METROPOLIS NOW Journey to the East

METROPOLIS NOW

An exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture on display now until June!

Finally pulling together some of the travel research and photos from the Wood Travel Fellowship. So here it is:

 

The goal of the trip was to visit some of the most populous cities in the world, in countries very different from what I had been used to, with the hope of exploring and better understanding the notion of a metropolis. A very ambitious agenda, indeed, and that became clear once I started travelling and realized that to analyze, categorize, research, or simply ‘understand’ what a metropolis is and how individual pieces of architecture operate within it is a much more complicated task than I ever imagined. 

When Le Corbusier made his journey to the East, he kept journals of highly personal impressions and sketches to record his observations. Despite my love of drawing, I sketched very little during my two months of travels. Instead, innumerable photographic observations were made of each city, area, and building visited, with quick accompanying notes and ideas recorded in a travel journal. One could argue that the difference between the two modes of observation arises from the rapid speed and chaotic nature of the delirious metropolis of today. But just like for Le Corbusier, the journey to the East was a voyage of discoveries, self-reflections, and an almost overwhelming source of inspiration that will last a lifetime.

This comparative matrix is looking at the visited metropolitan areas in a more objective way, in order to better understand their geography, size, formal organization, and structure of the urban fabric. Naturally, the more stable features - topography and infrastructure networks - provide the overall physical structure, the spatial skeleton. However, while travelling it became apparent that the boundaries of these metropolises are ambiguous, and clear distinctions between urban and rural do not exist. Additionally, they do not have a center, but multiple areas acting as central nodes, and the typical notion of inside and outside, or the almost archaic dichotomy of public and private, do not exist, which poses new challenges for visualizing them. Especially in Japan and China, cities have become complex, three-dimensional spatial networks with unprecedented scale and speed of development, where buildings or even whole areas come and go literally over night.

The bottom portion of the board attempts to portray this complexity of space and time:

Unlike the more objective matrix of the metropolises (above), the following board represents subjective snapshots of my journey to the East.

In this display, rather than portraying each metropolis separately, the idea is to look at the photographs collectively, cross-referencing topics that defy an already arbitrary boundaries.

A book - photo journal of sorts - will come in a couple of days! I'll post some sample photos once it's done.