OSA

PHILOSOPHY AND CV

Practice: Office for Sustainable Architecture

 

Channing and Robert; pole tree house from across the canyon

 

 

OFFICE FOR SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE

PHILOSOPHY AND CV

Monster Houses, Cafes, and Dogs: Purpose in Eco Design

Abstract

When, how and why are there theories of architecture? To be pondered along with their life, effect, and accuracy, is purpose. Perhaps the purpose of a theory of architecture is simply to structure complex projects with an order imposed from a design idea. Introduction. This notion of changes in contemporary rural and urban ecology is based on observation. Many of the great cities are experiencing venetian sunsets. (Kaplan 1997) Their usefulness as production centers is limited. Post-urban pods like Orange County (without a city center yet ranking in the top thirty countries in the world as an economic entity), Newmarket, Auckland, and many others can act as city states. Given this succession in the ecology of people and the natural environment, monster houses (and abandoned neighborhoods), cafes and dogs, with what might our built environment be regenerated?

"Instead of castle or town protected by a labyrinth, we have the city as a labyrinth. The convolutions have moved within, and are threatening rather than protective.... The labyrinth is no longer a special dwelling constructed for a particular monster, but rather a house where everyone lives." (Faris 1988)

Discussion

A conclusion is a beginning in generating ideas. What constitutes a satisfying and useful embryology of built form? The assumption of interconnectedness, ecology and architecture, landscape, and urban place and realm as figure and ground, openness and enclosure, inside and outside, and memories and desires, is a start.

The following six posturban projects are a suggestion. 1. Rural conservation reserves. 2. Rural agricultural collectives. 3. Parks, gardens, atriums, plazas, forums and passages are timeless. 4. Restoration, revegetation, and reclamation are ideal but costly. 5. Post-urban pods like Orange County (without a city center yet ranking in the top thirty countries in the world as an economic entity) and many others can act as e-commerce city states. 6. Formless projects might allow dwelling (the essence of human being) and community. Cafes are a popular icon and museums contain the odyssey into the hypertextual poetics of virtual reality.

"What happens when we go to the museum?" (Joyce 1997)

Monster houses. In 1991 the worst urban forest fire in history destroyed 3,910 houses in the Berkeley Hills. Today- "The middle distance is filled with architectural contraptions risen crazily from the ashes, their variegated roofs (flat and mansard, bowed and peaked) overshadowed, a bit farther up the hillside, by the immense backsides of the boxy new constructions commonly called "monster houses."

"Boxes," "monster houses," "motels," "houses on steroids," "mushrooms springing up in charcoal," "factories," "trailers," "visual indigestion," "kitschitecture"...Much of what has happened since 1991 bears witness to the triumph of selfishness: immense and ugly structures designed without a care for context or consanguinuity..." (Kirp 1997)

The huge significance of the cafe in dwelling (the essence of human being) and community is well illustrated. From MFK Fischer, The Art of Eating, to Bill Holm, The Heart May Be Found Anywhere On Earth, To Bunuel, My Last Breath.

"Chairs in Paris spill out of cafes, redefining the edge of buildings. A corner cafe will, during its working hours, arrange outdoors an undulating skirt of chairs and tables, a shifting landscape fluttering and cluttering in response to climates meteorological and conversational. Particularly wonderful about the Cafe Costes chairs was the way they appeared to be talking to one another before they were occupied....The art of the cafe is to sell time. Historically, these public spaces of Paris have acted as literary salons in whose spiralling smoke, to the clink of glasses, theories artistic, philosophical and political have been elucidated. Campbell, Barbara-Ann 1997 Paris: A guide to recent architecture. Koln: Verlagsgesellshaft.

Dogs. In Terminal Architecture Martin Pawley argues that art history is what stops us understanding architecture. He believes that the real barometer of the value of buildings today is not their aesthetic pedigree, but their usefullness as terminals in the maze of communications and distribution networks that sustain modern life.

