Posts Tagged 'publication'

photo: interior “urban living room”

photo interior people

This photo appeared in the architectural journal, El Croquis as part of a mopnograph on Rem Koolhaas/OMA, where an extensive profile of this building is featured. It depicts the “urban living room” on SCL’s 3rd floor.

As you can see, the landscape orientation of the photo, spreading across two pages, focuses on a horizon where the glass skin meets the floor. Shot from a high angle (5th floor) and using an extremely wide-angle lens, as evidenced by the distortion in the foreground, this is an image of the building as landscape. People move through this landscape — their movement is evidenced also by distortion — but they are clearly not the subjects of this image. All of the dramatic diagonal lines lead the eye to a center where there are no people at all.

The dominant visual feature of the images is those diagonal lines, which cover almost the entire image and give the distinct impression of a net, as if a visual metaphor for a network, which is one of the dominant metaphors for society in the information age.

This image could also be said to express Bordieu’s explanation of “the true object of social science” which is not the individual, but the field. In this image, the individuals exist “as agents – not as biological individuals, actors, or subjects – who are socially constructed as active and acting in the field.” The field here being, graphically and dramatically, the library building itself.

There is further evidence of this conception of human individuals as agents in the field that is the building in the conceptual imagery and in the video-lecture by Joshua Prince-Ramus, the architect in charge of construction.

photo: exterior at twilight

exterior at twilight
This photo appeared in the spanish architectural magazine, El Croquis as part of a monograph on Rem Koolhaas/OMA. This photo was taken from the small public space directly across 5th avenue.

This photo is particularly telling in that it presents the building as a rather whimsical character. Although it has a landscape orientation, the centrality of the building and the very-nearly-symmetrical formal garden in the foreground, lend an air of portraiture. The severe verticality of the buildings in the background stand in sharp contrast to the asymmetry of our daring hero in the foreground who literally shines in comparison. In our hero’s reflective surfaces the sky leads its mirror-life, and he literally reflects back, from the middle of his “face” his square (literally and figuratively) neighbor, demonstrating how much younger and savvier he is.

Note, there are no pesky human figures to draw attention aware from the protagonist in this image. What is more, there is no visual indication whatsoever of an entrance or even the possibility of entrance, as if entrance is not necessary, as if the building’s presence suffices to impart intelligence like a cubist vision of Kubrick’s monolith.