Fallon, H 2012, Metarbitrariness?, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Attached Files
Name Description MIMEType Size
Fallon_Book1.pdf Thesis application/pdf 29.01MB
Fallon_Book2.pdf Thesis application/pdf 17.18MB
Title Metarbitrariness?
Author(s) Fallon, H
Year 2012
Abstract "Metarbitrariness?" examines the practice of the architectural office AgwA. The researcher Harold Fallon is one of the two partners of AgwA and he researches into the practice by examining its design intentions and processes as well as its projects. The projects mainly comprise built as well as unrealized buildings . It addresses architectural, urban and landscape dimensions.

The research is introduced through a quote from Rem Koolhaas who argues that "Architecture is by definition a chaotic adventure" characterised by arbitrariness and endless possibilities. In response to this understanding the office proposes to re-open a space for "pragmatism and necessity" (p.40) seeking a position beyond the arbitrariness as reflected in the title of the research catalogue. This focus appears as the underlying raison d'être of the office and is explored through a number of projects. It is argued that this position is not forced upon the projects as an architectural program that needs to be expressed. It is rather an underlying ambition that is explored through a wide-ranging and open-ended design process. The French poet Francis Ponge who sought to minutely recreate the world of experience of everyday objects
is presented as an important inspiration for the practice. Indeed, while sticking to the depicted object in the most honest way, his texts imply a proposal about literature in general to overcome the issue of the “impossibility of expression”.

The projects are diverse but most of them share a restrained architectural expression. They are often based on simple regular geometric figures combined in rigorous patterns with a straightforward use of materials. The development of projects is often described as a search for an organising logic, which is slowly and gradually teased out of the design process. The projects seem to be initiated through an open-ended - almost consciously disinterested - testing of various possible organising principles whether they are programmatic, structural or material. The research unpacks these processes and how they determine and just as importantly leave open the
resulting design outcome.

The presentation of the project consists of a written document, an exhibition and a vivapresentation. The written document consists of two books. The first introduces and establishes the general intellectual framework of the PhD and discuss the overall structure, themes and methods of the research as well as definition of communities of practice. The second book unpacks six key projects. It explains the design intents and development, documents the projects and explains their role in the development of the research.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
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Created: Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 10:16:47 EST by Keely Chapman
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