A (pre) Virtual Museum of Architecture

House in Laguna, plan sketch, 1983.

A (pre) Virtual Museum of Architecture, 1985-.
The notion of Quondam as a virtual museum of architecture goes back to the 1980s and an imaginary design called the House in Laguna. By 1991, this house project evolved into a "museum of architectural ideas," a virtual place meant to exhibit theories of architecture through virtual buildings. Subsequently, two other imaginary projects -- the Mayor's Residence and the Wacko House -- joined the House in Laguna, thus creating a "laboratory" for architectural experimentation.

While Quondam's "real" place is in the cyberspace of the World Wide Web, it is nonetheless within the province of a virtual museum of architecture to speculate what it might look like were it an actual building, and, henceforth, the imaginary compound of three houses, along with all its future development, is christened Not There -- Quondam's virtual hermitage. [This design is now referred to as Acropolis Q.] Like Krier's Laurentian Villa, and even like Philip Johnson's compound in New Canaan, Not There's primary goal is to manifest architectural ideas through "built" form. Not There as a virtual place has one substantial advantage over the other two projects, however -- it does not have to consider client, cost, or even site restrictions.
seeking precedents... ...finding inspiration

House in Laguna, massing study, 1985.

House in Laguna, design development, 1985.

early Acropolis Q cad databases

paint-chip plan at usr/museum
There is a paint-chip plan in one of the quadrants of the incomplete third series; input it into the computer and incorporate it into the /usr/museum group.
Concerning the /usr/museum group, establish a base model and a site plan in general. The base model will be its own database but it will be registered with all the house data. The site plan will also be part of the base model database.

Concerning architecture work, it will be a continuation of the same projects I have always been doing. Essentially it will be the generation of more and more data related to all kinds of different specific projects. Campo Marzio, Schinkel's Berlin, the "Houses" in usr/museum, scale, promenade, models - they are all part of the ongoing process and I see now how it is going to remain that way from now on. I forgot to mention the Parkway project on the list. All this work will eventually amount to something more, but first I must always record the data as soon as possible. The architecture work, perhaps more than the art work, is directly tied to the record project..   3123o

documentations/record project
Within architecture, however, there are many topics I want to document: the Parkway project, the museum of architecture project, the architectural promenade, and just the documentation of each of the unbuilt buildings computer models.   3123o

Seroux d'Agincourt -- museum of architecture
After looking through Seroux's book, I think it would be beneficial and also possible to scan the plans and the elevations therein and then compose the data all at the same scale. The final document, so to speak, might even be a part of Scale and Architecture.
I read some of Vidler's The Writing of the Walls, the last chapter, and it is full of information that can be used to reinforce the idea behind Scale and Architecture. The whole notion of a "museum" of architecture in the form of a book is exactly what I have been doing with the computer and CAD models. The historical background provided by Vidler brings the issue of "museum" to the fore, and the role of the computer in the whole process is greatly highlighted. In fact, the whole premise of Scale and Architecture is to demonstrate the new capability that CAD affords.
So I could say that there is a dual purpose behind Scale and Architecture. One purpose is to illustrate and learn about architecture and architecture design by a true comparative method. The second purpose is to illustrate and demonstrate the possibilities available because of CAD 3D.

record of Le Corbusier architecture, etc.
In a few days I will be done the Le Corbusier plan and elevation work, and I look forward to the record of the work. I still have the Tower of Shadows and the Museum of Knowledge elevations to do.
After that I will either do a set of Le Corbusier axonometrics or I could start to rework the scale pages/drawings of Scale and Architecture. I will do the axonometrics first because I want to see the results, i.e., something I haven't seen yet.
In general, I have been giving some more thought to the notion of a virtual museum of architecture, and I think the idea is extremely fertile and somehow this idea could, and indeed does, permeate throughout everything that I am doing with the computer, including my own design work. I really have to think this thing through because it could be the motif that ties all my proposed work together and really all I have to do is always think of my data as a museum of which I am both creator and curator. I will be designing and organizing and managing my very own Museum of Architecture. It is perfect. For example, I can already speak of the collection and I can speak of the archives. The motif continues: I can also speak of specific exhibits and catalogues (exhibits being sets of specific drawings and ideas I produce and then cataloguing the results through laser printing and text). This is how I am going to organize my work from now on. My Virtual Museum of Architecture.
In this sense, Scale and Architecture, and The Body, the Imagination, and Architecture are thus considered as major exhibits of the Museum. Once the Museum is established as an entity, all subsequent books and subsequent exhibits (catalogues, books) have this background to build on, and it will be the notion of having this specific museum and its specific collection as the heart of all the projects that I would like to do. I am beginning to see the power that my databases possess and how to make the most of it all.

