Architectural representation masterclass – Perry Kulper

Architectural representation masterclass – Perry Kulper


(loud drumming music) (audience applauding) – Thanks, Greg, thank you. Can you hear me? Yeah so with that I’m gonna
make a mess of things. Thank you Gabe, for the insightful and wonderful invitation and introduction. It’s been great to be here
the, you know, 15 hours I’ve been in College Station. And I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna try to do something tonight which is probably quasi-suicidal. I’m gonna show you, and I’ll
never get an invitation back. I’m gonna show you a bunch
of student work to start, just to sort of flesh
out an ambient structure for my talk. And I’m showing you the
work, A, because I think some of it’s quite interesting and also teaching’s quite
a big part of what I do. I do almost no work because
I have very little time to do that. But then I’ll secondarily
show you some of my own work and try to talk about the capacities of architectural drawing
and work that I do of various kinds. So if you’ll stick with me,
I think that the first part’s sort of a half an hour and I’ll go through
things very, very quickly. There are a lot of images
and I don’t expect you to assimilate them but
to try to just breathe a kind of an atmosphere of disposition and attitude,
structures of approach for the student work and then I’ll get a little bit more
involved with my own work. Is this the one that I advance it with? Let’s see. No. There. So 20 years ago I developed a drawing type that I call strategic plots. And strategic plots really
have to do with plotting phenomena, conceptual
structures, and things let’s say, over and through time. So I worked through a pair of studios, one at Penn and one at SCI-Arc where we were trying to really work out how to visualize. This is prior to digital. The paperless studios at
Columbia were just under way, sort of 1995, with Bernard
Tschumi and company. But we were trying to work out how to work on a set of heterogeneous
ideas essentially in which we didn’t always have typologies or programmatic logics to
figure out what to work on. So I’m just showing you
a batch of, this is me sort of catching, at Penn,
on the way to an airport, details of drawings that
belong to that body of work. I’m not gonna talk about
so much their content but as a style of
thinking, a way of working in which heterogeneous
ideas were kept in play. Ideas were discovered rather
than proved through the work. All kinds of formal material
attitudes were opened up and so on through this
particular kind of work. Probably the richest work
that I’ve been involved in, let’s say, at the ideational
level, in 27 years of teaching. I’m gonna touch on now in
my, when I get to my work, I’m gonna identify 14 design methods. And I’ll pull those out a
little bit and develop them. Right now I’m gonna show
you a series of images that come from four particular
design methodologies that I exposed to students two years ago in a seminar at Michigan. So in this case, we’re working, we talked about this this
morning in Sara’s studio, we’re working syntactically, that is to develop a set of rules. In this case, the rules
needed, the program was 6 1/3 alphabetic forms, pink and yellow, and the X, Y, and Z axes. So the students were asked
to work syntactically by developing a set of
rules that allowed them to work through operations in the computer to produce certain, let’s
say, formal effects. The idea with exposing the
students to the methods is the methods have huge range
in terms of what they do well and what they don’t do well. They have different authorial capacities for making work. They have different historical
resonances, and so on. So the idea in a seminar was simply to expose students to disciplines by which we produce work, in this case,
through design methodologies. In this case, a gestural translation which is a gestural structure
and then a translation of that condition. So the body, imagine putting on a Michael Jackson song. Eight people gesticulate
wildly to that song. Video cameras are capturing
the gestural structure and then translating that
geometrically and mathematically into a physical formation
as a possible architecture. So gestural translation has this aspect. We use our bodies and then we translate. So the students were asked to
produce a gestural translation using either a Boullee, Lequeu, or Ledoux section. And I had a particular interest
in those French architects and the work that they were
working on at the time. But again, this is simply an involvement in gestural translation to
figure out what it does well, what are the opportunities,
how does the author interface with it, what are
its histories, and so on. So it’s very, very quick work. At most probably 25 hours in
one of these pieces of work, because that’s what the
seminar over two weeks, they sort of produce that amount of work. And again, by moving
through ways of working, it exposed to them different formal and material vocabularies, and ways that they would intersect with ways of producing work in ways that they hadn’t
previously reflected upon. So this is appropriation
where the students are essentially using
things that are found and they’re producing then
qualities or characteristics, in this case, in an image
of a painted ceiling, of churches in Rome. In this case, an aircraft carriers. So they’re inventing formal
and material vocabularies for themselves as a way to
extend their own limitations but also as a way to
practice appropriation as a way to work. No program, we’re not worried,
we isolate a lot of things. We’re not worried about how to build them, that we could get them through
building compliance things, health and safety issues, and so on. This is another body of work
in which I asked the students to make a desert house by
working through appropriation, so just a series of images. They could invent the scope of the work. It had to be a diptical desert
house, had to be in a desert but they could essentially identify and make the work as rich narratively or ideationally as they wanted to. So this is a house that
produces artificial weathers, moves through the desert, and constructs these artificial environments. This is a house that sort
of buries and unburies, reconstructs itself, and so on. This is a kind of surrealist house and one that essentially
