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Fold as a Non-spectacular Event: The Cases of Peter Eisenman′s Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991) and The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996)

Fold as a Non-spectacular Event: The Cases of Peter Eisenman′s Rebstockpark Master Plan... This article explores how philosopher Gilles Deleuze's theory of the fold is extended to architectural design, and how such an extension prompts 'event' in both the conceptual and realistic senses. In doing so, this article conducts two case studies: 1) the Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991), and 2) The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996). These two projects have similarities in that both were influenced by a Deleuzian theory of the fold in one way or another, which highlights that the world we live in is not so much homogeneous and fixed but rather multiple and in a perpetual process of becoming. While one can detect the influence of Deleuze's theory in these Eisenman projects, it becomes more prominent in the latter case— the Aronoff—given that it is a built project in which the architect's design conception provokes a multitude of events through the entanglement of various individuals' fabrics of everyday life. By looking at both the conception of the fold proposed by Eisenman, and my habitual encountering with his built project where his theory is actively implemented, I claim that the Deleuzian event is not just a spectacular kind prompted by Eisenman himself, but unfolds in more subtle ways. Keywords: fold; event; Gilles Deleuze; Peter Eisenman; spectacle; everyday life 1. Introduction Deleuze's proposition of the fold provoked a society of More than two decades have passed since the theory of multiplicity and contributed in generating a number of the fold first gained critical attention in architectural fields discourses in the fields of art, architecture, design, and under the rubric of 'the digital'. Although such an issue related fields, all of which are roughly defined by the is now considered more or less a historical reference, in complexity of the world that is mediated through various my paper, I claim that theory and practice of the fold is a digital apparatuses such as 3-D programs, the Internet, perennial inquiry that cannot simply be 'done', which is social media, and others. Hence, Deleuze's fold might be more than just a history in a fixed sense. Considering that nothing new in today's digitized world in which terms the fold is a potentiality that could always generate events such as 'post-digital', 'post-internet', and 're-mediation' in relationship with varying environmental settings, as prevail; however, considering that such an idea is at times well as that such events are unpredictable and most often narrowly understood in the subfields of architecture, improvised, studies about the fold require procedures of either in reference to 'literal' fold as child's paper-folding continual reconsideration and refashioning. play or as an 'absolute' source of causality that would While investigating the historiography of the fold lead to a material entity activated through design. These is still a crucial part in exploring critical moments instances are still considered folding in an architectural shaping the discipline of architecture, ways in which sense; however, I propose to understand the concept more the fold is practiced in daily life in varying situations broadly, by considering folding to be an open system that is also crucial to note, especially because, according is beyond the realm of architectural design. In order to to Gilles Deleuze, who first proposed the theory of the explore such openness, one needs to pay more attention fold in a comprehensive manner, the folding process to ways that architectural works are designed and used never repeats exactly the same, and always generates in everyday life. Architectural fold is not only a kind of differences, although subtle and often left inattentive. spectacle but also an extension from the everyday; in this respect, paying attention to ways in which those two seemingly different strata—spectacle and the everyday— *Contact Author: Seunghan Paek, Assistant Professor coexist and bring forth 'events' that are enabled through Department of Architecture, Catholic Kwandong University disparate performances of a multitude of human and nonhuman agents in quotidian settings, is what I am 24, Beomil-ro 579beon-gil, Daegeon-gwan A-310, Gangneung, interested in exploring in my article. Gangwon-do, Korea, Tel: +82-33-649-7540 In doing so, I will focus on discussing two cases: the Email: seunghan.paek@gmail.com first is the Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991) (Fig.1.), ( Received October 2, 2016 ; accepted July 23, 2018 ) an unbuilt project proposed by Peter Eisenman, one of DOI http://doi.org/10.3130/jaabe.17.385 Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/September 2018/392 385 the renowned architects whose work is directly related 2. Deleuze's Fold and Architectural Thinking to issues of the fold; and the second is a built project by One defining feature of Deleuze's notion of the fold Eisenman that is the Aronoff Center for Design and Art is its doubling nature: a doubling of thought, doubling (1988-1996) (Fig.2.). Both works were made in reference of matter, doubling of subjectivity, and doubling of a to different geo-cultural contexts, the former in the old myriad of other aspects comprising the world. This residential district of Frankfurt, Germany, and the latter process of doubling, however, does not mean that one on the University of Cincinnati campus in Ohio, United element is simply divided into two in a literal sense, as States; however, looking at these two projects together if there were an entity given first and its deconstruction along with the notion of the fold offers an excellent performed afterwards. Instead, doubling is a process of opportunity to explore how his theory of the fold is multiplication that does not have a clearly defined point of brought forth on both the conceptual and realistic levels. origin, such that elements generated through the doubling Structurally speaking, this article is divided into are never the same one another. Delueze notes on this three parts. First, I will overview the main points of the point: fold that Delueze theorized; it will offer a ground from which to investigate how the concept was elaborated "But the double is never a projection of the interior; in architectural studies. The second part is to analyze on the contrary, it is an interiorization of the outside. the Rebstockpark project in detail, which will help It is not a doubling of the One, but a redoubling of us to understand how Eis enman develops the idea the Other. It is not a reproduction of the Same, but a through his work, as well as to discuss how successful repetition of the Different" (Deleuze: 1988, 98). his practice of the fold was in that case. The last part is to explore the Eisenmannian fold in relationship Deleuze also notes that elements unfolding through with everyday life, by analyzing the Aronoff Center for doubling do not so much become subordinated to the Design and Art; this will be in particular based on my original but rather continually produce worlds that are own experience of the building, which is subjective on semi-autonomous by nature: one hand, but nevertheless prompts an inter-subjective mode of experience, from which to speculate the multiple "…no matter how small, each body contains a world relationships between his theory and its actualization in pierced with irregular passages, surrounded and materialized ways. penetrated by an increasingly vaporous fluid, the totality of the universe resembling a 'pond of matter in which there exist different flows and waves'" (Deleuze: 1993, 5). According to Deleuze, folding resists solidified states of matter and memory. Things scattered around the world always have the potential of folding and unfolding, in ways that generate new territories as loosely tied to differing points of origin. Through the process of folding, things are always put in the process of becoming; some of them are excavated and thus 'actualized' in concrete material forms, whereas many others remain latent to develop, which Deleuze calls 'virtual,' be it poetries, paintings, buildings, billboards, murals, consumer objects, image reflections over show windows, and a myriad of Fig.1. The Overview of the Repstockpark Master Plan, others comprising the world. Things that are actualized 1990-1991 (© Eisenman Architects) become part of the reality, whereas things folded in the virtual realm only have the latency to be 'possibly' actualized at some point in the future. These two pair concepts—'the actual' and 'the virtual', and 'the real' and 'the possible'—are what Deleuze articulates in his theory of the fold, but it is crucial to distinguish their differences as well. If 'the virtual' includes multiple ways of realization drawn from the constituents of the world, 'the possible' refers to a predetermined sort of relationship. Actualization is similar to realization, but is more of a subtle condition with which things transform in relation to tactile, or environmental qualities such as temperature, humidity, or noise, such that forms of actualization always vary. Deleuze elaborates on this aspect: Fig.2. The Overview of the Aronoff Center for Design and Art, 1988-1996 (© Eisenman Architects) 386 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek "God chooses one world among an infinity of possible Such a Deleuzian notion of the fold was highly worlds: the other worlds also have their actuality in influential in the fields of architectural design and theory monads that are conveying them … Therefore there in the 1990s. In this respect, the special issue of the exists an actual that remains possible, and that is not UK-based magazine Architectural Design, with the title forcibly real. The actual does not constitute the real… "Folding in Architecture," is a hallmark in this regard. The world is a virtuality that is actualized monads or Released in May 1993, the issue consists of a series of souls, but also a possibility that must be realized in essays that examine how Deleuze's concept of fold can matter in bodies" (Deleuze: 1993, 104). extend to uncharted territories; it includes an excerpt from Deleueze's book, and essays