Constructing Food Theory: Ferran Adrià

The exhibition  Innovation in the Art of Food: Chef Ferran Adrià, currently on show at Boston Museum of Science, makes a statement on where creative research has value nowadays: Food. In a video projection, Ferran Adrià,  speaking right in front of your face, explains the big shift in 1993/1994 from creating new individual dishes and recipes (from start to end) to bigger methods, concepts, techniques, and styles (from those methods, new dishes are born). For example, how technical and conceptual research on foam and deconstruction, has generated families of foamy and deconstructed dishes. Isn't this process the making of theory?

Creative Pyramid, 2013, Ferran Adrià. Ink on paper. Image source: Slate. In the similar diagram presented in the exhibition, Ferran Adrià, compares the innovation of a puff pastry recipe with that of the use of mini-skirt (invented by the Greeks, and conceptualized by Mary Quant). He claims: "What is important is not to be the first but to conceptualize it."



on boat

Posters by Freddie Carabott (1959, 1959, 1962) (More info about the designer and his collaborators)



Hellas Posters for EOT by Freddie Carabott  (1963, 1963, 1962)



Yannis Moralis, EOT poster for Hellas, 1956. Image found: About Tourism



public tables

Syntagma Square by Dimitris Harisiadis, Athens, 1956 (via PPMJ)



lucite sculptures

macaron-con (or food tower)



and a cubic mouse

Satire on the Armory Show, the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. "A Slight Attack of Third Dimentia Brought on by Excessive Study of the Much Talked of Cubist Pictures in the International Exhibition at New York" by John French Sloan

Image found here (transatlantis)



a BAC visit @Media Lab

photo by Higinio Jiménez



a sound evening with Scanner


Tassos Mpiris & Sofia Tsiraki's lecture

Tassos Mpiris, Dimitris Mpiris, Polykatoikia, 1980, Source: greek architects

Last Thursday, Tassos Mpiris and Sofia Tsiraki gave two lectures at Harvard GSD. They were invited by GreeceGSD. It was indeed touching to see Greek architecture being presented in Cambridge, MA. Tassos Biris presented his theory on architecture as typology emphasizing timeless dwelling and human inhabitation. Mpiris begun his presentation by defining good architecture, architecture of ethics (referring to ethos = habit and dwelling = habitat), as antithetical to the global architecture of "athletic trends." The focal image of his talk has been the beautiful, white, cycladic house by the anonymous architect who offered the example of the timeless human creativity (He claimed that even an Eskimoo would associate it with their igloo-house). Through a series of examples, he discussed relationships between the element (as house) and typology (as city or neighborhood), the personal and the communal, the typical and the original, the black (as the dramatic in life) and the white (as the charismatic), and so on. (Later, in a more informal setting he clarified that these antithetical couplings are what differentiates him from modernism and what have saved him from problematic situations.)
Tassos Mpiris @ NTUA, Source: greek architects

Tassos Mpiris, Experimental Teaching Model, Source: greek architects
One of the most inspiring moments of his talk has been when he explained his experimental teaching model, a kit of parts he uses for teaching at the Athens Polytechnic School (NTUA). The kit has the basic sturctural elements (the pilar, the wall, the beam, and the slab) which he uses to produce space-structure ("it is diagrammatic.")
John Hedjuk, The Nine-Square Problem, Education of an Architect, Source: designcoding

He differentiated his approach to that of John Hedjuk's educational kit where a series of morphological elements (combined all together) produced forms ("it is not diagrammatic; forms produce form; it is a formalistic representation.") By using his educational kit, Mpiris has been showcasing a series of archetypal space formations. He both constructs and analyzes an in-situ game of architecture: standing and moving, points and axes, atrium and gallery, inner and outer space, the corner, the roof, transparency and opacity, and so on. He emphasized that such a space is architectural space (where people live in), not any kind of space.

Sofia Tsiraki, Tassos Mpiris, House and Mutli-cultural Center, 2010, Source: arch photo missions

Sofia Tsiraki introduced a series of very interesting concepts that both of them use when making space and architecture, such as the micro-landscape, the human absence, the ground as compositional element, the structural relationship between the part and the whole, earth as a chromic archetypal symbol. In her talk she explained also a series of concepts they used for projects. One of those has been the spiral, as an ambiguous structure, that opens up. A kinetic tool that makes space constantly. For many of the projects she presented, she used very beautiful representational methods that include hand-drawing, sketching, open models, photography of hands showing the concept, and clay models. Tsiraki discussed the valie of small-scale interventions in urban landscape that are gradully adapted by dwellers overtime. Another dominant topic of her talk has been the development of an architectural syntax, almost like an architectural lego through which one makes space. The audience made quite interesting questions about typology, archetypes (as object or not?), teaching versus practicing, tool using versus tool making, and self-criticality. The night felt more like going to a class than attending a lecture. As in many other cases at Harvard GSD the discussion continued until late with more scandalous questions, comments, and architectural gossips, comparisons between here and there, but also architectural and educational ideas!

The event was organized by Dimitris Papanikolaou, Aphrodite Stathopoulos, and GreeceGSD

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lecture on nothing

by John Cage


Why Thesis Lab?

Thesis Lab follows a learning-through-making pedagogy that integrates research, critical theory, individual voice, and hands-on collaborative work. Influenced by Bruno Latour’s theories on laboratories, and Jacques Rancières’ theories on education and emancipation the course is developed around the duality of laboratory and exhibition to simultaneously emphasize experimentation (laboratory as process) and dissemination, both towards the architectural discourse and architecture’s multiple publics (exhibition as final outcome). The laboratory includes hands-on experiments, testing of theories, analysis of the results, development of models, and the making of installations, mock-ups or prototypes. The exhibition includes design and presentation of exhibitions, publications, participation in blogs, social media, and other platforms, and engagement with communities and various groups.

To understand user’s participation and engagement in their work, participants have been developing a series of installations and ephemeral spaces to be presented collectively every week in the typical (architectural) crit room B that now transforms to an experimental “white cube” (museum) room. Bringing art and the museum in the architectural studio, Thesis Lab proposes exhibition as a pedagogical tool to experience, experiment, learn, and reflect on a series of concerns.

Thesis Lab balances individual and team work in various formats to occasionally challenge design authorship without eliminating the individual voice. Participants may envision professional scenarios beyond the architectural profession as service. Collective non-hierarchical groups or actions may offer to individual creators the opportunity to instigate interventions: the design and production of their own architectures that improve their surroundings and environments.

Thesis Lab favors an interdisciplinary approach by seeking the other experts (eg. the chemist, the biologist, the psychologist, the technologist, the performer) through individual and group meetings, invited lectures, as well as organized workshops. The interdisciplinary experimentation occurs both at small and big scale. For example some of the projects integrate technological applications (eg. projectors, microcontrollers, sensors, and motors), while being inspired by theories on social media and networks (eg. hacking, digital nomadism, surveillance). 

Part of the research presented in this book[i] builds upon previous educational experiments such as Neoplayformz, an exhibition as an assembly of experiences in which the audience transformed from a spectator, to a (newspaper) reader, to a climber, to a gamer, to a guinea pig through a food experiment. Thesis Lab has been challenging what constitutes an architectural methodology for the last 3-years at WIT.

[i] The text is going to be part of WIT 's upcoming publication with graduate thesis works of 2014.

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flying kites

One of Clean Monday's rituals: flying kites as captured in schhool's book. Image source: Radar (via gtroza)

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tokyo bear


Thesis Lab midterms

Experiencing Andrew Serfling's installation as part of Thesis Lab 2014 midterm reviews at WIT (via The Garage)

Feb 20, 2014