Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kunsthaus Extension Project in Zurich

What is a museum?

Now a days we are easily able to see Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci on Internet. We are also easily able to Louvre Museum in France. What is the difference seeing in it on the monitor or at Louvre? In the increase of World Wide Web we are now able to grasp information easier than before. But at the same time we are to face the danger of something. Are we fully understanding the object on the monitor? We are now in the lack of sense and experience. Here, one gigantic sculpture generated by pure mathematical calculation is standing in front of important urban void, and people experience inside and outside with being attracted by this mystic geometry.
The aim of the design was to generate a strong form that involves the context of each elements in order to build a museum. The urbanism, existence, spine of the university district, circulation, program, structure, entrance and light. In order to solve each of these elements, the 3D voronoi script from Rhino has been used. This script has been analyzed and fully controlled to generate a form for this new extension of Kunsthaus. In result, the form which has each elements related to each other have been generated succeessfully.

In day time, the museum will form a simple box by the glass facade. In night time, the glass will be turned into transparent and the main core, generated from the script will show its form as the sun light turns away. The light from the main museum space will shoot out to the urban and state a starting and end point for the university district.

Since the location of the site was the start and end point of the spine of university district, a non-hierarchy public space is made at the first floor. People are to stop by and go through the first floor as well as entering and paying for museum. The main gallery space on the second floor is a wide space without any columns (4,200 square meters). The structure generated by the Rhino script is used to express the beauty of the form and to create a wide non-columns space functionally.

Density Variation for the Performance, Kunsthaus Extension Project in Zurich

New Casino project in Catalina Island_04

Program and Partition

When I started this project, the first issue was the architectural interpretation about theater and ballroom of the existing program of Casino. These programs, the ballroom and theater, of Existing building were quite different from common meanings. For tourist, the ballroom and theater was not the space for utility, but the objects for tour course. The first reason was the original use was not apt for this recreation area, and the second reason was the architectural value as an old, well-decorated building. However, the ballroom and theater of new Casino building never can have the historical value. This means that new interpretation for these programs is needed to adapt to contemporary circumstance. I thought indeterminate space for the program. Indeterminate space means multiple use space. In the 21 century, existing meaning of Modern architecture for specific program is broken by new ideology of information society. The ballroom would not be the space for only dancing and performance anymore, and the theater would not be the place for watching the movies. In this sense, I placed several open spaces which are not defined by specific prejudice. Each space has specific name to identify each one, but the space does not have specific area divided by partition. Every space is connected by continuous pathway, so user cannot recognize the starting point and end point of the each space. The only method for dividing space is physical differences defined by columns, roof, and landscapes. For example, at the main entrance for this project area, people could feel the forest of bamboo expressed by tall columns and shortly spread branches. At the next step, tourists have to pass through the narrow stair covered with low roof. This phase is designed to make people feel the compression of space. Finally, when arriving the ballroom, highlight space, they will experience explosion of the space because of the great space toward the sea consisted of long span columns which have widely spread branches.

In result, the relationship between program and partition can be accounted by mutative column unit structure. The basic column unit is mutated as following variation of programs. This mutation is the method for distinguishing the programs from the others.

New Casino project in Catalina Island_03

Aperture and Penetration

In this project, there are two methods to deal with aperture and fenestration. One is the controlling the gap between roof edge (eaves) and landscape, and another is controlling the density and proportion of columns and its branches. By this way, I could make the each space different from the others. During the movement along the pathway, the variation of aperture between eaves and ground provide the intentionally controlled views toward the Avalon bay or other spaces like a courtyard. On top of that, ‘the forest of columns’ makes a ‘filter effect’ or ‘frame effect’ from inside to the bay area. For this effect, each columns height, diameter, dividing point of branches are very important factors. I wanted to show this roof structure very gossamer and light and a lot of dividing branches toward 6 provide an appropriate condition to make this expression.

In addition, the transparency of access is another significant factor for discussion about transparency, together with visual transparency which is secured by aperture and fenestration. Aperture makes a physical gate not only where the light can penetrate, but also where people can pass through. In this sense, the existing Casino building consisted of very thick and opaque wall, so people couldn’t go into the building’s inside easily. Only permitted tourists who bought ticket for Casino tour can see inside of the building. The visual transparency of this building has no meaning to person who cannot go into the building. Therefore, transparency of access is an absolute term to feel the visual transparency of building. In this sense, I would like to cite two examples which have opposite characteristics about the transparency of access.