contributed by notable According to Deleuze, the world where we live is just architects and theoreticians such as Peter Eisenmann, one aspect of the complexity that could always extend Greg Lynn, Frank Gehry, Jeffrey Kipnis, Mario Capro, into a myriad of others, which produce multiple rhythms and John Rajchman. and differences, resonances and dissonances, disciplined The editor Gregg Lynn's introductory essay is patterns and its deviations. The 'Baroque House' is a particularly worth reading closely, since it summarizes diagram in which Deleuze elaborates his concept of the the overall scope and goal of the issue. Lynn writes in this fold. This allegorical model addresses the following: the respect: world that we live in consists of two different systems: 1) a windowless private room in the upper story where the "For the last two decades, beginning with Robert soul resides; and 2) an open space comprised of multiple Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in windows (apertures) and public rooms in the lower story. Architecture, and Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter's These two systems are not separated from each other Collage City, and continuing through Mark Wigley but coexist and remain to be actualized through multiple and Philip Johnson's Deconstructivist Architecture, interventions in everyday life (Deleuze: 1993, 4-5). What architects have been primarily concerned with lies between the two worlds is a translucent, flat layer the production of heterogeneous, fragmented and connecting them. Although the Baroque diagram seems to conflicting formal systems" (Lynn: 1993, 8). presume a separation between body and soul, like the way that Rene Descartes conceived the world of the everyday Considering Venturi's book to be an early exemplar by considering bodily experience as an impediment, that explored the heterogeneity of architectural design, Delueze complicates such a dualism, by claiming that although his age was not fully matured in terms of the "[e]ach soul is inseparable from a body that belongs to evolution of the digital, Lynn offers a brief geography it, and is present to it through projection. … The world of digital architecture in the 1990s. However, it is is actualized in souls, and is realized in bodies" (Deleuze crucial to note that such attentiveness to the digital 1993, 119-120). (and Deconstructivism) is not in itself an end goal; Hence, Deleuze's theory of the fold is not just about an rather, as Kenneth Powell points out, these new trends objective depiction of the world, but instead a subjective in architecture derived from an aspiration to rethink engagement in both material and immaterial ways. He "homogeneity and orthodoxy in favour of an honest claims that subjectivity does not operate through a fixed, acceptance of discontinuity and disjunction" (Powell, closed system. Adrian Parr notes on this point: 1933, 7), as well as "pliance and smoothness" of the world we live in (Lynn, 1993, 8). In addition, as especially "Specifically, the concept of the fold allows prominent in the works of Peter Eisenman and Bernard Deleuze to think creatively about the production of Tschumi, the term 'event' was more actively integrated subjectivity, and ultimately about the possibilities for, into their design, with which they strove to mobilize their and production of, non-human forms of subjectivity" work in relation to large geo-cultural contexts and psychic (Parr: 2005, 103). dimensions. Then what would be the specific strategies in activating such concepts? An in-depth analysis of the According to Parr, the practice of folding produces Rebstockpark Master Plan by Eisenman will be a specific both human and non-human forms of subjectivity. It point of investigation in this respect. means that the subject is a composite made of a myriad of 'monads' in the Leibnizian sense. As Deleuze explains, 3. Unfolding Events in the Rebstockpark monad is the smallest unit comprising the world. It has The site of the Rebstockpark project is located in the "no window," but allows transitions between the inside of residential/industrial areas of Frankfurt: the siedlung each monad and its outside, which thus constantly alters housing blocks to the east, athletic fields to the west, its nature. In addition, monads release what Delueze calls the Autobahn to the north, and warehouses to the south "preindividual singularities," which are neither solely (Eisenman: 1991, 12). And the boundary of the site generic nor singular but mixed together and dispersed is widely curvilinear. The small avenue coming from throughout the world we live in (Deleuze 1993, 63-64). the siedlung penetrates the west-east axis of the site, Although monad has no windows, as Leibniz notes, it has although it gradually becomes curved towards the west. "a manifoldness which changes," which then prompts "the Demarcating lines towards the north, alongside the specific nature and the variety of the simple substances" Autobahn, affects the arrangement of building blocks; (Leibniz 1988, 48-50). they are divided into a few different zones. There is a central idea that distributes a number of different building JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 387 blocks across the location within the given site, but each between the given and its move, or between the ground unit is more or less influenced by nearby urban contexts and the groundlessness, in ways that things scattered on the given site are seamlessly groundless. Critic John Rajchman instead of by a centralized plan (Figs.3.-5.). elaborates in this respect: "… It [the matter of dealing with a given site] is concerned with a kind of depth that is not a ground, as with Rowe, but rather the 'groundless' depth of an intensive space in the extensive one that includes or frames it. … For Deleuze this deep or groundless complexity is always virtual–disparation is always a virtuality in a space, a sort of potential for free self- complication" (Rajchman: 1998, 18). Such a remark might thus give a justification that architects like Eisenman can be free in dealing with the site conditions, at times altering the topography or resonating some other aspects in order to maintain its contexts that those encountering the site could be Fig.3. A Schematic Plan of the Repstockpark sympathetic to. (© Eisenman Architects) By setting out the ground of the Rebstockpark to be groundless in a positive sense, Eisenman begins generating his own way of site planning, by actively utilizing mathematics as a critical means of design. Eisenman refers to the French mathematician Rene Thom's 'catastrophe theory.' In doing so, Eisenman activates 'events' in his design, by utilizing the seven series of drawings as primary materials. Each drawing represents a 'butterfly cusp,' and the juxtaposition of those drawings on the same plane generates the multiplicity of lines and planes, from which Eisenman strategically and selectively assembles fragmented territories that ultimately are the constituents of the project and bring forth events as the potentiality that could be performed by those who encounter the site with varying situations. According to Eisenman, such assemblage is a way Fig.4. A Block Diagram of Fi g. 5 . Anot he r Bl oc k of grasping the unrepresentable moments within the the Repstockpark Diagram of the Repstockpark grid system that a typical planning cannot produce. (© Eisenman Architects) (© Eisenman Architects) In other words, he does not make clear by addressing the predicated scenarios of events, instead offering the Simply put, the subdivision of the site resulting in possibility of events that fold and unfold in relation to a complex pattern that consists of multiple lines that the site, which undulate both vertically and horizontally. are both straight and intensely bent, is one of the main Eisenman makes a clear demarcation of the Frankfurt site, characteristics of the project. According to Eisenman, but, as imbricated through his application of the fold, the the site is not the most important thing to consider, but, given site conditions are part of what he aims to generate, to borrow his words, "a condition of singularity." He the complexity and heterogeneity of a site's performativity continues to explain on this point: put in contact with local milieus. Thus, both a faithful survey of the given site and an imagination matter on an "The ground of Rebstock is no longer a datum or a equal level: the inflections of the site instigated through base condition but rather is, in fact, something which computer tools are not subordinated to the sense of the already contains a condition of singularity; that is a place. Indeed, almost every spot within the site, such as groundlessness which can be said to be inherent in the ones of the siedlung and near the Autobahn, is tweaked in notion of ground" (Eisenman: 1993, 25). ways that open up varied modes of experience, where one cannot clearly orient oneself by the surroundings, but is To elaborate the point, an architect is to follow the given more or less lost in the specificities of the spot that shape conditions of the site, but also to excavate the multiple the sense of the place. layers through active engagements in creative ways. It is If the zoning of the Rebstockpark is one thing, the 'creative' in that he/she pays attention to the site's contexts, displacement of building blocks in the site is another. but not exactly in the sense of the historical contextualism Both strata are designed with different strategies and do that was proposed as an alternative form of practice with not make a clear visual and spatial harmony, but they are which to overcome the top-down modernist urban planning. eventually entangled together, shaping what Eisenman That is to say, one needs not presume a hierarchical order 388 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek aims to highlight. A few different types of buildings are that there is no prior definition of context detached from distributed in terms of function, either commercial or the fabrics of the given milieu; instead, as instigated by residential, which loosely follow the curvilinear contour Thom's catastrophe theory, context is an uneven, non- of the site. The early form of the Rebstockpark drawing autonomous, and malleable entity that is dependent looks similar to the one of siedlung, in which building upon the changing conditions of everyday life. But the blocks are predominantly rectangular and