animates oral conditions, sound conditions, sort of plan
for this particular house. Again just by appropriating
things and recombining those into new forms. And then a kind of parametric
way of making things. So I asked the students to
develop a collection of objects which belonged to a surface and that was the program essentially. And again just variations on how that means of working, collection of objects on a surface, might develop. I’ll move through these quite quickly because, again, I’m not so worried about the specific content
and the framing of things. Just to give you a sense of
the kind of range of things that might be discussed,
in this case, in a seminar. I’m gonna show you some studio work. Each studio that I offer
is framed structurally and topically in a different way. So this one, they all have specific names. This one was dealing
with surrealist tactics and ways of authoring and ways of configuring
programmatic thinking. It was quite a long time ago at SCI-Arc. So just to name some of the
things we’re looking at. This is a theater for
dead Revolutionary poets that drags itself across the desert. This is a Refuge for
the Refusal of Dreams. This is a plan and there
are sort of 24 rooms that occupy this realm. Sorry, this is a Refuge
for the Refusal of Dreams. The previous one was the
Motel for 24 Paranoias. This is a an early
construct, early constructs for a Frozen Motel Zoo, an Optical Anesthesia Field Station, early constructs. A plan on the left for the
Optical Anesthesia Realm, and a early visualization
on the right, same student. Circus of Migratory Wind, part
of the same piece of work. So a series of objects that oscillate across a dry lake bed. Here I was trying to open the
students’ conceptual apparati so I gave them, they drew
out of a hat essentially something that they would work on. This is an architecture
that makes, erases, and remakes parts of itself. It’s an, oops, it’s an Agra-Zoo, the Three Towers in Pasadena. This is an architecture
of fast and slow surfaces and fast and slow programs. So this is a plan and
this is the elevation of series of agricultural
surfaces and eating conditions. Time-lapse architecture. This is essentially a site
drawing sort of proposal on the top and some
analogous studies below. Surreal materiality, sort of
record recording studio below and a hotel above, early
proto-spatial drawing. Some of the architectural
elements, Made in Maya. Museum for Cross-Dressing, Milled Baroque. Milled Baroque was the
kind of conceptual grip, sort of thesis as it were. Sort of views of spaces. An architecture that is the architecture is delusional, paranoiac,
and schizophrenic. This is a motel room
within that architecture that’s those three things. What would happen if you
materialize the space of the building’s construction
rather than the building? So this is a materialization
of the steel fabrication in MoMA New York. Three houses in one, and so on. What would happen if you
built the plan over there and the section over there? Refined form, I asked the students to deal with form from ethical, disciplinary, and formal
aesthetic points of view. They all worked on a house. So this is a Rhino model house from Magrete in the clouds. It’s a site. This is one of the interior spaces. This is a hybrid landscape house construct series of studies
to produce that work and this is one of the final images of that house, landscape hybrid. A student was interested
in the zeros and ones of Maya to, worked on a house
project in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s an interior view of the house. Another view of the house. Domestic restraints also. Sometimes I double back on studios in terms of their content. I’ve done that twice,
the surrealist studio and then the conceptual opening problem. This was complicated though because it had the conceptual drive which,
this is three houses in one but it also they had strange sites so I was interested in Matthew Barney’s
Drawing Restraints projects in which he tries to restrain the body to generate alternative
creative discipline. So we tried to work on a house that was also constrained or restrained. They each had a conceptual device, a thesis, and then they had
a site that was slightly odd. Three houses in one on an iceberg. Fast and slow surfaces,
fast and slow programs at the great zen garden
at Kyoto was the site. So the house is the yellow bit. There’s a loom that sort
of weaves the landscape, the sky, and information sort
of simultaneously, and so on. What would happen if architecture was a fast change artist? So it could be Clark Kent in the morning, Superman in the afternoon. These are constructs that
look at that set of problems at the paired shrines at Ise in Japan. Nocturnal architecture. What would happen for an architecture that just acted at night and the site was the garden
at Versailles, France. So there are 13 objects that
tease, play with, re-manage that garden at night. This student got red,
R-E-D, and the Berlin, the former location of the Berlin Wall. And Chris produced basically a hostel that constructs and reconstructs
itself depending on demands but it traces and retraces the
profile essentially and plan of the Berlin Wall. The student got Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden
of Earthly Delights as the site and was asked to
produce three houses in one. So the sites for the house
are the painting, the gallery, the Prado Gallery in
Spain, and Google Earth. This is one of the images
produced for that house. And this studio was interested
in material organizations and granular resolution. We worked on three sites: Las
Vegas, Melbourne, Australia, and Cambridge, England. They happened to have the
highest Google resolution images in the world at the time and that was part of our resolution interest. In Las Vegas, they worked
on a short-term motel, five minutes, two hours. And these are images
from, it’s a plan image of one of the proposals. There’s a parking garage in this one. This is about as
straightforward as it gets. These are images from the rooms. I mean that same proposal. Bobby, short-term motel Las Vegas. The research, research and development was the programmatic structure
in Cambridge, England. So this is next to King’s Chapel and these are straight renderings of a research and development
sort of think-tank realm. In Melbourne, they worked on an Atmospheric Institute sort of. Early drawings for that and then straight up
