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The Project

In April 2010, I was awarded the Jon A. Jerde Traveling Fellowship from the USC Architectural Guild and the School of Architecture. My proposal centered on the abilities of architecture to ignite true emotions within us, in spite of current trends towards generative design. As a society, we interpret architecture not merely through the understanding of function and design, but through light, space, and materiality. In order to present these thoughts – that there is still a kind of human architectural perception that can trump the emerging trends of digital architecture – I chose the work of architect Peter Zumthor to portray our visceral understanding. His work stands as a testament to what is human about architecture, and I intend to learn everything possible from his creative process, his aspirations for architecture, and the inherent expression within his buildings.

This blog was created for the documentation and as a part of the written expression of my journey. As I explore each of my seven destinations, I will be recording my experiences through a variety of means – images, videos, and written logs – with the intention of relating my personal feelings and emotions into a more universal expression. When I return, I’ll present my research in several forms: a short film, which will abstractly represent my personal experiences; a collection of photographs showing the physical presence of the architecture and material, and how that can evoke internal responses as well; a musical score, which will align with the film and the photographs; an experiential journal cataloging my inner workings throughout the trip (to be posted here); and, where necessary, physical recreations of materials or architectural models to show what images, words, and music cannot.

The project will take place in the following cities during the accompanying dates: Chur, Switzerland, 8.23-9.3 (with visits to: Sumvitg, 8.27; Vals, 8.30-8.31; and Haldenstein, 9.1-9.2); Bregenz, Austria, 9.3-9.7; and Cologne, Germany, 9.7-9.13 (with a visit to Wachendorf, Mechernich, Germany during that time).

Finally, my research will be presented during the Spring 2011 semester at the USC School of Architecture. The date of the exhibition will be posted when confirmed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. itdoesntreallymatter permalink
    September 10, 2010 5:13 am

    oh it’s a really great opportunity and plan to visit the atmosphere created by zumthor!! and i think it would be nice if you could talk a bit about the route and experience during your travel from one to another as well.
    hope you will have very nice and exciting experience

    • September 14, 2010 8:16 am

      I agree that the journey is a very important part of experiencing architecture – I will try to include more of that in future posts. Thank you for your comments and for following the blog!

  2. March 18, 2011 4:40 am

    Good work Shawn !
    I did a similar scholarship, but focused on the development (Spatially, atmospherically and in detailing) of Zumthor’s work from his earliest projects up to today.

    Have to admit though your writing and photography put mine to shame !
    Briliant stuff keep it up.
    Whenever i get my research up I will send you a link !

    Jamie

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