Thursday, September 17, 2015

OO'House. The Un-Grounding of the O'Gorman House (1956 demolished in 1969)

Mapping and Knotting the Image  

The O'Gorman House

Juan O’Gorman was an admirer of European functionalist architects, especially Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. His early projects were essentially characterized by the use of reinforced concrete, asymmetrical exterior, and a constant search for air and light. However, thanks to the influence exerted on him by his professor, José Villagrán García, his work evolved into what has been called "New Mexican baroque." Moreover, when he designed and built his own house on the foothills of Pedregal de San Angel (1956), which was subsequently demolished in 1969, he sought inspiration from the approach described by Mathias Goeritz in his Manifiesto de la Arquitectura Emocional, and thus endeavored to design each space upholding the feeling that he wished to inspire.

The OO'House
Gabriel Esquivel and Ronny Eckels

The Problem: An Un-grounding Machine—a New Object

The problem of the O’Gorman House could be seen as an interaction between materialistic and naturalistic thought. If we think of the O’Gorman House as an undefined void with an asymmetrical parallelism between its surface and the crust or synthetic nature that envelopes it, “in which the two remain analogous and remotely connected to their common genus but where each one spawns its own different, independent operational entities and geometries,” then the problem of the void is set on the fact that it operates at two levels. One is the actual interior void of the object, and the other is the void left by the disappearance of the house. These two conditions do not necessarily synchronize the ground’s local regimes, establishing orders through the consolidated coherence of the crust; they countermine the stratification processes instead of supporting them, thus the importance of establishing an un-grounding mechanism as a way to “excavate” the ground and initiate a new production.

The argument for the new house (the OO’House) could be positioned in the relation of solid and void. There are different ways of connecting these surfaces with a void. One is the ornamental surface, which is a visible surface supporter that connects the void to a second crust or outside ecology. Therefore, the void cannot be merely reduced to an underground regime; this once again suggests the potential for devising an un-grounding machine. The other argument is the surface-transmitter or actual figures that join with undulating the line-work passing through the void, which binds the cavity to the outside where the void emerges precisely out of the ambiguity of solid and void. Negarestani notes, “The solid as an entity which is inherently possessed by the void. The only way that the solid can initialize its architectonic and compositional activities (processes for survival, development, etc.) is by letting the void in the dynamic traits of solid can only be actuated when solid is eaten, convoluted and messed up by the void.” 

As part of the void complex, at a surface level, the figure operates as a binding element where every activity of a potential solid appears as a tactic to conceal the void to appropriate it and suppress it. The void is accommodated into the economy of surfaces as a dwelling system. However, the figure is not just important at a compositional level; instead, it becomes the representational/engineering machine that will allow us to un-ground the new interpretation of the house as an image/object that extends the onticology and line-work of the first object.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. T4T LAB Spring 2015. 
Invited Professor: Gilles Retsin 
With Gabriel Esquivel
Team: Michael Koernig, Ryan Samadh, Josh Berry, Michael Villareal, Jocelyn Zuniga.

When discussing the project it is important to draw the distinction between representation and the limits of human perception and understanding. In order to attempt to engage the object and attempt communication, it is necessary for us as humans to assign some sort of construct that is familiar to us. Whatever perceptions are drawn by humans it is inconsequential to the object. This particular object It operates as an autopoetic machine, one that is in a constant state of proliferation of its parts, aggregating in various sizes and geometries, constantly expanding its endo-structure in all directions. It fulfills this function of accumulation as an autonomous object, defying human cognition or constructs.

In order to attempt to set up a discourse about the object, we can quantify a scale of the “city” and that of the “house”.  The house is one of the many parts that are being perpetually proliferated by the city mass. It is only one part of an ever increasing legion of aggregation, and yet within this one part of the machine, we see it emerges as a machine within the machine in its own right and wiithin the house through its own proliferation of parts. Each mereological system , the partition stones, the high-fi filaments of the slabs, or the fibers that form into beams, is its own autonomous machine, whilst at the same time creating a cohesive whole. These parts are not autonomous in the sense that they are operating in defiance, or rebellion to being part of a whole. Rather, their aggregation and expansion occurs without regard to what any other system is doing. However, the villa is in truth just as alien, incomprehensible, and in perpetual proliferation as the city itself is, functioning as its own autonomous machine unto itself.

