Lessons from Architecture and how it shaped me as a designer.
My first assignment in architecture school was to create a 1' x 1' x 1' cube. The cube had to contain (I don’t remember the exact dimensions) 3" x 3" x 3" cube, 8" x 10" plane, a cylinder of some type, and 2" x 3" x 8" box. We then had to put our cubes next to other 50 cubes and create some sort of order between our neighboring cubes. This is how learned to designed. Seeing and putting order to things.
As I learned more about architecture, I began to realize that things that are designed well always have some sort of order within the visual/object/building itself. The order doesn’t stop there. It is also always engaging and highlighting the context of the given “site”.
I’m not talking about simple layout or structure of the designed thing, those things are definitely components that are supporting the overall order, but creating an order consists of larger system. I hate to do this, but I think the definition of order found in Google describes it well: “the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.” I think designer’s role is to put order to things. It’s about seeing A and B (and C and D and …) and exploring and deciding which configuration of amagalmation of the elements is best suited for the given boundary. Order is met with boundaries. It’s about seeing what the context provides and how far you can push an idea within the boundary to create sensible, intelligent, and pleasing order.
What I have written above is a description of how I work and think. It’s a process, not a thesis. I have many interests in different sphere of things, topics, subjects, as we all do. Thesis within “media design” discipline seems super open ended, because, well, everything could be considered “media”. But for the time being, I think the field/topic that I want to engage in with is the domestic space. The idea of designing a home/house appeals to me. It’s simple and clear. It’ll always be there. Architecture attempts to create seamful interactions and boundaries through programs and rooms. Activities divide served and service spaces. Things in home have the presence of not being dynamic. The furnitures, the pictures, the plants, things just kind of stay the same for a long time (depending on the person) but it’s what your own space should be. Assuming that things are eventually going to be connected, my thesis focuses on the subject of domesticity and the field of Internet of Things (I’m including that home automation, wearable devices, and self driving automobiles are all under the big umbrella of IoT).
Coming back from Sci-Arc’s best thesis show, what EOM (Eric Owen Moss) said keeps ringing in my ears. Orders and systems don’t have to stay within predefine systems and orders. Order doesn’t mean it stays within its predetermined state. Hannah Goodale Pavlovich’s thesis “Puzzle” starts from a single column. She was able to create and disengage the form and connotations that comes with a single column/beam to create new orders within predetermined “system” of beam/column being used as a system. When EOM talked about regular structural function of a single beam, it became clear that the “order” that is used to create a structure (a system) is actually not a thoughtful engagement, but a predetermined manual. In this case, IoT can be seen as the same thing. Within home and connected devices, the idea of how it’s supposed to work, what it’d be is already predetermined. In a way, the system for setting up for home automation is already defined. It’s my job to take a look at this “futures of the past” notion of home automation and juxtapose with current affairs, current context to project what the future actually could be. It is a practice to be radical.
So, all in all, we agree that architecture still moves from services and served, from program to contexts. Not from user’s perspective. There’s still a chance for me come from user/persona based approach to physical space creation. I have already begun projects with Genny to create a “Left for Life” campaign project, where we account for Left-handed users. I also have another idea for making an app called “Kimder” to stir racial divide within asians (will this create any tension? maybe?). I’m not too sure how these projects will tie into the rest of “technology” created issues, but I think it’s still good to create these things on the side. Thinking about how systems create order and how these things could be manipulated to reveal new things is a step. For now, I believe that the best I can do is to stick with my modus openradi and pursue after the projects that I have been thinking about over the summer, even if it’s not a good project per-se. It’s really about taking a position, so that when the opportunity comes for me to fight, I can be ready to clearly defend why I am right.