“In a 1967 essay on minimalism, Clement Greenberg, America’s most influential critic, could have been describing Star Wars: “Everything is rigorously rectilinear or spherical. Development within a given piece is usually repetition of the same modular shape, which may or may not be varied in size.” Greenberg rejected minimalism as pedestrian. “Minimal works are readable as art,” he wrote, “as almost anything is today, including a door, a table, or a blank sheet of paper.” Perhaps because of its fantastic nature, the Death Star has never been recognized as an essential work of minimalism—but it is one.
“Its destruction has never been acknowledged as a turning point for modernism—but it was one. Lucas unabashedly emulated the visuals of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968),which incorporated the principles of modernist architecture (spare, utilitarian, evenly lit spaces) and the presence of a minimalist slab (colorless, drab, depersonalized, inscrutable non-art). The only ornamental flourishes in the film were borrowed from NASA (whitewashed modular construction pocked by latches, struts, and access panels) and corporate furniture design (steel, leather, powder-coat enamel, and blobby red Dijinn).
Lucas hired so many members of Kubrick’s team that their subset of the Star Wars crew was dubbed “The Class of 2001.” But he borrowed selectively. Kubrick’s 2001 environments were cohesive and balanced, informed by architectural theory and late-’60s aesthetics; they upheld the distinction between the astronaut modernists and the alien minimalists. By contrast, Lucas willfully mashed together minimalism, modernism, and NASA design. Two visual rhetorics are at war on-screen: The first is that of an industrial superpower; the second is that of a rogue fringe of misfits and mismatches…“
Star Wars: A New Heap – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Death Star, John Powers, Triple Canopy
Design of a building for an art museum/alpine ice research station Scenario:
1) Digitization of the envelope of a traditional habitat.
2) Scooping out hollows within this volume as if it were an ice cavity, but in full wood by a 5 axes drill machine.
3) Water states and flows vary according to the seasons: The ice flows and freezes; the ice façades freeze and melt, forming a pond in front of the building.
4) Exacerbation of the winter climate by artificial snow (500 m3)
5) Construction by CNC machine processing, 5 axes, in full wood (2000m3-1000 trees) and reassembling the manufactured 180 pieces on site.
6) Reactivation of local economy
Amorphous mutations that suddenly get the form of an art museum that will be finished in 2009, it seems that R&Sie architecture evaluates architecture’s degree of reality transforming pieces taken out of a plastic dimension to convert them in high quality architecture.
The museum, designed with the most organics forms that we can find in nature, clearly represents the team philosophy of “Making with…”, that is their way of describing their research into a critical experience of architecture through a mutation of contextual parameters.
As François says in their web-site, scenarios of hybridization, grafting, cloning, morphing give rise to perpetual transformation of architecture which strives to break down the antinomies of object/subject or object/territory.
R&Sie(n) is an architectural office set up in 1989 and lead by François Roche (1961, France), Stéphanie Lavaux (1966, France), based in Paris. The organic, oppositional architectural projects of their practice is concerned with the bond between building, context and human relations. Roche explains his concept of ‘’spoiled climate” chameleon architecture, which links and hybrids the human body to the body of architecture by a re-scenarization on the rules of all the natures, even artificial. They use speculations and fictions as process to dis-alienate the post-capitalism subjectivities, in the pursuit of Toni Negri. R&Sie(n) consider architectural identity as an unstable concept, defined through temporary forms in which the vegetal and biological become a dynamic element.