architectural proposal for that Atmospheric Institute. It’s one of the bathrooms. This student was interested
also in Melbourne about how you would reconcile Google Earth points of
view and perspective and developed essentially a truck stop. And these are renderings
of that truck stop. This is one of the ceilings. This is a sort of frontal view. Bathroom, so a detail of bathroom. Also in the bathroom. Whoops form. Was interested in trying to develop form in its fuller guises so
trying to really address form at all kinds of levels. Students worked in different
locations in the world. Here, Mexico City. Student was interested
in political environments and that Mexico City is sinking and was interested in producing a series of interactive
and generative apparati that would essentially pump water into the underground system
and that would register those underground logics in a series of sort of scroll-like pieces that sit in different places in the city. Pet architecture for Los Angeles. Yeah I’ll keep moving because
there are a lot of images and I’m probably talking
too much about them. Idea is that interiors
would be quite different than exteriors, that this
would be deployable, and so on. Lake Michigan set of
infrastructural proposals that rethink the fishing industry, civicness, tourism, and so on. These are images of some of
the infrastructural pieces that belong to that scenario. Las Vegas, solar energy, capitalism, promiscuousness, seduction, series of things outside the city in the proposal to set
up the discussion of form in its fuller guises. Here I was interested in
trying to develop urban species which exceed typology and are capable of negotiating difference
and producing effects and characteristics over and through time that are differentiated. So everyone was asked to thematically, Bosch’s Garden of Earthly
Delights was helpful for us in terms of some
sub-conversations in the studio. Everyone was then asked
to intervene essentially, rethink Bosch’s painting in new terms. Whoops. And then I was interested
in the chrono part, the morphological shifts. So students were asked to
produce images of things which have the sense
of fluctuation change, speed, and so on, just as a way to set up other conversations
that needed to take place in the studio itself. And I’ll just show you
some proposals for Detroit. We all worked in Detroit, or
they did, I didn’t do any work. Set of species were developed
to do with spectacularness in this case in sort of
event conditions in the city. This guy said Detroit’s fun and developed a whole set local protocols from billboard reconstructions to spatial operations
in the city, and so on. Made some renderings for dealing with his interests. The student was interested
in importing narratives from other places to
remake parts of Detroit. So in this case in a brick
wall there are things to do with Los Angeles and
speed and intersections and suburbs and so on, being integrated into a brick surface. And, in this case, a clapboard wall having these micro
environments that are imported from elsewhere as a way
to build up the structure of Drew’s work in this case. Worked on a pair of sites,
real sites on the left, things he was doing on the right. And this is a primary
object which is a sort of a, it’s a thing which is a fictitious house for a journalist and it 3D prints, a certain memory capacities that are gathered, 3D prints on the site. Blah blah blah blah blah. Reusing aging infrastructural
pieces in Detroit. So the series of towers that get raised that are four kilometers
high at the highest. Sort of laissez-faire in
terms of how they get occupied and leased and distributed. A series of objects that do work on existing infrastructural
pieces in the city. Species develop there. Quite large infrastructural
piece introduced that’s merging with water. And then an image of some
towers that get raised and housing that gets 3D printed in the space of the city. And then quickly some
graduate thesis work. And again, I’m showing
you very, very limited. The students do 40
times the amount of work that I’m showing you and
it’s much more interesting than I’m characterizing
it so it’s quite reductive and out of context but give
you a sense of little bit of the range. So the student was interested in working on mnemonics, memory
devices, capacities to retain and reconstruct information
over and through time. This is pre-digital so these are things. These aren’t, it’s not a Photoshop thing. Anyway he eventually worked
on a series of things at the Los Angeles Zoo. Some drawings that set up the discussion, characters, narratives,
interventional strategies, and tactics, and so on. This student was interested in augmenting the construction document. Said basically others are
excluded from the conversation so I’m gonna produce a
body of work which tries to investigate how the
construction document might open itself up. And I’ll just show you three images from some of the earlier
work when she was working on Peter Eisenman’s
Cannaregio proposal in Venice and John was doing a series
of operations on that proposal to try to open up how the working drawing, the construction document,
might discuss things outside of its known protocols. This guy was interested,
Mark was interested in mapping discrepancies. So how can we map the same
place over and through time and yet there are quite
significant discrepancies? And the drawings are quite exceptional. Eventually made a kind
of research institute in the Sea of Japan as a
way to discuss this problem of discrepancies and errors
and mapping conditions. Just details of a construct
that belonged to that proposal. Niero was interested in what we talk about as split geographies. And so in this case, they’re a set of deployable mechanisms in Lake Michigan that
boot information back to a series of characters in an alley essentially in Chicago. And those characters then
enact and reconstruct information which is
booted from Lake Michigan as a way to reanimate an abandoned, and let’s say, derelict space. Interested in scanning,
scanning malfunctions. So when you scan something the
things, glitches and tweaks. How could that generate
possible spatial territories? This is a speculative
office building, two views in that office building. How can an architecture die in noble ways? So a series of characters
