Only once home is left behind even destructed, can it be constructed. Reflection on home in exile as a condition of dislocation and displacement becomes a way to escape either nostalgia or amnesia without a physical journey back. The act of writing becomes a journey from site to site, each site constituting a collection of references.
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I n v i s i b l e H o m e s ; W i t h o u t H e r e a n d T h e r e
W h e r e n e v e r w i l l c o m e n e a r a n d g o a w a y f r o m a n y t h i n g , a l l t h e s t e p s o f t h e w o r l d *
The thesis is a reflection on home in exile as a condition of displacement and not dislocation: An attempt to escape either
nostalgia or amnesia without a physical journey back. The writing becomes a journey from site to site, each site
constituting a collection of references that are the devices, the means and not the end of the exploration. The escape lies in
the relations between each site where parallels of modern art/architecture with the condition of displacement arise.
I I N V I S I B L E
A construct built by de-‐struction: a process of interruption in material continuity that in turn reveals that which is
The earthquake builds home through its very loss; when I am standing in the ruins, home leaves behind the physical
bounds of the house, and stands stronger in their absence. Home is not a house.
In the absence of the house the landscape becomes prominent. Landscape, light, smells and sounds each in turn substitute
one another only to reveal that what constitutes home is not material.
De-‐struction can create by other less dramatic means such as traversing space; within the space that home is left behind;
for home almost did not exist before it was left behind.
In the space of the aeroplane above the clouds, home appears. As if once you gain altitude, memory and place become,
and only can be retrieved there.
II W I T H O U T H E R E A N D T H E R E
‘It is suicide to be abroad but what is it to be at home? (…) A lingering dissolution’.
The essence of home takes an extreme form in relation and tension with exile, not that they are opposites and negate one
another and therefor can delineate the limits of each other, but because they both work towards an impossible impasse,
side by side – outside by outside.
In the formation of home through this mutual relation, the space and time of the border are essential. Where is this
border, this margin that expands and thickens in time and space?
Distance is no longer definite and cannot be measured but is relative to time and how one can relate to the place of either
outside. ‘When we relate ourselves to things that are not in our immediate reach, we are staying with the things
themselves. We do not represent distance merely in our mind. Thinking gets through, and persists through the distance to
‘Everything near becomes far’. Goethe refers to the evening twilight. It is true at nightfall, the things closest move away
from my eyes and instead the furthest stars are in my grasp. Created by night, where the visible world has moved away
from my eyes, perhaps forever, there is space for the invisible.
Near and far are not tied to location or the removal from it but what is at stake is an idea of displacement, that goes
beyond being a mere state of being and can form a tool for the exiled not as something gone wrong but as a process with
its own form and possibility. ‘The only way he or she can cope with the heavy baggage of culture is to subject it to certain
kinds of displacement, which lightens its burdensome weight. (…) In this effort (…) the exiled is engaged in a work akin to
that of the modern artist whose energies have in the last century, been marshalled not so much to represent objects as to
The exiled, the inhabitants of the thick expanded border, can subvert their displaced state of being into a device that can
My thesis is about the emergence of the discourse on Habitat and its influence on metropolitan and urban planning carried out in developing countries around the world, particularly those in the tropical regions. The concept of habitat was first used to describe the types of human settlements by the members of Team X, who in the early `50s sought to depart from the modernist principles of the functional city, aiming for a more integrated approach. In 1976, the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements led to the formulation of UN-Habitat, with the objective of promoting an inclusive and sustainable urban planning through policies, legislation, strategies and institutions. In this way, the discourse on Habitat has ultimately caused a shift in the nature of urban planning itself, from the comprehensive master plans to “bottom-up” collaborative approaches involving the private sector, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations.
By the end of 18th century, the body was liberated from gravity by the emergence of the balloon flights. With the movement of the observing body from the ground to the clouds, came a change in the perception of the city. The growing scale, population and density of the cities that began in the 18th century had already aroused a new interest in observing and experiencing the cityscape from different angles. The opportunity to personally experience the cities from above the clouds, the physical movement of the body in the sky in different altitudes with the presence of the clouds created a new perception of the city as landscape, where the individual’s point of view was now the journey of transition.
In the aftermath of World War II, the exigency for urbanization and development led to the transformation of the architecture practice into a corporate model of scientists, engineers, builders and manufacturers to address the Modern needs of people. But soon following decolonization and emergence of economic global exchanges, this corporation took another major turn through its franchise operations, diffusing their models into developing nations. The architecture, which might have materialized from the need of mass production in post war regions, had now turned into a uniform experience of architecture all over the world with a predefined modernity being imported in even unexplored conditions. The thesis reflects upon these changing forms of architecture practice and how they have moulded in the late twentieth century by looking in particular at the present condition in Gurgaon, the millennium city of India.
As the title of this thesis implies, its initial objective is to question the role of an architectural exhibition by contemplating it as a project and finally test its afterlife. The device, through which I evaluate this hypothesis, is the exhibition “Europe/America: Historic Centre – Suburban Alternatives”, which is a segment of the 1976 Venice Biennale. The exhibition becomes prominent for three particular reasons; one, it brings into confrontation the international contemporary architects of two generations; two, it is considered to be the end of a broad discourse on the legacy of the Modern Movement; and three, it presents the so-called “New York – Venice axis.” Looking at this event within a historical perspective and considering it as a project allows a profound understanding of its specifications and an unpacking of its aims and effects.
The ‘skin’ of a building, as a surface, or as a ‘threshold between inside and outside, has been used literally and metaphorically to communicate different socio-political and philosophical ambitions in architecture. I believe that there is a possibility through the reconsideration and redefinition of the ‘skin’, as a place of distinction and interaction rather than a division, to give rise to ‘moments’ and ‘spaces’, where an understanding of material cognition and the emotive qualities of space at varying scales can be elucidated and nurtured.
With the focus on Dr Otto Koenigsberger’s work, I trace the transformation of the wall in the Tropics. Walls in traditional tropical habitats are typically thick, no matter if the building material is stone, clay, mud, straw, or thatch. The windows are smaller, to keep the heat out and clearly demarcate the intimate inside from the perils of the outside. The arrival of the modernists to the Tropics is marked by the dematerialization of the wall. But these early practices of modernizing the Tropics soon prove to be insufficient to accommodate the unprecedented, accelerating growth; radically different new notions of development are about to evolve. I see the wall as a device, by means of which, I wish to investigate larger implications for the society and its environment. It is also a medium to look at the practice of an international yet ideologically quintessentially western organization such as the UN and its mission to engineer the socioeconomic growth of the underdeveloped or developing parts of the world.
The administration of life is an ignorable, yet undeniably present factor in the contemporary narrative. The methods and environments of this necessity are so banal and so innocuous that they do not merit any sincere interest, that is, beyond general frustration and often mutual distrust. However, how and where we administer and are administered to says much more about our place in society than any social media or self-promotion ever can. Against a trend of slack self-association, administrative architecture is the embodiment of the situational definition: beyond possession, it is a determined position. It is an architecture that lies at the crossroads of statistical analysis and narrative chaos. Usually uncelebrated, frequently un-symbolic, and continually unsympathetic: these are not the spaces of simplistic power, but the architecture of that power’s affect, its policy.