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designing inefficiencies

Blur’s extreme mutability — changing with the hour as well as the slightest shift in wind — called into question what, exactly, it was. Swiss building authorities, the most official arbiters of such

Nouveau (1918 – 23), he published images of houses fabricated in the Voisin aircraft factory, which served to corroborate the claim that machine technologies could realize affordable housing through efficient manufacturing. In the 1960s, Reyner Banham, reacting against the modernist aestheticization of machine technology, explored instead a more active engagement with mechanical technology. He developed a series of experimental pneumatic houses, variations on the Environmental Bubble, that embraced mechanical systems as an integral component of their design. These houses’ forms were more a result of the mechanical system than of a technological aesthetic; the same air-conditioning system that liberated inhabitants from the constraints of clothing also provided the structure for the membrane. Many architects still maintain that technology can solve social, economic, and design problems. Greg Lynn’s fluid, biology-inspired and computergenerated forms, for example, are realized using structural shell concepts borrowed from the automobile and airplane industries. Echoing the rhetoric of the early modernists, his Embryological Houses employ production efficiencies afforded though computer technology to provide economically viable, mass-customized housing.9 Despite their radically different approaches, each of these architects retains affinities with modernist conceptions of technology: it is productive; it solves problems; it affords temporal, economic, and production (manufacturing) efficiencies; and it will foster a socially enlightened future. Given this complex legacy, the multidisciplinary firm Diller + Scofidio has initiated a distinctly different relationship to technology. They dare to ask, “Can technology be generative without conventions of productivity and efficiency?”
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unpredictability,” and “technological parasite”11 indicate an appropriation of technologies not for products and results, but for active, open-ended behaviors and functions. The structure of Diller + Scofidio, the firm — as an interdisciplinary practice — intentionally subverts traditional distinctions between architect, artist, and engineer, and thus facilitates a more fluid relationship with technology. Typically, this relationship is one of accommodation; mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and information systems are perceived as equipment to be designed by others and handled expediently in interstitial building spaces. Diller + Scofidio, however, invert this relationship, using technologies as agents for design rather than
clockwise from top left Brasserie, 2000 Brasserie bar with Bar Beam, 2000 Brasserie, 2000 Photographs by Michael Moran Brasserie stairway to dining room, 2000 Photograph by Michael Moran

and monitor to transform the site’s prized ocean vista into a “technologized view.” Two 100-foot curving walls held an entry door on the east side and, on the west side, a 40-foot picture window framed the ocean view. A television centered on this window was to play live or prerecorded images of the view as captured by a camera mounted on a stack towering 40 feet above the ground. As in Blur, the Slow House’s technologies produce nothing, or at least nothing that does not already exist; rather, they simply reframe the existing view by visually and temporally displacing it. Diller + Scofidio deployed similar media technology ten years later in the redesign of Brasserie, the restaurant located a half-story below street level in Mies van der Rohe’s iconic 1958 Seagram Building. Brasserie’s new entry is defined not spatially, but electronically. A camera positioned above the revolving door photographs each visitor as he or she enters. After a split-second delay, the image appears on the first of fifteen monitors hovering in a rack over the bar. With each new arrival, a new image appears and previous images shuttle down the line. What would be a single view is transformed into fifteen views, dislocated in time and space from the actual event. The prosaic act of moving through an unassuming door becomes a mini-media event transposed from the periphery of the space to its center. In the same way that Blur’s fog nozzles reconstituted Lake Neuchâtel’s water into fog, here the extant entry is reconfigured and relocated. Diller + Scofidio’s interest lies not in the design of a discrete and clearly defined threshold to solve the “problem of entry,” but rather in re-creating entry as an attenuated, ambiguous event. The surveillance technologies they employ also serve to re-create transparency as an electronic rather than material condition in the windowless plinth of Mies’s glass tower.14 The fifteen snapshots in the “media bar” capture an image not only of the entering patron, but also of the street and sidewalk, so that the monitors function as a ribbon of displaced windows, relaying exterior weather conditions to the otherwise hermetic space. The camera’s slow shutter renders a slightly blurred image of the person, while the background is depicted in crisp detail, often revealing the idling limousines more clearly than the face of the “subject.” The effect of this electronic transparency is heightened when the cameras fire belatedly; occasionally the delayed shutter captures an empty turnstile, leaving only a framed view of the street beyond.

