Slaughterhouse Event | Moon Joo Lee

We often like to publish student projects, where we find the most speculative and interesting ideas in architecture today, as seen in Lost in the Line or Reconnecting geometry of journey. This time we found the work of Moon Joo Lee, student from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planningand who has Perry Kulper as his thesis advisor. The project is called the Slaughterhouse Event and we can start quoting Bernard Tschumi when he wrote:

“Program” is to be distinguished form ‘event’. A program is a determinate set of expected occurrences, a list of required utilities, often based on social behavior, habit, or custom. In contrast, events occur as an indeterminate set of unexpected outcomes. Revealing hidden potentialities or contradictions in a program, and relating them to a particularly appropriate (or possibly exceptional) spatial configuration, may create conditions for unexpected events to occur. For example, one may combine or assemble programmed activities so that they charge a spatial configuration in such a way that, by mixing otherwise common or predictable programmatic items.

Moon Joo work focuses on the conventional and functional programmatic structure in architecture, that has been ignoring users in space. He said: “The user has been limited to be expected and predictable and this has often turned architecture into a passive ‘object’ and ‘space’ conflicting with users.

To challenge this condition, users become the primary consideration in understanding space. Therefore, users in a space are conceived to have certain characteristics of actions and spatial effects. This explores the ways of representing invisible field of spatial conditions or effects which are formed by users’ occupation of a space. And the developed mode of representation by exploring users suggests possible spatial ramification. Eventually, the emerging spatial quality through the notation of users is aimed at broadening possibilities of programmatic structure and formal elaborations.


Notation drawing. Notation of existing user pattern of selected users [children, bongo drummer, sunbather] in Parc de la Villette

The following text is from Moon Joo Lee memory of the project:

Parc de la villette: Event vs. Program, Notation

As an exploration of the disjunction between expected form and expected use, Bernard Tschumi opposed expected program and the form generated by the programmatic structure which often conflicts with users. To include the Event [vs. program] in architecture, the notation method became necessary as shown in his projects; ‘Manhattan transcript ‘ and’ ritual‘, both trace movements and interactions of user in a space.

Therefore, his first realization of theory, parc de la villette, was chosen as the site to utilize not only its context for specifying users, but also Tchumi’s concepts as supportive logic for expanding the notion of programmatic structure. The notation method is re-visited as a main tool for exploring the users in the park.


Gestural drawing. Intriguing user, bongo drummer’s music is chosen to be the most dominant subject of notation and marks created by listening to music are placed on Tschumi’s site drawing

Representation of Spatial Effect: Gestural Drawing

After visualizing users’ patterns of the overall park through the notation method, another set of drawings is created to investigate the spatial effects informed by mode of occupation . The notation method begins to concentrate on the characteristics of each user in order to visualize their spatial effects, which have barely appeared in architectural representation.

Notational interpretation

Studying the characteristics of users as a subject of drawing produced sets of marks which have more gestural qualities and require another level of interpretation to be formalized as architectural interventions. Therefore, the marks of bongo drummers were filtered and translated to have more notational qualities by being specific about the information each mark conveys. This notation starts to build up the spatial qualities of each users’ characteristics and unique voices Finally, the developing notation drawing begins to suggest a series of fields which display fluctuating architectural qualities such as intensity vs. porosity and fast vs. slow.


Notated drawing

Event Territories: Decoded Drawing

The series of surface qualities created through notating spatial effects of users are understood as certain kinds of event territories which would accommodate different types of events. Rather than formalizing the individual notation itself, which requires significant translation into architectural forms and space, the sets of marks from outside the drawing were created and borrowed to augment the emerging event territories. And this provide the field for developing another set of decoded marks by allowing the notation drawing to react to the emergent event territories. The resulting decoded marks are perceived as the infrastructure for events to propose the new event condition into the park.


Decoded drawing. Forms from external agency were overlaid on to the drawing based on the notation quality and context of parc de la villette

After all this deep analysis, we arrive to the Spatial Sequence of Slaughterhouse, where Moon Joo expanded the study of users with the aim of include the intriguing historical context that surrounds the Parc de la Villete: the old slaughterhouse in the site which had erased for designing the park. By applying the same method and re-notating and recoding the old site of the slaughterhouse, the representation deals with double sites and includes interests in the relations between Tschumi’s parc and the old slaughterhouse. “Finally“, Moon Joo adss, “the notation of the slaughterhouse’s spatial sequence is expected to build up a formalization language and draw out the new event condition of the park. Also, Tschumi designed the ‘cinematic promenade’ to amplify the event conditions incorporated with other elements of his design. So, he set up the 10 sequences through the cinematic promenade, and each sequence has its own garden and boundaries defined by other paths and trees.”


Gestural formalization. Plan

Gestural Formalization: Slaughterhouse Event structure

Relating the spatial sequence of the old slaughterhouse to the cinematic promenade, which consists of 10 frames as Tschumi’s design intent for event, the notation drawing started to be formalized in terms of the spatial characteristics of the slaughter house. The linear marks in the notation drawing implicates the counting barriers and beginning of sequences. And the market’s roof structure in slauhterhouse is referenced into the large surface form in the drawing. These series of surfaces and objects have the potential to create new ‘event’. Therefore, the slaughterhouse is reconfigured by notating spatial sequence and reintroduced as series of interventions to the park through the cinematic promenade.

Formalization of interventions: new event condition

In order to regain the notational quality of drawing for formalization and maintain the invisible spatial effect of the user [bongo drummer], the gestural forms by implementing spatial sequence of slaughterhouse react to ‘invisible field’ [suggested by ramification of drawing], which is agitated by drummers’ spatial effect by projecting themselves onto the ‘field’. This technique of integrating notation quality from double sites and users finally produces emergent forms of surface for events in the park.


Formalization at folly L6. Vertically projected gestural forms onto the fluctuating surface created by notating bongo drummers create a event structure in-between


Construction of intervention at folly L6


Formalization at folly L6. Fragment

Moon Joo Lee concluded that, while challenging ignorance of users in programmatic structure, the development of representation from an expanded interest in the users of double sites, where Tschumi is in-between as supportive logic, proposes a possible form generation process by establishing process of developing representation for formalization. We can also see the influence of Kulper’s way of representation in Moon Joo’s work, that shows us some amazing drawings techniques.
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More info about Moon Joo Lee projects at his own web-site, about Tschumi’s Parc de la Villete, here and about the book Event Cities 2 in Amazon.

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