Posts tagged with "Endemic Architecture":

Placeholder Alt Text

CCA converts a vacant-ish lot into an experimental art playscape

The Designing Material Innovation exhibition—co-presented by the California College of the Arts (CCA) and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the CCA campus in San Francisco—aims to utilize contemporary architectural research in an effort to envision potential futures for the school’s backlot. The exhibition consists of five experimental architectural pavilions built to test new conceptual approaches in the realms of materiality, fabrication, and design. The pavilions, crafted with industry and academic partners, also attempt to articulate new ways of working outdoors in an effort to help guide designs for a forthcoming campus expansion by Studio Gang. Designs for the expansion are still in the works, but the scheme is expected to rely on a network of socially-driven outdoor workspaces and venues—Designing Material Innovation will act as a pop-up of sorts, testing the limits of what is possible outdoors at the CCA. The exhibition was curated by Jonathan Massey—the current dean at Taubman College and recent dean of architecture at CCA—who brought together APTUM Architecture, MATSYS, the CCA Digital Craft Lab, T+E+A+M, and Matter Design for the show. Exhibition design for the showcase came from Oakland, California–based Endemic Architecture, who created a “confetti urbanism” installation for the site that whimsically reworks existing furnishings into a playscape that hosts the experimental pavilions, as well as give students a place to fabricate their projects. “Designing Material Innovation shows how designers and industry leaders partner to achieve great things, whether that is making concrete structures light and delicate, promoting ecological diversity, or repurposing waste,” Massey said. APTUM Architecture collaborated with Mexican building materials company CEMEX to devise new methods of testing fiber-reinforced methods to pursue extremely thin concrete shell structures. The ten-foot-by-ten-foot pavilion is made of interlocking concrete arches that are only one-third of an inch thick. A second vaulted pavilion was made by Oakland-based MATSYS with help from the CCA Digital Craft Lab. The complexly curved shell structure was robotically milled from foam waste and is coated in synthetic resin. The Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab by the CCA Digital Craft Lab and Kreysler & Associates comprises a “floating composite shell structure” according to the exhibition website, and was fabricated using fiber-reinforced polymers. T+E+A+M and University of Michigan came together to generate a “new architectural order” made from “plasticglomerate,” an amalgamation of rocks and plastic waste cast into a grouped cluster of columns. The final team—Matter Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology—fabricated a 16-foot-tall, 2,000-pound glass fiber reinforced concrete sculpture that pivots and moves freely despite its hefty appearance. Taken together, the installations offer not just a glimpse into the future of material experimentation, but pique interest in Studio Gang’s forthcoming additions, as well.
Placeholder Alt Text

2017 Best of Design Awards for Landscape – Public

2017 Best of Design Awards for Landscape – Public: Confetti Urbanism Architect: Endemic (Clark Thenhaus) Location: San Francisco, California Confetti Urbanism reimagines the California College of the Arts Back Lot as a display venue, work yard, and social space. The 73,470-square-foot Back Lot presents prototypes of the Designing Material Innovation exhibition while supporting student design activities and equipment—from a welding station to hammocks. Confetti Urbanism celebrates the diversity of the Back Lot’s many components by organizing them as though they were tossed confetti, creating a loose yet carefully studied frame for the prototypes on display and animating the site through function and festivity. “The spontaneity and framework of this project is incredibly engaging and refreshing. A parking lot is transformed through simple strategic interventions and a democratic vision into a dynamic open-air laboratory for material innovation and creation. They’ve shown a parking lot can become a platform for interaction and creation.” —Emily Bauer, landscape architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Curator: Jonathan Massey Pavilions By: APTUM Architecture T+E+A+M CCA Digital Craft Lab Matter Design Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab Honorable Mention Project: Farnham-Connolly State Park Pavilion Architect: Touloukian Touloukian (Pavilion Architect) with Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (Landscape Architect) Location: Canton, Massachusetts Farnham-Connolly State Park Pavilion began as an environmental cleanup of an abandoned municipal airport. Surrounding wetlands were remediated, and PCB-impacted soils were collected under a permeable geo-textile cap for the location of a new park and comfort-station pavilions. Both pavilions meet the social and physical needs of visitors, while paying homage to the area’s history of flight. Honorable Mention Project: The Meriden Green Architect: Milone & MacBroom Place: Meriden, Connecticut Meriden Green began as a flood-control project 20 years ago and became the catalyst for economic revitalization by transforming a brownfield into a greenfield. The firm executed a Connecticut city’s vision of large expanses of lawn for events and play; pedestrian routes; a bridge linking neighborhoods; and new development opportunities.
Placeholder Alt Text

