Almost Familiar

A Study on Formal Ambiguity through Depth, Scale and Proximity
on Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles


“If the city is like some large house and the house in turn like some small city, cannot the varied parts
of the house … be considered miniature buildings?”
– Leon Battista Alberti

The technique of architectural flatness should aspire to change its definition in terms of how it is seen on three-dimensional objects versus two dimensional figures. Whereas the significance of flatness in art is mostly about losing the three dimensional perception of depth by bringing everything into one surface which then would create a perceptual deficiency and therefore would end up with spatial ambiguities on canvases. This ideology can be applied to the architectural object by bringing back some elements of corporeality into the picture. Instead of perceiving the object through a flat façade it should aim to create complexity throughout the exterior and interior, losing the sense of depth in order to accelerate and mutethe spatiality.

Abstracted forms in both paintings and buildings emphasizes end-results that are otherwise unseen, in other terms “absent” result-forms. Mannerist superposition provokes the unseen while there can be limited seen therefore suggests that there is an outside vs inside and therefore broadening the perception of the image. Mannerism creates a sort of erotic sensibility of reading with its trickery of visual limitations, perception of the narrative and variety of outcomes beyond and within the borders. As a result, the spatial corporeal derives its form from an abstracted mannerist ideology.
The analysis shows that there is a potential to generate forms by applying the effects of leaving traces from multiple pre-existing sources. Multiple entities having influence over one base form, making it a correlation. (Jacques Derrida - Différance) Traces can be suggestive of things that are non multi dimensional. Tracing the Kitsch, is the most superficial way to add “meaning” to a building. In the hypothesis, the forms derive themselves from the kitsch, the overused baroque ornaments. These highly familiar outlines that have scored their profiles into our minds are overused and as a result altered their symbolic meanings. And the traces of buildings that have been demolished onto the surfaces of the existing buildings that touched their blind facades tells a story about memory and how superficial contextual surface projects can potentially be.

Through the formal studies stated above, this project attempted to bring corporeality into flatness
and through the usage of familiar and contextual profiles converted into meaningless masses. Almost Familia explores the effects of familiarity, absence of form and abstraction in order to obtain an erasure in the reading of forms.