designing
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designations, questioned the pavilion’s status as a building, struggling to determine which provisions of the fire code applied. In the final resolution, regulators specified that the platform could only be occupied while the fog system was operating. Officially, Blur existed only as long as technology generated its atmosphere. Blur’s environmental controls define the limits of the project’s domain, recalling Reyner Banham and François Dallegret’s Environmental Bubble of 1965, a domed house inflated by air-conditioning. However, rather than complying with Banham’s mandate for a “well-tempered environment,” Blur created an ill-tempered one. Adjacent to the entry station, where visitors could obtain plastic rain ponchos, a sign cautioned visitors that “People suffering from vertigo or wearing glasses will risk some inconveniences during the visit. Waterproof clothing recommended.” Inconvenient it was. In mid-June, visiting “Miss Switzerland” contestants were visibly displeased with the fog’s ruinous effects on their hair and makeup.

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constraints: technological systems, like traditional materials such as concrete, steel, or glass, are available for their architectural intervention, and as a result, become tangible, evident, and integral aspects of a project’s design. Making a distinction between technology in general and specific technologies is useful in understanding Diller + Scofidio’s process. Technology considered as a singular, homogeneous category or condition suggests a generalized consistency across a highly varied field and implies a strategic approach underlaid by an overarching theoretical position or principle. Their interest lies rather in the practice of implementing particular technologies in specific applications for explicit consequences and effects.12 Technologies are not design or fabrication tools, but instead are treated as design materials to be deployed within a project. For Diller + Scofidio, then, technologies afford a means to an end, a material to manipulate, a tool in service of their needs: to inform design, to realize intention, and to create effects. “Technology is fabricated, and it’s an instrument,” Diller has noted. “It presents new opportunities. It’s pervasive, it’s undeniable, and it’s welcome.”13 For Diller + Scofidio, technologies offer neither control, predictability, productivity, efficiency, nor brasserie , 2000
Diller + Scofidio designed this renovation of the Brasserie restaurant in Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building (1958) in New York. While the building itself is a modernist glass tower, the restaurant is lodged in its stone base and is without glass or view. This irony prompted a series of responses by Diller + Scofidio to the relation between glass and vision. A video snapshot is taken of each entering individual, whose image is then added to the continually changing video display over the bar (Bar Beam). A glass stairway of unusually gradual proportions leads into the main space, half a level below the street, and theatricalizes arrival by prolonging descent and depositing the patron into the center of the dining room.

Hovering over Switzerland’s Lake Neuchâtel from May to October 2002, a hybrid system of complex technologies — a 60-by-100-by-20-meter tensegrity structure1, a “smart weather system” controlling eighty-eight high-pressure pumps, a water treatment facility, and 31,500 fog nozzles2 — generated what its designers, the architects Diller + Scofidio, called “nothing.”3 For the five months of Swiss EXPO 2002 — a once-a-generation National Exhibition — their Blur Building transformed the lake’s water into an inhabitable cloud of fog. Inside the skinless, facadeless structure, the mist produced a visual experience that was based on the absence of a visual image. “Featureless, depthless, scaleless, spaceless, massless, surfaceless, and contextless,” as described by its creators, it was a “nonspectacle.”4 One Swiss journalist noted, “[It is] so un-Swiss. We don’t need the cloud. It doesn’t water our fields, nor does it regulate our climate. It is just simply beautiful…. The cloud enchants visitors straightaway. What a crazy idiosyncratic thing! How deliciously without purpose!”5 As a critique of the optimistic exhibits that are the hallmark of world’s fairs, the architects designed a pavilion without purpose, with nothing to see and nothing to do. Although Blur employed state-of-theart technology, distinctly absent were Futuramastyle6 visions of a world made better through such

constructed technology. The technologies Blur constructed made no promises of a utopian future, they simply serviced an immediate experience. Visitors filed down fiberglass bridges, disappeared into the fog, climbed the first flight of steps to the media platform, ascended a second flight of stairs to the “angel bar,” maybe paused for a few minutes to enjoy the sun or sample various waters for sale at the bar, and then returned to dry land. Even with nothing to do, more than one million visitors made the journey into the fog. While Blur’s “habitable medium” was the product of extensive technologies, the material itself — fog — was merely a fleeting transformation of the existing lake. Shortly after being transformed into mist, the water particles dissipated back into the lake; the project was constantly in a state of being made. Although Blur reconfigured both the form and experience of the water, nothing was actually produced — the material was simply recycled. The water pumps, filtration systems, misting nozzles, and software — designed by nuclear power plant engineers — all constructed a (non)experience, an evanescent effect. Its ephemerality was made all the more evident each night; when the fair closed and the pumps were shut off, Blur shrunk to half its size, the exposed structure appearing as an unfinished building awaiting its skin.