Endemic Architecture reimagines the Victorian turret at Jai & Jai Gallery

Oakland, California–based Endemic Architecture’s most recent exhibition, Mind Your Mannerisms, at Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles, examines the existential meaning behind San Francisco’s variant of the Victorian turret, what the firm refers to as one of many “architectural darlings” that populate our world.

For the firm, “darlings” consist of fundamentally architectural symbols that convey meaning in built form universally, like the column, the pediment, or the chimney. These “darlings” are the elements that are both widely understood by laypeople as words used in architecture’s formal language and simultaneously deployed (or subverted) by architects themselves to say, “this is (still) architecture.”

In Mind Your Mannerisms, the selected “darling”—turrets—is poked, pinched, and puckered in an effort to not only lend a sense of intellectual rigor to its whimsical forms, but to also induce new layer of new meaning and understanding resulting from the anipulation of its symbolic, anachronistic geometries.

The firm utilizes collections of contextual photography showing the diverse manifestations of the turret typology in San Francisco’s built environment as a starting point in order to generate generalized drawings of particular, observed tendencies. In the process, the darling gets redefined from an object made up of discrete architectural components into a collection of quasi-digital surfaces where a series of formal maneuvers have been applied to two disparate objects: the turret itself and the so-called “Victorian” building to which it is attached.

The firm uses these guiding considerations to generate interventions enacted upon a handful of existing and observed turret types, focusing on these aspects of each and amplifying or deforming their found conditions. These interventions are initially explored through a series of beguiling, shaded line drawings, side-by-side comparisons of found and manipulated elevation views displayed in gold-painted frames. The turrets take on the formal ambiguities of M.C. Escher drawings, as cornices become tangent to and sweep around rounded corners, conical roof forms loft to meet simply sloping ones and sections of walls are deleted or extruded up and down the form. Shingles and siding are along for the ride, too; they are scaled, alternated, and shifted accordingly.

The drawings are then taken into three dimensions via three large, ambiguously-scaled maquettes. Two of these objects are installed directly on the gallery walls, which have been painted with the black silhouettes of generic Victorian building forms. A third form is freestanding, its bulbous and rumpled masses sagging in an exaggerated, Pablo Escobar–style paunch. The turrets are lent a scale-less distortion by the firm’s use of repurposed, full-scale turret windows salvaged from recently-demolished structures in the models. The relic windows, one with panes fritted, the other with a set of secondary, chamfered interior surfaces located just inside the window frame, again obscure the true nature of these sculptural objects. Is each one actually a turret-shaped building? Are they one-to-one mock-ups of diminutive turrets? It’s hard to tell, but that’s partially the point. This transformation from orthographic drawing to object-in-the-round gives each turret conflicting, multiple meanings, as the physical properties of their material components clash with one another. One wall-mounted turret is clad in sheets of woodgrain veneer, cut out and styled so their ends curl up. The freestanding turret is topped with a tiara of faux-fur.

And if we can look past the Seuss-ian  forms the turrets take and look at them for what they are—geometric abstractions—something clicks into place: Thenhaus and his team are using San Francisco’s turret as a learning tool. By imposing an order and then manipulating that order, working to generate new forms that still fit the decided upon definition for what a turret is, the designers lend clarity to something that is otherwise shrouded in mystery. The question is: Are the new creations Victorian turrets, still?

