Five Practice Points
The folly is a disciplinary territory that exists at the intersection of art and architecture. Oscillating between useful and useless architecture, the folly offers a space of architectural experimentation, the ability to be undisciplined, and the possibility of expanding the reaches and limits of the discipline. In the first quarter of the 21st century, follies are often temporary and go by different names such as installations, pavilions, public art, design-build workshops, etc. Unlike private work, these new types of follies are often quasi-public and collective in nature, offering a space for “young architects” to generate a practice, and even become a practice in itself.
The audience for architecture has instantly expanded to everyone with an internet connection. Clients now show you Pinterest pages as “inspo” for potential designs. Discourse across regions can be collapsed or expanded. The internet flattens our shared references as a discipline, while opening and expanding architecture’s audience. The architect’s publicity, a key aspect of practice, is now #WIP, architectural proposals, news and announcements, image collections, memories of past projects, realized projects, etc. The internet has become a new arena for architects to disseminate their ideas and visions.
3) Archive of Affinities
Archive of Affinities is an image collection project that is disseminated on the internet, a form of practice in the sense that the project literally happens daily, as images of architecture are shared on various social media platforms. While Archive of Affinities is primarily based around image collection, it also sparks architectural production at the speculative level. One of the first instances was a series of floor plans digitally collaged together from parts, fragments, and wholes that were then shared on Archive of Affinities. Operating within this logic of collection and production, Archive of Affinities aims to expand the limits of the discipline of architecture.
The overwhelming quantity of content on Archive of Affinities are images scanned from old media. Part of the production of Archive of Affinities also consists of using the scanner to document physical objects that have been collected. Oftentimes the physical objects collected are used to produce architectural models. The scanner helps push Archive of Affinities from a collection project into a production project. In this sense, when the scanner is pushed out of the realm of a collection tool and into the realm of a design tool, the scanner becomes useful to the practice. The scanner is a tool that flattens and helps to collect and to produce. The Scanner makes plans, the Scanner makes sections, the Scanner makes elevations, the Scanner makes views, the Scanner makes axonometrics, the Scanner makes collage, the Scanner makes space, the Scanner makes a catalog, the Scanner makes a drawing, the Scanner makes a rendering, the Scanner makes a photograph, the Scanner makes an archive, the Scanner makes architecture from architecture.
The more you collect, the more you can collage. Collage is a form of architectural practice and thinking. Like the folly, it also exists at the intersection of art and architecture. In architecture, collage has been most useful as a form of generating new representation for either fictional or real projects. The internet amplifies and encourages a collage sensibility through its endlessness as a source for references. If a collection can be used to generate comparisons, then a collage–by collapsing comparison into contiguity–of that collection can lead to new architectural productions and practices. When collage becomes three-dimensional, it further reinforces its role in architecture. The assembly of parts, in real life, along with the ambition to make these parts a new totality, becomes architecture. Three-dimensional collage can exist at the scale of a model or a building, yet it is ultimately a sensibility of assembly and composition of disparate parts.
Andrew Kovacs is a designer and educator based in Los Angeles