Counter to the increasing thinness and transparency as evidenced in the press, the studio explored the role of “thickness” in architecture. What is an architecture that conceals rather than reveals? Can poché exist in architecture today? What is the role of the façade if not to render the interior legible? What is the experience of thickness? Given the program to be explored, there was an emphasis, even a necessity, to design an architecture that obfuscates the relationship between the interior and exterior.
The studio associated with Allied Works in Portland; a firm that is noted for its “research–based” approach to architecture in the pursuit of buildings that “resonate with their specificity of place and purpose.” (Brad Cloepfil) Utilizing an office project, a police precinct station, the studio expanded upon the requirement for anonymity and explored broader questions in architecture, as suggested above. In collaboration with Brent Linden (Associate Principal) and Allied Works, the studio received a unique underpinning to the semester with access to program research and background, site information and documentation and, even more importantly, the people and projects of this outstanding firm. A 4–day trip to Portland included visits to Allied Works projects in Portland and the vicinity.
Ultimately, the studio investigated an architecture that attempted to go beyond the current stylistic proclivities that we all enjoy. Utilizing a truly exceptional program and site, the studio embraced CIRCUMSTANCE – things that condition or determine another- and INNOVATION -the moment that theories (invention) are put into practice, in order to push beyond our own assumptions.