in line with catastrophic condition where events arise does not mean the perpendicular lines inside and outside. However, this that a given milieu is a complete chaos from its birth; rectangularity gradually moves. Particularly noticeable instead, such a condition is gradually and consistently are several intersections between drawn lines with altered through multiple interventions and improvisations. differentiated densities and intensities, intersections Eisenman's design is the prime exemplar in this respect. folding and unfolding that ultimately generate what Walter Benjamin also considers origin to be meaningful Eisenman refers to as 'events.' only when it works as a condition from which the process While analyzing the site planning informs us how of "restoration" and "reestablishment" is at play through E i se nm a n ge ne ra t e s e ve nt s t hrough di spl a c e m e nt an 'eddying' (thus under radically destabilized) condition and landscaping, it is also worth looking at some (re-quoted from Boetzkes: 2010, 81). of the buildings in detail, which illustrate how such an idiosyncratic urban design operates through the 4. Experiencing Non-spectacular Events in Everyday morphology of architectural design. Eisenman writes on Life: The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988- this: 1996) "The nature of the fold is that it replicates multiple While the Rebstockpark is a project in which Eisenman cusp figures in the type suggesting further iteration develops his theory of the fold on a conceptual level, in in the development of each building. Folding as a this section I propose to explore how such a conception morphological discourse allows for the possibility of is at play within the realm of everyday life, in ways to any fold, no matter how slight or delicately poised, examine the relationship between a provocation of theory to reconfigure its context entirely with the simple and its activation. This analysis is based on my own unfolding of a minor cusp" (Eisenman: 1991, 42). experience of the building, which goes back to a two-year period from 2006 to 2008, during which I was pursuing 'Cusp' is here not merely an endpoint between lines in my master's degree in Architecture at the University of a geometrical sense, but more to do with what Deleuze Cincinnati (The building is most often called DAAP, calls an 'inflection,' a tension where a continuity stops and which is an abbreviation of its full name: College of is disrupted by outside forces, which destabilizes a given Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning) (Fig.6.). equilibrium and opens up multiple possibilities of events. Aronoff Center for Design and Art is a renovated Deleuze explains that "inflection … is the pure event of work: the existing structure was comprised of a group of the line or of the point," and the singularity of a line or buildings, which include the L-shaped main body, Alms a point already implicates its multiplication in contact Building, and Wolfson Center, upon which Eisenman with given milieus (Deleuze: 1993, 15). Either curved or made an addition that is the Aronoff. While the structure folded, even stretched, by a force, a point, line, or plane is rather conventional, featured by its rectangularity, disrupts solidified entities and generates new terrains Eisenman's addition manifests itself by his signature style, from which things might be brought forth in unexpected prompting a curved mass that looks similar to the existing manners. Simply saying, multiple cusps produce multiple body and thus brings forth an extraordinary field where a events, and Eisenman applies this theory of event to range of events might take place. design through advanced digital techniques. Eisenman The Aronoff Center is an exemplar, which illustrates, begins his design with rectangular hexahedrons, but their as D.S. Friedman notes, "how high-design affects campus interventions become more complex, as multiple lines and life" within the Cincinnati campus area (Friedman, 2005, planes that are diagonal, curved, or zigzagged complicate 15). The Center is part of the broader masterplan of the its point of origin. So the process of juxtaposition school, as the school invested a lot of effort for landscape generates multiple possibilities of events, which are design, which was carried out by Hargreaves Associates however not simply the result of a cause-and-effect over a period of two decades, as well as for constructing relationship that has lost its 'origin,' but the multiplication works of architecture designed by a number of renowned of origin itself that does not seek to find the origin from architects such as Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, the past conditions. Thom Mayne, Bernard Tschumi, Charles Gwathmey, So it is at least clear that what is prominent in the and Eisenman himself. For this reason, the campus is Rebstockpark is the activation of folding as a threshold, somewhat similar to a gallery space where artworks which generates events in non-predicated manners. The are carefully displaced. However, given the relaxed inflected lines comprising the site create differing modes atmosphere of the campus, as well as the surrounding of experience, and the variations of building typology urban area, those works are perceived not as flamboyant bring forth the strata of folds in which the 'uncanny' spectacles to which people always pay attention, but prevails, in the sense that the seemingly banal fabrics rather a familiar place where events are latent to unfold in of the site appear extraordinary, although momentarily. unconscious ways. Context is here considered crucial, but only in the sense JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 389 often lose their way from the beginning, and the building skin deludes the eyes of the beholder because of its reflexive glasses, which makes it difficult for one to focus on looking at the building itself, since most of the surface reflects back the surrounding cityscapes of Los Angeles. Similar to such a postmodernist claim that Jameson develops, Eisenman considers his building to be a place where a "state of distraction" is activated, and "causes one to pay attention without simultaneously grounding you" (Chitwood, ibid., 10). Eisenman also explains that his building encourages visitors to immerse themselves Fig.6. A Pedestrian View of the Aronoff Center within the in it, "as if it were habit" (Chitwood, ibid., 10). Inspired Campus (© Seunghan Paek) by Walter Benjamin's aesthetics in the age of mechanical The Aronoff Center is located at the corner of the reproduction, Eisenman claims that the Aronoff could campus and is not easily detectable, since it stands low be part of habitual experience, as well as a threshold on the ground level and makes itself entangled with the encouraging one to redefine the relationship between surroundings. What makes the building peculiar is the oneself and the given milieu. mode of interior experience: According to Friedman While it is true that both Jameson and Eisenman take again, while maintaining the existing "eight-foot wide the Aronoff Center as a medium for developing their corridor," Eisenman "doubles, shifts, and rotates" through postmodernist claim, what is equally crucial to note, which which to transform the building's experience into an is however at times not fully recognized, is that 'habit' is extraordinary kind (Friedman, 2005, 17) (Fig.7.). Since entangled with the fabrics of daily life around the building. it is comprised of a set of small-size building blocks that Put differently, if 'spectacle' is one of the defining features are connected through passages, which Heather Chitwood of the Aronoff Center, the unpredictable strata of 'everyday calls a "chevron," turning every corner within the building life,' or something that is non-spectacular but immersive and could release certain kinds of event spatially and visually habitual is what Eisenman seems to be interested in but not (Chitwood, 2000, 24) (Fig.8.). discussed enough in the Eisenman scholarship of the virtual, and the fold. If he admits that the fold is essentially a territory open to anyone, one can try to understand the building as a kind of affective machine in which various sensory dimensions, which include distraction, fascination, curiosity, indifference, and a lot of others, perpetually fold and unfold. In this respect, elaborating my own experiences of the Aronoff Center would be an interesting way of exploring how the building becomes 'actualized' in a Deleuzian sense. This individuated narrative of spatial navigation might start from the comparison between some official photographs of the building seen from the outside, and Fig.7. Diagrams of the Aronoff Fig.8. A Diagram of the Aronoff my habitual engagement with it. While the former focuses Center for Design and Art Center Highlighting What (© The Eisenman Architects) Chitwood Calls "Chevron" on illustrating the conceptual aspects of the building, (© Heather Chitwood) the latter slightly deviates from them. For instance, it takes some time for one to see the designated front of Similar to Eisenman, critic Frederic Jameson also the Eisenman work, until which he/she is to encounter writes about the spatial navigation of the Aronoff, some infrastructural elements such as construction fences, pointing out that Eisenman multiplies every one of us' landscapes decorated with grasses and trees, and nearby "human limits and imperfections" in order to register structures that are rather modernist in their architectural "sheer movement and sheer nonlinear velocity in your styles. In other words, although the Aronoff Center does human, all-too-human equations" (Jameson, 2003, 60-69; not have a front and back in a precise sense, encountering re-quoted from Jonah Rowen's unofficial notes). In other his sophisticated design needs some routinized movements, words, according to Jameson, every spatial encounter of which might also be aspects of "distraction" that Eisenman the Aronoff is carefully implemented so that it provokes himself claimed as discussed above. However, it can be extraordinary sensibilities, thereby making them unable to argued that getting distracted is not so much a negative sustain their ordinary sense of space. Jameson's comment experience but rather a mode of encountering the building reminds me of his famous critique about the Westin in close relationship with the surroundings, in ways that Bonaventure