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of Architecture,



Following the example of music publication, Source Books in Architecture offers an alternative to the traditional architectural monograph. If one is interested in hearing music, he or she simply purchases the desired recording. If, however, one wishes to study a particular piece in greater depth, it is possible to purchase the score-

the written code that more clearly elucidates the structure, organization, and creative process that brings the

work into being. This series is offered in the same spirit. Each Source Book focuses on a single work by a particular architect. The work is documented with sketches, models, renderings, working drawings, and photographs at

a level of detail that allows complete and careful study of the project from its conception to the completion

of design and construction.

The graphic component is accompanied by commentary from the architect and critics that further explores both the technical and cultural content of the work in question.

Source Books in Architecture was conceived by Jeffrey Kipnis and is the product of the Herbert Baumer seminars, a series of interactions between students and seminal practitioners at the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University. Based on a significant amount of research on distinguished architects, students lead

a discussion with the architects that encourages them to reveal their architectural motivations and techniques.

The students then record and transcribe the meetings, which become the bases of these Source Books.

The seminars are made possible through a generous bequest of Herbert Herndon Baumer. Educated at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Baumer was a professor in the Department of Architecture at The Ohio State University from 1922 to 1956. He had a dual career as a distinguished design professor who inspired many students and a noted architect who designed several buildings at The Ohio State University and other Ohio colleges.


The present volume would not have been possible without the contribution of a number of individuals. Thom Mayne and the staff at Morphosis, particularly John Enright, Jana FOit, Ana McVay, Elizabeth Meyer, Ana Moca, and Brandon Welling, have been instrumental in both the production of the book's subject

and in providing the graphic materials that make up this book.

Students and teachers at the Knowlton School of Architecture also deserve special mention.

Robert livesey, Director of the Knowlton School of Architecture, has provided continual support of the project and its participants. The participants in the Baumer seminar of Fall 1997, Matthew Bernhardt, Jennifer Block, Katherine [oilier, Anthony Freitag, John Hardt, Sarah Lahman, Shih-Hong Lee, Tuan Van Nguyen, Ryan Palider, Joseph Richardson, Abu Sayeed Saleh, Douglas Scholl, and in particular David Tyler, Douglas Emert, and Martin Fenlon, made the project possible by providing the initial research and organization of the seminar,

as well as gathering much of the graphic material.

Special thanks go to Nicole Hill for her patient transcription of often muddled interview tapes and her insightful comments on the text.

A CONVERSATION WITH THOM MAYNE Jeffrey Kipnis and Todd Gannon

In a recent article, Joseph Giovannini noted that At USC, architectural education had entered an

the "intellectual and graphic ruminations [of Thom ultra-rationalist phase of development in some way

Mayne] have amounted to a public diary of personal mimetic of scientific inquiry. Ralph Knowles had just come

growth for the last two decades" (Architecture, from Auburn to take over. He completely changed the

February 2000, 102). The text that follows, drawn from program. The California school-Neutra, Schindler,

a conversation that took place between Mayne, Jeffrey Soriano, Ain, and Ellwood-was cleaned out except for in

Kipnis, and Todd Gannon in May 2000, explores many fifth year. We were off doing abstract investigations:

of the personal aspects of this "diary" that inform how architecture responded to dynamic farces-sun, wind,

the architecture of Morphosis. In this dialogue, Mayne etc. Our studio was an empty space, no desks, a heliadon

outlines the development of his work from his school filling the whole room. For a year, we examined the

days at University of Southern California and Harvard properties of clay and the dynamic organization of

up to the present day, including a detailed examina- architecture in response to the sun. The curriculum was

tion of the themes that drive the subject of the present outrageous: calculus, physics, and chemistry. We went

volume-Diamond Ranch High School. head to head with pre-dental and pre-med students and it wiped out half the class. We had no history or drawing

Thorn Mayne: I went to architecture school at USC from 1963 to 1968. My heroes were the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Eldridge Cleaver, and Malcolm X. The '60S were a unique period for education in this country. As students, we were immersed in a view of culture and politics and held a set of aspirations that today seems quite foreign. We were audacious and strong-headed because we had taken over the university. Even at an ultraconservative place like USC, we were reading Ginsberg and experiencing the same forces as neighboring UCLA, where Peter Cook, Ron Herron, and Warren Chalk-the core of Archigram-had taken over in 1965. The place was absolutely phenomenal.

of any kind and a deep suspicion of intuition. One looked forward. In my fifth year of school I was only vaguely aware of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. To think back on those days now is startling.

When we got to fifth year we had the traditional guys-Soriano and Ellwood; we tore them apart. They were pretty inarticulate when it came to developing a position, more or less intuitive characters. Craig Ellwood used to plead with us to just settle down and do a piece of work, and he would pass us. To this day, I remember going out to dinner with him and he just begged us

to work. For my thesis project I put up four empty boards and explained to the review committee for over an hour the invalidity of the problem that they had given us.

Knowles brought in his series of persuasive, articulate technocrats, and I was so much in their sway that it was just impossible for me to cope with these other, more

design-oriented people. It is unfortunate because they were amazing characters and damn good architects.

That was my beginning and it steered me into planning and urban design. It was clear I was not fit for architecture, I was not even interested in architecture at the time. I worked with a redevelopment agency during the Johnson years and had been working on urban scale projects for a couple of years when I met Jim Stafford. Jim had been a year in front of me at USc. He became my mentor and led me back into architecture when we started Morphosis in about 1970 or '71, a complete take-off on Archigram. At that time we were both enthralled with what the Archigram guys, Peter Cook, Ron Herron, and others, were doing at UCLA.

Jim had an immense formal ability-one of the more talented people I have met in my life. He started leading me in another direction, a different dimension. I began studying Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Paul Rudolph. I started working at Gruen Associates-a watering hole in L.A. at the time, a finishing school of sorts. Amazing people went through that office, Frank Gehry, for instance, and later Cesar Pelli. Gruen created a collaborative, horizontal work environment; my office ethic derives entirely from it.

The guy I was working for, a project coordinator, quit a week after I got there. They looked around the team and said, "Hey, Mayne. If you can get the project to work you can run it:' It worked and in a week I was a project coordinator. At Gruen that meant you went to VP and partner meetings and were involved with the financial matters. You met with consultants and clients. I was twenty-four years old, and this was an astonishing opportunity. At the same time, I was also beginning to feel that, like life, architecture should be more about personal issues. Architects are so steeped in intellectuality that the more ephemeral stuff slips away.

Soon after came the formation of SCI-Arc. It is not a very complicated story: universities purge themselves periodically, and six of us were let go because we were causing political problems at a very recalcitrant, conservative school. What happened that was unusual was the decision to start a new school. Bang there went four or five years of my life.

I left Gruen to teach full time. Jim and I were doing gigs in various offices, terrible offices, really disgusting offices. But they would pay us a lot of money, which was necessary, because I was teaching at SCI-Arc and we had no money whatsoever.

SCI-Arc was a great place. Small. We started with forty-four students and quickly built up to a hundred in a couple of years. We lived there noon to midnight, six, sometimes seven days a week. In 1972, Jim and I started working on Sequoia Elementary School. Two students from the first class at SCI-Arc, Michael Rotondi and Michael Brickler, worked with us. It was the formal beginning of Morphosis.

The name was coined over two nights and a day. We were getting the Archigram comics at the time-they only published when they had ideas; one month you might get three and it would go dead for six months-they were fantastic. Morphosis emerged as a synthesis ofthe Archigram vision and the Gruen office ethic. From those, I still retain an ambivalence to formal work, which acts as a personal signature. The notion of signature is less interesting to

me than an anonymous, collective architectural endeavor.