and tactics about a building in Singapore that that
could die in a noble way. Heteronyms and their
spatial possibilities. Portugal, Fernando Pessoa. A series of interventions. The coastline. Resurrecting Detroit through, let’s say, ecclesiastical and spiritual metaphors. So a series of interventions both local at the level of buildings, but also there’s an
infrastructure in the sky which this, the cloud of
eyes, this is a view of it. This is looking through
that new infrastructure which essentially hovers over the city. Architecture is the city
becoming third nature. Rather than expanding to the suburbs, how could we turn the city back on itself? The work series of
visualizations like these and then this is the interior
of one of the key buildings that discusses that set of problems. An interest in phase shifts. The catching the phase shifts
between material states eventually playing itself
out in an institute at the San Diego, Mexico border. Brian was interested in how
he could take three authors that he respected a great deal, Matthew Barney, Liz Diller, and the German painter, Gerhard Richter, how he could fuse different
values that they had, operating characteristics,
tendencies, and so on to overcome his own
authoring capabilities. So he made a series of probative drawings and eventually made a double house. This is the plan of the lower level. It’s embedded in the ground and this is the roof plan essentially to work on this problem of authorship and third-person roles
of the author, and so on. Student’s customs, his
history, his family origins, ethnicities being lost. Was interested in how he
might discuss those losses and eventually produced a gold leaf log that’s a microbrewery, and
a miniature Turing machine to do with Alan Turing. Three fishing rods. It’s linked to the Odyssey
and Ulysses and so on. Quite thesis, prize-winner,
quite nice work. Student interested in virtual realms, things which are
unintelligible, can’t be seen, and producing a kinda
museum for such a realm and Paul Virilio implicated. Just visualizations of what
that museum would be like. Technophilia, biophilia, so
biological and technical, technological fuses and blends. A proposal for Chicago, a set of housing proposals and landscape and infrastructural pieces. You can see the clouds are also involved in the kind of entanglement
of biology and technology and so on. Quite nice. Andy was interested in nonsense as a way to make sense of the world so produced a whole series
of tactics and strategies and representational tropes
that use nonsense projectively as a way to generate possible worlds. Sort of narratives, cross-cultural references, series of 24 objects which
migrate around the world and do work educationally at the level of museums, at the level of, let’s say, health care. A couple of images from that realm. It’s a quite interesting piece of work. Student was interested in
camps, architectural camps, and how why why do they need to be siloed? What happens if we begin to crossbreed and pollinate those things? So these are the characters. And then he produced,
he was also interested in hybridization and crossbreeds early on. Produced a series of
objects and then produced a series of plates or
images which began to look at those crossbreeds and when
camps leak into other camps, and so on. Quite nice rhetorical but also discursive and, let’s say, even spacial
representational work. Chrono-hybrid species, speciation, things that can reboot Detroit. So a series of species
which were developed that are active, that generate things, that use recycle bits. This is one of the
houses that gets involved in that discussion. Student interested in
nocturnal architecture used as essentially a sectional drawing of the great lighthouse at Alexandria as the site. So these using point clouds,
rendering techniques, programmatic logics, inventive things to produce a spatial
environment for a lunatic in a nocturnal realm. I’m almost finished with
the student work here. Just images from the installation. Trash, how could we get on top of that. So series of species that were developed to promote ethical positions relative to trash. Sort of geo-infrastructural scaled things and local things. This guy was interested in magic, South American poets. Worked on six domes in Rome. Produced a series of
interventions in these six domes of which these are a couple of renderings of those interventions. Lifestyle, questions of authorship, who’s the architect? How do we cultivate social involvement with the
construction of architecture? Quite a nice motel in the desert. Problems of water and water as a material. Series of things that were
done in Venice, Italy. This is the interior of one of the realms and an object which moves around the city. This guy was interested in demolition, how that becomes a social,
institutional, civic condition. Worked on the Michigan
Theater, a whole series of apparati and rituals and processes. This parking garage actually
moves around the city, goes so the suburbs, does some
work, comes back, and so on, the red thing. This guy was interested in exclusion and worked on a guesthouse
at Hadrian’s villa as a way to discuss social norms, exclusions,
stereotyping, and so on. And I think there’s just a
couple more series of images. This student was interested
in how we would empty content out of work and and displace content into another place. So uses all kind of found material from art sources, Duchamp, Coolhaus, and so on, and produced essentially an environment which discusses the problem of content and sort of the mechanics of things being instrumental and displacing content to how things get transcribed and related to one another, and so on. Quite nice. Everything half scale, odd domestic environment. And a student here who was interested in the kind of conflation of the body and natural systems. Produced essentially a house project and a garden orchard. These are images from that realm. So that’s the end of the student work. So now I’ll talk about, let’s say, considerably less interesting work (audience chuckling) which is mine. First I probably need to
disclose a handful of things. One, I’m interested in
trying to figure out what the scope of architecture might be, what we’re responsible for
in terms of making work. I’m interested in being
dexterous and versatile rather than specialized
