“ex nihilo o nihilfit”
In this project ‘nothing’ is related to weightlessness.
The proposition is that the answer to this research question (“How can some buildings have the sensation of weightlessness?”) can be found within the art movements of Suprematism and Proun, the history and significance of which has tended to be forgotten.
The objective is to design a building which achieves the sensation of ‘upthrust‘.
Methodology: This research involved the collection of primary and secondary literature sources. Drawings and physical models were developed from paper strips to three-dimensional models.
Kazimir Malevich’s painting with the black square on the white canvas provides the starting point of the research.
The combination and contradiction of whiteness and blackness creates a suspension of
gravity. Gravity is still a complicated preposition for science. Modernism was concerned with the appearance of weightlessness, but interpreted and re-defined weightlessness and gravity to be floating, or hovering, as in the cantilever and the use of les pilotis (derived from buildings over water) according to Anton Max Vogt:
“.... to a fish, a bird, and a terrestrial creature he (Le Corbusier) turns it into
architecture on land, above water, and up in the air.”
This project returns to architectural examples, such as Wolkenbügel by El Lissitzky and Tatlin’s tower, which can be seen as concerned with upthrust. Upthrust produces an equal and opposite grounding force with its antagonism (counterthrust) to the earth in its attempts to escape gravity.
The research will utilise of new materials and methods of construction, breaking old thinking habits into new angles of vision, which offers the blue cosmos as goal.
|Keywords:||Architecture, Art History, Construction, Weightlessness, Upthrust Gravity, Malevich, Lissitzky|
Lecturer, School of Built Environment, UNITEC New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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