Author : Ryan Tyler Martinez

University : Southern California Institute of Architecture

Status : MArch, 2013

Advisor : Eric Owen Moss

Title : Breadcrumb | Complexity and Curation, Intricacy and the individual

Recently Edward Snowden was in the news for leaking classified documents from the NSA, documents that disclosed the collection of private information of people, organizations and governments around the world. This project asks a question: “what are the subjectivities that are in the world that architecture hasn’t already found a place for?” Possibly the answer to that question is personal data of individuals.

The title of the thesis is Breadcrumb; Complexity and Curation, Intricacy and the individual. I want architecture to assert its authorship process formally. I was dealing with personal statistics of the architect, myself, to try and represent contingency in architecture. I was using an application by the information graphic artist Nicholas Felton called Daytum to record every subjectivity that came into contact with the thesis over a three-month period. I recorded things like what I ate, who I talked to, where I went, what books I was reading, what websites I was visiting, the conversations I was having with Eric Owen Moss. I’m arguing that these somewhat superfluous activities have a large effect on the final outcome of a finished project. Simultaneously, I’m taking that information and trying to use it as some type of architectural device or trying to solve it as some type of architectural problem.

The thesis goes from a series of precedent study drawings to the design of a curated house in Antwerp, Belgium. The site of the house is the home of Peter Paul Rubens. I picked the site for two reasons. First, we all know Rubens as a Northern Baroque painter, but a lot of us don’t know Rubens as an architect. When Rubens was a student in Italy, he worked on about 120 architectural drawings, he studied Michelangelo, he studied the body. And when he was done, he went back to Belgium and he built a house called the Rubenshuis. I used the site of the Rubenshuis because it had no positive or pejorative connotations within the discipline of architecture. Second, I was interested in reenacting the design of a house from an architect who was at the peak of his academic career and the beginning of his professional endeavors.  

In conclusion, the thesis recorded over 1,500 personal statistics that simultaneously represented the process of every part of the thesis and were used as an agent for design within the parts that generated the thesis. My conversations with Eric Owen Moss were recorded and transcribed into a book. The drawings are at 1:1 scale of the physical model which is the standard size of a movie poster and printed on 4’x8′ sheets of construction material.  All this information was an attempt to understand and follow the bread crumbs throughout my summer.


Personal Statistics:

Nicholas Felton: