The Blur

salt bench_03Salt Bench, image courtesy Luce et Studio

There was nothing hazy about architect Jennifer Luce’s lecture at downtown’s New School of Architecture, even though she frequently referred to “the blur.” 

Standing in front of a packed audience of students, graduates and community members (myself included), she presented her talk billed as “Deliberate Blur/Design Thinking Across Perceived Boundaries.” But, as we quickly learned, it was about learning and breaking down boundaries between architecture and other disciplines.

When all the evidence is gathered, it seems this has been going on not only in our cities, but also in our lives for some time. Think about work/life, the live/work living space. In the architect’s studio, the boundaries between computer and hand-drawn design moved to the digital side of the scale some time ago.

Jennifer’s slide show offered fascinating images of blurs between buildings and a poetic, sensual experience like the Chinook wind in her native Canada and the blur building by Diller & Scofidio, an inhabitable temporary swirling cloud above a Swiss lake. She admires the work of Ann Hamilton, Martha Schwartz, Carlo Scarpa and others and illustrated their blurring within art, architecture and sculpture.

Luce et Studio images illustrated a blur between sculpture and architecture with an almost Roman grandeur realized for Nissan. The public furniture for Doha in Qatar by this collaborative architecture practice links in a subtle, otherworldly way with the culture, while utilizing new photovoltaic material to keep benches clear of sand. 

How we perceive space with all our senses is a mandate without boundaries for architecture students, Jennifer suggested. The sky’s the limit. 

One might even venture to say that Jennifer blurred boundaries with her pantsuit — classic black that pushed beyond the St. Laurent “le smoking” jacket with a perky, sculpted peplum. 

Phyllis Van Doren

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