Towers for Looking at The Sky
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Night or nighttime (sp. night-time or night time) is the period from sunset to sunrise in each twenty-four hours, when the Sun is below the horizon. However it can be defined differently and is subjective. Night can be defined as the time between bedtime and morning.
There is no exact time for when night begins and ends (equally true with evening).
The start of night begins when evening ends, which is subjective, but is typically believed to end at astronomical sunset, which is when night may begin. There can be no precise definition in terms of clock time, but it is usually considered to start around 9 pm and to last to about 5 am. Since sunset and sunrise vary throughout the year there can be no precise definition in terms of clock time.
Night and morning overlap when one considers morning to start past 12 am (however this is subjective and may others consider morning to begin at sunrise), which can be described as ’morning-night duality’.
Night is used as a farewell, ’good night’. And sometimes shortened to ’night’. Unlike ’good morning’, ’good afternoon’, and ’good evening’, ’good night’ is typically not used a greeting.
Wikipedia - Night
The work presented is a work that deals with repositioning of the human in order to facilitate new viewpoints, and new experiences.
I firmly believe that positioning the human in relation to its surroundings and facilitating encounters are some of the most important
and potent things architects can do.
By choosing the subjects, and see how they may interact, I wish to get to know how I work,
and how I may share my ideas and fascinations with others.
The body of work aims to get closer to a theme by constantly working it anew.
By stating the initiative; “I want to build towers for looking at the sky”, a sky is brought in and towers can be made.
Together the sky and the towers set the stage for the human, its behaviour and its imagination.
The book shows gathered photographs, drawings, stories, words and ideas all relating to the theme at hand.
The work aims to get to know the three subjects by seeing how they have, how they do and how they might interact.
Sketching by building, and building by sketching the towers come about, and create a body of work that does not seek to be seen as a proposal, but as a result of me, the author, being together with the towers and the sky.
"The sky (or celestial dome) is everything that lies above the surface of the Earth, including the atmosphere and outer space.
In the field of astronomy, the sky is also called the celestial sphere. This is viewed from Earth’s surface as an abstract dome on which the Sun,
stars, planets, and the Moon appear to be traveling. The celestial sphere is conventionally divided into designated areas called constellations.
Usually, the term sky is used informally as the point of view from the Earth’s surface; however, the meaning and usage can vary.
In some cases, such as in discussing the weather, the sky refers to only the lower, more dense portions of the atmosphere.
During daylight, the sky appears to be blue because air scatters more blue sunlight than red.
At night, the sky appears to be a mostly dark surface or region spangled with stars. During the day, the Sun can be seen in the sky unless obscured by clouds. In the night sky (and to some extent during the day) the Moon, planets and stars are visible in the sky.
Some of the natural phenomena seen in the sky are clouds, rainbows, and aurorae. Lightning and precipitation can also be seen in the sky during storms. Birds, insects, aircraft, and kites are often considered to fly in the sky.
Due to human activities, smog during the day and light pollution during the night are often seen above large cities."
Wikipedia - Sky
I want to build towers for looking at the sky.
I have an idea about what a tower is, as well as an idea of what the sky is.
I have however found that what i thought was quite clear is somewhat troubling.
That tower that I thought I knew seems to have shifted, and I can no longer set it the way I want. It even seems hard to define clearly what distinguishes a tower from other structures or buildings. The definitions are either vague or relative to other factors, such as the surroundings, neighbouring structures or programme.
Three attempts of definition:
“A tower is a tall structure, taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires and are therefore, along with tall buildings, self-supporting structures.” Wikipedia.
“A tall, narrow structure, often square or circular, that either forms part of a building or stands alone” The Cambridge dictionary
“A building or structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, either isolated or forming part of a building.” dictionary.com
The sky has the same problem, if not even worse. After all, we use the word sky to describe pretty much everything unbuilt above our heads.
A cloudy sky, the blue sky, the night sky, the red sky, the dark sky and so on. We are usually describing either clouds or the vast almost empty space: space.
Two very different things, that have come to be described as one of the same, as they dwell above our heads. That up there - the sky.
Three attempts of definition:
“The sky (or celestial dome) is everything that lies above the surface of the Earth, including the atmosphere and outer space.” Wikipedia
“The area above the earth, in which clouds, the sun, etc. can be seen” The Cambridge dictionary”
“The region of the clouds or the upper air; the upper atmosphere of the earth” dictionary.com
What we see above our heads in the daytime is one thing, we can describe it pretty well, and we can even somewhat grasp what is being described: vapor, fluid dynamics, ice crystals, light scattering, and so on.
What we see above our heads in the night however is something else, it defies definition, and even our ability to understand, or cope with.
We are either looking into something which we cannot describe, or we are seeing light, either emitted or reflected from some extraterrestrial body.
Even though we see the light that has been emitted, we can’t be sure that that very star exists. The light can have traveled for millions of years, and when those glints of light hit our eyes, and we see a “star” the star may very well have died a long time ago. We are looking at the light in the dark. And sometimes only that.
Descriptions of works as of now - monolithicity - 16.09.19.
Building/drawing, casting, separating.
I have now made 16 different objects, cast in different mixes of concrete.
Three of the objects were made last semester. I have brought them back as they seem to fit into what I am working on nowadays.
The remaining twelve objects have been made since the beginning of my diploma semester.
They are all cast, meaning that they aren’t actually made, but rather the result, the positive, of their formwork.
