Saturday, September 29, 2007

Arquimedes Tower. Polanco, Mexico City

Gabriel Esquivel. Collaborator: Chiharu Sato It is a 22 story tower located in one of the most prominent corners in Mexico City. The idea started as a study of Baroque painting and sculpture in terms of movement and effect of defying gravity. The idea was to explore form and motion as the most important focus of the project. Atmospheres were derived by looking carefully at the emotions, ornament and color within the paintings. In the Baroque one’s nature depends entirely on the forces and malleable, supple forms with which it folds, at every turn unique and unpredictable. Baroque interpretations see forms as made up of many smaller parts and being part of larger systems, always swarming as aspects rather than forms and infinitely multiple. Baroque entities exist within what Deleuze calls a pleat of matter. Leibniz emphasizes that through creating and existing within relations or pleats all form and thus all reality is purely perspectival. Neither form nor substance can be apprehended as a totality. ‘Each body has its degree of firmness and fluidity; it has its fluidity or divisibility of itself, but its firmness from the motion of bodies.’(1) This means that the plagued individuals are themselves constituted differently and as their forms are more and more effected by the otherworldly forms they are further extricated from the human world. In the Baroque, transformation occurs when the affective bodies which constitute the form of the individuals are constructed through limits and firmness found in other structures – other incarnations of matter, via otherworldly versions of form and through other, non-Euclidian physics. (2)
The project provocations were these particular Ruben’s paintings (Rubens the rape of the daughters of Leucippus, Elevation of the Cross). During the baroque; artists used movement of forms and figures toward the viewer, dramatic lighting effects, contrast between dark and light, ornamentation, and curved lines to express energy and strong emotions. This was the premise to understand the techniques to follow, the idea of complex surfaces with two systems interacting where one system is attached to the ground and another one seems to levitate, (see Bernini sculpture) two systems interact; the body and the draping fabric. The other inspiration was the photograph by Nick Knight, the effect is achieved by blurring two systems, producing and atmospheric effect.
1. McCormack Patricia. Lovecraft, Le Fanu and the Fold. Irish Jornal of Gothis and Horror Studies. 2. Ibid. The next idea was to begin to look at films and specifically look at body motion digital effects were the body contorts in unnatural ways and the clothing reaches effects of their own, producing a sublimation of movement similar to the Baroque. In the now classic film ”The Matrix” the way Neo moves avoiding the bullets in slow motion, body looses contact with gravity and coat free flows, similar effect in “Superman Returns” where the cape slightly moves as he levitates above the earth. The conditions are similar to the images of the Baroque, the condition of motion is what becomes the dictating force for the project, how do you produce the same effect in a building that stands within the city fabric. The architecturalization process becomes the most critical moment within the process, it is when architeural materiality and tectonics began to actuliaze the diagram into a the potential of a physical reality that could be constructed. Different studies trying to produce the sensation of weightlessness, slow motion, and experimentation with color and pattern to increase the effect. In terms of the production of affect and atmosphere I looked once again into baroque painting to determine the organizational systems that are part of the particular atmosphere of the painting. The idea for behind looking at these paintings by Rubens was to produce an interior atmosphere where there is a sensation of motion, complex systems surface interact with each other and the dominance of affect of opulence and the dominance of the color red to obtain this particular mood. The single, immobile viewpoint of the classical spectator is transformed into a dynamic process that changes as a result of its three-dimensional capacity to actively engage the spectator in spatial terms.
The architectural systems like the surface slabs begin to produce and effect of motion by thickening certain areas and the surfaces from the interior red volumes interact with the reflective surfaces from the structural curtain wall. The “red’ surface develops affordances that engage other surface systems. It is important to note, that the use of current technology in the creation of this new condition, is critically bound by the fact that the interfaces used to create it are distinctly different from the previous analogue modes; in that, the representation of the human is virtual, and is produced by means that are separate from humanity. The new mode is to reconcile this factor by the introduction of affect.
video video