I have never done a project on my own, whatever that means. I am always using people as a feedback mechanism, and I like working in that collective environment. So,

I am always startled when we are classified as formalists. I find the whole discussion preposterous.

In education, you work through a series of investigations and thus the work assumes a sort of trajectory with a certain logic. Working in an office is the opposite: work is a sequence of non sequiturs. The phone rings and work arrives. It might be a chair, a restaurant, low-cost housing, or a competition. When I was thirty, I had no idea what architecture was, I had little experience, I was teaching architecture to try and figure it out. At SCI-Arc, none of the faculty had any kind of discourse, any developed position. Except for Ray Kappe, who had already developed an architecture, we were all groping. The school was taught by a group of people interested mostly in the integrity of a personal investigation.

I went to Harvard for a year. At the time they had an interesting 4-2 program for people who worked in offices. The average age for my class was thirty-four. It was a year that allowed me to reflect.

In L.A., Stafford and I were interested in a radically

neutral architectural expression. We were exploring a sort of gas station aesthetic, a complete suppression of the intuitive, signature modes of working common at the time. We pursued this radical neutrality for some time before we realized, through projects like the Pompidou Center, that it was impossible. We discovered in this building that there was no such thing as neutrality; for me, Pompidou was radically not neutral.

At the GSO, studying with Mathias Ungers, Colin Rowe, and James Stirling, I began to develop an interest in a historical language of architecture. This took place at

a time when I believe a real shift in American architectural J.K.: I find that an idiosyncratic way of looking at

kinds of things that you are interested in. Your sensibility, your interests in the way architectural devices get

organized are, in this building, legitimized. Do you think Pompidou affected you in this way?

T.M.: Sure. Pompidou flabbergasted me. I knew two of

the guys on the team in Renzo Piano's office. It was

an excuse to go to Europe every summer. I also spent quite a lot of time looking at Stirling's work. I spent an

entire summer at Leicester, Oxford, and Cambridge,

looking at these clanky, machine-like structures with a

kind of Victorian attitude. It had a profound influence

on me. The mechanical quality of the work is certainly akin to my own way of making architecture. At the time,

it was my only interest.

culture had occurred. I think that the writings of Robert Stirling. Most people would not write Stirling'S architec-

Venturi and Peter Eisenman precipitated a shift from the tural strengths in those terms.

socially driven, rationalist ends of modernism into a highly

conceptualized model of architectural thinking. T.M.: I think so too. My wife is always teasing me

Stirling and Pompidou turned out to be very influen- because I can't read anything or look at anything without

tial on me as an architect. On my first trip to Europe the coming to my own terms with it. It never makes sense

first buildings I visited were Leicester, Cambridge, and to what the thing really is. I just use it for whatever is

Oxford. I was completely amazed; for ten years they useful for me in terms of what is operating in my head at

dominated me. After that, I was going back and forth to the moment.

Pompidou every summer. I realized years later that what I admired in Stirling

was a lack of facility. He reminds me of Giorgio de

Jeffrey Kipnis: So Pompidou is a turning point. . . Chirico. One of the wonders of de Chirico is that he could

not paint; it was absurd, but it served him in surrealist

T.M.: I think it was an important building both for archi- work. The stillness, the primariness, the childlike quali-

tecture as a field of study and for me as a young man just ties are powerful. To me, Stirling had some of the same

beginning to think about making architecture. qualities. He wanted to be Edwin Lutyens but he was far

from it. Stirling used to discuss Corbusier all the time,

LK.: I think that is an important moment in the develop- but he refused to discuss Lutyens, though he was perhaps

ment of a personal sensibility. I can easily imagine you a more important predecessor to the work.

having an interest in a specific kind of architecture and

finding no basis for it in the discussions in which you were participating. You were making stuff, somewhat in secret, trepidaciously, and then Pompidou shows up. Suddenly you realize that you're not crazy and idiosyncratic-there are other people out there doing the same

Todd Gannon: Tell us how Stirling came to sponsor a way of working for you. Is there an instance in which there is a conscious reaction to his work?


T.M.: I think our work displays the same kind of hybrid structures as part of an organizational strategy for differentiating building fabric that are evident in Stirling's work. The notion that we could allow the structure to adapt to the interpretive possibilities of the broader program was literally taken from his way of working.

The competitions Stirling was doing through the '70S, Diisseldorf, Cologne, and Stuttgart, were quite influential. The urban strategies he was employing were all

a part of this "knitting and fitting" planning strategy put forward by Rowe and Ungers. It was an attack on the broader modernist aspirations of total planning and the ideal city. I think Rowe reestablished the terms of modern urbanism and redeployed them within both a conceptual and political framework. Stirling was operating within this highly contingent, collage environment of fragments.

J.K.: A moment ago you mentioned a shift in architectural culture from a rationalist to an intellectual practice. I really think that this shift begins with Rowe-with the idea that one should stop and read a building. Rowe's emphasis in "The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa" or "Transparency: literal and Phenomenal" is not the experience of the building spatially. What is important to Rowe in these essays is that the observer read the formal relationships that organize the object. I would argue that this reading is the beginning of the intellectualization of architecture you mentioned.

T.G.: While I agree with Jeff that the "Mathematics" and "Transparency" articles were about an intellectual delectation of the object-the contemplation of an idealized, coherent thing-for me, the three projects by Stirling you mention draw from a different period in Colin Rowe's writing. The projects do not set out to

make objects in the traditional sense. They seem to refer directly to the urban strategies Rowe explored with Fred Koetter in Collage City. Rather than make a coherent object, the projects weave together existing urban organizations. Components of the program are fragmented and distributed through the site in an effort to draw the adjacent organizations into the work and therefore lock the assemblage into its specific site. In this sense, the DUsseldorf, Cologne, and Stuttgart projects are antimonumental. In The Architectural

Uncanny, Anthony Vidler discussed the Stuttgart project as "faceless." This discussion applies to the unbuilt projects as well; they refuse to give a coherent "face" to be read. What is left is a series of fragments set in complex relationships with each other and inseparable from the context. I think that this strategy is certainly evident in the work of Morphosis as well. Do you agree?

T.M.: Yes. As you were saying that, it occurred to me that our Amerika Gedenkbibliothek project of 1988 was exactly this type of exploration. We were not interested in the singularity or monumental potential ofthe work.

The building was not conceived as an object; rather, the

T.M.: I think that is Eisenman's agenda, certainly. But I am single building was reformulated as a collection of six or

interested in a broader spirit, a kind of phenomenological seven fragments, and a series of operations was applied

understanding. I think the mind is only a fragment of to them in order to knit them into an extremely compli-

the activity; the role of the body and experience has to be cated site. There was no longer any interest in elevational

taken into consideration. For me, the work is nothing strategies; we allowed no preferred viewpoint. Similarly,

more than a concretizing of the human spirit. While it is an understanding of the building as programmatic

true that what you are looking at is an act of the mind, response was reconfigured into a project of urban

of the mind at work, I don't believe that the intellectual justification.

can be the sole component of understanding a work.

At La Tourette, for example, you realize that there is something much more complex going on. While there is a clear intellectual component, the space itself is fully integrated with the senses.

