Game Over, Man

Posted in architecture, thesis by johnsnavely on December 1, 2007



Today was my penultimate review. It was sort of strange. I wasn’t quite ready to present. I was missing large pieces of production (the plans mostly) that made it more difficult to explain the project than if I had done this last minute check next week. I had four reviewers: Yung Ho Chang, Andrew Scott, John Fernandez, and Simi Hoque. Meejin was away…

The major feeling was that I wasn’t being crazy enough. A failing that I’m ready to admit. I suspect that if I were too crazy the review would be the opposite. Two reviewers thought I could have a beautiful building and two didn’t see much in the project. Unfortunately, the two that didn’t see much in the project have to sign off on my thesis. But maybe in two weeks they’ll warm up to it.

Last night I wrote up another statement, it’s very short, not very well written, but is pretty much the point.

This thesis investigates the potential of opportunistic borrowing and blatant reference—a postmodern approach pioneered by architects like Michael Graves, Robert Venturi and Charles Jencks—through a renovation that reinstates a movie palace into a 99 cent store in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Instead of concentrating on the facade like postmodern architecture of the past, however, this thesis turns these techniques inward, as a way of designing the interior of the building; using an aesthetic which encourages nostalgia, that, through historical reference, can endear a design to a community, mitigate programmatic dischord, and provide unusual formal qualities. To find this nostalgic beauty, this thesis will revisit antique typologies like that of the movie palace and nickelodeon, out-dated architectural techniques like poche and pastiche, and forgotten forms of ornament. Iconography and ornamentation, rather than being mere decoration, form a membrane which acts as a cultural interface to site the building in a strong, diverse, and ultimately stubborn community.

I love the last sentence (for which I owe Bryan many thank-you’s), but my thesis doesn’t accomplish this.


See you all in 13 days.


One Response

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  1. Jenny said, on December 1, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Hey from Paris and congrats on finishing this hurdle! Saw the announcement about the second to last review…what were the comments from Andrew and Fernandez? Were they concerned about the plans?

    Last time I checked, you were still pretty crazy…:)

    The term nostalgia aside (over which we disagree), maybe what your critics were looking was a larger architectural agenda? It is good for you to bring different demographics of a community together but perhaps the project should state what the interior can do that a facade cannot…what ornament brings to the table versus tectonics…? Not simply reviving old forms but using them to make a critique of contemporary architectural elements? Or proposing a new postmodern architecture that builds upon Venturi but tweaks it?

    Hope this helps and good luck in the final stretch…you can do it!! I look forward to seeing the completed project…

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