In the development of the project, two fundamentally opposite ideas emerged as influences, those being elements found in Russian constructivism, the other being the prairie style of house that was taking hold in the west at the same time. These create conflict within the project not only on an architectural level, but on a socio-political level as well, creating a conflict of regimes within the project. In a sense, Marxist Russian constructivism and the capitalist west can be viewed as hyper objects in their own right, in the sense that they are also beyond the realm of human limitations, and exist and operate in a realm beyond that of what can be quantifiable. When these ideologies are brought together, they do possess some overlap. Marxist Russia was all about unification, and the removal of hierarchy. And while the dogma of capitalism is about fragmentation and the individual, this is evident in the project, for as the project aggregates its pieces in unification and fragmentation, there is not really a sense of hierarchy of parts, at least by the limitations that we as humans can recognize in the object.

Another fundamental tenant of Russian constructivism is the idea of building up, from the ground up vertically. And when one thinks of Capitalist architecture, the first thought that may come to mind is the classic notion of the huge, vertical high rise. However, the “house” clearly is celebrating horizontality, which we as humans can perceive as being Capitalist in different terms, in terms of land expansion, of the single villas occupying plots of land that was championed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style of house, one that is a purely western phenomenon. At the scale of what we can perceive as the “house,” capitalism celebrates the horizontal, the long sweeping planes displayed in projects such as the Robie and Farnsworth Houses.

The conflict in regimes is not the only source of tension the project is under. Internally, what we perceive as the house scale is under a Lacanian sort of psychoanalytical tension, as it is negotiating the relationship between interior and exterior. It is in need of “therapy”, unable to come to terms with mixed conditions, is it and extroverted architecture by means of the transparent exterior curtain wall is it about  making it a condition of interior affects . The project is in a sort of Wright vs. Mies conflict, not committing to one over the other. (Is it about the interior or is it about the exterior or both?  It is, as Deluze would say, in a state of flux, and this creates confusion, tension within the inside mechanism of the project. This psychoanalytical tension gives a beautiful fallacy of accessibility. The tension of the project in how it expresses interaction of interior or exterior is palpable, and yet within it there is still space within that feels domestic,and comfortable. In actuality, this is of no concern to the object, as it is wholly indifferent to how it may be perceived by the human mind. But to us, to the viewer, this comfortability, this familiarity, is a way for us to resolve the tension, to find forms of inhabitation to find resolution to it, not in terms of the machine, for our desire of communication. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. T4T LAB Spring 2015. 
Invited Professor: Gilles Retsin 
With Gabriel Esquivel
Team: Collin Stone, Jayson Kim, Kaylan Betten, Lynn Ng, Luis Romero. 

As part of the exploration of object oriented ontology as it relates to architecture, our project is part of an architecture which is truly for itself.  There is no subject who has agency over the object as it operates on a flat plane of immanence.  The object does not share any medium of communication with the human onlooker, but exists under its own conditions where it is the qualities of accumulation and complexity.  There is a mereology formed by the constant engaging of the parts in the building, which eludes all human cognition, and remains only under the realm of its own ontology. Due to this condition, the humans' understanding of this mereology is reduced to mere mechanism that becomes its own form of distortion.
            The exact substance of the object is difficult to conceive, as it is more easily understood as a node of complexity that has the quality of accumulating qualities.  There are no literal nodes of influence or specific forces that act on the object, but the object's complexity and its abilities to distort are fundamental in the substance of the object.  Several systems of articulation form a density of information that is ever increasing in weight, giving the object not a static presence, but a presence that seems to elude what humans can understand in the instance of the present.  This disconnection from the human is evident all throughout the project as it sits atop a plinth, eliminating any mutual ground condition between the human and the object. The entry fully embodies this idea as one is denied visual access to the object as they enter the building from underneath the plinth.  The object conceals itself and does not reveal any information to a participant due to the stark lack of stimulation and absence of surface articulation on its base.  Perched atop this plinth, the object becomes ungrounded, further estranging it from the anthropocentric, which reinforces its respective ontological existence.  Having been removed from any grounded context, the object aggregates into a system of nemat spaces above the plinth, which becomes the quality of porosity.  The system of nemat spaces and, the qualities of the mereology are one in the same, as each cannot exist in the object without the affecting and becoming apart of the another.  This interaction between these properties results in a complex porosity where certain spaces are reduced to uninhabitable nooks, while others span vastly throughout the object.
            The object is a collective of void spaces, or other void objects, that all come together to form an assemblage which is the mereology of the building.  It is the act of becoming the assemblage that distorts the geometry of the void spaces.  Distortion is a quality of not the object as a whole, but it is a quality of the mereology itself.  The individual parts of the building all separated out are stark and resolved, but the interaction between them and the formation of their relationships to eachother is the cause of their distortion.  There is no hierarchy to the mereology, as one part refuses to subordinate to the next, for this project merely occupies and reinforces the plane of immanence.  It is only through analysis that we are able to view the distortion from outside the realm of the object, but due to the inconceivable nature of the distorting mereology, it is impossible to understand this quality once inside the object.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. T4T LAB Spring 2015. 
Invited Professor: Gilles Retsin 
With Gabriel Esquivel
Team: Nate Garcia, Bobby Nolen, Stephanie Almendarez, William Richard.