another museum of architecture reference
Another reference to the "virtual museum of architecture" came from reading some in Rossi's The Architecture of the City. I am reading the chapters (headings) in reverse order and in the introduction to the 2nd Italian edition, Rossi makes reference to the Canaletto painting Capriccio.
"After I wrote this book and from the concepts I postulated in it, I outlined the hypothesis of the analogous city, in which I attempted to deal with theoretical questions concerning design in architecture. In particular I elaborated a compositional procedure that is based on certain fundamental artifacts in the urban reality around which other artifacts are constituted within the framework of an alanogous system. To illustrate this concept I gave the example of Canaletto's fantasy view of Venice, a capriccio in which Palladio's project for the Ponti di Rialto, the Basilica of Vicenza, and the Palazzo Chiericate are set next to each other and described as if the painter were rendering an urban scene he had actually observed. These three Palladian monuments, none of which are actually in Venice (one is a project; the other two are in Vicenza), nevertheless constitute an analogous Venice formed of specific elements associated with the history of both architecture and the city. The geographic transposition of the monuments within the painting constitutes a city that we recognize, even though it is a place of purely architectural reference. This example enables me to demonstrate how a logical-formal operation could be translated into a design method and then into a hypothesis for a theory of architectural design in which the elements were preestablished and formally defined, but where the significance that sprung forth at the end of the operation was the authentic, unforeseen, and original meaning of the work."
Immediately I think of the Strasbourg, Dusseldorf, Hurva composite building that I have created in 3d model form, and I would like to sometime in the future elaborate on how the composite is perhaps an analogous building. Furthermore, Rossi's point provides great fuel for future manipulation of my models and Canaletto's painting in particular provides inspiration and a grounding in terms of a "plan" for the "virtual museum" itself.
Overall, I see the analogous city concept working in tendum with the "virtual museum of architecture" idea, and I am at this point also interested in adding the collage city idea/methodology to the "museum" idea. I could eventually say that there are three historical ideas at the foundation upon which I build my "virtual museum." (This means that I have to re-read The Architecture of the City, Collage City, and perhaps even Rossi's Scientific Biography or whatever I can finf on Rossi's ideas of the analogous city. I have to look up the definition of "analogous" and "collage."

specific building documents
The documents will be billed as documents (archives?) of the (first) Virtual Museum of Architecture. My overall goal is to compile an ongoing series of documents. This is all an effort to concretize many ideas and many drawings.

The preliminary list of documents is as follows:
1. Strasbourg (inclusive)
3. Düsseldorf (inclusive)
4. Zürich (inclusive of Plecnik and Krier)
5. Seroux same scale
6. Piranesi contiguous
7. Piranesi typology
8. Piranesi Campo Marzio - Nolli Map same scale comparison
9. Same scale building plan, elevation, and axonometric comparison 1:500
10. Same scale building plan, elevation, and axonometric comparison 1:1000

This is the same work that I have been thinking about all along but it is now organized into a project.

Palais des Congrès documentation
The Strasbourg documentation is in full swing... The contents will be broken up into a few parts, e.g., one part will be about the site and the building itself. The second part will be about the promenade architecturale formula. The third part will be about the Hejduk comparisons. And the fourth part will be straight forward scale comparative analysis.
It is in the fourth part that I will be most adventurous. I see plan comparisons with other Le Corbusier buildings, all the other building plans, and even with Philadelphia and the Campo Marzio. The Philadelphia Center City comparison will particularly make light of the similarity between the Strasbourg ramps and the Vine Street Expressway ramps connecting to I-95. This comparison will be demonstrated in plan and 3D. Besides the plan comparisons, there will also be elevation comparisons, and what it may turn out to be is a series of split elevations. I'm not sure at this point if I will incorporate any Seroux or Durand scanned images within the scale comparisons. Most of the fourth part is yet to be generated, so it is still in a fluid state and the final output is still to evolve.
An additional part of the document will be a collection of the notes already available. ...it looks like the document will take on encyclopedic characteristics, and I can do it now for Strasbourg, but I'm not sure if I can do the same for the other buildings.
Now that I see the Strastboug document coming together, I am more and more thinking about pushing the document towards publication as the first part of an ongoing series from the Virtual Museum of Architecture.