It’s hard to tell because Victorian architectural forms juggle many considerations simultaneously: They are typically proportioned in accordance with light and air, are aggressively ornamented, and do a great job of breaking down massive buildings into pleasant  agglomerations of cute things like cornices,windows, porches, and yes, turrets. Victorian architecture makes no sense at all, however, from the point of view the rationalist, diagram-driven, methodology of contemporary practice that has been applied to its formal existence here.

By subsuming the particularities of the Victorian ecosystem of styles in this way, the researchers point out the barren lexical memory of their profession and the ways in which building components, once discrete, measurable and observable objects, have been replaced in contemporary discourse with digital modeling processes and “if, then” reactions, in which collections of dots, lines, and planes are swept, lofted, tweened, and booleaned to generate form. In both cases, meaning results from the processes undertaken in order to generate form and not, as is the case with Victorian architecture, from the symbolic and physical properties of the forms themselves.

Viewed through this lens, the works presented in the exhibition can be seen not merely as generative, architectural by-products begat from architecturally-focused observation, but as a part of that conversation in their own right. That is, Endemic’s turrets, with their quizzical proportions, jiggery-pokery of material, and side eye toward playful formalism are as helpful in Endemic’s attempt to define the turret typology as the observed turrets themselves.

Placeholder Alt Text

Endemic Architecture plays with San Francisco’s vernacular architecture

Mind Your Mannerisms, a research-based exhibition by Oakland, California’s Endemic Architecture was on view at Jai & Jai Gallery in L.A.’s Chinatown. Clark Thenhaus, principal at Endemic Architecture, described the underlying thesis of the exhibition as one of working through a ubiquitous architectural feature of his newly adopted city, where turrets are part of the accepted vernacular, inscribed within the city’s zoning code, and sometimes clash with more prosaic urban issues like lack of affordable housing and a need for increased density. The exhibition includes line drawings showcasing existing variants of the corner turret, as well as new hypothetical configurations created by the designers as they process and attempt to understand the underlying tendencies of the eccentric and ornamented Victorian forms. These hypothetical configurations are recreated in approximately half-scale mock ups, some of which use full-scale building components salvaged from existing turrets.
Placeholder Alt Text

Endemic Architecture explores San Francisco’s turrets at L.A.’s Jai and Jai Gallery

Starting this weekend, Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles will be hosting a new exhibition showcasing the work of Oakland, California-based architecture firm, Endemic Architecture. The firm’s new exhibit, Mind Your Mannerisms, delves into the zany world of San Francisco architecture by examining that city’s ubiquitous corner turret morphology through drawings, scaled models, and photography. By embarking on a formal and existential exploration of quirk-heavy San Francisco Victoriana, Endemic Architecture Principal Clark Thenhaus and his team seek to analyze the turret and its multivalent tendencies. In their efforts, the design-researchers deftly use a mix of traditional architectural representation and contemporary digital manipulation to explore elaborations of the Victorian turret. The isolated corner turret is treated as representing the incongruities, complications, and controversies of Victorian era architecture. Endemic Architecture arrives at several provocations that embody what the firm calls “mannerisms,” what Thenhaus described to AN via telephone as “forms of articulation slightly strange but not so strange as the become unfamiliar.” These formal and stylistic incongruities, described as “architectural contradictions, exaggerations, and counter-intuitions” in exhibition text, are treated as bad habits, amplified, and made worse to prove a point. As the designers manipulate and exaggerate the turret’s salient qualities, fascia boards get extruded and swept across facades, rooflines pucker at their corners, newels turn parabolic, and shingle patterns shift, grow, and change in scale. Thenhaus, recent recipient of a 2015 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, described the underlying thesis of the project one of working through a ubiquitous architectural feature of his newly adopted city, where turrets are part of the accepted vernacular, inscribed within the city’s zoning code, sometimes clashing with more prosaic urban issues like lack of affordable housing and a need for increased density. The exhibition goes on view August 13th at 6pm and runs through the summer.