In Architecture there are many different tools that we use to communicate with objects that we happen to be in close proximity to. These forensic tools come in many different forms and processes, such as drawings, diagrams, and other means of representation. As we communicate with the object, we begin to recognize it appears to be similar to an Indexical project. This object seems to have some of the same qualities of the Eisenman Houses 1, 2, 3, and so on through House 10 due to the appearance of an axonometric representation. This Axonometric is a system of interlocking L’s that were each independently generated by the object. However, this object predates these projects by Eisenman because it is pre-indexical. It is before any of the parts to whole relationships were understood and diagrammed.  Due to this, we are initially only able to understand it as a Proto-Idexical Project.

In our attempts to understand this object further, we, as objects, must attempt to communicate to it. To accomplish this goal we generated multiple forms of representation in hopes to communicate with it in any way we could. This axonometric is not an indexical diagram. We use the axonometric as our selected vehicle of communication and representation.  The study of the Stanley Tigerman diagram was further used to communicate with the object. We use this to perceive its’ infinitesimal properties and how this is just a snapshot of what the object is. The object also gives off a Piranesian sense of deterioration and substance through an affective quality that is before the synthetic. The communication between this Piranesian representation and the object is what suggests deterioration and rustication. The landscape is an ecology without nature that generates an affective romantic realism. This object exist because it exists, context is irrelevant. The object will exist where it does and our attempts to communicate to it have no effect on it. It is the communication that we have with the object and the affects it generates that solidifies its status as Proto-Indexical.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Texas A&M University. Department of Architecture. T4T LAB Spring 2015. 
Invited Professor: Gilles Retsin 
With Gabriel Esquivel
Team: Matt Kohman, Hannah Galbraith, Alex Nelson, Briseida Hernandez and Tyler Larsen

Object-oriented programming does not dispute this view of the world as to restructure to a higher level. It groups operations and data into modular units called objects and lets you combine objects into structured networks to form a complete program. In an object-oriented programming language, objects and object interactions are the basic elements of design. Every object has both state (data) and behavior (operations on data). In that, they're not much different from ordinary physical objects. It's easy to see how a mechanical device, Such as a pocket watch or a piano, embodies both state and behavior.
Early discussions and hi fidelity test with scripted techniques necessitated a framework in which to communicate with the object and appropriate agency, this lead to an interest in scalessness through resolution and use of the mega-structure. What are you all among currently, this object, is algorithms, materials, properties, processes, tectonics, materiality, and agency operations given towards a holistic understanding of itself.

The high fidelity hi-tech machine produces a plane of eminence that is flat but unintelligible. Hi definition confounds the anthropocentrism and It became Important to move towards a realist ontology past by expanding our discussion hi fidelity / hi tech and engage the object using a directly accessible via low tech fabrication. We define the project as an Autopoietic machines are homeostatic machines. But ITS uniqueness lies not in this but in the fundamental variable that maintain constant. This autopoietic machine is a system organized as a concatenated production Processes producing components such components:
a) Generate processes (relations of production that occurs through their continuous interactions and transformations, and
b) Up to the machine as a unit in physical space.

Therefore, to specific autopoietic machine continuously specifies and produces its own, their own organization by producing components, under continuous disturbance and compensation of these disturbances (production of components).

This autopoietic machines posses individuality; That is, by the invariant maintenance organization maintain an identity actively That does not depend on Their interaction With an observer.
This translation from big data, scripting and digital manipulation to low tech fabrication is not about representation. It is about speculative realism. The object, though unknowable, negotiates the persistent dialog of building and technology by utilizing low-fi fabrication as a plausible reality rather than waiting for technology to develop.

The machines of communication now become craft, basic construction materials, PVC pipe and glue, CNC pen drawings etc. Perhaps though 10 steps removed from construction, it is moving towards a physical manifestation Realized. Each machine, from complex algorithm to PVC joint connection is given each translation agency and have little relation to the other emerging With no hierarchy. The library, though perceivably to mereological diagram translator whose functions as machines and tech levels between equalizing them on the same plane.