Hotel that is included in his canonical book one is not simply preoccupied with the figure-ground Postmodernism (1991), in which he claims that the hotel, relationship in perceiving the work. designed by John Portman, is perceived like a labyrinth One can find the interior design of the Aronoff Center where one loses his/her sense of space due to the complex as a continuation of his deconstructivist design strategy spatial patterns and the difficulty of way-finding. The as shown in the exterior, although its habitual encounters hotel does not clearly show its entrance, has a lobby that get entangled with various people's routines. The central is located a few stories up from the ground so that people hall on the ground level, and a set of semi-ground levels 390 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek both of which are complexly related to each other creates a visual spectacle, which is also the main spatial feature of the building. The openness of the hall with a series of bent promenades creates a dynamic but stable mood, whereas passages connected to the hall are much smaller and generate an abrupt contrast regarding sense of space. The so-called 'chevrons' become prominent when one walks from the hall to nearby areas, including passages, rooms, staircases, and elevators. The building's pastel tonality is also an interesting point to look at, in the sense that the tonality becomes multiple in different areas of Fig.9. The Main Hall of the Fig.10. A Café of the Aronoff the building, including the surface, the interior walls Aronoff Center Center Located Downstairs and ceilings, and the patterns on the ground. In addition, (© Seunghan Paek) (© Seunghan Paek) signs for direction within the building are installed at most of the areas in which an abrupt spatial turn is to take place. In this respect, way-findings in the Aronoff are not extremely painful, which might be different from how Jameson described the Bonaventure hotel as a case where the sense of distraction becomes extreme. While newcomers to the Aronoff could easily detect formal and structural variations of the interior that are undoubtedly moments in which events unfold, those who are already familiar with the building (such as staff members and students) could likewise engage themselves with the process of unfolding, which might be, however, done in rather non-spectacular ways. For instance, it Fig.11. A Passageway of Fig.12. An Entrance toward the takes some time for one to recognize that sculpted walls the Aronoff Center Restroom on the First Floor of and ceilings inside the building extend to 2-dimensional (© Seunghan Paek) the Aronoff Center patterns inscribed on the ground, by which Eisenman (© Seunghan Paek) implements the entire architectural sphere as an unstable 5. Conclusion unity. If tourists focus more on the impressions of the In summary, I have explored how Peter Eisenman idiosyncratic design overall, residents may not always attempts to actualize the concept 'fold' through his be astounded by them but still resonate with those parts projects, and how such a practice is at play on a within the context of daily life, such as chatting with conceptual level, also entangled with the realm of friends and heading towards classrooms and looking up/ everyday life. The first case, Rebstockpark, is a prime around without fully paying attention to the building example that illustrates how Eisenman brings forth design itself. As Eisenman addressed with the notion of possibilities of event through his folding strategies, "distraction," which implicates a complex affectivity that which is inspired by Deleuze's theory of the fold, in the is formed at the crossroads of attention and inattention, sense that the multi-layering of lines and planes in the being unable to recognize every bit of design detail historic site interrupts the existing spatial order and thus could, although it may sound paradoxical, encourage brings forth new formality and also a set of events that one to perceive the possibility of event. In other words, unfold in unexpected ways. The second case, the Aronoff it can be argued that event in the Aronoff is twofold: one Center, is a work that Eisenman proposed around the as noticeably spectacular spatial settings in key public similar time period; however, what makes it different areas, and another as minutia of the building that are from the Rebstockpark is the fact that Benjamin's still part of the design, which is mingled with various notion "distraction" becomes a crucial part of the work. occupants' daily lives (Figs.9.-12.). The downstairs The curved mass and a series of bent lines and blocks cafeteria is one of the popular places in the building, and mark the building's identity, but its mode of experience its triangular space with acute angles in multiple ground simultaneously provokes attention and inattention, since and ceiling levels is evidence of Eisenman's consistent what is prominent in the project is not its monumentality deconstructivist strategy. However, habitual behaviors per se, but various possibilities that one can navigate the such as buying coffee, using multimedia zones or the building without knowing the entirety in a clear way, library, having departmental 'events', using restrooms, and although without being fully disoriented. sleeping in various parts of the building at times enable Insofar as the term 'event' is essentially aleatory and them to forget about the idiosyncrasy of the building thus not something that can be fully planned out in itself but rather internalize the tensions and rhythms, in advance, in Eisenman's project, events are produced in ways that the unfolding of event is not dissociated with relationship with individuals' affective and perceptive everyday life but "doubles, shifts, and rotates" within the instances. By the same token, my experience of the very realm, no matter how such a non-spectacle might be Aronoff Center brings forth event in a Deleuzian sense, speculated or grasped by visible means. JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 391 which is private by nature but nevertheless public through serial encounters of the given environments, and myself, although such events could be at once spectacular and mundane. Eisenman's articulation of the fold is still at play in the Aronoff; however, it is my claim that such 'architectural' event is not so much an end point but rather a threshold provoking a myriad of others, which perpetually fold and unfold through the entanglement of differing fragments that are at once human and nonhuman, predicated and open-ended. Note The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, written by Deleuze, was originally published in 1988 in French and translated into English five years later. References 1) Cache, Bernard. Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories, translated by Ann Boyman, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1995. 2) Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism, translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, New York: Zone Books, 1991. 3) Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition, translated by Paul Patton, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. 4) Deleuze, Gilles. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, translated by Tom Conley, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 5) Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault, translated by Sean Hand, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1988. 6) Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense, translated by Mark Lester and edited by Constantin V. Boundas, NY: Columbia University Press, 7) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, translated by Dana Polan, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. 8) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, translated by Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1987. 9) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. 10) Eisenman, Peter. Unfolding Frankfurt, Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1991. 11) Eisenman, Peter. Written into the Void: Selected Writing, 1990- 2004, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. 12) Friedberg, Anne. The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2006. 13) Grosz, Elizabeth. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. 14) Leach, Neil (Ed). Designing for a Digital World, Chichester: Wiley-Academy, 2002. 15) Leach, Neil (Ed). Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory, London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 16) G.W. Leibniz. "The Monadology" (p. 48-50) in The Mind, edited by Daniel Robinson, Oxford and NY: Oxford University Press, 17) Lynn, Greg (ed), Folding in Architecture, a special issue for the magazine Architectural Design, London: Architectural Design, May 1993. 18) Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham: Duke University Press, 2002. 19) Parr, Adrian (Ed). The Deleuze Dictionary, NY: Columbia University Press, 2005. 20) Rajchman, John. Constructions, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1998. 21) Thom, Rene. "Catastrophe theory" (Ch. 4) in Mathematical Models of Morphogenesis, translated by W.M. Brookes, London: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1983. 22) Jameson, Fredric, "Aronoff and Ideology," in Blurred Zones: Investigations of the Interstitial, ed. Cynthia Davidson. New York: The Monacelli Press, 2003, pp.60-69. 392 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering Taylor & Francis

Fold as a Non-spectacular Event: The Cases of Peter Eisenman′s Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991) and The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996)

Fold as a Non-spectacular Event: The Cases of Peter Eisenman′s Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991) and The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996)

Abstract

This article explores how philosopher Gilles Deleuze′s theory of the fold is extended to architectural design, and how such an extension prompts ′event′ in both the conceptual and realistic senses. In doing so, this article conducts two case studies: 1) the Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991), and 2) The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996). These two projects have similarities in that both were influenced by a Deleuzian theory of the fold in one way or another,...