Pawley contends that because we use the wrong system to value our buildings we send the wrong signals to the people who plan our cities. As a result urban life is being destroyed by politicians, planners, art historians and the heritage and tourist industries, all of them ignoring network thinking if favour of fake historicism, crumbling infrastructure, phantom populations, no-go areas and increasingly restrictive security measures. As a result authentic architecture has become disurbanized. It survives only in the shape of buildings like distribution centers, factories and petrol stations that are designed as instruments [dogs], not monuments. (Pawley 1998)

Later that summer on a road trip, I listened to the abject music of failure in the abandoned former centre of that cold (or hot) California town. The hotel has been torn down, the lot fenced to prevent the homeless from moving in. The big letter sign across the highway now connects the former hotel with a rest home occupancy. Down the way several small African-American girls played jump rope behind the standard chain-link fence, with guard dogs, to keep the homeless out. A dusty nadir point of the West, a neighborhood with an "ecstatic form of disappearance" (Baudrillard 1988), and a human touch.

Purpose. The theory of architectural design work is a semantic theory and not a scientific theory. Such a theory has to do with experienced order and meaning; direction; and purpose; assessment and evaluation - all non-scientific terms. Such a theory cannot satisfy those who seek an architectural theory framed along scientific lines.

...many problems of architectural theory stem from a search for meaning and intention in design over and above the meeting of immediate human shelter needs. Architects as a group are prone to philosophies on the nature of man in society; and a man's relationship to his built environment and on the nature of his perception of the world in which he lives. They are forced by the nature of their task to do this in the attempt to match social needs with an appropriate personal vision in order to make a design.

...the environment of human beings is multi-dimensional. ....raw nature ...society, an economy. a civilisation and a culture. If therefore we are to create an intelligible order in our comprehension of universal space ...within our technological age, civilisation and cultural space. A humanising architecture will be of necessity be devised by reference to all these dimensions of human environment. Following this line of thought then architecture as an activity is seen to be the art of bringing order to our spatial environment - in all its dimension.

...For architecture represents a "world". We know that man experiences his environment along two channels - through the immediate sense reactions of his body and through the eyes (or spectacles) of his culture. Architecture concretised both experiences into one totality. As this it is more total activity than either the pure sciences or the fine arts. The coherence of a work of architecture stems not from the objective organisation of clear description, as does the work of science, nor solely for the effect of presentation and symbolisation as do the fine arts; but from the simultaneous organisation and revelation of the character of an enclosed and structured place in physical, social and cultural space. In a work of architecture man/time/place/activity/materials/technology/science/beliefs are resolved and dissolved into plastic organisation, form and image.

...Architecture is best understood as an association of intentions resulting in a work.... (some intentions) permeate the designer's thinking either consciously or unconsciously or unconsciously and relate to ideas of the nature of reality, nature of the physical world and man's relation to it.

"...Purpose and context thus shape the design world." Oakley, D.The phenomenon of architecture: in cultures of change, Permagon, Oxford 1970.

 

Personal Biography and Selected Works 2008

Robert D. Hotten

B.Arch, M.Arch(Hons), MLA(Berkeley), AIA(Former), ANZIA, ANZILA (Chair Auckland Branch 1999-2000), ASBPA Hawaii Architect #6540, CA #C01281, NZ #6420, NV #275-P, NZ Landscape Architect

 

Biography

Robert was most recently a guest "Professeur Associe" in Paris, and formerly a Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland. With a Joint Program in Urban Design Masters from the University of California, Berkeley, he has practiced and taught architecture, landscape, urban design, film, and CAD/CAE/CAM/GIS as a Registered Architect. He presented a paper "From Dreamtime to Quicktime: Panoramas" at the ACADIA conference in Washington, October 2000. See http://www.aloha.net/~laumana/post.html and etc., for recent work "Posturbanism: Eco Design From Norm to Form" (Presented at the SFIA Eco-Wave Conference, July 2002, Berkeley). He continues to develop sustainable alternatives at his eco living community project in Hawaii and has a highly rated web site in "sustainable architecture", www.aloha.net/~laumana. His personal interests include toying with a "virtual professor" status.