LK.: Colin Rowe was talking about a kind of quilt of tool within the interior. The third phase, which I believe

urbanism in which the interest derives from encounter- is still progressing, begins when your interest turns

ing differences as one moves through the spaces. The outside the box. Compositional and material strategies

spaces themselves are incoherent but in their relation- developed in the earlier works-your interest in the

ships one finds a certain logic. I think that your idea tubes-are suppressed in an attempt to explore the

of urban space has to do with a coherent, large-scale richness of the palette of potential spaces discovered

system that comes together in a kind of hysterical, through the previous research of the objects.

additive accumulation. What begins to happen in the more recent work is

that we see much more differentiation. In projects like

T.M.: Rowe was interesting to me in that he provided a the Crawford House and Chiba Golf Course, the elements

new system for the relationship between the program are developed uniformly. While each piece is made quite

and the formal response to it. There was a loosening of interesting, the overall effect of the space is homoge-

the fit between program and form that had to do with neous. The later works-Diamond Ranch High School or the

these broader intellectual issues. Today, I think this Hypo Bank, for example-seem richer to me in that they

discussion is much less interesting in that there has been are deliberate in the construction of spatial differences.

such a radical loosening of program from the work that

it becomes almost irrelevant. Today, program is one T.M.: This chronology sounds familiar, but only vaguely.

of the least stable elements the architect has to grapple The progression was much less sequential. I think you

with. I think the architectural ambition of the projects are right about an early interest in the parts. At that time

lies somewhere outside of the issue of program. I spent quite a bit of time studying the encyclopedias of Diderot. Looking back, that book may have been the

most valuable purchase I've made in my life ... and it was only fifty dollars!

My interest in Diderot was certainly driving the 2-4- 6-8 House. We decided to use the simplicity of the house to put it together like a model airplane. We drew the pieces one by one, documenting the nature of each piece. We then diagrammed the assembly process to establish the constructional relationships among the articulated pieces. I think this started two things: our interest in

a platonic language, and a focus on a particular event in the project, in this case, the window. I became very interested in refining the window as a lens. I used the beam for ventilation vis-a-vis Corb and chose primary colors

to evoke the primary nature of the work.

LK.: I do too. When Ilook at the work of Morphosis,

I find myself drawn to an analogy. If one were to look inside an old television set, one would see a fabulous array of tubes, transistors, and various other mechanical parts. These pieces are arranged differently from set

to set, but there is a consistency in that each set exhibits a space that seems immune to gravity-tubes and transistors float within the space in a dense composition of solid elements and a surprisingly figural void.

Given this example, I suggest that the development of your work can be outlined in three phases of exploration inside this television. In the first phase, we see a profound interest in the individual components. In 2-4-6-8, for example, there is a thoroughgoing investigation of the development and transformation of the

window. The second phase begins when we see a shift J.K.: It seems that in this and other early projects-the

from an interest in the individual tectonic element to Bergren House (Venice III) is another germane example-

the organizational potential they create through their there is a distinct attempt through these refinements

interaction. This is evident in the Kate Mantilini to make the parts more important than the whole. Do

Restaurant and the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Center, in which you agree?

a complex assemblage of parts acts as an organizing 13

T.M.: Absolutely. We drew it that way of course. We literally separated them.

J.K.: I think that's true. After 6th Street, we see a clear advancement from an interest in the individual pieces to the creation of a kind of ensemble effect, from the individual tubes toward their interaction as an organization. In 2-4-6-8, there is a development of pieces that doesn't add up to anything more. In Bergren, we see the same thing. After 6th Street, there is a real change-here you are actually drawing to illustrate how the house supports the parts rather than the reverse. It becomes about emphasizing the elements, letting them change.

J.K.: The 6th Street House is important because here the direction seems to change. Those drawings were crucial to me precisely because they reverse the focus. The plans and sections elucidate a way in which the pieces relate to one another. Here the interactions allow the elements to change ...

T.M. You're right. That is where this whole thing peaked.

I was working with Andy Zago, a guy who really understood me, and things just coalesced. There were ten

drawings and ten objects engaged within. The pieces were no longer autonomous.

At the time we were looking at the work of the photographer Manfred Hamm. His book Dead Tech: A Guide to the Archaeology of Tomorrow focused on a sort of postindustrial atrophy. It was fascinating. We had been focusing for so long on the nature of elements and then in these images ... we began to notice the value

of these objects beyond their mechanistic qualities. There was this incredible depth and these rusting pieces just kind of melt together into something totally amazing.

I think this archaeological sensibility came through in the 6th Street drawings.

In many ways, the 6th Street project was all about the drawings. We weren't just drawing, we were actually constructing the drawings. Years ago, someone mentioned to me that many of these drawings came after the work was completed. For me, the built work was not

the completion of the project. One drew, one built, and one drew again. The drawings preoccupied me; I had

the time to do them and lots of residual energy. They were also quite simple, I did them with a Number 2

Ticonderoga pencil. I was interested in a generic idea of T.5.: Strangely enough, that trait is very apparent in

T.M.: It's coherency.

J.K.: Although the work does cohere in an interesting

way, I don't think that coherency is the right term. After

6th Street there is an interest in making a kind of forest effect. It has an almost monolithic quality; and in a

strange way, all this articulation and differentiation

leads to a kind of consistency. I think this is evident all

the way up to the Nara Convention Hall project.

T.M.: I realize now that you were one of the first people

who told me that. I was convinced that I was making

these radically heterogeneous things, and you pointed

out after a lecture that in fact the outcome was quite

homogeneous. I spent a lot of time thinking about that

and I realize now that what interests me is the energy

that is channeled into the work. I see now that my own energy was applied equally over the fabric of the project.

I hadn't yet developed a sense of prioritizing the

articulation in the manner of someone like Frank Gehry, who, in my opinion, is immensely successful. He

focuses his energy quite deliberately-huge portions of the project are left effectively untouched.

drawing with the most simple pencil you could use. Stirling's work as well. At Olivetti, for example, large

In the end we had ten drawings and ten objects that portions of the project are handled pragmatically,

were embedded in them. And that was it. Those drawings and the architectural drama is played out almost

ended it. After this, we just ended our object explorations. entire Iy in the central space.


6th Street House Drawings


I ~




T.M.: Definitely. But I was somehow convinced that a complete work had no back edges-everything was dealt with kind of maniacally. Ilook at the work now and it is clear that Crawford really is a uniform thing. The funny thing is that now I am being deliberate in my attempts to make the work more uniform.

T. G.: But this shift toward consistency took place gradually. We could look at a project like Sinai and see an interest in the development of a complex assemblage within an otherwise normative building. Tell us about the development of this project.

T.M.: The singular preoccupation at Sinai was to reach

for the sky. At the time we started this project the cure ratio for cancer was running around SO percent. There was a kind of half-empty, half-full way of looking at the situation. The site condition was dictated by the demands of medical hardware and software, in this case primarily nuclear medicine, which had to be located underground. The whole notion of moving underground for this set

of procedures was an impossible position for us. All of our work was concerned with somehow finding a mechanism to deal with that condition.

We started with the idea of a collective space from which one could always find their way out visually.

Much of the treatment could be done in public. Patients preferred to be with other patients or with their fa miliesnot in a private room. The collective space was sunlit. Opening up the edges allowed you to look out into a court and pieces of a garden. Even though tile space was underground, elements of living matter remained in view. When one lies down in a room, part of the formal language of public space was brought into the room. From the private rooms one could still see out; it was designed for somebody in a prostrate condition.

The entry space was a connective device from grade to this subterranean world. Again, it was a space that was about light. The idea was that you were not moving underground into a basement. You were only moving


through levels. You were confined at the entry and then moved down to this open treatment space, the central space for the whole complex.

In the center of the space was a large apparatus that was a playhouse built as a symbol of our meeting: the collective client, architect, doctors, and the aspiration for their healing.

