Playing Against Type: Walt Disney Animation Center

Date: 2017, Fall

Advisor: Devyn Weiser

This project speculates on the syntax of multiple, non-correlated, digital and physical architectural objects. Through a non-compositional approach, the project develops new coherences among parts that are neither dialectical nor differential. While retaining a level of disciplinary specificity and legibility this contingent model playfully harnesses the discrepancy between digital and physical design processes. Moving from composition to compositing, it engages workflows beyond conventional three-dimensional modeling in the computer. The technique of “volumetric compositing” brings together fragmentation/explosion and unification/explosion, to produce geometrically and volumetrically coherent objects. An aspect of this aesthetic stance is to identify specific architectural types, tropes and devices; reconstructing and redeploying them in ways that question the original intention of the design.

The project critically considers the idea of “type” and “model” in the context of a renewed interest in objecthood – a discourse that posits typological thinking as a problem of collections and catalogues rather than periodization or classification. While no longer concerned with the origin of architecture (Laugier), imitation of nature (Quatremere), or taxonomy of types(Durand), this trans-temporal and non-theistic attitude articulates new ways of engaging the rapidly expanding archive of objects available to the designer. The vitality of this way of thinking and working is evident in contemporary art (koons, McCarthy) and fashion (Michele/Gucci, Gvasalia/Balenciga). Similarly, in architecture a focus on the multiple object building complex leads to a reassessment of works by Gehry, Rossi, Siza, and Stirling at the cusp of the digital turn. Gaining familiarity with these set pieces shifts the initial focus of design activity in the studio to critically engaging disciplinary knowledge. While it may be assume that a quasi-autonomous collection of parts exists, the workflow for setting those parts into a legible architectural assemblages and ensembles requires intentionality of architect.

Pre-Design Research

Precedents Research

Precedents Parts Market

South Elevation

Model Elevation

Model Section

Typology Study of Mickey Mouse

Ground Plan

Section A

Section B

Elevation West