Palais des Congrès documentation
Since the Strasbourg document is the first document of the Virtual Museum of Architecture, an explanation of the museum itself will be appropriate. In broad overview, the introduction will begin with my thoughts on architectural drawings as "texts" of architects the same way that musical scores are the "texts" written and read by musicians. This idea will lead to how 3d CAD modeling allows unbuilt architecture to be "played" the way an orchestra performs a symphony. (Reference here will first be made to how a finished design--an actual building--is like the performance of a symphony, and here Geothe's idea of architecture as "frozen music" also comes into play--the constructed building as a symphony frozen in a specific slice of time.) And in turn, I will explain how 3d modeling allows an investigation, a "visit," to the Palais des Congrès. This is where 'virtuality' is then elaborated upon (virtual construction and then virtual existence) and then specific things learned by visiting Strasbourg virtually will be presented. Finally the concept of a virtual museum will blossom when the full potential of 3d modeling is taken advantage of by placing a variety of buildings at the same scale into a virtual context, a virtual museum.
The above is only a pre-outline, but the thesis does follow through. Along with my idea of drawings as text, I now also have historical precedent in Vitruvius who, (as I read in Chora, volume one) also called for architects to write.

...the set of Stirling interpretations (the Schinkel, Le Corbusier, Stirling circle of inspiration), the Kahn, Stirling, Guirgola circle, the Virtual Museum of Architecture taking over the scale project--like the scale project becoming the Virtual Museum of Architecture project... ...list of the planned (potential) Virtual Museum of Architecture documents

Virtual Museum of Architecture documents
A working list of Virtual Museum of Architecture documents:
1. The Palais des Congrès
2. Piranesi's Campo Marzio
3. Stirling's Interpretations 5713 5714
4. (broadly) The Philadelphia School
5. The Promenade Architecturale
6. Houses Under a Common Roof
7. Seroux redux
8. Scale and Architecture
9. Poem to the World Record Holders of the World's Tallest Building -- an illustrated poem

Stirling interpretations
The three discussions of the three Stirling projects bring up Stirling's submission to Roma Interrotta and will be using that "design" as an example of another Virtual Museum of Architecture, and as yet another example of Stirling's fine art of interpretation and reinterpretation.
The notion of cross fertilization makes me now question whether I should intentionally discuss Stirling's interpretations as part of an architectural chart. If nothing else, I could actually generate a genealogical / chronological chart showing how all the buildings throughout the document are related to each other. This genealogical chart could become something of a semi-standard item for the Virtual Museum of Architecture, and even if the direct relationships between buildings is not shown, it would be very nice to see a chart of the buildings I have in chronological order and at the same scale (the drawings could be plan and elevation). There is already an example of this in the Italian Renaissance Architecture book that I have.   2195 2216

Virtual Museum co-curatorships
...decide what will go on the Homepage before the position of Homepage curator can be defined. The first step is to get the Homepage and the name secured. I probably have to file for another fictitious name as well.

about the Virtual Museum of Architecture
...the museum’s policies, goals, and objectives.
Non Ici (Latin for “not there”) is a new virtual museum of architecture--perhaps the first--and is based on a core collection of CAD models, construction of which began in 1987. As of 1996, Non Ici’s digital collection consists of over thirty individual models of primarily 20th century unbuilt buildings, a massing model of Center City Philadelphia, a substantial portion of Piranesi’s plan of the Campo Marzio, and hundreds of digital drawing files (plans, elevations, axonometrics, perspectives) derived from the core data.
Projects on the museum’s aganda:
01. Piranesi’s Campo Marzio
02. Le Corbusier’s Palais des Congres
03. Stirling’s art of interpretation
04. Giurgola and geometry
05. Religious buildings of Kahn
06. Venturi and Rauch’s Canton, Ohio
07. Houses under a common roof
08. The architectural promenade
09. Seroux redux
10. Scale and Architecture
11. unbuilt Chandigarh
12. Schinkel’s Berlin
13. The Danteum
14. Kahn’s Governmental complex for West Paki
15. unique and unbuilt domestic architecture
16. VSBA’s Frankfurt museum
17. unbuilt Arquitectonica
18. late Le Corbusier
19. any unbuilt Kahn
20. any unbuilt Stirling
21. any unbuilt Corbu
22. any unbuilt Venturi, Scott Brown

plan for the virtual museum
...create some kind of plan for the virtual museum...

a book entitled Not There
Not There: the phenomenology of a virtual museum of architecture. ...the vehicle to exploit all the models in completely experimental manners purely for the intention of demonstrating what kind of experimentation can actually be done.
phenomenology d Husserlian philosophy : a discipline endeavoring to lay foundations for all sciences by describing the formal structures of phenomenon or of both actual and possible material essences that are given through a suspension of the natural attitude in pure acts of intuition.   2413

Quondam web site, etc.
...it may well be that I start the website myself. ...the magazine--Not There--that Quondam will attempt to publish.
Not There will be a periodical directed at clarifying the multivalent potentials of a Virtual Museum of Architecture.




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