On my trips to Paris, I observed an interesting project that took place over many years. The city had propped up a piece of equestrian sculpture in a way

I found both amusing and curious. It was a ten-story hole, revealing an enormous section of the city. This statue was at the corner closest to Pompidou, and instead of moving it they kept underpinning it. Finally they had this thing sitting on the ground in this hole. It was wonderful. You understood the size of the excavation project. It

took them three years, working at night, to dig this hole. So this became the notion for the apparatus at Sinai.

I wanted to leave the tree at the grade of the site we had dug. As you enter the excavation, you look across and

see a chunk of earth that was left as a memory of the site, an orienting device.

The building was restrained, and the apparatus was a way we could let it rip and enjoy ourselves. Whatever the building did not do we could get from this apparatus. It was both a puppet theater and a structured part of the social program from the medical procedures and a series of videos. The kids could sit on a chair and take a picture of themselves. Very early we found it difficult territory. They lost their hair. Tough, tough stuff. When you are there longer, you realize that these are wonderful kids.

It is not a problem to them at all. They would photograph themselves and on the video you can change the imageput a hat on yourself, draw yourself, meet friends. There was a whole social order that took place among children there for treatment and the apparatus became very much a part of that. I have to say that I was very connected

to this. My brother had just died from Hodgkin's disease, which he had probably gotten in Vietnam. It was a very personal project to me.

Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center

I f




T.M.: Definitely. But I was somehow convinced that a complete work had no back edges-everything was dealt with kind of maniacally. I look at the work now and it is clear that Crawford really is a uniform thing. The funny thing is that now I am being deliberate in my attempts to make the work more uniform.

T.G.: But this shift toward consistency took place gradually. We could look at a project like Sinai and see an interest in the development of a complex assemblage within an otherwise normative building. Tell us about the development of this project.

T.M.: The singular preoccupation at Sinai was to reach

for the sky. At the time we started this project the cure ratio for cancer was running around SO percent. There was a kind of half-empty, half-full way of looking at the situation. The site condition was dictated by the demands of medical hardware and software, in this case primarily nuclear medidne, which had to be located underground. The whole notion of moving underground for this set

of procedures was an impossible position for us. All of our work was concerned with somehow finding a mechanism to deal with that condition.

We started with the idea of a collective space from which one could always find their way out visually.

Much of the treatment could be done in public. Patients preferred to be with other patients or with their fa mili esnot in a private room. The collective space was sunlit. Opening up the edges allowed you to look out into a court and pieces of a garden. Even though the space was underground, elements of living matter remained in view. When one lies down in a room, part of the formal language of public space was brought into the room. From the private rooms one could still see out; it was designed for somebody in a prostrate condition.

The entry space was a connective device from grade to this subterranean world. Again, it was a space that was about light. The idea was that you were not moving underground into a basement. You were only moving


through levels. You were confined at the entry and then moved down to this open treatment space, the central space for the whole complex.

In the center of the space was a large apparatus that was a playhouse built as a symbol of our meeting: the collective client, architect, doctors, and the aspiration for their healing.

On my trips to Paris, I observed an interesting project that took place over many years. The city had propped up a piece of equestrian sculpture in a way

I found both amusing and curious. It was a ten-story hole, revealing an enormous section of the city. This statue was at the corner closest to Pompidou, and instead of moving it they kept underpinning it. Finally they had this thing sitting on the ground in this hole. It was wonderful. You understood the size of the excavation project. It

took them three years, working at night, to dig this hole. So this became the notion for the apparatus at Sinai.

I wanted to leave the tree at the grade of the site we had dug. As you enter the excavation, you look across and

see a chunk of earth that was left as a memory of the site, an orienting device.

The building was restrained, and the apparatus was a way we could let it rip and enjoy ourselves. Whatever the building did not do we could get from this apparatus. It was both a puppet theater and a structured part of the social program from the medical procedures and a series of videos. The kids could sit on a chair and take a picture of themselves. Very early we found it difficult territory. They lost their hair. Tough, tough stuff. When you are there longer, you realize that these are wonderful kids.

It is not a problem to them at all. They would photograph themselves and on the video you can change the imageput a hat on yourself, draw yourself, meet friends. There was a whole sodal order that took place among children there for treatment and the apparatus became very much a part of that. I have to say that I was very connected

to this. My brother had just died from Hodgkin's disease, which he had probably gotten in Vietnam. It was a very personal project to me.

Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center

Crawford House Model

lG.: Excavation seems to be a device that remains the- Artists tend to work directly with the work and archi-

matic in your work. it is interesting that it would have tects tend to work through representational devices or

begun as a seemingly detrimental restraint at Sinai. Tell through abstract devices: plan, section, elevation. You

us about your interest in digging. Did it begin at Sinai forget that a plan is a very abstract drawing. It means

or is it more deeply rooted? nothing if you know nothing about architecture. It isjust

this abstract thing that has shapes. It has its own autono-

T.M.: I don't fully understand my preoccupation with dig- my, its own conventions, but it is meaningless except

ging. Perhaps it has to do with death. Digging obviates as an abstract drawing. It is just one way of seeing some-

the problem of image. It has become a useful strategy in thing and it is a way that is losing its power at the

our work by allowing us to pursue a much tougher, much moment because the plan is no longer as important. It

more radical trajectory than we could have ever pursued used to be this singular kind of drawing that one worked

with an object. off, and you understood the entire structure through

The first time I can remember focusing on the ground plan devices. Through poche, for instance, you could read

was at a Castelli show. The show was all about this section and elevation.

chthonic, primordial stuff. It was here that I discovered Turrell also realized that working with the phenome-

the work of Walter Pichler. non is interesting. He may have had a few plans to get

While we were obliged by the program at Sinai to himself there, to take to a carpenter, but he was not

deal with excavation, it was explored much more themat- enamored or in love with the plan. It was just something

ically at the Crawford House. to get him there. In the end he was working with the

All the work up to that point had been interventions phenomenon. That is why it is useful to construct things

into existing structure: small additions and commercial every once in a while. It is both pleasurable and power-

projects in restricted areas. We were given the opportu- enhancing. It gives you a simple kind of power.

nity to work on the Crawford House in a rural setting, on At Crawford, I wanted to uncover the phenomena

a more or less open site. It became evident early on that of the site through its documentation.

none of the interests we were pursuing at the time really The strategy was one of geometry, in the literal sense

surfaced in this project. Although I did not quite grasp of the measurement of land. There were a series of mere-

it at the time, this became a fresh departure point for a new set of interests having to do with occupation of the land. It led me directly to Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, and James Turrell.

When you look at Heizer you are reminded that you can make space by subtraction as easily as by addition.

A very simple idea. Heizer's big Double Negative makes a positive out of a negative. Someone like Heizer operates within in a very different method of thinking than we,

as architects, do. Architecture makes objects related to the land. He is operating directly on the problem. He is driving a tractor, digging a hole. He is aware of the phenomena of the site, the characteristics of the particular nature of the earth he is cutting, the slope it leaves as you cut it, etc. Architects are working with conceptual tools, always a step away from the project.

mental pieces and a fragment of wall that represented the conscious boundary of the site versus the land surveyor's boundary of the site. I should say that in many of these cases the relief model in some ways is much more accurate to what I was trying to do than the building is.

At this point I was much closer to Smithson-talking about reshaping the site-the work was not opposed to the site but, rather, integrated into it. Site and work are singular. Perhaps it's not working yet but the aspiration is there. The building and the site are coming together. And the computer is starting to creep into the work. Something else is taking place here: the notion of repetition as a primary organizing device.


