Detail Design workshop- Residential & High rise detailing-Course Documentation

Hello restless spirit,
Last Saturday we had detail generic course class, accompanied by Realrich Sjarief and team. This course is a continuity as part of Omah’s one day courses. The aim is to understand the importance of details as a tool to express and find or declare your own design signature.

The class will be divided unto three segment which were:
Learning from The Master; Carlo Scarpa.
Carlo Scarpa is one of figures whom respected as an architect who had this obsessive developments of details. This section will explore Carlo Scarpa briefly, which are divided by 4 parts:
a. Who was Carlo Scarpa?
Carlo Scarpa was born in Venice on 1906. The story followed Scarpa from his earlier stage of his career in Venice and Vincenza. His entry to the Royal Academy of Arts where he met Guido Cirillo (his professor and future collaborator), Carlo Maschietto (future Castelvecchio Construction Manager), and Mario de Luigi to mention the few. Carlo Scarpa, to a degree unmatched by any other Modern architect, stood in two worlds: the ancient and the modern, the particular historical place and the modern larger contemporary world.
Carlo Scarpa’s approach to design is always put onto two considerations; time and details. Time is how the intertwining of past, present and future put onto considerations within the charged context. Details is how a peculiar parts of condensed boundless whole forms a intricate, articulate joint. Carlo Scarpa’s works, which revolves around exhibitions, museum, and refurbishments were also related to his relationship with glass worker, Murano to be precise. This lifelong experience showed how Scarpa so deeply rooted to Venice and art as a whole, therefore put Scarpa as a inclusivist yet a very limited architect. This section also indicate how Venice becomes his root for many of his designs, even after the influence through modern architect such as Le Corbusier and Frank Llyod Wright, which the latter was his idol, his inspiration in his early years. Although he is always been a modernist, as it showed in the University of Venice renovations Ca’s Foscari in 1950s, it is interesting to observe how Scarpa developed in a kind of modern attitude yet stay rooted by his origins with his latter
works such as Bryon Tomb.

b. Toward a critical architecture
Scarpa’s architecture language started to brimmed through his work in Gispoteca which shows how he altered space to emphasize artworks and the arrangements of it. This traits of his will continue to develop, especially in his work of Palazzo de Abetellis. He showed awareness on how architecture design could act as a critiques, as a tool to highlight other art works, to help people understand the illogicality of arts. His then magnum opus was how he arrange such space for one single artworks, the Cangrande statue in the renovation of Castelvecchio Museum which took 20 years of dedication.

c. Rediscovery of Identity
Through the journey of his career, Scarpa went on to visit several works by Frank Llyod Wright, including his works in Japan. This latter stage, if you will, put Scarpa’s connscious into a more refined version in his modern work. The Villa de Ottolenghi showed one of this traits as he design the building as in their context, put the building in a asymmetrical order. Local materials such as prun stones becomes the highlight of his design, as well as narrow corridor behind the house which represents Venice hallway. As stated in the book Villa Ottolenghi, this architecture is a parlante architecture, which speaks volume through various materials.

d. Adoration/celebration of a joint
From Louis Kahn’s excerpt, Carlo Scarpa was said to have this so-called attitude of adoration of the joints, as shown on his works in Querini Stampalia. His obsessive treatments of everyday objects, some were obscured one, like handrails, handles, knobs, etc. not only emphasize his love to joints but also appeared as a strategy for integrating heterogenous elements. The joint is treated as some kind of tectonic condensation, as an intersection embodying the whole in a parts.

2. Material Imagination/Strange Details
Matthew Mindrup’s Material Imagination includes a segment entitled “Tracing Carlo Scarpa’s Nose”. The story follows Scarpa and his pupils Pietropoli while they discussed on the reconstruction of San Sebastiano. Scarpa showed how intuition play a big part on how he decides things on his design, such as Pietropoli’s smoke patterns which turn into the posisiton of the trees on plans. But the most intriguing things is how Scarpa and Pietropoli made the drawings, it is started as a “tremblottant”- making free hand ink lines with a thin nib by tracing over the constructed lines of the drawing below. The wavy pulse of his hand transfers through the nib into the paper, expounding slightly different qualities each time a line is traced. The entire drawing is made up of these thin lines.

Another segments also showed the analogy of creative genius. A painting by Paul Klee of a portrait of a guy who had no ears and the shut eyes symbolizes on how the genius made his works. The ability to trust your intuition and not bear with other people’s distraction is essential when you had already the knowledge and strong core in your design process.

This practiced intuition will enhanced your prediction on how things might work out outside of the drawings. It showed how Michelangelo and Bernini made his sculpture from a solid singular stones and carefully predicts the stones’ attitude. Iteration also played a very important part as it showed how Bernini evolve his work of sculpting from Charity With Four Children to his works on Cathedral Petri and Gloria window. Lastly, the concept on Non Finito or “unfinished” is important to lay grounds some of the basis to ever-growing design process. One explanation perpetuated by Vasari, is that his “non finito reflects the sublimity of his ideas, which again and again lay beyond
the reach of his hand”.

The ideas of adoration of joint was emphasized once more in the book Strange Details by Michael Caldwell. This book tell stories of how Scarpa made the details of Querini Stampalia, how Mies made his Farnsworth, on Frank Llyod Wright’s Jacobs house and Kahn’s Yale Art Centre.

3. Workshop
The groups then has to make several door designs. The front entrance door, door to the bathroom, and door to master bedroom. This assignments was selected because door represent the very object that we could see in every house, and yet a obvious choice to put a signature taste into the parts.
The workshops continue with some critiques and discussions from the participants work.

The emphasize of door designs and how it effect other elements, such as its ironmongery selection, the floor-ceiling treatments, and how it define the unique personality of the designer itself. The importance of self-awareness and willingness to put some development on details is encouraged in the workshops as the next assignments to make a signature details on some other elements such as floor and skylight ceiling ignite some interesting discussions. The question of how important details development in the reality of now, which rely on uniformity to conclude effectiveness is brimmed through the discussions. Realrich Sjarief then shared his experience in his practice and how he manage to put some consciousness in detail developments. Signature details will differentiate yourself through intimate relationship between the buildings and the people in it, but yet it is indeed require some willingness to aware on how to make it work while we served our clients prerequisites. One of Realrich’s statements is that how the details in design process was actually entirely yours to set up and develop, this is the stage that you can manifest your ideas without boundaries.

It was a very interesting evening here in Omah generic detail course.
Thank you and we will see you on the next course.

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