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Taylor & Francis
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© 2018 Architectural Institute of Japan
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1347-2852
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1346-7581
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10.3130/jaabe.17.385
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Abstract

This article explores how philosopher Gilles Deleuze's theory of the fold is extended to architectural design, and how such an extension prompts 'event' in both the conceptual and realistic senses. In doing so, this article conducts two case studies: 1) the Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991), and 2) The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-1996). These two projects have similarities in that both were influenced by a Deleuzian theory of the fold in one way or another, which highlights that the world we live in is not so much homogeneous and fixed but rather multiple and in a perpetual process of becoming. While one can detect the influence of Deleuze's theory in these Eisenman projects, it becomes more prominent in the latter case— the Aronoff—given that it is a built project in which the architect's design conception provokes a multitude of events through the entanglement of various individuals' fabrics of everyday life. By looking at both the conception of the fold proposed by Eisenman, and my habitual encountering with his built project where his theory is actively implemented, I claim that the Deleuzian event is not just a spectacular kind prompted by Eisenman himself, but unfolds in more subtle ways. Keywords: fold; event; Gilles Deleuze; Peter Eisenman; spectacle; everyday life 1. Introduction Deleuze's proposition of the fold provoked a society of More than two decades have passed since the theory of multiplicity and contributed in generating a number of the fold first gained critical attention in architectural fields discourses in the fields of art, architecture, design, and under the rubric of 'the digital'. Although such an issue related fields, all of which are roughly defined by the is now considered more or less a historical reference, in complexity of the world that is mediated through various my paper, I claim that theory and practice of the fold is a digital apparatuses such as 3-D programs, the Internet, perennial inquiry that cannot simply be 'done', which is social media, and others. Hence, Deleuze's fold might be more than just a history in a fixed sense. Considering that nothing new in today's digitized world in which terms the fold is a potentiality that could always generate events such as 'post-digital', 'post-internet', and 're-mediation' in relationship with varying environmental settings, as prevail; however, considering that such an idea is at times well as that such events are unpredictable and most often narrowly understood in the subfields of architecture, improvised, studies about the fold require procedures of either in reference to 'literal' fold as child's paper-folding continual reconsideration and refashioning. play or as an 'absolute' source of causality that would While investigating the historiography of the fold lead to a material entity activated through design. These is still a crucial part in exploring critical moments instances are still considered folding in an architectural shaping the discipline of architecture, ways in which sense; however, I propose to understand the concept more the fold is practiced in daily life in varying situations broadly, by considering folding to be an open system that is also crucial to note, especially because, according is beyond the realm of architectural design. In order to to Gilles Deleuze, who first proposed the theory of the explore such openness, one needs to pay more attention fold in a comprehensive manner, the folding process to ways that architectural works are designed and used never repeats exactly the same, and always generates in everyday life. Architectural fold is not only a kind of differences, although subtle and often left inattentive. spectacle but also an extension from the everyday; in this respect, paying attention to ways in which those two seemingly different strata—spectacle and the everyday— *Contact Author: Seunghan Paek, Assistant Professor coexist and bring forth 'events' that are enabled through Department of Architecture, Catholic Kwandong University disparate performances of a multitude of human and nonhuman agents in quotidian settings, is what I am 24, Beomil-ro 579beon-gil, Daegeon-gwan A-310, Gangneung, interested in exploring in my article. Gangwon-do, Korea, Tel: +82-33-649-7540 In doing so, I will focus on discussing two cases: the Email: seunghan.paek@gmail.com first is the Rebstockpark Master Plan (1990-1991) (Fig.1.), ( Received October 2, 2016 ; accepted July 23, 2018 ) an unbuilt project proposed by Peter Eisenman, one of DOI http://doi.org/10.3130/jaabe.17.385 Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering/September 2018/392 385 the renowned architects whose work is directly related 2. Deleuze's Fold and Architectural Thinking to issues of the fold; and the second is a built project by One defining feature of Deleuze's notion of the fold Eisenman that is the Aronoff Center for Design and Art is its doubling nature: a doubling of thought, doubling (1988-1996) (Fig.2.). Both works were made in reference of matter, doubling of subjectivity, and doubling of a to different geo-cultural contexts, the former in the old myriad of other aspects comprising the world. This residential district of Frankfurt, Germany, and the latter process of doubling, however, does not mean that one on the University of Cincinnati campus in Ohio, United element is simply divided into two in a literal sense, as States; however, looking at these two projects together if there were an entity given first and its deconstruction along with the notion of the fold offers an excellent performed afterwards. Instead, doubling is a process of opportunity to explore how his theory of the fold is multiplication that does not have a clearly defined point of brought forth on both the conceptual and realistic levels. origin, such that elements generated through the doubling Structurally speaking, this article is divided into are never the same one another. Delueze notes on this three parts. First, I will overview the main points of the point: fold that Delueze theorized; it will offer a ground from which to investigate how the concept was elaborated "But the double is never a projection of the interior; in architectural studies. The second part is to analyze on the contrary, it is an interiorization of the outside. the Rebstockpark project in detail, which will help It is not a doubling of the One, but a redoubling of us to understand how Eis enman develops the idea the Other. It is not a reproduction of the Same, but a through his work, as well as to discuss how successful repetition of the Different" (Deleuze: 1988, 98). his practice of the fold was in that case. The last part is to explore the Eisenmannian fold in relationship Deleuze also notes that elements unfolding through with everyday life, by analyzing the Aronoff Center for doubling do not so much become subordinated to the Design and Art; this will be in particular based on my original but rather continually produce worlds that are own experience of the building, which is subjective on semi-autonomous by nature: one hand, but nevertheless prompts an inter-subjective mode of experience, from which to speculate the multiple "…no matter how small, each body contains a world relationships between his theory and its actualization in pierced with irregular passages, surrounded and materialized ways. penetrated by an increasingly vaporous fluid, the totality of the universe resembling a 'pond of matter in which there exist different flows and waves'" (Deleuze: 1993, 5). According to Deleuze, folding resists solidified states of matter and memory. Things scattered around the world always have the potential of folding and unfolding, in ways that generate new territories as loosely tied to differing points of origin. Through the process of folding, things are always put in the process of becoming; some of them are excavated and thus 'actualized' in concrete material forms, whereas many others remain latent to develop, which Deleuze calls 'virtual,' be it poetries, paintings, buildings, billboards, murals, consumer objects, image reflections over show windows, and a myriad of Fig.1. The Overview of the Repstockpark Master Plan, others comprising the world. Things that are actualized 1990-1991 (© Eisenman Architects) become part of the reality, whereas things folded in the virtual realm only have the latency to be 'possibly' actualized at some point in the future. These two pair concepts—'the actual' and 'the virtual', and 'the real' and 'the possible'—are what Deleuze articulates in his theory of the fold, but it is crucial to distinguish their differences as well. If 'the virtual' includes multiple ways of realization drawn from the constituents of the world, 'the possible' refers to a predetermined sort of relationship. Actualization is similar to realization, but is more of a subtle condition with which things transform in relation to tactile, or environmental qualities such as temperature, humidity, or noise, such that forms of actualization always vary. Deleuze elaborates on this aspect: Fig.2. The Overview of the Aronoff Center for Design and Art, 1988-1996 (© Eisenman Architects) 386 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek "God chooses one world among an infinity of possible Such a Deleuzian notion of the fold was highly worlds: the other worlds also have their actuality in influential in the fields of architectural design and theory monads that are conveying them … Therefore there in the 1990s. In this respect, the special issue of the exists an actual that remains possible, and that is not UK-based magazine Architectural Design, with the title forcibly real. The actual does not constitute the real… "Folding in Architecture," is a hallmark in this regard. The world is a virtuality that is actualized monads or Released in May 1993, the issue consists of a series of souls, but