mis–architecture mis-architecture.co.uk



mis–architecture mis-architecture.co.uk
mis–architecture mis-architecture.co.uk
AA In te r me di a te U ni t 9 2 0 0 7 / 0 8
Dr C hri s to p he r Pi e rc e | C hri s Ma t t he w s
U N I T S Y N OP S I S ( 1– 6 )
D R A W I N G C A T E GO R I E S (a– g )
1 rationale
a found objects
The objective of Unit 9 is for students to carry out an
intensive and creative year long drawing process, the
result of which is to invent new architectural and urban
approaches to redundancy.
We use the production of drawings to generate ideas
and speculative images for architecture. The studio
articulates a method for the development of creative
practice by prioritizing the role and nature of the
drawing as the principal means of production and
communication of the architect. Our method stems
from the common surrealist technique of placing the
‘unusual’ in the ‘usual’. The studio repeatedly misreads, mis-scales, mis-shapes and generally highlights
any other mis-demeanours involved in the making of
drawings and their presentation.
Two parallel techniques inform the studio’s working
methodology – one of fictive readings, like those an art
historian constructs from drawings, and another that
utilizes a method of editing and process drawing from
architectural practice. These work together to challenge
and, at the same time, motivate and inform the
architect’s drawing process. In all stages of a project,
the drawings are expected to maintain a state-offlux/indeterminacy. In this way, the work is constantly
open to mis-interpretation and redirection. One
b interference combinations
consequence of this method is that a project’s
function/programme/use is not prescribed but invented,
and the taxonomy of building types is constantly
renewed and expanded.
The resulting work is inventive, acutely attuned to
contemporary urban and architectural issues, and
poses key questions of how design is approached. The
drawings are the driver/generator for the design, and
also the studio’s key parameter in terms of medium.
The dictionary of mis-architecture includes: misbuilding, mis-shaping, mis-scaling, mis-reading, misconstructing, mis-demeanours . . .
2 general theme/brief
c base drawings
Architecture of redundancy – The unit will be looking at
the city through a stretched time frame and revealing
the redundancies latent within the contemporary urban
fabric. Each group will be applying their ‘base drawing’
to the city’s various redundant conditions and
presenting these as connecting surfaces. At one level
the surfaces could be considered as simple urban
parks/landscapes constructed through surface and
patterns, or at another as three-dimensional surfaces
that connect and make an architecture through
redundancy. There is a push in London to look at parks
within the city, especially urban parks. Barcelona has
many examples completed in the early 90s and more
recently, including FOA’s coastal park project.
We are asking students not to think of an architecture
and then draw, but to develop an architecture through
the process of making drawings. The project’s function
and brief are developed through the technique of ‘fictive
readings’ of drawings.
Likewise, technology is a found object(s). The studio’s
approach to building technologies is developed by
reading and mis-reading drawings. In other words,
students are expected to apply/modify known
technologies to create new, unexpected applications. It
is through the frame of the ‘base drawing’ and the
tactics of mis-architecture that the unit combines an
architect's broad vision and an artisan's narrow focus
to formulate the composition of new materials while
simultaneously exploring their broader applications in
building and design. Technologies are frequently
borrowed from outside the field of architecture and
d 3d drawings
placed in ‘alien’ or ‘unusual’ conditions. References in
the last few years have come from the shipping,
automobile, and aviation industries, among others.
3 ground rules
– Group work
– Weekly drawings diary
– No reading
– No physical models
– High-quality printed drawings
4 outline timetable
There is a formal presentation of drawings each week
along with the submission of a bound drawings diary
incorporating all of the week’s output.
The drawing programme is divided into two halves –
production and editing – and incorporates four distinct
phases – drawing, siting, construction and
The starting point is something non-architectural. The
only requirement is that the ‘found/imported object’ is
from another profession whose primary means of
communication is drawing – eg hydrography – and
involves some of the nomenclature associated with
architectural drawings. Two or more ‘found’ scientific
e classification within the base drawing
drawings/diagrams are combined, in a six-week
drawing exercise, by making overlays and combinations
of information, patterns, interferences and
transparencies with the sole pursuit of creating a
beautiful 2D image with 3D qualities – what is termed
the ‘base drawing’ (see adjacent images 1.0–9.0). The
‘base drawing’ is the ‘unusual’ object. Once this
drawing is established it is sited and made three-
dimensional. At this stage the limits are still ‘what looks
good’, with the normal concerns of architecture put to
the background.