World’s fairs and expositions have long heralded the promises of technology, but the 1939 New York World’s Fair, themed “The World of Tomorrow,” represents the pinnacle of American technological optimism. From Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama exhibit to Borden’s automatic cow-milking carousel, the Fair featured visions of a utopia made possible via electric and machine innovation. Today, our resolute confidence in technology even after the dotcom bust testifies to Americans’ steadfast faith in its ability to engender a better future through the efficiencies it provides. The complex relation of technology to culture in the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century has unfolded in architecture, where mechanical, electrical, and information technologies intersect with social spaces.7 Architects have addressed the issue of technology in theory, design, and production in means as varied as the technologies themselves. In the first decades of the last century, modernist architects appropriated the engineered forms of automobiles, ocean liners, and airplanes as metaphors for functionalist design. Le Corbusier advocated the use of machine technologies, specifically industrial mass production and modular fabrication techniques, “to solve the problem of the house.”8 In several issues of the journal L’Esprit

By no means does this question imply any Luddism on their part. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are neither technophobic nor technophilic; rather, they are simultaneously proficient in and critical of technology. Indeed, their evolving use of technologies embodies a consistent critique of modernism’s rhetoric of efficiency and productivity. They avoid the modernist correlation of form with hardware (technology as product) and the postmodernist correlation of form with software (technology as process) by using technologies generatively rather than representing them formally. Their reformulation of technologies into what they have termed “technological sublime,” “technological

promise for the future; they neither respond to a problem nor yield a solution. Rather, inefficient technologies provide an opportunity to generate effects and conditions that are excessive, robust, spontaneous, and performative. While Blur’s ephemeral status and lack of program represent an extreme condition, even Diller + Scofidio’s “permanent” projects incorporate technologies to perform rather than produce. In the Slow House, the unrealized 1991 design of a Long Island vacation house, they used a video camera

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ashley schafer

designing inefficiencies

ashley schafer

Rendering, split production and presentation programs and their constituents, Eyebeam Museum of Art & Technology, 2001

From a modernist perspective, efficient technologies were valued as much for their productivity as for their employment of strategies of optimization that would eliminate what Frederick Winslow Taylor, the first efficiency proselytizer, called “inefficiency in almost all of our daily acts” and would achieve expediency by eliminating repetition and redundancy.15 Diller + Scofidio instead use tactics of proliferation to generate productive overlaps and reduce the significance of single components in favor of fostering relations between components. The Slow House capitalizes on the value of its site’s view by reduplicating it. The house itself functions as a device for framing the picture window that displays both the prized ocean view and the television monitor that, in turn, holds another, electronically manipulated, technologically duplicated version of the view.16 While the camera is oriented toward the same view as the window, its location 40 feet above the ground slightly shifts the perspective, dis-aligning the horizon on the screen with the one in the window. Even when the playback is “live,” the electronic transfer produces a slight delay in reception. The camera constructs a displacement in framing, point of view, scale, and time to constitute a tempo-spatial parallax. While the view is rendered two-dimensional through the

process of being framed in the window and the monitor, its duplication and the relations established between the two “flattened” images re-create an electronic depth, a mediated third dimension. In a similar application of technologically remastered and duplicated reality, Blur’s media installation played back the indigenous sounds of the project, augmented and transformed to foster a sense of perceptual confusion. While limited in size and scope due to budget reductions, the media component’s final version provided a simple but unambiguous manifestation of embedded redundancy. Dripping water, squeaking steel, and hissing nozzles form the basis of sound artist Christian Marclay’s installation, Nebula. Marclay digitally enhanced and altered the sounds and recorded ten different CDs that looped and played in random order, broadcast from speakers on the second level of Blur. The piece’s undeniable subtlety — the intentional ambiguity introduced between what was live and recorded, what was actual and manipulated — resulted in its remaining, to some visitors, imperceptible. At moments, the odd conjunction of sounds, emanating from no apparent source, slightly oversized, slightly improbable, reinforced the sense of disorientation already palpable in the fog.