PO Box 626, Lawai, HI 96765 USA

001 (831) 229-5976, doghotten@gmail.com

 

Education

1967-1969 Bachelor of Architecture,

University of California, Berkeley

1970 Master of Architecture,

University of California, Berkeley

1970 Beatrix Farrand Fellowship,

Joint Program in Urban Design

1971 Master of Landscape Architecture,

University of California, Berkeley

 

Practice of Architecture and Landscape

Architecture and principal teaching activities:

1975 Assistant Director, Planning

Department. VTN Consolidated,

Irvine, California.

Huntington Beach Master Plan

1972-1974 Research Specialist,

Department of Architecture,

University of California, Berkeley,

Environmental research and modelling

1995- 1999 Casual Lecturer, University

of Auckland, ArchPropPlan Department

in Planning and Architecture

1999-2000 Teaching Fellow,

School of Architecture,

University of Auckland

1999-2000 Chairman, NZILA,

New Zealand Institute of

Landscape Architects, Auckland Branch

2000-2001 Professor Associe, l'Ecole

d'Architecture Paris a la Villette,

and guest of the University of Paris

 

Selected realised projects:

1978-1981 Mission Beach Precise

Planning Group, San Diego, California

Elected representative

1981 McLean Residence, La Ribera,

Baja California Sur, Mexico.

600 sqm tropical thatch dome

1983 Leslie Residence, Wrightwood,

California. Passive solar,

earth-sheltered house

1984-1991 Board of Directors,

Installation Gallery,

a non-profit visual arts space

1984-1991 Advisory Board,

San Diego County

Board of Supervisors

1987 "60 Watt Dollie", sculpture,

"Furnitura", group show, Vorpal Gallery,

San Francisco, California

1988 Topanga State Beach, California.

Analysis and policy plan to preserve an area

of the beach by inclusion of a low-impact

site plan into the Los Angeles County Plan

1989 Putnam Residence, Hollister Ranch,

California. High technology earth-sheltered,

passive solar concrete house

Since 1989 Hawaiian Native Plants LLC,

native plant propagation, ecological

revegetation design and landscaping in California

and Hawaii and New Zealand. GIS

ecological inventory

1991 Mimran Guest House,

Montecito, California

Since 1993 Sustainable Houses, Kauai, Hawaii.

Designed and built two energy-efficient,

low-cost houses, integrated with the landscape

1993 Sustainable Plan and Development

Kokee State Park, Kauai, Hawaii,

A "Growth by Chunking" experiment

1995 Earhart Residence, Kauai, Hawaii.

Sketch ecological revegetation design,

planning and landscaping

1998 "Wave Festival", land art installation,

Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand,

for Lopdell House Art at the Beach, 100 x 50m

1999 Jones Residence, Newmarket, Auckland

garden design

2000 CRECA (Center de Recherches d'Esthetique

du Cinema et des Arts Audiovisuals)

Conference, Universite de Paris 1,

Sorbonne, December 2000, Paris.

Collaborated in urban force field

mapping by Knowbotic Research.

Austrian Exhibition at

Biennale di Venezia

2000 Hotten, Robert, and Dr. Peter Diprose.

"3XL Garden City", in La Biennale

di Venezia 2000, 7th International

Architecture Exhibition Competition

of Ideas: Citta: Third Millenium.

Venezia: Marsilio. pp. 182-185

2002 Sunset Makai Hale, Kauai, Hawaii

Modification of landscape to maximise near ocean views

2004 Grinpas Residnece, Kauai, Hawaii

Interpretation of Japanese country style

2005 Steuck Residences, Monterey, California

Site Plan, Grading Plan, Landscape Plan,

And conceptual design of 2 houses, 2 guest-houses,

and 2 employee houses for site plan and design review.

2005 Cumming Residence, Gaviota, California

Site Plan and conceptual design of ranch and

employee house

2006 Lawaiuka Road Residence, Lawai, Hawaii

Site Plan and design of a sustainable community

 

International awards and successes in competitions including:

1969 Finalist, Trondheim, Norway

New Town competition

1988 The land art project "Fault Strike Light",

$5,000 Design Development Award

in San Diego, California

1988 Hamel's Action Sports Center,

Mission Beach, California.

