A Thought on Architecture

While reading the articles and books surrounding the thought of architecture, prompted a thought on variations of designs, which combine elements of the exterior with interior and vice versa. In Deleuze’s “The Fold” he goes to great length in the discussion of Baroque architecture and its multiplicity and simultaneity of the exterior/ interior. “The Fold” is just one several examples of Deleuze’s work that is working with the notion of the multiple—things occurring in tandem. However, what this means for architecture is a rethinking of space, inside/outside, and the nature of images. What is at stake are the assumptions of exterior and interior elements and spatial awareness. An individual facing a particular structure is confident in recognizing what is inside and what is outside. The fold, for Deleuze, is what challenges this tendency to construct boundaries with the assumption that an interior and exterior are to remain separate entities. Deleuze writes, “The problem is not how to finish a fold, but how to continue it, make it go through the roof, take it to infinity” (Deleuze, 242). At first the central question seems to be, is there complete representation? Or merely elements that work as a fold. However, the fold is something that is ever changing, once architecture attempts to produce the fold it simultaneously sends the process in a new direction.  The purpose seems not to construct the “prefect” model; instead Deleuze offers an example using the fold as a thought, and a consideration of the consequences of that thought. An attempt to reconstruct Deleuze’s notion of the fold via a tangible model seems to be missing the value of the claim. Instead, the fold is a method to produce thought, and to rethink architecture and space: How can one continue the fold?

In the line of rethinking architecture, it is interesting to consider multiple sensory aspects of design that include visual and spatial elements as well as acoustics. When one thinks about design the initial thought seems to consider the basic foundation or structure. But what about the way in which sound resonates, creating vibrations and echoes, resulting in a certain ambience, while simultaneously leaving the space open? Here, an auditory response to the design could suggest a sort of fold. As an example of such a practice, I would like to suggest the Frank Lloyd Wright design of the Kaufmann Waterfall House in Pennsylvania. Wright’s design incorporates a unique geological awareness, as the house was constructed atop an active waterfall. The water flows underneath the design creating an acoustic presence throughout the home. The consideration of sound into the design could point to an openness—the notion that the sound never repeats itself.  The acoustics of design could be affected by air temperature, humidity, and precipitation levels; the experience of the design is as much about construction, as it is the sensory elements. Wright was greatly influenced by Japanese Architecture, in the manner that the elements of the natural world interact and blend in the elements of the human construction.

The argument for whether Wright’s design models Delueze’s notion of the fold is negotiable; however, Wright’s use of sound and resonance in an architectural design holds value for considering structures that go beyond the wall. As an exercise of the value of sound in design, one could compare Wright’s use of water to the discussion in class regarding Deleuze’s Virtual/ Actual and Cache’s Crystallized/ Pre-crystallized structures. The argument floats around the question is Wright’s design completely exhaustive or does it lend itself to possible and continuous affects? The argument for a complete model of the fold is not necessarily the problem. The problem lies in the perpetuation or continuation of the fold once it has begun, to “take it to infinity.” The water provides a source of sound as it passes over rocks, narrows, widens and falls. The vibrations made by such an occurrence provide an awareness of the outside while inside the structure—a coming together of forces. The inhabitant of the house becomes hypersensitive to the geography of the landscape by an attempt to focus attention on an auditory response. This emphasis on creating or evoking an experience through narrowing in on a particular dynamic such as sound vibrations is an exercise perpetuating a fold—to be conscious of something that one would ordinarily be conscious of.

Deleuze, Gilles; Strauss, Jonathan. Yale French Studies, No. 80, Baroque Topography: Literature/ History/ Philosophy. 1991. P227-247.

j. lindsey


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