What Are You Doing?
SUNIL BALD and NICHOLAS McDERMOTT
Like all studios, our studio has been an attempt to move from darkness into light. Perhaps more uniquely it has also been an attempt to move from lightness into dark. The observatory, an architectural type which leverages darkness for productive ends, is both the object of the studio’s design attention and also a subject that focuses our gaze on social and cultural themes around the night and the dark. At the same time that the brief prioritizes darkness over light, it hypothesizes a roof which lets as much in as it keeps out, which bridges land and sky rather than separating them. The roof-plane, like the skyplane, is highly constructed and in a sense merely ‘apparent’. It is the primary architectural element of our studio investigation, and also the one that we hope becomes almost ephemeral, a thin and exquisitely intentional scrim between heaven and earth. A design studio, like a good design practice, is a laboratory for focused experimentation. Wide ranging investigation must be encouraged (like science this is a creative pursuit) but a system for that investigation is critical. The best system is a coherent one, and the best outcome is an unexpected one.