We had a very interesting client. We were talking about Machu Picchu and Stonehenge and yet by the

time we got to their project they wanted a more or less normative house. The project was driven by this immense struggle; it was an absolute collaboration between the Crawfords and myself.

There were a lot of ideas that this building brought together. It is about taking apart the object and decentralizing. It is about dispersing in the way that the Villa Giulia disperses. The edge that faces the ocean to the

lG.: This kind of maniacal articulation of the pieces is certainly what leads to the sense of consistency

we mentioned earlier, don't you think? You seem to have been striving toward this uniform level of articulation and were not able to fully realize it until the Crawford House. It seems that what was keeping you restrained in earlier projects were the particulars of program, budget, etc.

1.K.: And now, while you claim that your current work

south is a topiary wall. The house divides and separates specifically strives toward this consistency, I find the

the public and private, and water is used as a connecting opposite to be the result. There is, in fact, more differ-

device from entry to ocean. entiation in these new works than we saw in the previous

There is a series of conceptual lines moving through works attempting to produce "radical heterogeneity:'

the site. There is also an idea of multi-balance that pene-

trates all the elements. Each element works and many of them do more than one thing. They are structure, service devices, HVAC, conceptual organizing devices, spacemaking devices. The formal elements of the work represent the juxtapositions of these various systems. The idea was that there is continual diversity or multiplicity of these elements and they have the ability to systematically make new elements and new combinations. None of them are outside the system. We are exploring the interaction in a system that has the potential to make and contribute to any number of particular events.

This is probably one of the first projects that really allowed us to resolve all the pragmatic elements in a singular work. There was nothing gratuitous. You are looking at a work in which everything is part of the architecture. Structure, moving water, servicing, HVAC are all fundamental parts of the architecture. The shower in the guest house sits on one of these columns. On another column there is a series of clear glass, translucent glass, mirror, and light that are placed together in one structure. Beside it there is a sink that is part of this singular assembly ...


T.M.: That's right, and I'm not sure how to deal with it. Diamond Ranch represents a radical shift for me because I actually had a singular strategy that went through the whole project. At Diamond Ranch, I was consciously trying to maintain a level of coherence and singularity, and strangely, the result is greater differentiation. It's really weird. I've gotten the strangest responses to it.

I was really terrified when 1 was working on the school because I'm used to a strategy of differentiation and here I was consciously going against that drive. I felt all along that the Hypo Bank was a more successful project. It was very clean, while Diamond Ranch was still

a bit rough around the edges-kind of a first attempt.

The response, however, has been the reverse. There has been a much stronger response to Diamond Ranch than Hypo. Hypo goes back to the old strategy, to the Amerika Gedenkbibliothek and Nara-it is a series of objects placed in the landscape and woven into the context. If you look at the strategy, you'll see that it is a series of three pieces that are juxtaposed. While the language

of the project is similar to Diamond Ranch, the strategies are completely different. Diamond Ranch is a singular organization that has none of the interest in juxtaposition found in Hypo.

~ ~\

Hypo Alpe Adria Center plans

Diamond Ranch started with the Crawford House

and Crawford started with an idea that had to do with the land. It doesn't look like it because we did not make it work. You would look at it and say it is still a house. You would be right, it's not working. With the Blades House, it is a little closer. It still looks more like a house than the idea in the model. When you look at the school you wouldn't say that it looks like a conventional building, but it took me that long time to get there. The idea was way, way back but the work was just not there: it was just a notion of land.

At the same time, we are coming to terms with the pragmatics of the project: How do we resolve programmatic and conceptual issues in terms of cost and the issues put forward by the client? We organize the given program spatially to establish a starting point for the work. Once these items are in place, we have enough information to begin the work.

Our first explorations are very tentative and still couched in the realities of the program. Being a competition, the project developed very quickly. It is not uncommon in developing a design for a competition to have two sessions in one day. The whole process takes about four weeks. The first week has to do with coming to terms with

1M.: We were invited to do a competition for a high the program and generating basic ideas that during the

1M.: 1 don't think that it is totally unconscious. There

are certain themes that are evident in the school that are derived quite specifically from earlier projects. 1 think

this interest in excavation has been in place for some time. Out of Crawford came Chiba, a project that 1 feel is

one of the strongest I've done in my life. So eight years later we are doing the school. Clearly a language shift has

taken place in the work, as well as a series of operational

changes having to do with working with the computer, but

the idea of geometrically marking the site remains. From

the upper field you can see this. From this vantage point, one gets a completely different reading of the project.

The building disappears, it becomes part of the land-

scape, and all that remains is a series of lines that map

the site. These data points, which can be seen all the way

back to a series of hoods at Crawford and Chiba, are

transformed here into a series of light wells that punctu-

ate the roofscape. In this sense, there is a literal continu-

ity of working on the same problem through a number of

projects over the years.

J.K.: I'd like you to work through the process of design-

ing Diamond Ranch as you remember it.

school on an open site in eastern Los Angeles called second week coalesce into a comprehensive conceptual

Diamond Bar. The city has a diameter of just under a hun- position. The third week is development and the fourth

dred miles. Diamond Bar is out there at about eighty presentation. The work moves very quickly.

miles-just where the city starts to break apart. An early scheme for the school was about the notion

The site was a large piece of land that had to be of an extended surface. Very early on it became clear that

manipulated in order to accommodate the horizontal this language allowed us to produce a planar language

spaces of the academic and athletic programs. It became and a volumetric language that goes to work accommo-

evident that the work would become a part of a continuity dating activity. The struggle in the project was dissolving

of previous projects connected to landscape and an the distance between the aspirations of the formal strat-

engagement in the earth. We were immediately thinking egy and the program.

about Crawford and Chiba but also the Paris Architecture The datum is a plane that folds down so there is no

et Utopie and Vienna Expo '95 projects. way to draw a plan. A plan is an intersection through the plane. At this time we had a few experienced forml people and everyone else was learning. We were proceeding on other volumetric issues because we could not draw a plan.


What will happen soon is that practitioners will bypass the plan and go right into shop drawings. This goes back to the first assembly drawings at 2-4-6-8.

You assemble pieces, document them, and then provide specifications piece by piece to the manufacturer. The pieces show up on site, workers look at the assembly package and then put it together, no drawings required. Most industrial objects are built as assemblages. Cars and airplanes are built this way. Plan and section drawings are absurd. It is already a sculptural object. Traditional drawings demand a certain type of product. When

you move away from the traditional product the drawings become useless. We scared everyone on this project.

The steel bid came in at twice what it should have.

I start a project with one person. I sit down with the head of the project and we start asking questions and setting up the terms of the work, including the methodology. How are we going to get the project done? What are the constraints? We start establishing the issues and

the questions we are going to tackle. For Diamond Ranch, we read the brief and we decided what the project was about. It was about two conflicting issues, one about program and taking care of children and the other about the site not being the right site. We were going to use this conflict to our advantage.

I was working with John Enright. We talked for

a while and he went off for about a week. When he came back he was going to tell me what the program was about, what it means to take care of children. What issues

are involved. He was going to give information about the site, the city, and the pragmatics in terms of building construction. This research allowed us to discover what our parameters were.

