LIBRARY x DESPLANS
Call for Architecture Drawing
THE ISLAND: between utopia and metaphor for reality
The Jury formed by Library, Desplans and with the special guest Jean-Benoît Vétillard, is pleased to announce the winners and the 12 honourable mentions of the “Call for Architecture Drawings”, a contest that aims to focus attention on a graphic research thoughts reflections and themes that emerged from literature, cinema, philosophy compared to Architecture.
THE ISLAND: between utopia and metaphor for reality
The island summarises the double value inherent in the utopia:
– On one hand, “it generates tension towards new horizons, an aspiration that is well suited to the mentality of the utopist in conflict with his world”. (Fortunati 1995a: 199-205)
– On the other hand, in its realization, closure and limitation: metaphysically, and ontologically, everything is contained in the island, a space that always refers to itself, and thus becomes an obsession.
At the base of the utopian construction, there is a double movement, of opening and closing, of dilatation and contraction, which Tournier compares suggestively to the diastole and the systole of the human heart.
Click on the link below to download the free publication with the winning illustrations:
Bangkok Domestic Tastes
Antonio Bernacchi, Alicia Lazzaroni.
collaborators: Y2 students and teaching assistants of INDA (International Program in Design & Architecture)
‘Bangkok Domestic Tastes’ reflects about the secluded islands generated by the real estate market in Bangkok in the form of compact condominiums, aiming to portray the ‘lifestyle’ that each ‘condo’ builds up, ‘renders’ and sells. It represents nine existing neighborhoods, where each individual development acts as an isolated sphere, but all together they also perform as an independent archipelago of self contained spaces for engineered life patterns. It somehow inverts the proposed double value of utopia, as in this context the external projection of constructed aspirational horizons represents an unrealizable obsession, while all tensions are directed inwards, to reinforce the comfort zone, isolated from the neglected outer world. Its graphic is inspired by the representation techniques, color palettes, and composition of Thai traditional mural paintings, including hybridizations of typical urban animals, recalling the iconography of folkloric mythological creatures.
An archipelago where each of us has his own island, where dreams are born, nostalgic thoughts are addressed and the ephemeral never leaves. A way out for when we are looking for one. at ice cream you had last Tuesday. It lies beyond heaven and smells like forgotten memories. It’s the place where our youth goes once it’s over; there, a silent wind blows and marbles shine upon still water, quietly resting. 25°C is the perfect temperature for swimming. On this island, the most accurate reality exists and it is one and universal. But on this one island, we are never allowed to go.
The island is a gift to migrating creatures. They come from all countries, from all lakes, from all skies, from all times. The island is a floating device so one could call it a boat. It is very specifically designed for waterfowl birds, but its image is nothing but a matter of architecture. Colors are soft, textures are abstract, and familiar signs are scattered like in a dream. The island is a distant cousin of our reality. The same way that solar eclipses provide opportunities to study the surface of the sun, the parallel reality of the island provides an opportunity to see the city under a new light; Beautiful vanity on beautiful vanity.
Man never creates something out of nothing. We are not demiurges, we can not create reality from non-existent ingredients. Architecture so often opposed to nature, is actually a transformation of it. It is not the art of building, of creation, it is the art of adjusting to the changing reality. Nature is the matrix on which it arises. An architectural object placed in space, being an instinctive reaction of a man to the fear of emptiness and nothingness is as much a cohesive part of the environment as an island belonging to the ocean, being only a visible bulge of its bottom. Utopian visions of the future usually focus on the intensification of the architectural substance. Dystopia, in turn, cherish visions of emptiness and absence. If we see the potential and advantages of emptiness, the unlimited freedom it offers, the possibility to fullfill it (is it not the sense of life?), we may be forced to replace the definitions of these two concepts.
Insula in mari nata
I met Mr. G. in the main square in P., resting in the shadow of some palms. He used to tell me about when he was a young seaman, he always left P. with sincere uneasiness, aware that he would not come back for months, sometimes years. Those remote harbours and exotic places used to make him feel homesick. Now Mr G. has taken me to the wide terrace. He is looking at the sea with regret. I feel a deep sense of strangeness walking through this surreal topography, made of stratified mountains, inaccessible caves and enigmatic ruins. “We are on the Isola Ferdianandea” he says to me. “This place does not exist, it is just a mirage. When I was young I had the feeling it was the only place I could call home. I always had the feeling you can know yourself only through things that you long for. The island that rises from the sea belongs to the one who occupies it first”.
“Island” is a specific geographical definition that refer to a tract of land completely surrounded by water, and not large enough to be called a continent. Extending metaphorically this definition, we can easily imagine that islands are not just surrounded by the water but actually we can find a lot islands surrounded by air. ISLAND ISLANDS wants to focus the attention on these new islands, pieces of land spread in the air generated by the architectural need to go higher and higher. Through its simple graphic, the illustration, tries to mark the role of these new Islands as subject and not just as a result of building a tower. In this sense the tower is represented as “generic” tower, a simple vertical sum of slab and windows, that has on the top, not just a “generic” rooftop but a colorful Island. The drawing want to investigate on the image of this new arcipelago that has its root on a typical Island, developing a new vision of the space for the future.