also a possibility that must be realized in essays that examine how Deleuze's concept of fold can matter in bodies" (Deleuze: 1993, 104). extend to uncharted territories; it includes an excerpt from Deleueze's book, and essays contributed by notable According to Deleuze, the world where we live is just architects and theoreticians such as Peter Eisenmann, one aspect of the complexity that could always extend Greg Lynn, Frank Gehry, Jeffrey Kipnis, Mario Capro, into a myriad of others, which produce multiple rhythms and John Rajchman. and differences, resonances and dissonances, disciplined The editor Gregg Lynn's introductory essay is patterns and its deviations. The 'Baroque House' is a particularly worth reading closely, since it summarizes diagram in which Deleuze elaborates his concept of the the overall scope and goal of the issue. Lynn writes in this fold. This allegorical model addresses the following: the respect: world that we live in consists of two different systems: 1) a windowless private room in the upper story where the "For the last two decades, beginning with Robert soul resides; and 2) an open space comprised of multiple Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in windows (apertures) and public rooms in the lower story. Architecture, and Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter's These two systems are not separated from each other Collage City, and continuing through Mark Wigley but coexist and remain to be actualized through multiple and Philip Johnson's Deconstructivist Architecture, interventions in everyday life (Deleuze: 1993, 4-5). What architects have been primarily concerned with lies between the two worlds is a translucent, flat layer the production of heterogeneous, fragmented and connecting them. Although the Baroque diagram seems to conflicting formal systems" (Lynn: 1993, 8). presume a separation between body and soul, like the way that Rene Descartes conceived the world of the everyday Considering Venturi's book to be an early exemplar by considering bodily experience as an impediment, that explored the heterogeneity of architectural design, Delueze complicates such a dualism, by claiming that although his age was not fully matured in terms of the "[e]ach soul is inseparable from a body that belongs to evolution of the digital, Lynn offers a brief geography it, and is present to it through projection. … The world of digital architecture in the 1990s. However, it is is actualized in souls, and is realized in bodies" (Deleuze crucial to note that such attentiveness to the digital 1993, 119-120). (and Deconstructivism) is not in itself an end goal; Hence, Deleuze's theory of the fold is not just about an rather, as Kenneth Powell points out, these new trends objective depiction of the world, but instead a subjective in architecture derived from an aspiration to rethink engagement in both material and immaterial ways. He "homogeneity and orthodoxy in favour of an honest claims that subjectivity does not operate through a fixed, acceptance of discontinuity and disjunction" (Powell, closed system. Adrian Parr notes on this point: 1933, 7), as well as "pliance and smoothness" of the world we live in (Lynn, 1993, 8). In addition, as especially "Specifically, the concept of the fold allows prominent in the works of Peter Eisenman and Bernard Deleuze to think creatively about the production of Tschumi, the term 'event' was more actively integrated subjectivity, and ultimately about the possibilities for, into their design, with which they strove to mobilize their and production of, non-human forms of subjectivity" work in relation to large geo-cultural contexts and psychic (Parr: 2005, 103). dimensions. Then what would be the specific strategies in activating such concepts? An in-depth analysis of the According to Parr, the practice of folding produces Rebstockpark Master Plan by Eisenman will be a specific both human and non-human forms of subjectivity. It point of investigation in this respect. means that the subject is a composite made of a myriad of 'monads' in the Leibnizian sense. As Deleuze explains, 3. Unfolding Events in the Rebstockpark monad is the smallest unit comprising the world. It has The site of the Rebstockpark project is located in the "no window," but allows transitions between the inside of residential/industrial areas of Frankfurt: the siedlung each monad and its outside, which thus constantly alters housing blocks to the east, athletic fields to the west, its nature. In addition, monads release what Delueze calls the Autobahn to the north, and warehouses to the south "preindividual singularities," which are neither solely (Eisenman: 1991, 12). And the boundary of the site generic nor singular but mixed together and dispersed is widely curvilinear. The small avenue coming from throughout the world we live in (Deleuze 1993, 63-64). the siedlung penetrates the west-east axis of the site, Although monad has no windows, as Leibniz notes, it has although it gradually becomes curved towards the west. "a manifoldness which changes," which then prompts "the Demarcating lines towards the north, alongside the specific nature and the variety of the simple substances" Autobahn, affects the arrangement of building blocks; (Leibniz 1988, 48-50). they are divided into a few different zones. There is a central idea that distributes a number of different building JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 387 blocks across the location within the given site, but each between the given and its move, or between the ground unit is more or less influenced by nearby urban contexts and the groundlessness, in ways that things scattered on the given site are seamlessly groundless. Critic John Rajchman instead of by a centralized plan (Figs.3.-5.). elaborates in this respect: "… It [the matter of dealing with a given site] is concerned with a kind of depth that is not a ground, as with Rowe, but rather the 'groundless' depth of an intensive space in the extensive one that includes or frames it. … For Deleuze this deep or groundless complexity is always virtual–disparation is always a virtuality in a space, a sort of potential for free self- complication" (Rajchman: 1998, 18). Such a remark might thus give a justification that architects like Eisenman can be free in dealing with the site conditions, at times altering the topography or resonating some other aspects in order to maintain its contexts that those encountering the site could be Fig.3. A Schematic Plan of the Repstockpark sympathetic to. (© Eisenman Architects) By setting out the ground of the Rebstockpark to be groundless in a positive sense, Eisenman begins generating his own way of site planning, by actively utilizing mathematics as a critical means of design. Eisenman refers to the French mathematician Rene Thom's 'catastrophe theory.' In doing so, Eisenman activates 'events' in his design, by utilizing the seven series of drawings as primary materials. Each drawing represents a 'butterfly cusp,' and the juxtaposition of those drawings on the same plane generates the multiplicity of lines and planes, from which Eisenman strategically and selectively assembles fragmented territories that ultimately are the constituents of the project and bring forth events as the potentiality that could be performed by those who encounter the site with varying situations. According to Eisenman, such assemblage is a way Fig.4. A Block Diagram of Fi g. 5 . Anot he r Bl oc k of grasping the unrepresentable moments within the the Repstockpark Diagram of the Repstockpark grid system that a typical planning cannot produce. (© Eisenman Architects) (© Eisenman Architects) In other words, he does not make clear by addressing the predicated scenarios of events, instead offering the Simply put, the subdivision of the site resulting in possibility of events that fold and unfold in relation to a complex pattern that consists of multiple lines that the site, which undulate both vertically and horizontally. are both straight and intensely bent, is one of the main Eisenman makes a clear demarcation of the Frankfurt site, characteristics of the project. According to Eisenman, but, as imbricated through his application of the fold, the the site is not the most important thing to consider, but, given site conditions are part of what he aims to generate, to borrow his words, "a condition of singularity." He the complexity and heterogeneity of a site's performativity continues to explain on this point: put in contact with local milieus. Thus, both a faithful survey of the given site and an imagination matter on an "The ground of Rebstock is no longer a datum or a equal level: the inflections of the site instigated through base condition but rather is, in fact, something which computer tools are not subordinated to the sense of the already contains a condition of singularity; that is a place. Indeed, almost every spot within the site, such as groundlessness which can be said to be inherent in the ones of the siedlung and near the Autobahn, is tweaked in notion of ground" (Eisenman: 1993, 25). ways that open up varied modes of experience, where one cannot clearly orient oneself by the surroundings, but is To elaborate the point, an architect is to follow the given more or less lost in the specificities of the spot that shape conditions of the site, but also to excavate the multiple the sense of the place. layers through active engagements in creative ways. It is If the zoning of the Rebstockpark is one thing, the 'creative' in that he/she pays attention to the site's contexts, displacement of building blocks in the site is another. but not exactly in the sense of the historical contextualism Both strata are designed with different strategies and do that was proposed as an alternative form of practice with not make a clear visual and spatial harmony, but they are which to overcome the top-down modernist urban planning. eventually entangled together, shaping what Eisenman That is to say, one needs not presume a hierarchical order 388 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek aims to highlight. A few different types of buildings are that there is no prior definition of context detached from distributed in terms of function, either commercial or the fabrics of the given milieu; instead, as instigated by