Once the formwork is removed they are in a way finished, I will not alter them in any way, only remove any pieces that might still be left from the formwork.
I like how the process of casting requires a very particular making. Once the formwork is done and the concrete is poured there is not much one can do to alter the outcome that will appear a couple of days later, therefore the formwork itself is where the precision and imagination can unfold. The making of the formwork and the orientation in which the object must be cast requires a certain way of thinking, one that has shifted its orientation and reversed its relationship to what is, and what is not - the solid and the void.
I like this way of thinking, of course one could start by drawing out what one wants the cast to look like, then draw the formwork and thus ensuring that the outcome will turn out pretty much as expected. I do however like to start with an idea and then go straight for the formwork. The building and the drawing becomes one and the same thing, and I am forced to work the idea of the object as I go. This process is as fun as it is rewarding. I always have a pretty clear idea of what the cast shape will look like, I have built the formwork and i have usually had quite some time to work my head around how the negatives will turn to positives and vice versa. But when the cast has set and the formwork is removed I always find myself surprised by some small mutation that has come to be in the process. Proportions seem to have changed, compositions have occurred, and the image of what i thought it would be has vanished.
As the objects I have made are all monolithic, and because they are made the way they are, it seems like they are simple forms with bits and pieces taken away.
Carved solids, that can further be carved, worked and reduced. Further the objects have lots of mass that does not necessarily do anything. In some places the concrete makes a wall, facilitates an opening, resembles steps in a stair, grabs onto something or makes a border between situations. But in other places, and in most places, the concrete just is. It makes up the body in which all the other things can occur, and by doing so it constitutes an architecture.
This architecture is one of monolithicity, and in many ways resemble some of man’s earliest works of architecture(or maybe one should say non-architecture/architecture without architects).
Spaces carved out of solids, either by man or by nature itself, has been with us since our very beginning. Caves in the mountains formed by erosion, spaces in hillsides carved out with simple tools, shelters dug into the snow, homes created inside voluminous trees and entire villages created beneath the ground by removal of the ground itself are a few examples of how we inhabit our surroundings, without the need to create “structures” to fight gravity.
I like the way this work brings forward certain types of objects. The relationship between the imprints and the remaining mass makes for a hierarchy that emphasises the spaces that are created.
I would however like my castings to be more focused, more transparent, and in a way more simplistic. What I really care about is mainly three things:
- The journey from where one is to where the tower brings the observer.
- How the tower focuses the sky and conveys it to the observer.
- The affordance that is offered to the observer approaching, accenting and staying in the tower.
There is no right or wrong way to build a tower for looking at the sky, the sky is in reality something that can not be looked at, at least not in the way we have come to define the sky and with the eyes which we are equipped with.
The sky is defined by what it is not the earth, like a hole is defined by the mass it is in. We have however come to some kind of agreement in terms of what we call the sky, and somehow we can certainly agree that the sky can be looked up on.
Stargazer fish (Kathetostoma)
The stargazer fish spends most of its time buried in the sand. They use their large fins to dig
themselves into the seabed. Usually only their eyes and sometimes their mouth can be seen.
Some species have a worm shaped lure that they use to attract prey, but most just rely on luck to
have a fish or other animals come within reach.
Once they prey is close enough, the stargazer rapidly propels itself upwards and catches the prey
-in its mouth. The Stargazer is venomous, and some species can even cause electric shocks,
being two of only eight total evolutions of bioelectrogenesis.
The stargazers have probably never seen a star.
Left: Simeon Stylistes
If you stare at the sky long enough, all you can see is black. The entire sky is black. Black is as far as the eyes can see.
Staring at the sky, and focusing on one star makes the sky turn black. Our peripheral vision doesn’t manage to register the faint light coming from the other stars for long , and therefore assumes that there is only one star in the sky - the one you focus on. The other stars are rejected or maybe interpreted as a kind of noise, and eventually the sky turns black. If we move our eyes, they quickly discover that there are in fact other stars - and stars that are not.
As we continue our ever growing way of being, the sky gradually disappears and we forget it, only to some day rediscover it.
It seems to always be a meeting carrying mixed feelings. On one hand there are few things more calming and beautiful than the sky: it seems stable, safe, and for some even symbolize the final resting place - paradise. We look at it and in the looking we can find serenity and calmness.
On the other hand (usually after 20 minutes or so) the sky evokes a whole different set of feelings.
We are looking at something we cannot fully grasp, the lack definition is part of what makes it beautiful, but also what makes it fascinating and somewhat unsettling. The sky has a life of its own.
A disturbingly unaffected one, a relentless drive towards nothing, ever growing. The sky and all that defines it has its own agenda. The sky simply does not care what we all do down here. Dogs don’t care much about the sky either. And then there’s us, all caught somewhere in between.
Can looking at the sky alter the way we look at ourselves?
I firmly believe that positioning the human in relation to its surroundings and facilitating encounters are some of the most important and potent things architects can do. In my diploma i want to study how we look at the sky, and how the tower can be used as an instrument for seeing the sky.
The tower as typology, the sky as provoker, the tower as instrument
and the sky as subject.
The sky might be the only place where we can see bodies that no longer exist. What we see as a star can be light that has traveled for years through space, only to end up in colliding with an observant eye down here. The star that emitted the light has died a long time ago, it has turned into a black hole and what was once a light emitter is now the very opposite. The light reaching us is the only trace of what used to be.
The journey ends here, but the end of one journey might be the start of another one. The light triggers a thought and the looking triggers an acting.