In contrast to the Slow House’s and Blur’s technological replications of sensory experience, in their competition-winning project for Eyebeam’s new museum of art and technology in Manhattan Diller + Scofidio employ material reiterations as technological intervention. While all of the competition entries addressed the project’s requirement to include flexible spaces and to accommodate the constant upgrading of technologies, Diller + Scofidio were alone in embracing the project’s dual programs — exhibition and atelier — as a generator for spatial, technological, and material innovation. The 90,000-square-foot project has been designed as two essentially interlocking buildings whose party wall is a folding, two-ply slab. Like the programs they contain, the two nested buildings maintain a symbiotic relationship — spatially, technologically, and structurally. Vierendeel trusses within the production spaces span from cores at the ends of the building to carry vertical loads, concentrating the primary structure in these areas while freeing the exhibition spaces from columns. Reciprocally, the exhibition spaces’ concrete floors and ceilings accommodate horizontal loads, allowing the atelier surfaces to be lined with a continuous system of removable panels for unlimited access to the building’s technologies. At certain points, the ribbon splits to align with the floor above or below, linking the two “different” buildings and aligning production and presentation spaces to provide moments of exchange between artist and visitor. A two-ply material — fiberglass panels layered with smooth concrete — comprises a “smart ribbon” that separates and services the two spaces and programs. Undulating back and forth to form walls, floors, and ceilings, dissociating production from presentation and defining auditoriums, labs, and galleries, this layered membrane composes an open infrastructure that permits periodic total replacement of the building’s technologies. Modular fiberglass panels on the atelier side allow unrestricted access to this interstitial service sandwich. By concentrating all access on one face of the slab, the concrete surface on the gallery side remains completely smooth except for porelike “smartjacks,” allowing its entire area — walls, floors and ceilings — to be appropriated for exhibition. Flexibility is achieved through function rather than form. Inverting the modernist paradigm of free plans serviced by rigidly determined core spaces, Diller + Scofidio have defined discrete spaces and left systems openended; Miesian “universal space” has given way to universal technology.

In Out of Control (1994), techno-cultural critic Kevin Kelly questioned modernist associations of efficiency with technology, contesting Mies’s aphorism “Less is more” and proposing instead that “More is more.”17 For him, “out of control” specifically refers to selforganized or bottom-up systems. In such emergent systems, higher-level complexity arises from the accretion of vast numbers of simple, low-level decisions or actions, rather than small numbers of elaborate operations. The behavior of swarming bees, flocking birds, and whirlpools are all examples of emergent systems; their properties are greater than the sum of their parts. Such distributed, nonlinear, and non-hierarchical systems are simultaneously flexible and unpredictable, redundant, and resilient. Emergent technologies are technologies of excess, not efficiency; their logics enable Diller + Scofidio to realize projects with greater flexibility and adaptability and to design work that generates “more.” To subvert any educational or entertainment program for Blur, the media projects Diller + Scofidio developed for the building, all but one of which were eventually eliminated because of budget constraints, incorporated emergent technologies to induce unpredictable or undetermined events. In the penultimate version of Blur, entering visitors would have answered a short personality questionnaire and then been issued Braincoats — smart raincoats programmed with their profile. Encountering other visitors on the foggy platform, wireless transmitters embedded in the coats would send this information to a computer that would compare personality profiles. The coats would blush red to indicate affinity or green to signal antipathy. As swarms of like-minded people spontaneously gathered in different areas of the platform, the groupings would affect subsequent visitors’ navigation of the project, further reinforcing these impromptu organizations. In addition to promoting self-organization, technologies of excess can accommodate and negotiate dynamic, unpredictable conditions.18 Blur’s irregular cloud in constant flux is an example of such uncontrolled — and uncontrollable — excess. (Ironically, it is an early concept rendering, a clearly defined image of a static cloud bearing only a passing resemblance to Blur’s final roiling turbulence, that has been immortalized in Swiss popular culture. The pristine white smudge adorning countless sugar packets, phone cards, candy bars, and umbrellas has been elevated to iconic status.) Embracing the uncertainty inherent in constructing and maintaining its self-generated microclimate, Diller + Scofidio