and, let’s say, totalizing. And I’m interested in how, let’s say, the techniques and means by which we work might allow us to discover what potential might be
as much as describing or instrumentalizing what we already know. These are key things. I’m not going to elaborate these things but these are things that matter to me, let’s say, continuously. Relational thinking and
relational assemblies. That’s quite complex for me. Key things that I’ve focused
on would be broadening ways in which we conceive architecture, let’s say the architectural
drawing design methods, and then as a second set of things, the naming problem that
is when we name things we’ve already excluded a lot. The roles that things play so
I’m interested in what I call the mechanics of engagement. The roles that all the variables
play in a piece of work, when they’re in, how long they’re in, what their capacities are. Language folds, I’ll touch
on those in terms of way I use language to help me generate work. Parallel thinking through analogies. Working on visualizations
that are particular to what I’m actually working on and then multiple ideas
rather than homogeneous ideas on a project. So the conceptual breadth,
these things I care about, and I make projects of
different levels of finish. So I’ve got about 70 conceptual catalysts of which I gave the students some earlier when I showed earlier work. These are things that are,
they’re lightly finished projects but they keep my conceptual
imagination alive. So what would digital
mania, what would that be? Or architecture that winks,
growls, and Texas Two Steps across the site while changing land values on the run. Duplicated domestic interior, sending the clone into the
neighborhood to co-mingle with other houses. So I’ve developed for
myself seven categories that I think of as
contemporary categories: materiality, fabrication
production, atmospheres, change and flux, multiple
temporalities, duration. So time lapse architecture,
what would that be? So each of these is a
project within this structure of seven for me categories
that are helpful. Growing a building, spatial ventriloquism. So I’m just wondering how
to keep my imagination alive but how to open up the ways we might conceive spatial thinking. When is the time of rendering? Not I put the clock on two
o’clock in the afternoon and render my drawing that way. A second thing that’s been
really, really important to me is the way, the means
by which we produce work that is design methods. I’ve had hundreds of people literally say, “You should do a publication “or a book or something on this.” I don’t know enough about
it to do that, A, but B, it’s just a part of what I do and I can’t make it a full-fledged effort. But if you think about the ways in which these different methodologies
allow you to produce work formally, materially, conceptually, the ways authors relate to them and so on that you can produce radically, radically,
radically different work by each of these methods. They’re not the only methods. There are many, many more. We use methods in combination,
we innovate methods, and so on. This is a critical part of
what I do and what I teach. When we talk about methods, we talk about where they come from, what they are, where they
come from etymologically, what they do well and don’t do well, how authors interface with them, how they interface with other methods, what are the precedents by which
these methods are deployed. Let’s say, case studies
and then we try to develop a template for operations. How do you work within
a particular method? This to me is vast totally under-developed in terms of teaching. I don’t know anyone in
the world, to be honest, who actually works on it. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s right. I think it’s really important. We don’t actually understand the means by which we produce work. So when I went through
the student examples and identified quickly four
different ways to produce work, that’s part of that discussion. And then the business of visualizations which if anyone knows of me, they tend to think of
me as someone who draws and uses the drawing to do something. Sometimes the work table
looks a little like this. I’ve developed drawing types for myself which are helpful from aspectival drawings
in which you’re drawing the critical aspects of something, to proto-strategic plots
in which I was trying to figure out the problem
of plotting things over and through time, to strategic plots. To thematic drawings in which
I’m just trying to visualize the key interests of a project
before there’s any formal or material attitude. All these drawings are developed for very specific phases in the work, things I’m trying to work on. Cryptic drawings have
to do with, let’s say, the genetic or chromosomal
structure of work. Proto-formal drawings are prior to form but have indications of geometry, material properties,
organizational logics. Relational drawings
where you’re just working on relationships, in this case, erasure. Just working on problems of erasure and censoring, bleaching out. Composite drawings,
they’re fairly familiar. We’re using multiple
languages, elevations, section, notation in the same drawing. Analogous drawings in which
things behave like other things, things look like other things, things are organized like other things but they’re not those things yet. So I’ve got, for me, a set of working
representational techniques that have been helpful. I’ll show you a series of failed projects. House commissions, I had just
started teaching at SCI-Arc. And commissions, competition work that allowed me to really understand my own limitations. It’s a desert house. They all seemed the same to me. I worked on them similarly, I
thought about them similarly, and I realized that in 1990, that I didn’t have much to say. And I’d never exist for 50 or 60 years. The work just wasn’t
interesting enough to me. Again it was all the same. No way to get 50 years’ juice out of this. Again just working a real commission, 1600-square-foot house
in the desert, and so on. Interest to with context
and enigmatic conditions of the desert and client needs, and so on. Made a second version of that house where I started to open up
the drawing a little bit, the aspectival drawing. So this is another version of that previous graphite drawing house. And then Amy was doing a