Subsequent stages of the design programme involve all
of the techniques of mis-architecture. In the process,
students are encouraged to push ideas to their
extreme: known aspects of architecture are mis-used,
mis-represented and mis-understood, and unknown
aspects are invented.
autumn term 07/08
Images 1.0–9.0
Collect original drawings from:
– Hydrographers drawings/charts of rivers/seas/lakes
– 16th century engineers drawings of ship hulls and
1.0 Present the originals
2.0 Make transparent copies
3.0 Combine both drawings and create new patterns
through interference
Images 10.0–12.0
Mis-construct your ‘base drawing’ into the following:
1.0 Worm’s-eye view
2.0 Reflected ceiling plan
3.0 Down view
Images 13.0–14.0
Introduction of data
1.0 Collect three competition briefs – London,
Barcelona + any other
2.0 By mis-appropriation translate the information and
data from the competition briefs and form its own brief
through assimilation with the ‘base drawing’.
f siting
spring term 07/08
Barcelona – study of recently completed parks and
waterfront surfaces. Reviews and workshop at the
Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona
Images 15.0–19.0
Image 23.0
summer term 07/08
Images 20.0–23.0
5 selected imageography
– Aaron Betsky, Scanning: The Aberrant Architectures
of Diller + Scofidio (New York: Whitney Museum of
American Art, 2003)
– André Breton, Drawings
– Peter Buchanan, et al., The Architecture of Enric
Miralles And Carme Pinos (Lumen Press, Inc., 1990)
– Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, Kunsthaus Graz
(2001-2003), Graz, Austria
– Creative Review (Monthly publication covering the
communication arts)
– Shin Egashira, The English House (AA Files 23), pp.
39-43 + Fish Project
– Max Ernst, Paintings and Drawings
– Robin Evans, Translations from Drawing to Building
and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press,
– Tomoko, Sakamoto, ed., The Yokohama Project
[Foreign Office Architects] (Actar Editorial, 2003)
– Herzog & de Meuron, 1998/2002: The Nature of
g presenting – unwrapped elevations, exploded isometrics . . .
Artifice (El Croquis 109/110, 2003)
– Toyo Ito, Sendai Mediatheque (1997-2000), Sedaishi,Miyagi, Japan
– Rem Koolhaas, S,M,L,XL (New York: The Monacelli
Press, 1995)
– George Liaropoulos-Legendre, ijp: The Book of
Surfaces (London: AA Publications, 2003)
– Daniel Libeskind, Chamber Works: Architectural
Meditations on Themes from Heraclitus (London:
Architectural Association, 1983)
– Robert Maxwell, “Truth Without Rhetoric: The New
Softly Smiling Face of Our Discipline” (AA Files 28)
– Enric Miralles (El Croquis 72 [II], 1995)
– Peter Cook, ed., Morphosis: Buildings and Projects
(New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1990)
– Thom Mayne, Morphosis (London: Phaidon Press,
– MVRDV, 1997/2002: Redefining the Tools of
Radicalism (El Croquis 111, 2003)
Croquis 118, 2004)
– Cedric Price, Cedric Price: The Square Book (London:
Wiley Publishers, 2003)
– Paul Moorhouse, Bridget Riley (London: Tate, 2003)
– Minke Themans, Berweg: New Notational Systems for
Urban Situations (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2000)
– Vitruvius, Les dix livres d’architecture de Vitruve, 2nd
rev. ed., ed. and tr. M. Perrault (Paris: Jean Baptiste
Coignard, 1684)
– Mike Webb, Temple Island (London: Architectural
Association, 1987)
– Peter L. Wilson, Bridgebuildings and the Shipshape
(London: Architectural Association, 1984)
6 biographies
Christopher Pierce studied at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University and gained a PhD from
the University of Edinburgh. He has worked as an
architect in Architecture Intermundium (Daniel
Libeskind) and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and as an
academic in five British universities – Brighton,
Westminster, Reading, Liverpool and Edinburgh. He
recently published ‘From Bauhaus to Our House to
Koolhaas: The Office for Metropolitan Architecture
(OMA) and Modern American Culture’ in Going Dutch:
The Dutch Presence in America 1609-2009 (Brill, 2007),
and with the Dutch architectural photographer Iwan
Baan he is completing an essay on Diller Scofidio +
Renfro. He is a regular lecturer and critic at universities
throughout Europe and the USA and formed MisArchitecture with Chris Matthews in 2000.
Christopher Matthews, principal of Pastina Matthews
Architects (http://www.pastinamatthews.co.uk/), was
educated by Peter Cook at the Bartlett School of
Architecture. For nearly a decade he worked with
James Stirling, Michael Wilford and Associates on
projects including the Singapore Arts Centre, the Lowry
Centre and No 1 Poultry before setting up his own
practice in 2000. He has previously taught at
Westminster, Liverpool and Brighton.

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