developed the fog-generating system to dynamically regulate, and yet only loosely determine, its shape, size, and density. The system combined software with data from weather sensors that continually monitored temperature, humidity, and wind speed from atop the structure. Every eight minutes, the system compared current conditions with saved scenarios, adjusting the output of the eightyeight high pressure pumps to maintain an “acceptable… quality of fog.”19 The ever-changing form’s dimensions and configuration remained indeterminate and unpredictable for the duration of the Expo, to the periodic dismay of adjacent café and bar owners — especially on cool days, when the “building” came ashore. The constant fluctuation in Blur’s shape, size, density, and location emerged as a result of a technology “out of control.” As the form of Blur changed, so did viewers’ sense of its materiality. Some critics claimed that at moments the project resembled an oil derrick trailed by fog floating thirty feet away (though this observer never saw such an extreme condition, either in Yverdon or over the Expo’s webcam). A stiff wind, interacting with increasing nozzle pressure, would sharply define the leading edge of the “nothing.” The atomized water appeared skinlike, draped between and pulled taut against the ridges of the fog nozzle lines. When the water was warmer than the air, the mist would form a rapidly rising mushroom cloud, and when convection currents rose from the lake, the leading edge seemed to roll. When the wind stilled, Blur’s edges became diffuse, soft, and permeable, dissipating so gradually in all directions that it was difficult to say where it ended — but always it was moving: rolling downwards, lifting up, floating outward, drifting low along the water. Frequently, in the time between composing a photograph of Blur and releasing the shutter, a gust of wind would shift the center of mass. The “building” had moved. In the age of email, cell phones, and CNN, we expect immediate response. The value of each new technology relies on an increase in reaction that now approaches simultaneity. Computers with ever faster processors, high-speed Internet connections, and direct-connect cell phones promise “no waiting” and “instant access.” In their pledge of temporal efficiency, these technologies resemble improved versions of the motorways prophesied by 1939’s “World of Tomorrow.” By contrast, Diller + Scofidio implement technologies to deliberately institute delay. The architects use the gap or lag produced by their projects as both a critique of and to heighten awareness of our present moment.

Surveillance technology extends the moment of entry into the Brasserie from a unique event taking place in a single time and location into three discrete events in time and separate places in space: first, the entry into the building through the revolving doors, triggering a snapshot image recorded by an overhead camera; second, the entry of the image onto the “video beam” (Bar Beam, created in collaboration with artist Ben Rubin) above the bar; and then the patron’s third and “actual” entry into the center of the dining space, which is further delayed by the attenuated proportions of the staircase. Mirroring and emphasizing these successive delays, the video beam performs as an asynchronous meter of activity in the space. Activity in the bar is preceded by activity on-screen; a frequent flicker of the screens as new arrivals are added to the rack portends an especially animated crowd. At times, the temporal inefficiencies Diller + Scofidio generate other, perhaps unintended, outcomes. In Blur, the eight-minute interval between the weather system’s gauge of and its reactions and adjustments to prevailing weather conditions proved to have a significant effect on the project. This lag time made adjusting for lone gusts of wind impossible, and even gradual weather changes were accommodated slightly after the fact, producing a constant variation in the density, shape, and limits of the fog. This instability affected the form of the cloud as well as visitors’ experience inside. The most intriguing areas of Blur were not those that manifested the architectspecified “acceptable fog quality,” but those that, in the grip of this delay, were almost devoid of mist. Within eight minutes (when the system was working well) those locations became the setting of dramatic visual, tactile, material, and aural transformation. On an auspiciously warm, humid, and variably windy day in June, I gravitated toward these fog-deficient areas, chasing the possibility of witnessing the change. The hiss of the nozzles grew louder as the water pressure increased — a process that took about a second — followed by large plumes of drenching mist that almost immediately reduced visibility to near zero. This profoundly apparent temporal displacement attenuates the relationship between cause and effect, dissociating instruments of technology from means of control. In these intervals Diller + Scofidio construct spaces in time that resist the modernist tyranny of efficiency by framing and questioning our present condition. The history of modern technologies in America is a history of futuristic speculation. For over a century, the rhetoric surrounding each new technology —
Effects of changing weather conditions, Blur Building, 2002

industrial, electronic, environmental, telecommunication, and computer — has promised a better tomorrow. Yet, as Diller observes, “There’s nothing that dates faster than speculation about the future.”20 Although utopian predictions of the past today appear at best naive and at worst untenable, contemporary technological rhetoric reiterates familiar claims: access to information, increased connectivity, and temporal efficiency will foster economic prosperity, social progress, educational advancement, improved health, and even happiness. By contrast, Diller + Scofidio have for more than twenty years maintained a critical stance toward modernist associations of technology with productivity, efficiency, and progress, while simultaneously embracing technologies for the effects they produce. Their rejection of technological optimism is a rejection neither of technology nor of optimism. Rather, they maintain an optimism for inefficient technologies, not to project an idealized future, but instead to reconfigure a very real present.