PhD in Cambridge, England, so I developed a room essentially. There’s a leather floor,
a double aquarium, a kind of steel wall with cactus. There’s some encrypted
languages in the thing and so on. So all this work caused
me great consternation. It didn’t seem very good. It didn’t seem interesting, and blah blah blah blah blah blah. So I got probably the
pivotal piece of work for me was the David’s Island Competition. Run just I did it just before
the early strategic plots that I showed you, the student work. So I was developing a
strategic plotting business. And here the architectural drawing began to open itself up in
terms of what I could discuss, that I could generate
interest through the drawing as much as prove them. In this case, I was developing
programmatic thinking to deal with the key
issues of the proposal which the ideas and issues
had to do with islandness and remoteness and panoramic
and panoptic vision, maritime thinking, nautical cartography. So there were a lot of issues at stake and I was using the drawing as a way to generate, again, programmatic thinking. So there are landings for
mythical sea travelers, there’s silver shell surface, there are flooded landscapes, there are multiplied officers’
headquarters, and so on. All of those things deal
with the key issues or ideas of the project but the
drawing was really a harbinger or a kind of cauldron
for me to think visually to discover the potential of the work. And this is a simple technical
drawing of easement fencing and labyrinths of emptiness and the landings for
mythical sea travelers, and so forth and so on,
surveillance garden, polished metamorphic
rock garden, and so on. The drawing began, because I was trained through conventions, plan
sections, elevations, oblique axonometric, perspectives. I couldn’t figure out how
to make that kind of models. I couldn’t figure out
how to hold the ideas that I was thinking about
in those kinds of drawings. So I began to try to open
the drawing up a little bit. There are thematic drawings. So for a museum, I was trying to, again, just think through the key issues of the work. Problems of curation, things
to do with historic aesthetic and scientific understandings
of collections, the urban roles of the museum,
the historical etymology of the Greek muses, and so on. Just try to visualize key
aspirations for the work. Then the cryptic drawings
started to develop. These are details of sort of the genetic or chromosomal structure of the proposal. Again cultivating the drawings really working through intent, misreads, aberrations,
suppositions, hunches, letting those things
breed, cultivate themselves in the drawing. There’s a drawing for an alabaster surface that has nine Greek
muse-inspired instruments that draw and etch away at the
alabaster surface, and so on. Anyway, it’s not so important
the specific content but the drawing allows, again,
forms a visual thinking, hunches, certainties, multiple languages to be used simultaneously
to keep things in play long enough to see
whether they’re relevant. So this is a sectional drawing. And then we made an early visualizations. The first, Rhino model
of the museum, proposal. I would call these sort of first sketches, chipboard models. I wouldn’t call them design at all. But there are things like there are cattle and fescue and roses and gardens that you can’t get into and robotic things that manicure parts of the proposal and three sets of Greek muses
which operate urbanistically at the level of the site
and internal to the project, and so on. Yeah, I wouldn’t call it design at all. Sort of inscriptions,
tractors square-dancing, beauty pageants for farm
animals being constructed to try to augment the historical and typological dimensions
of the museum, and so on. More recently, a handful of years ago, trying to now work on the
prime, sort of primary building that we looked at the section through. Working on erasure as a
possible way to generate work both representationally
but also spatially. And I had an idea about a house that I would essentially erase and recode practices, equipment, furnishings, habits. So these are just relational drawings that try to work on
the problem of erasure, recoding, rebooting
through a pair of objects that now try to reinhabit this bleached-out, erased,
censored condition. Just represents, it’s
not a section or a plan, just a relational drawing. As a result of some of the work
getting quite heavy for me, I said what would happen if I developed my fast twitch muscles
and try to design quickly with a limited set of ideas? So I worked on a house where
I just try to figure out relationships to ground, sky, and horizon. And I made three proposals. This is a site drawing for one of them. This is a site drawing
for another one of them. And then I’m gonna show you
the one that’s developed a bit. So all the projects have, there’s like sketchbook stuff. There are probably 60 of
these for this project, 125 of them for the museum, and so on. So they’re parallel lives being led in the development of a proposal. Yeah normal, just normal stuff. The first drawing for this house and the idea initially for the house was that ground, sky, and horizon trying to get involved in that. And then eventually there are a series of landscape milling machines. This is done in 2003 so
milling machines are known now. But there are a series
of, in this proposal, there are a series of machines
that mill the landscape. And, in this case, they mill
a series of garden surfaces for the objects of the house. And a series of drawings which were made to try to etch out this particular house. And they, again, a
sketch, let’s say a sketch for the house. So there are garden surfaces,
a whole series of them that are milled. There’s a space that you live
in but it’s filled with logs and you don’t actually live in it. You live in two baskets. You sleep in this piece that moves along a pink dust garden. There are two things
inside of this object. You eat in that lozenge-shaped bit. There’s a storage piece below it. Things to do with branding
and capitalism are involved. There are three chromed shadows. Each of the big objects
has a chromed shadow. There’s a chromed billiard ball. There’s a cast bronze biplane. And there’s a labyrinth
that you don’t get into. And there are real and milled cacti. There’s an object just
