Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Black&White #1

Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. Autumn 2013.  Undergrad Second Year Studio.
Black&White. Comme de Garcons Store in Houston, TX.
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel.
Teaching assistants: Ryan Wilson and Drew Busmire.
Student: Braden Scott.

Comme des Garçons is based in Tokyo and also in the prestigious Place Vendôme in Paris the city in which they show their main collections during Paris Fashion Week and Paris Men's Fashion Week. Each year, the company grosses about $180 million.

The Japanese flagship store is in Aoyama, Tokyo’s high fashion district. The company also has concept stores Trading Museum Comme des Garçons and 10 Corso Como Comme des Garçons in Tokyo, and stores in Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka. Worldwide they have traditional Comme des Garçons stores in Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré in Paris and on West 22nd Street in New York, as well as stores in Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore and Manila.The new strategy is to open 4 new stores in the US in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Houston.
The agenda of the studio will be to investigate novel gallery-like shopping spaces where this particular established firm can find alternative opportunities to engage new audiences.
Architecture is entering a post-digital era, the quest of the studio will be to revise architecture’s autonomy and then discuss a new type of architectural object. First, we will use the “index” as a vehicle to understand the navigation through the three generations of this “index”, the first part through the exploration of a canonical building using the diagram as a vehicle. The main idea is to relate two objects that come from to very different discoursive positions. A student entering the world of architecture should acknowledge the fact that architecture is in a difficult moment where “classic” positions are still being taught and used, at the same time there are several new positions addressing our technological, social and economical situations.
The project will experiment the development of two processes developed simultaneously, the first one A called indexical or “formal” and a B a digital actualization of the object of fashion.
The design exercise A or White Object required the student to thoughtfully and critically consider:
·         The external form of the building
·         The nature of the interface between interior and exterior spaces
·         How this building interacts, informs and/or is informed by TECHNOLOGY.
·         How this building responds to the shoppers particular culture, lifestyle and desires.

The designer’s showroom appears to be a simple design problem. As a project it requires continuous reflection about personal beliefs, both aesthetic and ideological. Furthermore, this project provides the opportunity of fulfilling the design experience in a complete way by covering the scale, form and program. 

This studio asked the students to select a group of canonical projects from the Case Study House Program. Such a choice would allow us to jointly analyze a valuable and diverse group of projects with the aim of allowing the students to identify their own interests and affinities.  Awareness of one’s personal location in the design culture is a condition that is not only relevant, but a pre-requisite to a critical practice.
The second object or “Black Object” will work towards a mutual understanding of various couture forms so that we can computationally adjust their spatial characteristics. On the edge of couture’s technological transformation. The digital diagrams will then be investigated as a pre-material state of potential architectures. Physical prototyping will be critical to a complete development of the spatially articulated and heterogeneous formations.

The basic idea of this project was to conduct a series of drawing exercises going from analog to digital in order to produce a unique shape from the fashion piece of choice. This process was inspired by Robin Evans’ essay “Translations from Drawing to Buildings.” All steps in the process were unique, though clearly traceable and geared toward the autonomy of an architectural object.

We are in a moment where architecture is redefining its position, moving from a subject-centered and systematic discourse to an object-oriented situation. Objects need not be natural, simple, or indestructible. Instead, objects will be defined only by their autonomous reality. They must be autonomous in two separate directions: emerging as something over and above their pieces, while also partly withholding themselves from relations with other entities. The results are best experienced in the physical models where you can observe diverse relationships between the two objects.