Seeing Architecture Surface by Carl Jentz Zirbel
The aggregation of material, or as in the case of my drawing, of line, allows for the emergence and simultaneous dissolution of surface. Through aggregation, autonomous lines, as addressed by Ingold in Lines: A Brief History, emerge as they express themselves to have a surface; dependent lines lack individual surface and instead combine to create it.1 Within this aggregation of line, the vulnerability of the line to vary in autonomy is heightened through shifts in scale and proximity to other lines. Thus, the articulation of the surfaces generated in this drawing varies. The literal layering of the lines, multiple lines being drawn on top of one another, contributes materially to the varying articulation of these new surfaces.
Mark Wigley, in an introduction to a Jacques Herzog lecture at Columbia’s GSAPP, is quoted here referencing an Oscar Wilde proverb – “only superficial people believe in depth”.2 This quote is understood as an argument for the support of the flat, two dimensional surface of a work of art; the flat appearance of the image is the image’s content.
Herzog and de Meuron’s Dominus Winery3 is an example of an architectural project focused on the creation of an architectural image in which content normally associated with “depth” in such an image is deflated onto its flat surfaces. Through an aggregation of material, in this case stone, the surfaces or images of this building have a shifting effect of density and transparency; they are at once fragile and leaky up close while solid and dense from afar.
In an essay by Kengo Kuma titled, “Weak Architecture,” Kuma argues for an idea of architecture that is less concrete and solid and instead built up through a balance of “weak” elements.4 Kuma defines “weak” architecture while comparing it to a textile and suggests that the building already broken apart into a number of fragments is stronger than the solid one because of its inability to be broken apart anymore.5
- Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. London: Routledge, 2007.
- Wigley, Mark. “Introduction to Herzog & De Meuron: Myths and Collaborations Over Time.” Lecture, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Accessed April 7, 2016.
- Dominus Winery is a building built by Herzog and de Meuron in 1995-1998 in Napa, CA
- Kuma, Kengo. Weak Architecture, Kengo Kuma: Complete Works 2006-2012. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita, 2012.