studia | moda
moda She dances through the grave life of the city in a weightless way, sophisticated to death.

The questions of this studio come out of a shift that occurs somewhere between the 17th and 18th c., represented by the split between the representation and the production of a building. In other words, the meaning of a façade, and indeed the meaning of a building, changes. The representational capacity of building is replaced various means of production. With this, amongst other issues, there is an emergence of the truth-claim to making architecture. This studio will begin where production and representation have split.

Though many architects value and even subscribe to this truth-claim, most buildings, however, rather than actually revealing the true nature of construction often present a tautology of construction. Many buildings at various scales in the North American context are constructed as an exterior skin covering a structural skeleton. Historically, openings in the façade of a building allowed for light, ventilation, and views. This allowed for the tectonic clarity of the wall to remain clear. With various shifts in world-view and technologies, the wall no longer needs to support anything. With the advent of the free-façade the window literally becomes the wall. Typically, the HVAC components of buildings are dealt with internally. Another paradigm is the complete masking of construction by what is now historically perceived as a blank or white wall. This opens up a whole other series of questions regarding surface and meaning. How then does one find meaning in an architecture that is simply shrouded in material? What makes one mask better than the next? If we are going to lie, is our only option to lie well? What sets the criteria for making architecture?

This studio will use the analogic pairing of architecture and clothing to explore these issues. Projects will be developed from the studies conducted. Ideally, students will bring to the studio their own interests, questions, and curiosities and these will be developed within the framework of the studio. Students will explore this analogy, on their own terms. Essentially, I am laying out groundwork for the students to work through, in and on their own terms. The studio is as much about exploring the relationships between architecture and clothing, as it is a way for them to develop your own mode of working and thinking. A series of conversations and questions were begun through the process of the beginning exercises. After a mid-semester review, students were asked to begin to develop a statement paper that outlined their questions for the semester. These were clarified further through a series of seminar presentations of textual sources. Students were assigned texts that related to their research interests. The statement papers became program proposals after the initial site visit.

The site for the studio was the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. From the western edge of Doheny Dr. to Laurel Canyon Blvd. on the eastern side, the Sunset Strip acts as hinge between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. The strip also sits topographically in between the Santa Monica Mountains to the north and Hollywood below, thus affording long views to the south and southeast. For resident Manitobans, the introduction of such topography was exciting if not daunting. Sunset Strip also contains a mix of scale and use, a storied history, and wonderfully bizarre array of people.

link Esther Link: Billboard Hostel.

The billboard, often dismissed as a blatant commercial presence imposing on the public realm, is not simply the two dimensional image on display, but has a thickness, a hidden structure in support of the surface, as any wall does. The billboard structures are generally site-specific, some made from wood space-frames, on rooftops. The more complex installations, like the ones found on the site, have massive, cylindrical, steel armatures, with lighter weight steel frames on top, holding the advertising, the accessibility catwalks surrounding the boards, and the flood lights. The project required a complete cataloguing of the on-site materials and the construction details showing connection methods for the lightweight steel frames, which created a basis for understanding the given structures. This opened the possibility of posing the narrative questions of adapted structure use, shifting perspectives of space, and the potential inhabitation, through modification, of a narrow volume, the hidden structural cage of the billboard.

reynolds Jennifer Reynolds: Delay in LA

On a trip to Los Angeles, I found this site in the corner of my eye, well below the street, behind a locked gate. It was quiet, hidden and abandoned, pregnant with the invisible. I chose it because of the experiences and thoughts I had while I was there. The project in this box is imaginative archeology. It takes an existing site on the Sunset Strip in and manipulates it with memory, narrative and time. It is a fiction, which takes the story of Anne Carson’s “The Beauty of the Husband: a fictive essay in 29 tangos” and intertwines the lives of a husband and wife with the history of the site. Fragments from each of the 29 parts to Carson’s story were chosen to act as program. They are organized into the program box according to theme and time. There are 29 pieces in this project. Each piece responds to its corresponding tango and illustrates a part of the site. The text is a narrative that runs through the entire project and describes the memory of my own experiences at the abandoned site as well as the story of the husband and wife. The changing plan in the lower right corner orients the piece to the site as well as demonstrates the changes to the site over time.