The Floating Island
“ If the “Great Eastern” is not merely a nautical engine, but rather a microcosm, and carries a small world with it, an observer will not be astonished to meet here, as on a larger theatre, all the instincts, follies, and passions of human nature” – ( Verne , Jules . A Floating City . 6)
A boat as an island, a floating installation. The curtain is up and a scenic choreography displays an intoxicating dance of naked bodies indulging in flesh passions among exuberant greenery. The apotheosis of life temptations, the pere nniality of the scenes depicted in the central panel of Hieronymus Bosch triptych, The Garden of Earthly D elights in a vessel . An allegory .
The institution of the Void
Institutions of Knowledge are often marked in the urban environment through the construction of an interior ‘Void’; a functional ‘excess’ which attempts to signify the institutions utopian ideal of power, wealth and dominance, literally rising as a pyramid above the urban maze. However, it is not simply a one-directional relationship. The form of the void begins to hold power over the institution becoming the symbolic image of the institution, its utopian identifier.
The signified = the signifier
However, as our society becomes digitally post-dialectical and the notion of a dialectical opposition between utopia and dystopia is in question, how can the institutional ‘Void relationship evolve to reflect this? My project is a formal incubation machine/construct that seeks to define new briefs for the institutions of knowledge. This is done through experimenting with the formal hybridization of voids taken from dialectically opposed disciplinary architectures of institutions. The extracted results generate new spatial relationships, tracks and conversations between the institutional programs in-turn creating new briefs for the institutional void. These voids now exist between their own physical manifestation and the institutional program, encompassing both the form of the ground space and the functional extensions beyond.
The Void = The Institution
The sea field
Despite precautions to prevent global warming, the earth has change considerably. The level of the sea has increased, leaving behind a shortage of arable lands. To overcome this threat of immersion and reintroduce balance on the earth, researchers has developed new forms of vegetation, which allow a sustainable life exclusively from the sea. Establishing a fusion between plants and water, a new substance supplies humans with food, water and energy, thanks to local stations distributed around the sea field. To preserve and utilize this ecosystem, architecture is fragmented to spread the vegetation and form the Island, creating the illusion of a real ground. Each building acts as a spot of city’s vitality, connected to each other by public infrastructures. This composition highlights the idea of an island in its sentimental concept:the nostalgia of a lost soil, reinterpreted by actual resources. This bio-structure is the support of the society either in its operation or in its yearnings.
SY architects (Rodrigo Schiavoni & Adán Yenerich)
Trampolisland is a presence with defined borders. Integrated. A place where ambiguous zones and border territories are not possible. In this island we cannot inhabit the bordering space. You are in it, or you are outside of it. It refers us to the evidence of two worlds that can remain in harmony or collision.
The Trampolisland is a manner of inhabitation ruled by a singular micro cosmos. Its micro world condition grants a particular time dimension. A specific cadence. The island possesses a particular metric, a peculiar mode of time measurement. In its own dynamic time – space relationships are established and so are action and observation.
Trampolisland is also a psychological construction. A collective archetype of dual interpretation. It crystallizes as a utopian expression or as a declaration of dystopia. It is freedom and jail at the sa me time. It is possibility and obstacle at the same ti me. It is attraction as well as escape. In this binary notion of the island a third way appears, as a foreign body of absolute presence that promotes an unobserved state beyond its limit: the horizon.
On his way back to Itaques, Ulysses discovered many islands. Each of them set the scene for new adventures. e island is a place of fantasy. Its isolation from the rest of the world, from what is known and common makes it the perfect place to build and utopia. Lost in an in nite sea, with a fantastic atmosphere, the island surprises the traveler, seduces them and triggers their imagination. What if the island was also captivating the urban traveler? It is not a lonely place between the oceans anymore. It is now introduced in a daily landscape. is territory detected as ordinary is composed by diverse ingredients which coexist together, without really interacting together though, and give the island a generic aspect. e island is in between reality and action, continuity and separation with the landscape. e imagination is not triggered anymore by isolation but by the sudden surprise. Some unexpectedness is injected in the generic to break with monotony, through the tools of the Surrealism language : reversal, collage, changing scale, trompe l’oeil, …
Letter to my friend
Thick rocks were overlapping.
One smaller rock was basking
lonely in the sun in the lagoon.
-“Let’s walk until the end of
the island, Ralph proposed, we
will see the other side of it.”
-“If this is truly an island….”