above the billiard ball that sits inside of the dining space and there’s a cactus wall. And you can see the chrome shadows and then you see the sun shadows. So there’s a discussion about multiple temporalities
here, multiple technologies, time frames in which you’re uncertain about what time you’re
actually in the desert, things to do with subtle
shifts in perception of the desert, erasure as
an architectural activity, blah blah blah blah blah. Here you see the chrome shadows. There’s a chrome shadow there and there’s a chrome shadow over there. You sleep in these bits
and they move up and down. There’s a little stair to nowhere. It’s three inches wide at the end. These are all coming out of the work of ground, sky, and horizon
trying to generate the thinking as I work through. And for me this is a super simple, that’s a very, very simple project. There you see the chrome shadows. All of the garden surfaces have encrypted sort of
languages that belong. Each garden surface has
a different language in which you’re meant to,
they make sense of something but you’re not privy to
what they make sense of. Yeah, this is the living
space that’s filled with logs. On its side there’s a miniature version of the proposal that’s built. there’s a mechanical
hawk that belongs to that and then there are real
hawks in the desert. And you’re seeing the
edge of the labyrinth. And this piece dematerializes. It’s calibrated to dematerialize
over a hundred years so the steel essentially dematerializes and this piece leaves a
pile of logs on the site. Again I won’t go into the
relational thinking so much but… That was quite fun. It’s a sketch as well, it’s not designed. I was invited to the Prague Biennale and asked to deal with architecture as a transient phenomenon. So I developed what I
call the metaspheric zoo which is a cross between
metaphor and atmosphere, developed six species in the zoo and three programmatic elements. And this is a kind of
thematic, strategic drawing. The work didn’t get developed. But these are biopsies
from that strategic drawing which try to deal with architecture as a transient phenomenon
using animality, bestiality, instinct, and desire as ways to back into the transient problem. More complicated or complex
than I’m making it sound but this work I’m interested in. It needs to be developed and simply isn’t. We get, this is incredible at the school, there are five grants of $20,000 a year called Research Through Making grants and I applied the first year and got one. And I was interested in
what I called spatial blooms and that is how we would cross landscape organizational principles, landscape biologies,
and landscape elements to try to produce an alternative temporal, spatial realm. So we made a series of visualizations in which, in this case,
we’re trying to blossom the ceiling at Il Gesu in Rome. And then other studies, just
a whole series of things. In this case, trying to
get landscape organizations and landscape elements to begin to discuss one another. Analogous drawings. Same objectives working analogously through landscape organizations
and landscape elements. No landscape biologies
or no temporal stuff yet. Lots of images like these. Fabric predators were part
of the programmatic thinking that came out of it. There are notational and
graphic landscape conditions, things called zipper blooms. Reflexive conditions, whoops. These are early studies of zipper blooms which lots of things that they’re about. Visualizations about what these realms might be a little bit like. Test tube berm, notational
and real landscapes that begin to tangle with one another. Species, speciation, and so on. Think probably got 12%
of where we needed to get in the larger trajectory. I’m very, very grateful
for the opportunities that I have and the people I’m around. Got invited to produce
two pages in a book. There were 30 of us from around the world, 24 sorry, from around the
world who were asked to produce two pages in a book, two
weeks apiece, hot potato it to the next person in
Pittsburgh or into New Delhi or wherever they were. So I was thinking about alchemic urbanism. The framing was documenting urbanism and I thought about alchemic urbanism, how you would harvest
essentially surpluses in the city and the drawings, the
two pages in the book, try to you know auger into
that and use word plays and language folds and so on. Working on a piece of work
now where I’m trying to think about envelopes, vertical
surfaces, and so on. So (sputters) just things to try to, there are six of them, try to
auger into that a little bit. It’s bit old work but I’m
working on a pair of new ones at the moment. I don’t know, I can hardly
turn the computer on as you could tell Gabe had to come and just get to the next PowerPoint. So recently I’ve been
just trying to figure out how to cut and paste in Photoshop. So I made a series of just you know, sorta 20 minute studies. I mean they’re literally
just trying to figure out how to cut and paste. And just trying to work through
a couple of small ideas. This one has to do with
a speeding landscape. This is to do with sort of hyper objects in a miniature, there’s a miniature realm. A quasi-speeding landscape. And then what I was thinking about is a kinda post-temporal landscape. I mean literally 20
minutes, me just trying to figure out how to cut
something and paste it in and, you know, fiddling. Was asked to make a cover
for a new online journal called “Edge Condition”
and developed this piece called Cloud Veil where I
developed three cloud types that essentially try to veil my own work. My friend Nat Chard and I
were very, very fortunate and super grateful to win
“Pamphlet Architecture 34”. And we were interested in
problems of indeterminacy and contingency as a way to practice but also to move away from architecture that prescribes how we behave. So a series of drawings that I made. Try to imagine,
thematically imagine a realm where you would practice
indeterminate architecture. These drawings have to do with that. And then we, Nat’s developed a bunch of kinds of work of which drawing instruments are a part. So we essentially, we developed
two drawing instruments. Nat’s is on the right,
mine is on the left, in which we are trying to work on these problems of
contingency, representation, authorship, narrative constructions, and so on. So each of us has a kind of dome that has a kind of narrative realm. We have a surface. We have a object that