I came back in a week and he had all this prepared for me. There was a site model and we knew something about the city and what the project meant. It was about an entry, a gate situation. We started discussing what

the issues were. We were going to deal with nature in a certain way and I very quickly decided to make the building disappear. The site does not want a building on it. The first thing we are going to do is walk in and say, "You expect us to do architecture and there are always

these preconditions that you are expecting of us. We are not going to do that:'

We discussed how a parent would leave a child in a park, a natural setting. This is all parallel to the strategy that the site does not want an object, because somehow the object has to do with a gate or an entrance or a threshold. I sat down and made a few little sketches and looked at some models. At that point we added a person to the team to make the models and work on the computer and I was gone again.

We have an idea now. We have to fit in 150,000 square feet of program. We are looking for and generating a system that lies over the site, a system we do not control. I am trying to find the system and working simultaneously on intuitive directions that locate that system. With the computer, I cannot draw anymore; everything I am interested in comes from this system that is three-dimensional. There are complicated intersections. The plan is gone. We use it as an early generator to get started. I am worried about that because I realize it will be my downfall. It is just so embedded in me I will never change. I anticipate that the generation after mine will hang it up. The plan will be more or less irrelevant.

1G.: Let's look specifically at the Diamond Ranch drawings that illustrate this book. What is going on in the process as these drawings are being developed?

T.M.: There are two forces at work: one is an exploration of the organizational characteristics of the program and the other is an attempt to resolve those issues in terms of the sectional changes of the site and the actions of the folding roof datum.

On these first drawings (pp. 30, 31), we've already located the basic elements as they are today. The main playing field is at the upper level, the school is a linear organization at the middle level, and below are the practice fields. The strategy had to do with the resolution of the scale and of these objects on a sloping site as well as addressing view considerations and minimizing the movement of earth.


In the next sketch (p, 31), we are beginning to get much more specific programatically. The project required three 2SD-student clusters. For some reason this translates into four elements along the upper edge of this sketch. We're starting to think of the whole project as a series of plates engaged in the landscape, something like Gaudi's Park Giiel1. These early sketches are really grappling with the organization of the program on the site.

It is difficult for me to recall the specifics of each sketch. So many things are going on simultaneously, there is quite a bit of experimentation. Certain architects work very decisively-in a single stroke in a very short period of time the work is completed. I work tediously, piece by piece, constantly shifting from large scale to the detail. To reconstruct the actual path of the development is just about impossible.

I have to say, this project may be one of the messiest in terms of process that our office has produced. The project happened as we were computerizing the office.

At the beginning, we had only one computer, but by the end, the office had been completely transformed. The way the project moved forward was bizarre given this transition. Parts of it were drawn by hand, others in the computer. The detailing was handled on 81h-by-ll sheets that were faxed back and forth. In terms of process, this was actually one of the clumsiest projects we've done.

By the time we did Hypo, the process had been systematized. We did beautiful drawings, sketches, and computer work. The construction documents were fantastic. The office had established a way of using the computer and things were operating as smoothly as before but along a radically different trajectory.

LK.: This dichotomy between the pragmatics of programmatic accommodation and the pursuit of a specific design intention is interesting. The program really determines much of the architectural thinking that goes on. In many ways, the program almost designs the project in advance.


T.M.: Yes, but I think the architect has the responsibility to go back and challenge the program, to address deficiencies or point out opportunities. In the case of the school, there was no auditorium, no music space, no art spaces. We reconfigured the cafeteria so it could operate as a theater.

LK.: At the same time, it seems that the specific architectural problem you've outlined for the project is the solution of the undulating roof.

T.M.: Absolutely. I'm carving spaces and specific events out of the land and that is what is forming this roof structure. The site literallq folds around the events to form the spaces of the project. This folding process produces the new space of the site that becomes the focus of the project.

LK.: In the earlier stages, when you are making these sketches, how much are you thinking about the pragmatics of the project? Do you have a sense of how much it costs, what the construction is, etc.? How much pragmatic information is guiding your thinking?

T.M.: At the beginning I'm just dreaming. I have no idea what it costs. In fact, I don't want to be in those meetings. If I were limiting myself in those terms, I wouldn't be able to do what I am doing. But this way of working has to be tempered by a kind of realism. While we are determined to pursue purely architectural ambitions in our work,

the buildings must nonetheless function, and they have to be built for a certain amount of money. These are real buildings with real budgets; if we were not conscious of this fact, we'd just be wasting our time.

In some cases, pragmatic issues drive the architectural response. For instance, we are starting a project in San Francisco. It is a fifteen-story building in which

I want to use a skip-stop elevator that stops every fifth floor. We are doing this in order to produce a building of exemplary efficiency.

The idea is that we're building for healthy people who will walk to their floor from a series of lobbies staggered through the building. With this configuration, we can use four elevators with three stops each rather than nine cars with fifteen stops. We will also get rid of air conditioning and use smaller than normal fenestration. Between the elevators and HVAC, we will free up something like eight million dollars of the budget that can then be applied to developing surfaces that will make this a much more interesting building. It is a project for the government, a quite generic building programmatically. With this idea of the elevator, I'll be able to develop something much more interesting. I'll also be able to defend the architectural investigation in terms of broader social issues of health and community. The idea comes with built-in social organization and spatial differentiation from the staggered placement of the lobbies.

LK.: The space planner and the finance officer are going to try to fill the site with program, to make it as utilitarian as possible at the least amount of cost. That process

kills your architecture. The project becomes a strategy

of discovering ways of manipulating the site and the program in terms of the pragmatics of function and

the realities of cost without losing the opportunity to produce the spatial effects you are interested in producing. That is the struggle.

T.M.: Yes. Absolutely. That is always our struggle.

lG.: The most economical building in terms of cost is going to enclose the most amount of space with the least amount of material. Simple, undifferentiated forms are clearly at an advantage. Conversely, the strength of your work derives from a maximum of highly articulated surfaces. How do you keep these projects financially viable and maintain the degree of complexity?

T.M.: That has a lot to do with the newfound minimalism evident in the more recent work. Design decisions

are more often driven by economics than by conceptual forces. The Diamond Ranch project was completed for about $150 per square foot. The reality of this budget forces each element to do a lot of work. If the elements cannot be justified functionally, they're gone.

This is what happened with a large piece of the roof.

You can see in the early models a portion of the roof that slides off the gymnasium and up into the landscape along the edge of the playing field (p. 39, top). This roof element was a link between the natural hillside and the built form. It was a very literal move that really helped one to understand the fold. I think it was a really elegant gesture that was important in terms of design intention, but it simply could not be justified financially. This is not a project that can support solely conceptual elements.

These economic decisions also caused us to lose the tech tube. As the name implies, it was an element that was to house much of the information technology of the school. You can see it developing early on as an intersection through the linear street (p, 63, top). Here (p, 57, bottom) we see an element that is becoming much more clearly articulated in terms of movement and structure. What we are looking at is an element that is cantilevered something like 120 feet from the hillside-a real challenge structurally. We had someone in the office developing this piece for four months or so, Dve Arup produced two or three books of structural calculations, and in a single value engineering meeting, it's gone.

In the end, this building is maybe 75 percent of what it was intended to be.

LK.: It seems to me that the way you work is by immersing yourself in the problem intuitively. While you do produce a strong architecture with a real critical effect, its creation does not unfold systematically. In fact, you consciously resist giving an account of the work unfolding in this way. You work in many ways like a novelist: you outline, often write the paragraphs nonsequentially, and constantly shift your attention to different episodes at different scales.

I am not trying to be critical of the process; I am attempting to demystify it. When I write, for example, I have no idea what the finished product will be like. There

is an initial phase in which I write down anything, I just fill up pages. Afterwards, Ilook at this collection of

thoughts and begin to devise methods for knitting it all together. By the time the reader reads it, there is a feeling that an inexorable thinking exists from beginning to end. This is not true at all, but it is the effect I am interested in producing. I once wrote an article that included at the end all the material that had been edited from the finished text. I wanted to express the sheer madness that is required to produce the work. I think this madness is evident in your work as well.

