Thursday, November 01, 2007

How I Think

Yesterday I got to think some things out and begin to define a couple of terms for our latest project. This is the unfiltered version of what I wrote down.

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Part 1: The First Try

What does a rowhouse want to be?

What is a rowhouse?

•Row – A series/line/linear arrangement of things
•House – A place for activities on all three planes of humanity
-----oA separation
-----oA commodity
-----oA creation

•A house is an erection that provides interior spaces. The house itself is a commodity but only with the addition of other commodities can all three planes of physical human existence be embraced. It is separated through a sense of privacy achieved through the sense of ownership attained through the house’s commoditization (purchase); also, the threshold allows the owner the ability to accept or reject guests – people who have no sense of ownership. A row is a series of literal or metaphorical things placed or connected generally linearly.

What does a row want? To become a punctum.

What does a house want? To become a place of primary use.

What does a rowhouse want? To become a punctum of places of primary use.

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Part 2: Well that sucks. Lets try again. No bullets. No separations.

What does a rowhouse want to be?

The house is not a machine for living: living is much less hierarchical than that statement implies. I.e. “living” happens away from the houses as much as or more than in the house. (Living means gaining. With this definition the office, the car, the street, shoes, clothes, nature, sunlight, et cetera become machines for living.) What then is the house? A space or group of spaces that shelters. A house is a modern base – no longer military and without the depth of intimidation a military base implies. A house is more like a base camp – a static space in a larger environment. (A place for being static physically and mentally) It is as intimidating as a military base, but primarily psychologically rather than primarily physically. The house as a modern base (a base camp) allows ownership to develop and commoditization; this places importance on the threshold – it is there the owner rejects or accepts guests – those who have no sense of ownership.

The house often contains spaces that allow movement or static (no noun form) on all three planes of humanity: —, l, and + (horizontal [sleeping], vertical [standing], both [sitting] according to Dillon); but this support requires the addition of more commodities. Is a house a stack of commodities then? Yes, but that is not inclusive enough. It is a base camp and a stack of commodities and a space(s) of shelter and static.

A rowhouse wants to be a piece not a whole. But rowhouses want to be the punctum piece of a neighborhood or lifestyle (urban & personal scales) with a strong sense of responsibility to others for actions.

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I'm still not there yet but I will never be. I'm getting closer is all that matters and all that is important.

2 comments:

Brent Goodman said...

Have you read Gaston Bachelard's "The Poetics of Space?" Your notes are heading that direction. Fascinating dovetailing of art and architecture.

Anonymous the Younger said...

Thanks for the suggestion!

B2430.B253P6313 1994 at the UI Stacks here I come.

-N