Renovation which after subsequent upgrade

won an "Onion Award"

1998 Two "Awards of Merit" for

California Energy Commission,

"Leading Edge 98", student competition

1999 Invitation to join collaborative cyberspace project,

10_Lavoro Immateriale, La Biennale di Venezia,

1999, Austrian Booth

1999 La Biennale di Venezia 2000, Selected Architect

entry in Third Millenium City: "3XL Garden City"

2000 "Road Trip 2030", student work selected for

competition International Festival for Architecture

in Video, November 2000, Firenze

 

Selected Bibliography

1988 Sand Mining on Mission Beach,

San Diego, California. Shore and Beach

Journal, April 1988, and presentation to

National ASBPA, (American Shore And Beach

Preservation Association) Conference

1992 "Shore and Sea Boundaries or Private Versus

Public Areas on the Beaches of Gaviota, CA."

Research for Hollister Ranch

Homeowners Association

Since 1995 Sustainable Architecture: Eco Design

Landscaping and Planning.

Top rated archive web site,

http://www.aloha.net/~laumana,

1996 "Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level",

draft monograph

1998 "Mysterioso: The Getty Center Garden

and Other Buildings"

1999 "From Paris Texas to the Road Warrior:", refereed

keynote paper, ACADIA, Association of

Computer Aided Design in Architecture,

October 1999, Salt Lake City, Utah

1999 Led Urban Design Study Tour to Australia

1999 "Vulcan Lane" in Landscape New Zealand,

November 1999, AGM Publishing

2000 "From Dreamtime to Quicktime", refereed paper,

ACADIA, Association of Computer Aided

Design in Architecture, October 2000,

Washington, D.C.

2000 CRECA (Center de Recherches d'Esthetique

du Cinema et des Arts Audiovisuals)

Conference, Universite de Paris 1,

Sorbonne, December 2000, Paris.

Collaborated in urban force field

mapping by Knowbotic Research.

Austrian Exhibition at

Biennale di Venezia

2000 Hotten, Robert, and Dr. Peter Diprose.

"3XL Garden City", in La Biennale

di Venezia 2000, 7th International

Architecture Exhibition Competition

of Ideas: Citta: Third Millenium.

Venezia: Marsilio. pp. 182-185

2002 Hotten, Robert, and Dr. Peter Diprose. 2002

Posturbanism: Eco Design From Norm to Form.

Monterey: Seadog Press

first edition ebook at:

http://www.aloha.net/~laumana/post.html

ISBN 0-9728097-0-8

Ecological Design The Unstoppable Wave,

SFIA (San Francisco Institute of Architecture)

Conference, July 2002, Berkeley

2003 "Monster Houses, Cafes, and Dogs: Purpose in

Eco Design", with Dr. Peter Diprose,

Ecological Design The Unstoppable Wave,

SFIA (San Francisco Institute of Architecture)

Conference, August 2003, Berkeley

2004 "Meaning in Eco Design", with Dr. Peter Diprose,

Ecological Design The Unstoppable Wave,

SFIA (San Francisco Institute of Architecture)

Conference, August 2004, Berkeley

2005 "Anarchy and Eco Design", with Dr. Peter Diprose,

Ecological Design The Unstoppable Wave,

SFIA (San Francisco Institute of Architecture)

Conference, August 2005, San Francisco

2007 "Posturbanism and Paradise: Real gardens, vicarious

landscapes or virtual arenas for stillness and spectacle",

with Dr. Peter Diprose and Kelly O'Meara, The

Paradox of Stillness, CADE (Computers in Art

and Design Education) Conference, Curtin University,

September 2007, Perth

 

 

 

Virtual Tour Gallery, Biennale di Venezia 2000

 

http://www.aloha.net/~laumana/officeforsusarchintro.html copyright 1988-2010 robert hotten - all rights reserved