Architecture Without Content

5. Places Of Accumulation: Machines

   The first iteration of Architecture without Content at EPFL is the fifth incarnation of a studio that started two years ago at Columbia University. Back then it was intended as a study of the Big Box, a big industrial building that can contain many things.

Over time, Architecture without Content came to represent an idea of a possible architecture of the perimeter, a pragmatic kind of architecture that remains radical and precise.

Places of Accumulation are both places of production and places of storage. They are buildings that concentrate the very essence of our contemporary infrastructure. In most cases they are not considered as possible sites for an architectural project.

Places of Accumulation investigates the possibility to accumulate formal knowledge in buildings that do not deserve a specific architectural treatment. Their presence is all they have, but perhaps that is enough.

Places of Accumulation starts from the presumption that it might be possible to ignore content and still make precise architecture. For that reason we will make form first, and contemplate content later.

Places of Accumulation will start as a set of portraits of building types. We will first scrutinize their potential as possible architectures, their form, their principles … Then we will investigate their urban impact. Finally we will represent their potential as a critical project.

Architecture without content prefers form over content. Architecture without content imposes formats, and keeps intentions ambiguous, for a long stretch of time. All good architecture is premeditated.

This semester we will study both Robert Venturi and Donato Bramante. Parallel with the studio we will actualize the principles of the Difficult Whole, a fundamental tool to use the architecture of the past lightly, without irony.

Places Of Accumulation: Machines