residential, which loosely follow the curvilinear contour Thom's catastrophe theory, context is an uneven, non- of the site. The early form of the Rebstockpark drawing autonomous, and malleable entity that is dependent looks similar to the one of siedlung, in which building upon the changing conditions of everyday life. But the blocks are predominantly rectangular and in line with catastrophic condition where events arise does not mean the perpendicular lines inside and outside. However, this that a given milieu is a complete chaos from its birth; rectangularity gradually moves. Particularly noticeable instead, such a condition is gradually and consistently are several intersections between drawn lines with altered through multiple interventions and improvisations. differentiated densities and intensities, intersections Eisenman's design is the prime exemplar in this respect. folding and unfolding that ultimately generate what Walter Benjamin also considers origin to be meaningful Eisenman refers to as 'events.' only when it works as a condition from which the process While analyzing the site planning informs us how of "restoration" and "reestablishment" is at play through E i se nm a n ge ne ra t e s e ve nt s t hrough di spl a c e m e nt an 'eddying' (thus under radically destabilized) condition and landscaping, it is also worth looking at some (re-quoted from Boetzkes: 2010, 81). of the buildings in detail, which illustrate how such an idiosyncratic urban design operates through the 4. Experiencing Non-spectacular Events in Everyday morphology of architectural design. Eisenman writes on Life: The Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988- this: 1996) "The nature of the fold is that it replicates multiple While the Rebstockpark is a project in which Eisenman cusp figures in the type suggesting further iteration develops his theory of the fold on a conceptual level, in in the development of each building. Folding as a this section I propose to explore how such a conception morphological discourse allows for the possibility of is at play within the realm of everyday life, in ways to any fold, no matter how slight or delicately poised, examine the relationship between a provocation of theory to reconfigure its context entirely with the simple and its activation. This analysis is based on my own unfolding of a minor cusp" (Eisenman: 1991, 42). experience of the building, which goes back to a two-year period from 2006 to 2008, during which I was pursuing 'Cusp' is here not merely an endpoint between lines in my master's degree in Architecture at the University of a geometrical sense, but more to do with what Deleuze Cincinnati (The building is most often called DAAP, calls an 'inflection,' a tension where a continuity stops and which is an abbreviation of its full name: College of is disrupted by outside forces, which destabilizes a given Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning) (Fig.6.). equilibrium and opens up multiple possibilities of events. Aronoff Center for Design and Art is a renovated Deleuze explains that "inflection … is the pure event of work: the existing structure was comprised of a group of the line or of the point," and the singularity of a line or buildings, which include the L-shaped main body, Alms a point already implicates its multiplication in contact Building, and Wolfson Center, upon which Eisenman with given milieus (Deleuze: 1993, 15). Either curved or made an addition that is the Aronoff. While the structure folded, even stretched, by a force, a point, line, or plane is rather conventional, featured by its rectangularity, disrupts solidified entities and generates new terrains Eisenman's addition manifests itself by his signature style, from which things might be brought forth in unexpected prompting a curved mass that looks similar to the existing manners. Simply saying, multiple cusps produce multiple body and thus brings forth an extraordinary field where a events, and Eisenman applies this theory of event to range of events might take place. design through advanced digital techniques. Eisenman The Aronoff Center is an exemplar, which illustrates, begins his design with rectangular hexahedrons, but their as D.S. Friedman notes, "how high-design affects campus interventions become more complex, as multiple lines and life" within the Cincinnati campus area (Friedman, 2005, planes that are diagonal, curved, or zigzagged complicate 15). The Center is part of the broader masterplan of the its point of origin. So the process of juxtaposition school, as the school invested a lot of effort for landscape generates multiple possibilities of events, which are design, which was carried out by Hargreaves Associates however not simply the result of a cause-and-effect over a period of two decades, as well as for constructing relationship that has lost its 'origin,' but the multiplication works of architecture designed by a number of renowned of origin itself that does not seek to find the origin from architects such as Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, the past conditions. Thom Mayne, Bernard Tschumi, Charles Gwathmey, So it is at least clear that what is prominent in the and Eisenman himself. For this reason, the campus is Rebstockpark is the activation of folding as a threshold, somewhat similar to a gallery space where artworks which generates events in non-predicated manners. The are carefully displaced. However, given the relaxed inflected lines comprising the site create differing modes atmosphere of the campus, as well as the surrounding of experience, and the variations of building typology urban area, those works are perceived not as flamboyant bring forth the strata of folds in which the 'uncanny' spectacles to which people always pay attention, but prevails, in the sense that the seemingly banal fabrics rather a familiar place where events are latent to unfold in of the site appear extraordinary, although momentarily. unconscious ways. Context is here considered crucial, but only in the sense JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 389 often lose their way from the beginning, and the building skin deludes the eyes of the beholder because of its reflexive glasses, which makes it difficult for one to focus on looking at the building itself, since most of the surface reflects back the surrounding cityscapes of Los Angeles. Similar to such a postmodernist claim that Jameson develops, Eisenman considers his building to be a place where a "state of distraction" is activated, and "causes one to pay attention without simultaneously grounding you" (Chitwood, ibid., 10). Eisenman also explains that his building encourages visitors to immerse themselves Fig.6. A Pedestrian View of the Aronoff Center within the in it, "as if it were habit" (Chitwood, ibid., 10). Inspired Campus (© Seunghan Paek) by Walter Benjamin's aesthetics in the age of mechanical The Aronoff Center is located at the corner of the reproduction, Eisenman claims that the Aronoff could campus and is not easily detectable, since it stands low be part of habitual experience, as well as a threshold on the ground level and makes itself entangled with the encouraging one to redefine the relationship between surroundings. What makes the building peculiar is the oneself and the given milieu. mode of interior experience: According to Friedman While it is true that both Jameson and Eisenman take again, while maintaining the existing "eight-foot wide the Aronoff Center as a medium for developing their corridor," Eisenman "doubles, shifts, and rotates" through postmodernist claim, what is equally crucial to note, which which to transform the building's experience into an is however at times not fully recognized, is that 'habit' is extraordinary kind (Friedman, 2005, 17) (Fig.7.). Since entangled with the fabrics of daily life around the building. it is comprised of a set of small-size building blocks that Put differently, if 'spectacle' is one of the defining features are connected through passages, which Heather Chitwood of the Aronoff Center, the unpredictable strata of 'everyday calls a "chevron," turning every corner within the building life,' or something that is non-spectacular but immersive and could release certain kinds of event spatially and visually habitual is what Eisenman seems to be interested in but not (Chitwood, 2000, 24) (Fig.8.). discussed enough in the Eisenman scholarship of the virtual, and the fold. If he admits that the fold is essentially a territory open to anyone, one can try to understand the building as a kind of affective machine in which various sensory dimensions, which include distraction, fascination, curiosity, indifference, and a lot of others, perpetually fold and unfold. In this respect, elaborating my own experiences of the Aronoff Center would be an interesting way of exploring how the building becomes 'actualized' in a Deleuzian sense. This individuated narrative of spatial navigation might start from the comparison between some official photographs of the building seen from the outside, and Fig.7. Diagrams of the Aronoff Fig.8. A Diagram of the Aronoff my habitual engagement with it. While the former focuses Center for Design and Art Center Highlighting What (© The Eisenman Architects) Chitwood Calls "Chevron" on illustrating the conceptual aspects of the building, (© Heather Chitwood) the latter slightly deviates from them. For instance, it takes some time for one to see the designated front of Similar to Eisenman, critic Frederic Jameson also the Eisenman work, until which he/she is to encounter writes about the spatial navigation of the Aronoff, some infrastructural elements such as construction fences, pointing out that Eisenman multiplies every one of us' landscapes decorated with grasses and trees, and nearby "human limits and imperfections" in order to register structures that are rather modernist in their architectural "sheer movement and sheer nonlinear velocity in your styles. In other words, although the Aronoff Center does human, all-too-human equations" (Jameson, 2003, 60-69; not have a front and back in a precise sense, encountering re-quoted from Jonah Rowen's unofficial notes). In other his sophisticated design needs some routinized movements, words, according to Jameson, every spatial encounter of which