New Casino project in Catalina Island_02


The mass of sea water in Avalon bay is the physical origin which makes a semicircle shape of the Avalon bay for thousand years. Historically, semicircle seaside shape could provide human a lot of benefit for living, and made this area small town. Currently, this bay area is being used as a harbor connecting Catalina Island and the land, and seaside promenade along Avalon bay is the main road which makes people recognize an entire city organization. In addition, the scenery of full with enormous white yachts in this Avalon bay is determining entire image of this recreation area. In result, the water mass which fills Avalon bay area strongly dominates this whole atmosphere physically, spatially, and emotionally. In this situation, concentrating on the border between sea of Avalon bay and city organization naturally became the issue of design.In this project, the main concept is to extend the existing seaside pathway of Avalon bay on this site. We focused on the border between the city organization and sea. This border is not a mere line, but the medium to connect specific events. Therefore I drew and connected the seaside path from center area of the city into the site, and extended the pathway on the entire site as long as possible.

In addition, I imagined a gossamer fabric which is drafted on the waves and covers the seashore of the site. This imagination started from the power of water movement from center of Avalon bay to the edge of the land. This movement became a gossamer fabric as physical expression of invisible substance. This gossamer fabric is realized by composition and expansion with the components which have 6 spikes and 1 column and are abstracted from individual polyps of coral. In conclusion, these two elements, seaside path and gossamer roof are putting together on the border of the site, and become a main shape of this project.

New Casino project in Catalina Island_01

Mutative Gossamer for Indeterminate Space, New *Casino Project in Catalina Island

gossamer, n.
1. A soft, sheer, gauzy fabric.2. Something delicate, light, or flimsy.3. A fine film of cobwebs often seen floating in the air

The site is the north seaside of Avalon bay in Catalina Island, California. Currently, there is existing building, ‘Casino’ whose meaning is ‘gathering place’, and it was built in 1929. Its program is mainly a theater at first floor and a ballroom at second floor. Its gross area is approximately 96,000 sq ft. The main purpose of this project was to design a new building to replace this old building.
I did not focus on the building itself, but concentrated on the space between building and seaside of Avalon bay. The Casino, an old traditional-style building, blocks the pathway to the seaside area of the site. In addition, the inside of the building space is also closed by its thick and opaque walls, and the programs and functions of Casino never seem to be changed like its concrete structure.
Therefore, I proposed a nice outdoor space which gives people continuity of a seaside walk. People’s interesting experience along the seaside of Avalon bay is maximized at the site of the new Casino building. The affect which people get from the new Casino building comes from two kinds of transparency. One is the transparency of visibility, and another is the transparency of accessibility. I did not want to put a big window or curtain wall on the building to get the affect of transparency. Instead of windows, I made most parts of the building into columns and a roof like a gossamer. The shadow from the delicate members of the roof, the contrast between the eaves and the horizon line, and the movement between different spatial proportions and levels will let the tourists walk, rest and flow along the esplanade under the roof with buoyancy. During this experience, no wall will stop the people; thus they would see the beautiful scenery of the Avalon bay without any interruption. In terms of program, I placed several interesting programs on this site along the esplanade which is extended from center of Avalon bay, and made the esplanade connect these programs. However, every program is not defined by conventional name of the function, but defined by an affect generated from the specific physical condition enclosing each location of the site. For the detail, I will describe this project from viewpoint of 3 categories. First one is ’borders’. Second one is ‘aperture and fenestration’. Final issue is ‘program and partition’.
* ‘Casino’ means the gathering place’ in the Latin language.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

digital morphogenesis

‘Complex curvilinear geometries are produced with the same ease as Euclidean geometries of planar shapes and cylindrical, spherical or conical forms. The plan no longer “generates” the design; sections attain a purely analytical role. Grids, repetitions and symmetries lose their past raison d’etre, as infinite variability becomes as feasible as modularity, and as mass-customization presents alternatives to mass-production.”

Architecture in the digital age, Design and manufacturing, Branko Kolarevic. “Digital Morphogenesis”