9. Lynn uses computer numeric controlled (CNC) milling, a CAD-to-production technology that directly translates designs into actual objects, eliminating many efficiencies realized through repetitive mass production. While design time may be increased, production time (and therefore cost) remains constant, even when each object is unique. 10. Elizabeth Diller, quoted in Ben Gilmartin, Amanda Reeser, and Ashley Schafer, “Technological Landscape,” Praxis, no. 4 (fall 2002): 104. 11. Each of these phrases has been coined by Diller + Scofidio to describe a project-specific approach to technology. “Technological sublime” refers to Blur’s intersection of landscape and technology. Para-site (1989) employed the “technological parasite,” where technology operated like an opportunistic organism as a system of cameras and monitors transformed museum visitors into display objects. 12. See Stan Allen, “Practice vs. Project,” Praxis, no. 0 (winter 1998): 116. For Allen, “Material Practices unfold in time, confident in the logical structure of the discipline as a starting point, but never satisfied simply to repeat or to execute a system of rules defined elsewhere.” I would argue that for Diller + Scofidio, technologies are a material for investigation. 13. Elizabeth Diller, quoted in Shonquis Moreno, “Conversation Pieces,” Frame, no. 25 (March/April 2002): 42. 14. The bronze-colored glass curtain wall of the Seagram Building is more reflective than transparent, at least in the physical sense. With this building, Mies transformed the early modernist notion of a transparency of glass to a transparency of structural technology. That is, the building is transparent in that it transcribes the techniques of its production. The wide-flange steel mullions on the exterior of the building are not structural, but rather represent the steel frame structure hidden within concrete fireproofing inside. Mies’s transparency reveals what is interior to exterior, whereas Brasserie works the opposite way, bringing what is exterior to the interior.

15. Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1911). 16. The prerecorded, selectable view invokes the precedent of the Underground World Homes, designed by Architects Cox and Kittres for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, though that project replaced the natural view with a singular, controlled one. 17. Kevin Kelly was founding editor of Wired and of the Whole Earth Review and Catalog. His studies center on the cultural consequences of technology; see Kevin Kelly, Out of Control: The New Biology of Mechanics, Social Systems, and the Economic World (New York: Addison Wesley, 1994), 22. 18. The self-regulation of the smart weather system, combined with the exponentially larger number of fog nozzles, distinguish Blur from Nakaya’s Pepsi pavilion. 19. Diller and Scofidio, Blur: The Making of Nothing, 307. 20. Diller, quoted in Gilmartin, Reeser, and Schafer, “Technological Landscape”: 97.

notes
1. Blur’s structure is based on the tensegrity concept Buckminster Fuller developed in the 1950s. (The word is a combination of “tension” and “integrity.”) Tensegrity structures combine continuous cables in tension and discontinuous members in compression to enclose a volume. The use of forces in balance enables each member to be lighter, while the entire structure is omnidirectional, nonlinear, and able to distribute local loads. Blur’s exterior “skin” is entirely comprised of tension members. 2. Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya, who served as a consultant on Blur, developed fog nozzles for the Pepsi pavilion at Expo ‘70, a World’s Fair held in Osaka. There, 2,520 fog nozzles shrouded a geodesic dome in mist. 3. The subtitle of the book Blur, the architects’ documentation of the project’s genesis, is “The Making of Nothing.” 4. Elizabeth Diller, “Blur/Babble,” in Anything (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001), 137. 5. Roger Anderegg, “Die Wunder-Wolke,” SonntagsZeitung, May 19, 2002, p. 17, quoted in Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Blur: The Making of Nothing (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002), 372. 6. Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair integrated technology, efficiency, progress, productivity, and happiness into a singular image of the future. 7. Mechanical, electrical, and information technology systems in new construction typically comprise as much as 25 to 30 percent of a project’s gross area and roughly 25 percent of total construction costs. 8. Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture (New York: Dover Publications, 1986), 133.

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