An instrument for looking, a position for orientation, and a site for unearthing hidden and unstructured worlds.
Jaron Popko / AE7
Architecture contains a fundamental level of performativity. The performative does not necessarily imply ‘use’ or ‘function’, but rather speaks more toward an inherent sense of potentiality. It is this potential, the potential of ritual or of event, that invigorates architecture and gives it such power over how we experience and understand our cities. It has an ability to manage the relationship between the visible and the invisible and influence our own perceptions beyond its context, which can be achieved partly by the performance of narrative strategies. This concept of narrative -- of reading and influencing understanding -- is bordered by literary theory. This thesis seeks to understand and analyze concepts and strategies used in the narratives of fantasy literature and harness its ability to create rich and stimulating environments that encourage one to wonder.
Borges’ story of Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius provides the reader with a perspective into an alternate reality, presenting a very unfamiliar way of thinking. The boundaries and distinctions of these fundamentally and ontologically disconnected realities begin to disintegrate, resulting in a rich confusion and cognitive pluralism that feed off the contamination of differing realities and reasoning. The mentally rich experience of reading Tlön is translated onto an urban scale, resulting in an intervention that provides a new understanding and interpretation of the city. The intervention will act as an Atlas of the city. Referencing the narrative strategies identified in Tlön, the Atlas provides a similarly rich and pluralistic experience through an uncanny reading of the city.
The Atlas is a machine for the collection and facilitation of knowledge about the world we live in. The Atlas seeks to uncover and analyze natural and complex phenomena. Investigating architecture’s role in shaping and enhancing perceptual experience, the program provides tools that allow the user to locate, codify, and interpret his/her findings and to visualize the complex relationships between them and provide new interpretative views. It is a place for inquiry and understanding, an instrument for looking, a position for orientation, and a site for unearthing hidden and unstructured worlds.
Architecture is an art of framing and mediating the experience and perception of the world through the activation of latent morphologies. Managing the relationship between the visible and the invisible, architecture performs a level of narrative operations, which share a border with literary theory. Both architecture and literature structure experience through means of spatial and temporal expressions, allowing for cross-disciplinary influence. This thesis seeks to uncover the analogical relationships that occur through inter-medial translation by exploring how the creative processes of reading, re-reading, and thus re-writing, which allow for an imaginative and cognitive pluralism, translate into a meaningful and creative architectural experience
The literary realm of the fantastic employs narrative strategies that blur the boundaries of the visible and invisible, of reality and fiction. The writings of Jorge Luis Borges exist within this complex and dissonant landscape punctuated by constantly constructing and collapsing realities. His stories leave the reader with a feeling of the bizarre uncanny, but more importantly a sense of profound discovery. Looking at Borgesian narrative techniques, this thesis proposes an intervention within the city that provides the user with a similar disjunctive reading of reality, acting as an unstable atlas of the city. The project is a place for inquiry and understanding, an instrument for looking, a position for orientation, and a site for unearthing hidden and unstructured worlds.
Jaron Popko received both his undergraduate Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture as well as his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati. Jaron currently lives and works in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Dubai-based architecture firm, AE7.