I really want to get at the reality of the decisionmaking process of your work. I am not interested in the generalities of the ideas, I want to explore the specifics of how Morphosis makes a project. While there is a gen-

eral sensibility developed around the certain organiza- T.M.: I simply cannot work that way. It is much too rigid.

tional principles and operations, you do not seem This is why I prefer to work with the looseness of pencil

LK.: Have you seen the manuscript for James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake?

T.M.: No. I should, though.

J.K.: There is no such thing. There is a text that he sends

to the publisher; it comes back as a galley. He writes

again and sends it back. So many versions are produced

that there is no object that can be called "the manuscript:' It became the job of the publisher to sit down

with all this stuff and figure out just what Finnegan's Wake would be.

Many composers write this way as well; Beethoven

did. Others, like Mozart, wrote in a way more akin to

the way Tschumi works. He would have an idea, know the

detailing of it in advance, and allow his confident

intuitions to see the project through.

particularly interested in keeping the implementation of rather than the precision of ink or a computer. I prefer to

those operations coherent. Do you agree? work on the fragments-it allows me a kind of continuous movement among the projects.

T.M.: I think that's fair to say. I have a great admiration for practitioners who are able to produce work in this systematic way. Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, for instance, put an immense amount of energy into organizing a didactic aspect to the production process. These people have a real interest in communicating their ideas in a very systematic way. I do not. I do just as many drawings, if not more, but I have no interest in gluing the process together in a systematic way. I could go back and augment the drawings after the fact, but during the process, we are moving at such a speed that there just isn't time to get caught up in these systematic process issues. In the end, I think the building should be the explanation.

Nonetheless, I maintain a real admiration for those people and their way of working. The way that Tschumi organized the La Villette project is unbelievable. The process is so straightforward and articulate. Koolhaas's entry was similar in this sense.

You've got to remember, this work is taking place alongside the development of four or five other projects. My own role is in many ways much more fragmented than that of the team members. I move back and forth between the different teams, always looking for opportunities to apply discoveries made in one project to another. Moments in one project can sponsor the development of entire schemes. There is a real creative freedom that derives from this way of working.

The team (in the case of Diamond Ranch, led by John Enright) is doing far more drawings than I am. I am organizing groups of people while John and his team are developing this incredibly complicated program. My role is to react to their work. I can't imagine how to maintain a coherent logic to this process. We simply want to experiment as much as possible and recognize potential for development.

You can see this in these initial sketches. John is working out the specifics of the program (pp. 32, 34, 37) and I am working over the top of them in these much more gestural drawings (pp. 33, 35). Room by room, event by event, we are scanning for opportunities to push the design forward. You can see this in the progression of elements through the early sketches and models. The classrooms of the lower school are a series of clusters in the early studies. As the design progresses, they take on the linear quality displayed in the final work.

While these diagrams are explicit in their elaboration of the program, there is also an implicit understanding of the undulating roof form that determines the project. I'm not drawing it here because in a very real sense I cannot draw it. The complex nature of the form is mapped in the computer; my reactions are limited to these diagrammatic sketches. In a sense, it is the same way architects have always worked. When an architect is drawing plans in the traditional sense, he or she must have a sense of how the section is operating even though its graphic representation is limited by the convention of plan drawings. Here, my ability to represent the space is limited by the pencil. The real development of the work happens in the computer. These sketches are simply a way to come to terms with

the complexity ofthat operation.

We are working simultaneously in models. In this clay model (p. 38), we're just laying out blocks of program on the site. The undulating roof shows up in later models (p. 39, top) and the elements begin to take on their linear dispositions, but the overall effect is still very diagrammatic.

As the design progresses, we see more rigorous investiqation of the sections (pp. 53, 57, 59-61). Here, the integration ofthe roof form with the spaces becomes much more evident. At a certain point, we get to a level

of investigation where many things are happening stmultaneously. We're working with much more detailed

spatial combinations and functional/technological issues. Here (pp. 59, 60), we are investigating the eccentricity of the structural system that is moving with the folds and

an organizational system that is moving 15 degrees from that. The whole project becomes a resolution of two

systems: the organizational strategy of the program and the conceptual land strategy. We intentionally shifted them in order to make evident the tension that exists between the operation of the school and the fabricated landscape. Everything in the project has to do with resolving this opposition. While the forms take on a certain sculptural quality as a result of these operations, they really have nothing to do with sculpture. The process is absolutely rigorous and rule driven.

When Ilook at these drawings, I realize that much of the work has to do with resolving issues of the elements; in many ways we are again back inside the television. But what is interesting is that for me, these drawings are perhaps the most important to understanding the project. The sectional diagrams (p. 69) of the roof structure are made up of planar and volumetric plates. While they are quite idiosyncratic in their form, they really represent for me a moment of clarity. These section diagrams are the idea. In them, you can understand the conceptual workings of the project. We see in these a representation of the movement of the hill through the built work.

The drawings are produced as CAT scans. We take section cuts at set intervals through the length of the project. The locations are arbitrary, determined by the interval alone, with no preconceived intention about elucidating certain spaces. While the sections do illustrate the relationships between certain adjacent spaces, the end result is a clarification of the workings of the project as a whole.

I think the plans are working through the pragmatics of the program, while the sections clarify the conceptual ideas of the project.

This is a process we have employed for quite some time in the office. The series of sections done for the Lawrence House employ the same method.

J.K.: Interesting. I would not have connected those drawings with a way of working through the design of a building. I thought it was a drawing conceit.


T.M.: Not at all. We are actually organizing the building LK.: So there is a certain intellectual mood in which you

through the logic of the section. With these we can study prefer the work to be received. But I don't think it is the

relative densities throughout the length of the project. coldhearted, calculated intellectualism of Eisenman,

We are purposely not taking sections at points of because you maintain a close attention to materiality

supposed interest. Instead, we employ a certain rigorous and to the experiential character of the spaces you make.

process and find out where that takes us.

LK.: In what mood is an observer to receive the work? For instance, when one visits a building by Peter Eisenman or Richard Meier, there is an understanding of formal relationships to be read from the building's organization. On the other hand, Eric Moss claims an interest in being sculptural. In this, he's looking for permission to fall back out of a close, attentive relational approach to the work into a less critical, transportive mood.

It is similar to music; the intent is to be swept away, to become caught up in the sculptural drama of the work.

T.M.: I'm not even vaguely interested in that kind of sculptural effect. I'm interested, obviously, in a rigor derived from a series of operational mechanisms that drives the work and keeps me from getting lost. Take Frank Gehry, for example. I know Frank; he's a guy who has a very intuitive, compositional way of working. But when I look at the atrium at Bilbao, I say he got lost. He got lost, in my opinion, because he has no operational strategy. His work is too personal. Think of the way he works. He is in and out of the room, tinkering with these models. When he's gone, very few people in the office have any idea what is going on.

To get a sense of how to work with Frank, one has to understand him on the same personal, intuitive level on which the work is produced. There is no broader, operational system to clarify the process.

I can be away from my office for two weeks and the whole group knows exactly what they are doing because we've developed a clear operational system for each project. That's what we are doing at the beginning of the projects-establishing the framework that will guide us through the design process. Each project is a little different, of course, there are subtle nuances, but these systems are essential in the production of the work.