interrupts the paint throw. And then we have a set of
calibratory mechanisms, levels, and jigs, and so on. This work was made specific
to the “Pamphlet” work. We’re working on a new
piece of work right now which when exhibition in London. It’s related to a second
book that we’re working on. Anyway these are just, these are images (clears throat) of a particular part of the work that we made to try to evolve the business of indeterminacy and contingency, perspectivization, metrical
thinking, narratives, lots of things at stake. So you see the object that interrupts the paint flow. And in this case you’re seeing
paint that’s being thrown from the instrument that I’m involved in and vice versa. This is another piece of work
that we’re quasi-involved in. Neither of us actively right now but… Yeah so I won’t, I’m almost finished. if you can last another five
minutes, I’m getting there. So last summer I was asked
with 29 other architects, I was asked to design a birdhouse to be exhibited and sold for auction for nonprofit benefits in Italy. So we made a series of,
the idea eventually is, I’ve got an idea about
developing 13 birdhouses. But essentially try to reflect
on what I do and why I do it. So this is round one. These are some early drawings which try to put some ideas into play and then this is the thing. It’s a… It’s the Flights of Fancy Bird Motel. So there’s a bird landing strip. There’s what’s called a deep taxidermic and taxonomic bird, the yellow bit. There’s a garden, there’s a watering hole, the yellow thing in the middle. And there’s a bird rug. There are three clouds,
the elliptical pieces. The big cloud holds the
name of the bird motel, the Flights of Fancy Bird Motel and it has a windsock room. There are two optical
devices that allow birds to scan and navigate territory. There are three hedges. One of them doubles as a perch storage. And there are five perches. And there’s a kind of jacuzzi pool. So you know it’s quick. It’s not quick to make it. It’s milled and 3D printed and painted and then shipped. That’s what it looks like. Yeah, it’s pretty straightforward and narratives involved. Things to do with human natural reversals. Things to do with control surveillance, taxonomic interests, and so on. This is the deep bird, a taxonomic curve. It’s a sort of ritual, iconic, let’s say, almost ecclesiastical
element in the work. You don’t actually see it but it’s an important,
it’s a super important part of the proposal. And then we just fiddled
around a little bit taking the bird motel for a walk. So there’s an idea that it
occupies different environments, in this case, the eye of a flamingo. Now, there’s a second version of it being, sort of working on it currently, and there are a lot of stand-ins. (groans) So it’s a bird landing
surface and a garden. There’s a stand-in for the water table. There’s a stand-in for the bird table. There’s a stuffed technology garden. There are topiary hedges
that are in the configuration of a bird alphabet that inscribe marks in the top surface that belong to a dome
below that belongs to a bird ballroom that
occupies this hull piece. There are propellers,
there’s dioramic wallpaper. So this is just, that’s early, early days. This is a section through
the bird ballroom, and the windsock houses
and the bird alphabet. Hedges are above and sort of really early trying to figure out
the sectional properties of this thing just for fun. Just an early, (groans) again, stand-ins
for the lower bird but starting to get involved
in the upper surface and the choreography of inscriptions of the dancing hedges and so on. And you can see the
stuffed technology garden which has all kinds of aerial objects, satellites, dirigibles, and so on. So there’s a kind of bird trophy room but it’s human conditions which
make that bird trophy room. And there are padded,
upholstered perches in that realm and so on. So it’s very, very early days. This is just stand-ins for the stuff technology garden. So there’ll be rockets then the upholstered perches and so on. Current work with Nat Chard. These are a series of just
very, very quick studies for aerial diptych follies that try to… Ah, it’s complicated. They’re didactic instruments
that are masquerading as a series of characters
in an aerial landscape at Orford Ness in the
west coast of England. And these are just early visualizations to try to get into
certain thematic concerns, certain interests of the work, sort of from my perspective. And Nat’s doing a series of things as well and we just figure out
how they might discuss one another and so on. And these are literally
sorta 20 minute studies made three, four weeks ago, you know, shot with an iPhone camera. And I’ll show you just
one handful of images and then I’m finished. So I’ve made almost
800 landscape drawings. And I make them in series. They’re all 18 by 24,
nine by 12 in the format. They’re very, very light. They occur there, if they
take, oop, half an hour to two hours apiece. I don’t throw any away. I used to make one a day and
I did that for six weeks. I’d get up, shower, eat, make a drawing. So these are just images from a series. So I’m interested in, you
know, calligraphic landscapes, Chinese and Japanese
influences, fungal landscapes. I had some cadmium red, an
acrylic on my work table and said I wonder if I could, you know, what would that be to work on those? Monochromatic landscapes and so on. Red ponds, invisible. So these are the last images. And just three to finish to show you. Yeah, it’s monochromatic landscape trying to think about
what if, could landscapes have monochrome dispositions, and then highly, highly
saturated parts of them. And that’s the last image. So I think it’s still Monday. I’m not sure. (audience chuckling) But I’m finished. Thank you all very much for coming. It’s…
(audience applauding)


5 thoughts on “Architectural representation masterclass – Perry Kulper

  1. We already have symbolic language conventions that are far more sophisticated. Why are these invented language conventions any better? After all: 1. These symbols/representations can only be interpreted by the drawer, not by the viewer, and 2. These symbols are translated back into English anyway.

    Conventional language isn't art.

    And would they be as worthwhile if they produced less esoteric, and uglier drawings?

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