Thursday, January 9, 2014


Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. Autumn 2013.  Graduate Second Year Studio.
Critics: Gabriel Esquivel and Stephen Caffey
Teaching assistant: Zach Hoffmann.
Student: Xi Wu.

This project has 2 components a house for a classic musician and his son, an “indie” rock musician. Both houses will share an exterior area. The site is in Bryan, TX in an area confronted by suburbia and an old industrial area where a series of old industrial objects as ruins are present.
This studio confronted the Modern Object; it will compare the indexical object in parallel to an ontological object. This is to say a methodological/discursive relationship between the autonomous indexical object and the ontological object.
As we have moved away from linguistics, painting and other disciplines to derive theoretical discourses, these other related disciplines reached a limit in a quest for autonomy and self-sufficiency due to the logic and rhetoric employed to achieve their goals, architecture went through the same deconstruction occurred in other fields, eventually resulted in theories called “post-structuralist”, “post-critical” and “post-indexical.” We found ourselves in an interesting moment of lateness ending the periods of transgressions.
The first object responds precisely to the previous statement, it explores the classic type of architectural object that I have been working with for a long time.   
The second Object is a paradigm shift in spatial perception due to the intense use of computational techniques in architecture and the capacity to process and manipulate massive amounts of data, whereby rhythm is now perceived as playing an active role in the formation of space and the tectonic articulation, claiming the foreground figural field and not just merely embedded or indexed in the structure. 

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 (1). Object-oriented ontology (OOO) is a metaphysical movement that rejects the privileging of human existence over that of nonhuman objects (2). Specifically, object-oriented ontology opposes the anthropocentrism of Immanuel Kant's Copernican Revolution, whereby objects are said to conform to the mind of the subject and, in turn, become products of human cognition (3).

Object-oriented ontology opens up a unique possibility for rethinking the peculiar problems associated with the problem of nature. A return to the object would have to be understood as a turning away from a mythological or sentimental understanding of nature toward the particularities and the essential strangeness of the objects themselves. In this particular project, the use of a seashell, an object of nature, was a deliberate selection. By submitting this “natural object” through a series of drawing translations, a new object related to its autonomous drawing process rather than nature was created. This object doesn’t operate in normative representation.

Assume for a moment that the architectural object is unified as an object, and remember that an architect is also an object in this ontology, not an enlightened mind outside the world of objects giving form to formless matter (4). A return to the architectural object as a disciplinary priority cannot be a nostalgic return to pre-modern academic preoccupations with character, propriety, and the idealities of a compositional balance. Nor is this return to the object a simple return to figuration and detached massing. “Object” here should not be understood in a literal sense.

Successful object making cannot be completely encapsulated by a methodology that might repeat the success. There are diverse methodologies to investigate. This object operates outside of formal indexical operations. As a non-theoretical interaction between the maker as an object and the various objects of the making process, “craft” is the ambiguous word that has, in the past, identified the unique expertise of the maker in the relationship to the material. This where the relationship between Evans’ position in regards to drawing in terms of inventing complex drawings is what we have referred to as the architect’s craft and the object-oriented ontology that allows for the theoretical revisions of the future of an architectural object.

The studio produced to objects from different point of view, using different techniques, analog and digital.

1.      Ruy, David. (2012). Returning to Strange Objects. Tarp Architecture Manual (Spring): p. 38 (2012)

2.      Harman, Graham (2002). Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects. Peru, Illinois: Open Court. p. 2. ISBN [[Special:BookSources/08126094449|08126094449 [[Category:Articles with invalid ISBNs]]]].

3.      Bryant, Levi. "Onticology–A Manifesto for Object-Oriented Ontology, Part 1." Larval Subjects. Retrieved 9 September 2011.

4.      Ruy, David. (2012). Returning to Strange Objects. Tarp Architecture Manual (Spring): p.42 (2012)