another pamphlet #04 2012
If scale is familiar, the scaleless is unfamiliar. The fourth issue of another pamphlet explores the scaleless – the scaleless representation, the scaleless object, the scaleless process, the scaleless system, the scaleless attitude. Lacking an understandable relationship to something known – a measure, a body, a context – the scaleless resists quantification, challenges comprehension, and destabilizes conventions.
Scale is inherent in the experience of perception, and like all perceptual properties it is dynamic; objects we see oscillate between having “a sense of scale” and being “out of scale”. Scale is paradoxically both persistent and fleeting, both objective (relating to external standards) and subjective (relating to internal intuition).
Throughout the history of aesthetic practice, scale has been variously deployed as an operative design strategy – emphasizing scale to provide a stabilizing force from which to measure, repurposing ideas at different scales to challenge expectations, or deliberately denying scale to encourage multiple readings. Scale is a fundamental issue for architecture – it links the process of design to the process of building, leverages the systems of proportion, orders part to whole, and allows buildings to relate to one another. However, recent developments in modeling tools (the scalelessness of digital space), fabrication (the increasingly seamless translation of this scaleless digital space into physical space), and the homogenizing pressures of globalization (the loss of local context), have upset these traditional registers, leaving the status of scale increasingly uncertain and urgently in need of reformulation.
This issue suggests an emerging atmosphere of the scaleless – cultural, political, economic, material, and aesthetic. We embrace the complex ambiguity of the scaleless, seek out its untapped potential, and ask what is at stake for the discipline of architecture.
01 the inescapability of scale
02 on the threshold of scalelessness
03 a productive blasé
04 mass camouflage
05 big things
06 stress test
07 less is less
08 the scaleless gap
09 shells and scales
10 city building
11 out of context
>< scaleless conversation
SCALELESS! pamphlet contributors:
BENJAMIN CRITTON is an American-born, New York- & London-based designer, typographer, art director, publisher, writer, editor and curator.
JULIEN DE SMEDT is the founder of JDS Architects, located in Copenhagen, Brussels, Shanghai, and New York City.
ISAIAH KING is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
MARK LEE is the principal of Johnston Marklee & Associates in Los Angeles.
RYAN NEIHEISER is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
JESSE REISER is an architect, professor, and founder of Reiser + Umemoto in New York City.
GARRETT RICCIARDI and JULIAN ROSE are co-founders of Formlessfinder, winner of the 2012 AIA NY New Practices award and 2011 finalist for the MoMA/PS1 YAP.
HILARY SAMPLE is a founding partner of the New York based architecture firm MOS and an Associate Professor at Columbia University GSAPP.
SAM STEWART-HALEVY is an architect in New York City.
GIANCARLO VALLE is an architect in New York City and co-conspirator of another pamphlet.
JESUS VASSALLO is an architect and writer in Madrid, Spain.
another pamphlet is a document of loose exchange, an excuse to play, a frame through which to look, a shared excitement. It is an open dialogue with our friends, our histories, and our surroundings.
Meaning both “more of the same” and “something different”, “another” contains the seeds of both continuity and change. another pamphlet mines this contradiction – this tension between past and future – opportunistically interrogating, critiquing, and celebrating the discipline of architecture.
It is deliberately short. We’re all busy and we want to keep the conversation quick, easy, relevant, and fresh.
It is perversely anachronistic – it is printed on paper and distributed via, gasp, the post. Against the haze of digital distraction we crave an object to hold our attention – something to touch, to fold, to tuck in our back pocket, to discard.
And above all it is a group effort. Distinct voices are provisionally brought together into a contingent collective. But while the contributors and the ideas they offer are vital, particular authorship is obscured. The authors are given credit for participating, but the ideas stand on their own. The collective dialogue is given primacy over the individual position.