might also be aspects of "distraction" that Eisenman the Aronoff is carefully implemented so that it provokes himself claimed as discussed above. However, it can be extraordinary sensibilities, thereby making them unable to argued that getting distracted is not so much a negative sustain their ordinary sense of space. Jameson's comment experience but rather a mode of encountering the building reminds me of his famous critique about the Westin in close relationship with the surroundings, in ways that Bonaventure Hotel that is included in his canonical book one is not simply preoccupied with the figure-ground Postmodernism (1991), in which he claims that the hotel, relationship in perceiving the work. designed by John Portman, is perceived like a labyrinth One can find the interior design of the Aronoff Center where one loses his/her sense of space due to the complex as a continuation of his deconstructivist design strategy spatial patterns and the difficulty of way-finding. The as shown in the exterior, although its habitual encounters hotel does not clearly show its entrance, has a lobby that get entangled with various people's routines. The central is located a few stories up from the ground so that people hall on the ground level, and a set of semi-ground levels 390 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek both of which are complexly related to each other creates a visual spectacle, which is also the main spatial feature of the building. The openness of the hall with a series of bent promenades creates a dynamic but stable mood, whereas passages connected to the hall are much smaller and generate an abrupt contrast regarding sense of space. The so-called 'chevrons' become prominent when one walks from the hall to nearby areas, including passages, rooms, staircases, and elevators. The building's pastel tonality is also an interesting point to look at, in the sense that the tonality becomes multiple in different areas of Fig.9. The Main Hall of the Fig.10. A Café of the Aronoff the building, including the surface, the interior walls Aronoff Center Center Located Downstairs and ceilings, and the patterns on the ground. In addition, (© Seunghan Paek) (© Seunghan Paek) signs for direction within the building are installed at most of the areas in which an abrupt spatial turn is to take place. In this respect, way-findings in the Aronoff are not extremely painful, which might be different from how Jameson described the Bonaventure hotel as a case where the sense of distraction becomes extreme. While newcomers to the Aronoff could easily detect formal and structural variations of the interior that are undoubtedly moments in which events unfold, those who are already familiar with the building (such as staff members and students) could likewise engage themselves with the process of unfolding, which might be, however, done in rather non-spectacular ways. For instance, it Fig.11. A Passageway of Fig.12. An Entrance toward the takes some time for one to recognize that sculpted walls the Aronoff Center Restroom on the First Floor of and ceilings inside the building extend to 2-dimensional (© Seunghan Paek) the Aronoff Center patterns inscribed on the ground, by which Eisenman (© Seunghan Paek) implements the entire architectural sphere as an unstable 5. Conclusion unity. If tourists focus more on the impressions of the In summary, I have explored how Peter Eisenman idiosyncratic design overall, residents may not always attempts to actualize the concept 'fold' through his be astounded by them but still resonate with those parts projects, and how such a practice is at play on a within the context of daily life, such as chatting with conceptual level, also entangled with the realm of friends and heading towards classrooms and looking up/ everyday life. The first case, Rebstockpark, is a prime around without fully paying attention to the building example that illustrates how Eisenman brings forth design itself. As Eisenman addressed with the notion of possibilities of event through his folding strategies, "distraction," which implicates a complex affectivity that which is inspired by Deleuze's theory of the fold, in the is formed at the crossroads of attention and inattention, sense that the multi-layering of lines and planes in the being unable to recognize every bit of design detail historic site interrupts the existing spatial order and thus could, although it may sound paradoxical, encourage brings forth new formality and also a set of events that one to perceive the possibility of event. In other words, unfold in unexpected ways. The second case, the Aronoff it can be argued that event in the Aronoff is twofold: one Center, is a work that Eisenman proposed around the as noticeably spectacular spatial settings in key public similar time period; however, what makes it different areas, and another as minutia of the building that are from the Rebstockpark is the fact that Benjamin's still part of the design, which is mingled with various notion "distraction" becomes a crucial part of the work. occupants' daily lives (Figs.9.-12.). The downstairs The curved mass and a series of bent lines and blocks cafeteria is one of the popular places in the building, and mark the building's identity, but its mode of experience its triangular space with acute angles in multiple ground simultaneously provokes attention and inattention, since and ceiling levels is evidence of Eisenman's consistent what is prominent in the project is not its monumentality deconstructivist strategy. However, habitual behaviors per se, but various possibilities that one can navigate the such as buying coffee, using multimedia zones or the building without knowing the entirety in a clear way, library, having departmental 'events', using restrooms, and although without being fully disoriented. sleeping in various parts of the building at times enable Insofar as the term 'event' is essentially aleatory and them to forget about the idiosyncrasy of the building thus not something that can be fully planned out in itself but rather internalize the tensions and rhythms, in advance, in Eisenman's project, events are produced in ways that the unfolding of event is not dissociated with relationship with individuals' affective and perceptive everyday life but "doubles, shifts, and rotates" within the instances. By the same token, my experience of the very realm, no matter how such a non-spectacle might be Aronoff Center brings forth event in a Deleuzian sense, speculated or grasped by visible means. JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek 391 which is private by nature but nevertheless public through serial encounters of the given environments, and myself, although such events could be at once spectacular and mundane. Eisenman's articulation of the fold is still at play in the Aronoff; however, it is my claim that such 'architectural' event is not so much an end point but rather a threshold provoking a myriad of others, which perpetually fold and unfold through the entanglement of differing fragments that are at once human and nonhuman, predicated and open-ended. Note The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, written by Deleuze, was originally published in 1988 in French and translated into English five years later. References 1) Cache, Bernard. Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories, translated by Ann Boyman, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1995. 2) Deleuze, Gilles. Bergsonism, translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam, New York: Zone Books, 1991. 3) Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition, translated by Paul Patton, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. 4) Deleuze, Gilles. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, translated by Tom Conley, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 5) Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault, translated by Sean Hand, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1988. 6) Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense, translated by Mark Lester and edited by Constantin V. Boundas, NY: Columbia University Press, 7) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, translated by Dana Polan, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. 8) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, translated by Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1987. 9) Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994. 10) Eisenman, Peter. Unfolding Frankfurt, Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1991. 11) Eisenman, Peter. Written into the Void: Selected Writing, 1990- 2004, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. 12) Friedberg, Anne. The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft, Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 2006. 13) Grosz, Elizabeth. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. 14) Leach, Neil (Ed). Designing for a Digital World, Chichester: Wiley-Academy, 2002. 15) Leach, Neil (Ed). Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory, London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 16) G.W. Leibniz. "The Monadology" (p. 48-50) in The Mind, edited by Daniel Robinson, Oxford and NY: Oxford University Press, 17) Lynn, Greg (ed), Folding in Architecture, a special issue for the magazine Architectural Design, London: Architectural Design, May 1993. 18) Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham: Duke University Press, 2002. 19) Parr, Adrian (Ed). The Deleuze Dictionary, NY: Columbia University Press, 2005. 20) Rajchman, John. Constructions, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1998. 21) Thom, Rene. "Catastrophe theory" (Ch. 4) in Mathematical Models of Morphogenesis, translated by W.M. Brookes, London: Ellis Horwood Limited, 1983. 22) Jameson, Fredric, "Aronoff and Ideology," in Blurred Zones: Investigations of the Interstitial, ed. Cynthia Davidson. New York: The Monacelli Press, 2003, pp.60-69. 392 JAABE vol.17 no.3 September 2018 Seunghan Paek

Journal

Journal of Asian Architecture and Building EngineeringTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 2018

Keywords: fold; event; Gilles Deleuze; Peter Eisenman; spectacle; everyday life

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