SPACE & PROCESS

I was recently asked about my thoughts on the physics of Architecture and the spatial aspects of Architecture.  Below are some of my initial thoughts….
Space is not the “left-overs” of Architecture but rather the space itself is the Architecture. As a
life-long student of Architecture it is my humble opinion that it is the voids created by the solids
that make the experience of Architecture interesting and pleasurable. The only reason I design
and construct walls (and other solids) is to create the space (the negative). Space can be
experienced in various dimensions (as was portrayed in the film Powers of Ten, 1968 American
documentary short film written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames.
The film, rereleased in 1977 depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten.)

“The only reason I design and construct walls….is to create the space….”

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

The process of producing Architecture from a monolithic form is to subtract from the solid what
is needed to create the negative space for the occupants to inhabit and enjoy. Then again, my
first memories of Architecture were great massive, heavy cathedrals and medieval castles, so
perhaps I am biased in some ways. The added dimension of a regular, monotonous grid and
violent irregular collisions and penetration of the pure form are yet another layer of interest in
post-modern Architecture (as can be seen in the work of Bernard Tschumi – Parc de la Villette).

Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1980, mixed media: fiberboard, paper, plastic and fabric, 22-3/4 x 22-1/8 x 10", Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1980.49.6.

Finally, as a self-proclaimed photographic-artist/Architect, I use still images in my creation of the
artwork. The capturing of a single moment of time is much like an Architect’s plan. When I create
images from my photographs I am also exploring “the absence” or “the void” or what you call “the
reveal.” What fascinates me is that the process of creativity in and of itself can inform the final
form of what will become the Architectural space, which will be built by the hands of others and
eventually inhabited and experienced by others. This is very different from the assembly of a car,
a computer mouse, or other industrial item. Perhaps a more appropriate comparison is to that
of conductor who leads the orchestra in a certain direction but allows some interpretation by the
band.

Robert Irwin, untitled, 1971, synthetic fabric, wood, fluorescent lights, floodlights, 96 x 564" approx., Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of the artist, 1971.

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Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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