our first step to assessing the material energy for building consumption is to sort and pile.  some of our piles thus far: burnable, insulators and the discarding (not shown)

burnable: slats and floorboards strategically removed for future program needs
insulators: plaster and insulation located in the back porch cavity recently opened

truck defense

Only when the business across the street began operating two 20′ medium duty trucks did the strategy of back-parking and spatial choreography reveal itself.

When apart, the trucks frame the entrance door as a militarized gate, similar to the “inset-outset” condition observed in the BLDGBLOG post,The Baffler. When together, the public gate is closed and now access to the business is personal and very intentional. The position of the trucks have the ability to control direct street access and redirect circulation to the ends of a long hall parallel to the street.

As i live and work in detroit this summer, defensive systems are apparent everywhere. Usually seen as steel bar gates or chicken wire fencing, these defensive barriers mostly exist in static states. The pleasure of these medium duty trucks is that they introduce and take away functional space depending upon use and security needs of three doors, instead of just the typical one. In the closed state, each of the truck cargo items are better secured, given the space to remove the items has disappeared, and by positioning the trucks in front of the business door the space of circulation is restricted and can be monitored if desired. I enjoy the spatial depth, functional performance and circulation restructuring this operation engages. Consider this “truck defense” the spatial derivative of steven holl’s wonderful storefront project of the early 1990s. The close-off / open-on relationship is now in relation to a third space, the space within the defensive system itself. And accessing this space, or that of the business, drives the need and determines the distance with which one truck will be moved apart from the other.

Beautiful multi-functional spatial choreography.

sun turning corners

today I walked Valparaíso’s streets with the question, “how does the sun turn the corner?”

the discovery is a wonderful range of parts and patterns.  almost every corner lends itself to parallelograms from tapered streets, repetitive stripes from fencing or gates, and lines with knots from electrical wires above.

in a city where the streets are labyrinths and the topography is varying, sunlight is a valuable indicator to suggest that the seemingly closed pathway in front of you is in fact a connected route.

light of varying edges also speaks to an architecture of components and spaces of complexity.  with narrow streets, in comparison to lubbock, texas, these sun-striked pathways with greatly changing shadows are not just theatrical but also performative.  since the sun only enters a portion of the city streets, particular areas become concentration destinations depending on the need to warm the body or cool the body.

flexible docking

soy fantástico porque estoy en Valparaíso, Chile otra vez.

the entire city of Valparaiso resonates as a sound box.
flexibility thrives and survives in the earth shaking nature of Valparaiso.
flexibility of architecture, flexibility of movement, flexibility of negotiation.

moving from land to ocean, on a recent trip out into the harbor, the local dock served as an excellent example of flexibility because it materialized simultaneously in the air as in the sea.

two wonderful architects come to mind who intentionally materialize flexibility in their projects; Michael Bier, of Valparaiso, Chile and Lancelot Coar, of University of Manitoba, Canada.

the enticing, theatrical and un-expecting world of flexibility is a world worth living.