T.M.: That's true. There is still infinite possibility for architectural experimentation within these organizational rules. It is for this reason that I find Corbusier's work to be continually interesting. He was able to operate within a very clear system of tectonic, organizational, and proportional rules and simultaneously employ this immense intuitive power. I don't think Eisenman is very interested in the phenomenological aspects of the work.

I would say that most architects of my generation tend to operate within this system of operational strategies. Tschumi, Koolhaas, even Steve Holl, while he exudes this air of a kind of poetic sensibility, certainly work in this way. It is this way of working that lets us operate

as a collective culture-everyone in the office is able to participate. My office simply could not function if I were trying to work in a wholly intuitive manner. We rely on

a discussion that is continually revolving around the strategic and tactical issues of the project to determine the specificity of the design.

LK.: In Eisenman's or even Corbusier's work, one can see the interconnectedness of small-scale elements with the large-scale overall strategy. In a sense, there is an effort to define the entire project with each part. In your work, there is a rigor to the small-scale elements, the showerhead at the Blades House, for example, but these elements do not necessarily work to support the larger ideas in the house. In the Diamond Ranch gym I can understand the structural system acting to support the idea of the fold and the fact that we are inhabiting

two spaces at once, but you are not expressing this fact obsessively in the space. You allow other kinds of pleasures and cognitions and intellections to inhabit the project-not unrigorously but in the same sense

not subordinated to one driving cognitive force.

T.M.: I think we are talking about two different things here. I agree with your critique of Blades. In that element, we really are back inside the TV. My work has been accused of being fetishistic for these kinds of elements. The piece is so intricately wrought that it competes with the space of the bathroom. As a physical entity it confiscates your attention. Maybe the scale of the earlier work dictated this approach. Often, to produce an architectural effect the most effective tool was to make interesting objects. Space costs a lot of money.

But in the gymnasium, all of the articulation of the space, whether it's the IS-degree rotational shift or

the materiality or the structure or the pieces of steel that punctuate and divide the space in another way, has to do with making evident the nature of the fold and its interaction with the plan. Take the snoutlike protrusion, for example. Visitors have sometimes read these events

as sculpture, but it is simply not the case. These forms are the direct interaction of the fold and a plan event. The operational strategies that we put in place allow a series of collisions to occur that in turn make these things.

LK.: Which film directors interest you? More specifically, whose work do you feel operates in a manner similar

to your own work?

T.M.: Maybe Wim Wenders or Jim Jarmusch. There are a number of people, Antonioni ...

Think of Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise. It's an incredible film, it's about movement and no one is moving •••

J.K.: Really great choice. I say this because, like Jarmusch, you do not seem interested in the subtext driving every aspect of the story. One can watch that film, episode by episode, and feel a linking between the scenes. But you also notice that each episode is designed with a discrete integrity that links with the others but is not subordinated to them. There is a real enigma to the story but it is not because he is relentlessly building a kind of superstructure to which every element in the film is devoted. This is what happens

in a film like Magnolia. Magnolia is more like an Eisenman building. In it, every device, even to the point of undermining certain filmic possibilities, is subordinated to supporting this singular, driving framework.

T.M.: That kind of methodology is way too authoritarian for me. The architecture has to allow a richness and diversity to be drawn from the human activities that it is built for. Otherwise, we're right back to projects like the Johnson Wax Tower by Frank lloyd Wright, which I think is one of the most perverse pieces of architecture ever made. It is like a prison of light. There are these solid cubes that you can't see out of. You are in a tower in which you keep ascending but it's irrelevant because you cannot see out. Each cube is identical. Soon you realize that you are in the mind of this perverse, egotistical character. The work is phenomenal in its perversity, but as architecture it is ridiculous.

J.K.: That building is built knowing full well that it only comes to fruition when everybody leaves it, when it is empty.

T.M.: Absolutely. At that level it is absolutely amazing. But in terms of a model for real building it is absurd.

LK.: But then you have the Guggenheim, which is, in

my view, the most perfect marriage of an architectural idea with its program in an urban setting. At the time of its construction, art was striving to become part of the infrastructural space of the city. It wanted to get out

of the temples and into the streets. The great diagram of the Guggenhiem is that you walk into the Pantheon,

a memory of the temple, then you take the elevator

up to the top and find yourself on the street!

I'm convinced that Wright designed Johnson Wax and many of his projects with the intention of driving its users out. He knew the spaces would fail from the moment he conceived them.


T.M.: I just can't look at that as a realistic approach to the problem of making architecture. It does bring up an interesting point. You claim that Wright had a preconceived intention as to what the building was going to be like. While I think all architects have this sense to some degree, I'm also quite interested in what the physical building produces that could not be predicted. This is the territory of exploration. You make discoveries and then pursue their development in other projects.

While visiting Diamond Ranch with John Enright,

I realized that neither of us had a real notion of the scale of this project. At a certain point the work becomes a completely autonomous thing, it produces effects that could never have been predicted.

LK.: I think that is valuable. It shows that you were

not interested in producing a sublime scale effect as part of the architectural ambition of the work. I think it is important that you didn't grasp the scale. The building

is going to produce an entire catalog of effects that are certain to overwhelm the visitor, even if that visitor happens to be the architect. In many ways, the architect has very little control over these effects. What we want to explore in these Source Books, however, are the effects and intentions that you do have control over.

We are interested in understanding the architectural intentions of the project, in how the work is created. This book is not about writing a critical commentary on the work; we are attempting to elucidate the design process that Morphosis employs to make a building.

Don't you think it's interesting that Beethoven was able to write music deaf?

moment in a series of events but it is not the only event. I think it is crucial to an understanding of a work to be able to get beyond the seductive potential latent in

any work of architecture. I am interested in the effects that produce architectural culture.

Any long-span space has the power to seduce the observer. When I walk into the gym at Diamond Ranch,

I will actually have to fight this seductive effect in order to understand the workings of the architecture. The architectural ambitions of your work, the relationship of the roof and the plan, the is-degree grid shift,

the significance of material choices, operate at a level beyond the physical qualities of the spaces. This is the area that I am interested in exploring.

T.M.: I think the building is everything. The drawings and models and computer renderings are just notations.

In the end, you look at the built work and decide whether the conceptual thinking and the totality ofthe work really add up to anything.

T.G.: But we can look back to older projects in which you actually returned to the drawing board after the building was complete. In that sense, there must be something more to the project than the building itself.

1M.: There was a time in my career when the drawings and models and thinking were the work. One drew, one built, and one drew again. Doing the second set of drawings and spending time thinking about where the project might lead in the future was cathartic and meditative.

I once watched a special about Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. At the end of a concert, he is completely spent-there is simply nothing left in him. I admire Keith Richards; he comes from a deeply internal position that

LK.: The reason that he could is that his musical rarely has to be justified intellectually. When interviewers

1M.: Amazing, actually.

ambition was not directly related to producing a musical try to get him to go back to the show, to recount what had

experience. He understands that the musical experience happened, he barely remembers it. I feel the same way

will be carried by the work, but the real project is when I reflect upon my own work. At that point, you've

not about the production of experiences. I think the closed that chapter and the work is left to speak for itself.

same is true for architecture. The building is not the only When the work is done, everything has been said that

component to the architecture. It is an important

I have to say. In the end, it is not at all intellectual.

New York City, May 6, 2000







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1. Classrooms

2. Bathrooms

3. Teachers' work area

4. Cafeteria

5. Teachers' courtyard

6. Locker rooms

7. Gymnasium

8. Security

9. Administration

10. Parking

11. Student center

12. Library

13. Physical education

14. Stage

15. Amphitheater

16. Courtyard







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