I know my departure was not part of the plan. The city had never been so exhausting. The constant contacts, the endless rhythm, the rapidity of changes. As an architect, I went through a large variety of feelings those past years, working on the evolution of our modern cities and their fexibility. Creativity and engagement were craving for a rest, for a new place to crash. Who never thought about organizing its own disappearance? The project was so exciting and hard to undertake in the same time: the construction of an isolated machine, vernacular and modernist, a refuge and a fortification. Like Utopus tearing a part of the earth into the sea, I started to draw an island: wild to all appearances, rocky, like a white marble iceberg. Today, I am writing to you from the higher terrace overlooking the sea, leaning my elbows on a large steel table. The patio doors are wide open, long curtains are escaping slowly from the inside. Domineering, the refuge settles as a figurehead, in equilibrium on thin columns, equally suspended between the sea and the sky. You get there after a series of steel stairs. The
tubular handrails are always warm under my hand. The volumes are simple, without decoration or ornaments. Outside, there is just the presence of this constant colour: blue steel, blue walls, blue stairs, like Saint Laurent’ Morocco or Klein’s canvas. Gordon Matta Clark used to say “Let’s say I have a master plan which does incorporate the underground and the sky, and the building is just this sort of middle zone. If you had to deal with a metaphysical equivalent, it would be something that exists between the earth and the very lowest cosmic level.” I know one day I will be back. “Men can leave on an island only by forgetting that it is actually one. Islands are from before men, or for after them.”
Meanwhile look how beautiful she is, an architect’s ultimate whim.
Fabio Alessandro Fusco
The Form of Formlessness.
A private Manifesto “How much working with degraded materials, with refuse and fragments extracted from the banality of everyday life, is an integral part of the tradition of modern art: a magical act of transforming the formless into aesthetic objects through which the artist realizes the longed-for repatriation in the world of things (…) Today, he who wishes to make architecture speak is thus forced to resort to materials devoid of all meaning; he is forced to reduce to degree zero every ideology, every dream of social function, every utopian residue (…) The desecrating immersion into chaos permits these artists to reemerge with instruments that, by having absorbed the logic of that chaos, are prepared to dominate it from within. Thus we have the form of formlessness as both conquest and project”
Manfredo Tafuri, L’architecture dans le boudoir
After modernity Since World War II, and with a strong acceleration in the 70’s, the long process of deconstruction of the modern city generates a “shapeless jumble of fragments that collide with one another.” It is the loss of center. The continues city to be definitively shattered. It takes the shape of an immense Campo Marzio, complex, layered, discontinuous, consisting of woven designs, interfering, interrupted, in which the process of dissolution of form is brought to its extreme consequences. Palimpsests It closes in final form the paradigm shift from the centered systems to not centered systems. The continuous gives way to the discontinuous. The modern city fades in the contemporary city. A city-palimpsest inhabited by the interstitial logics, by overlapping scriptures, by unusual spatiality generated by deviation and difference. Labyrinth The territory is configured as a large not centered labyrinth. A labyrinth “that exhibits a plurality of paths, divisions and contradictions, rather than expressions of unity and coherence”. A labyrinth composed of reticular connections strained between discrete points. A plot of lines of sedimentation, accumulation, stratification, but also lines of cracking, fracture. In this tangle each of us is invited to dissolve the skein and measure their ability to move in the labyrinth.
Fragments of all The Labyrinth, generated by the process of deconstruction of the modern city, is built with the fragments of all. Each fragment, remnant of the primitive urbis form, it expresses inside a labyrinthine condition. Its genetic code contains information of interrupted relations with the whole. Interrupted drawings In the interrupted drawings of the fragments of this new city, in their corrupt, residual, entropic space, it is deposited the potential transformation and the possibility of production of new meanings.
transfiguration Put in potential movement the remains of the contemporary city. Blow up the internal tensions, through a work of “selection, combination, construction, deletion, correction, revision” on the reference materials. Looking for a interstitial beauty. Writing system Transfigure the damaged rest of the fragment through a writing system made up of pieces, marginal notes, associating elements of different nature, objet trouvé, introducing minor alterations of language, typological deformations, able to generate in the context a crowdingout effect in poetic reaction. Degraded materials Only option is to build with these degraded materials new rhapsodic narratives, new syncopated writings, recognizing the relativity of one’s actions.
Interstitial texts The project, far from exercising the principles of demiurgic and dogmatic rationality, is like an interstitial figure, minimum write between the folds of the palimpsest, fragment among fragments. It aspires to mend the broken drawings, to weave new forms of relationship, to dialectically interfere with the objet trouvé of context. Restless figure, fallible, always looking for a re-stitching not always possible. It is an operation of dismemberment and multiplication of meanings of the place and ambiguities inherent in the text already written. Writing as otherness significant from the ambiguous dimension. Research of semantic and syntactic nuances in the context. Jump cuts The project is mounting of discontinuous fragments. Association of elements of different nature. Forcing the contradictions. Doubt, pathos, anxiety, paradox, conflict, contrast, opposition. Relativity of one’s actions. It dismembered remains of the fragment to reassemble them into a new order. “The elements in the game undergo a change of direction, due to the alteration of the violent mutual relations that originally linked them (Manfredo Tafuri)”. Addition and subtraction The process of construction form is to be achieved through the accumulation of signs and their subsequent cancellation, a sort of frenzied tangle from which to draw, finally dried, the main track. Stratification and contamination as good techniques for the physical realization of the projects, heterogeneous materials, models, collages, cards, in which are mixed with various techniques, reasoning and abandonment , geometry and material, tradition and transgression. Rewriting made through fragments of texts. An accomplished “objet trouvé poetic” that interrogates the fragments of the context. Ethics/Aestethics Each writing-project is a new piece of text on the world around us. It is ethical and aesthetic process that defines the existential condition of contemporary man.