Optical_surfaces: the emergence of surface distrubance and embodied affect in architecture
Brisbin, Christopher A. (2008) Optical_surfaces: the emergence of surface distrubance and embodied affect in architecture. In Hawker, Rosemary & Woodrow, Ross (Eds.) Alpha Alpha Alpha November Zulu Annual Conference of the AAANZ Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, December 2008, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)
The means of conception and construction of architectural form has never before been so open to radical figurative and procedural transformation fuelled by the emergence of new computer-mediated design and fabrication technologies. It appeared that almost anything was possible at the turn of the new millennium, however the emerging techno-determinist approach to architectural design exclusively denied the human senses as an agent in design conception, continuing the prevailing traditions of western occularcentricism. The formal and spatial character of architecture was effectively reduced in the nineteen-nineties to questions of surface and flatness. However, a series of contemporary architectural projects began to question this monocular trajectory, choosing instead to mine the field of Art in search of optical effects that engaged directly with the observer on a cognitive and experiential level. This paper will demonstrate how the dazzle shed by Elenberg Fraser in 1995 and the Brisbane Girls Grammar School by M3 Architects in 2006 draw upon concepts of surface disturbance that is exemplified by the de Stijl project of the early twentieth-century, and op-art of the 1960’s. This paper speculates that these architectural projects represent an important transition in the treatment of surface in Architecture; embodying an understanding of the affective capacity of the image to transform the disembodied occularcentric traditions of surface composition in Architecture, to an embodied multi-sensory experience.
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