Author : Anthony Morey

University : Southern California Institute of Architecture

Status : BArch, 2014

Advisors : Dwayne Oyler, Thom Mayne

Title : Non Sequitur | A Neighbourhood

Frank Gehry“…im not sure where im going – if i know where i was going, i wouldn’t do it…”

The Surrealist, early in the 1900’s, found themselves ready to clear the table, finding artist leisure in the process. They wanted nothing more than to create, flourish, but they understood that the tools at hand were not ready, not open to such a process, such an idea. They were limited by the current. They saw, that for the moment, the goal should not be to build, but to destroy, in order to one day rebuild. They needed to show the weakness, the choices, the ideas that were being lost, hidden in the shadows. Of course the political connections are more than plentiful, but their approach, their willingness to question, their mastery of the craft in order to know how to/ and where to experiment is the true power of the surrealist thought.

Turning the drawings into volumetric explorations. Finding depth in the presence of drawing, can a drawing have depth, can it have volume? Allowing the spillage of the original to pursue, the ideas of Volume, Shadow, Ground, Perspective again are all at play.

Drawing is today’s medium that allows for experimentation, imagination, allows for freedom of thought. Allowing us to arrive at destinations from a new vantage point, to test the conventions that we hold so highly. Some ideas can not be contained to such strict rules as we created; some ideas fill that gap, exist in the gap and force us to realize the impossible. [DRAWING] is the only medium of Architecture that can challenge physical limitations by completely ignoring them; [gravity, time, direction] all are at the creator’s discretion or interpretation. This thesis finds its roots from a translation of a photo taken in 1948 titled Dali Atomicus. Viewed as a culmination in the Dada and Surrealist moment, it exemplifies the qualities and inklings that were important to this project. They force architecture to bend, not the idea. They force our rules to be broken. Presenting ludically played with components, conventions of normally expected elements of architectural drawings.

“Architects make drawings that other people build. I make the drawings. If someone wants to build from those that’s up to them.”

These impossible qualities were translated into conventional plan, section, and axo; if only to get a peek inside. Due to the limits of the representational medium and translation process, spillovers and idioms were embraced and reacted to as generators of non sequacious leaps. This produced a method of authorship that allows for spontaneous intimacies to occur, for the (-ness) to take effect, cultivating new and previously unfathomable associations. Not being able to be contained in one stable convention; allows for them to break across barriers, break the strictness of interpretation. It invites decision and choice, it brings you in to find some reference, something to bring stability on your terms.

Duchamp states

“i am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products”

Paired with Einstein’s

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to revolution.”

There is an immediate knowable quality to the drawings, grasp-ability. Focusing on the tools that allow for such constant common readings to occur. Classic tools were at use, poche, gestalt, hard lines, flattening of shapes, interior, elevation, proximity, movement. Allowing for the signifiers of plan and section to be called into question, allowing these to themselves allow for new associations, ones only possible when teased in the mind. There is no stair, elevator, steel column detail, and there shouldn’t be. Calling attention to moments, implying movement, not direction. Showing volume, but no scale. All these were understood to their fundamentals and then turned to cast doubt on themselves. Allowing for choice in the reading, unraveling.

As architects, we have a common language, a frame of thought that allows us to jump between minds, worlds, and ideas. We must not cast these forms aside, but to the contrary, we must master them, know them from within; know where they can not suffice, wonder if they are up for the task at hand. Conventions are only defined only by our use of them. As a method of producing, architects make a “plan” that forces them into a framework, that pushes them to the reforms and the stringent ideals of architectural convention-ness: the plan, section, elevation and model. Submitting to these conventions is a critical moment of reduction. Thus, translation instead of reduction is key in fostering suspension of disbelief and allowing for associations to be found or lost, not dictated.

Allowing this detective like obsession to allow a momentary glimpse, a second to take hold, to see what it would be like if you never saw a plan, a section, an axo, it would not be tied by those names and the baggage they drag along, you would be free to see. What an incredible feat of the imagination it must be to see something for the first time, to not know for that split second if we are lost, scared, safe, or capable of understanding. Roland Barthes and Paul Valery and various others through their work show and declare that, there came a point when writing originally found on the idea of pure communication was freed from its initial utility and writers were allowed to experiment, excite, become sensational. This is when literature, freed from its economy, leapt in order to re-form; to find a new identity.

Allowing oneself to study conventions from within one of Architecture’s most sacred conventions; drawing. Not taking anything for granted, knowing certain inert tools are not appropriate for the task at hand. This knowledge grants us ability to step away, create a new space, and discover, this is where this thesis finds itself.

All architecture forces dimension, we revere it, we live in it. We create it. This is the last step of the series, it is where all architecture culminates; space. It is presented to you as a thickened paper, not as a model, allowing for complete engagement. It deals with material, perception, physical depth, touch, thickness but does not allow for much more. It is torn between the drawing experiment that allows it to grow, or the realities of the physicality that forces it to cease.

Not limited by the last, looking forward to the next. What do you see, and dare I ask?


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Anthony Morey_ The most important aspect would be that this project as just as interested in what was created as it was in understanding what the viewer sees. It only finds its power once it was viewed and pushed further.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
AM_ Psychology, art, poetry and color theory.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
AM_ Most important thing i learned was that you only get stronger when you completely understand what makes you weak. I only understood how to push forward when I realized what I was worried about, making mistakes with and understand myself better.

S//A : Describe your dream project
AM_ My dream project would be finding key buildings from the past, and redrawing them, what that would entail, what medium it would be in is completely unknown but i would love to see them from a new light.