Athletic Center, Pre and After Modern

Elle Gerdeman (website)
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Core Studio
Faculty: Elizabeth Whittaker (website)


The voyeurism of people, the identity of people, and the agenda for occupants are drastically dissimilar between Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier. The two diverging social stances of interiority and exteriority are resolved through architectural voyeuristic compositions. Corbusier acting as cinematographer – a series of repetitive perspectives, and oppositely, Loos who forces an inward and staged trajectory as a fragmented stop and resume motion. For each there is a trace of coming or going; a non static condition laced with views and social opinions.

What becomes architecturally of both are frames. Frames of overlapping or intersecting vantage points, meant to objectify one’s relationship on interiority or exteriority of the societal whole: should occupants engage externally, or is it best for the individual to remain secure and separate?

Focused outward toward society, Corbusier attempts to flatten the occupant’s gaze into the exterior, collapsing their position with that of the surrounds and verifying his sociopolitical agenda. This act is defensively opposed by Loos, promising a view or path to a more inward point and therefore opting to shelter from a chaotic society. For Loos, architecture became a model of domesticity apart from the greater whole, one which is a detective story of detection itself; a look into the makeup of occupied or unoccupied spaces, embedded with clues of people to come but who never meet. A set in need of actors, it is a clear agent for the defensive outcome of his architecture.

This postscript is staged as an intermediate, one which compromises the inherent societal issues which are original, and producing the missing tension by applying an overlay of their intent. The result, a direct gaze between the fleeting and following, allowing for direct phenomena of space of the occupant; a new convergence. To align the original opposing views into a new collision exemplifies the new outlook, relieving the contemporary desire for collectivity.

In the after modern, an imperceivable relationship with others nearby, would instigate something which does not exist in the culture of congestion. I propose an intermediate between the exteriority and interiority of modernism: a direct gaze between the fleeting and following, allowing for phenomena of space; a new convergence. The area of dissolve, an inhabitable space, debates the antonymy between the voyeuristic objectives of modernism. It is a variation of viewership assembled as promenade; an awareness amongst the cinema of the observer associated with Corbusier and Loos. Degrees of proximity and blurring dissolve congestion and boundaries between open public spectacle and autonomous intimacy. It is the enchantment of imagination, the cognatively imposed view of others or the elevating of oneself in comparison. When removed from congestion only in subjective relation, how will the individual respond? In the creation of an incubator, imagination is added amidst viewership. Unique levels of perfection are achieved through this fabrication.

Architecture as a sensuous spatial encounter is conceived to expand one’s being into the likeness of others, or to cause an abstraction of their relationships; an allowed ambiguity between oneself and others, which oscillates between lucidity and acknowledgement, and one which is remote, causing an obscured but ubiquitous relationship. The dynamic shifts from one to another is perceivable as an interactive subject to subject vis a vis object to object ambiguity. Viewership between two given people may witness one another in several different configurations, their perceivable identity always in a state of altering, may never recognize the other person. Their chemistry is only dictated by a glance in a fleeting moment, perhaps only characterized by the shadow cast onto a neighboring surface. It becomes a variation in degrees of intimacy, of closeness and distance; the only clues to the altering of ones own condition, or the fabrication of which.


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