for a building began with a list produced by the course coordinator, Mike
Donn. After perusing this list to establish which buildings struck us
as interesting, we delved into the depths of the Architecture School library
to ascertain how much information was available on each of our prospective
choices. We eventually decided upon Bernard Tschumi's Glass Video Gallery.
The predominantly glass construction posed interesting questions about
the light rendering process which we thought would be challenging to explore.
This has certainly proved to be the case, with many an unexpected issue
arising during both the modeling and rendering processes.
Bernard Tschumi Architects chose to use the invitation extended by the city of Groningen to design a special environment for viewing pop music videos as an opportunity to challenge preconceived ideas about television viewing and about privacy. The building reverses popular expectations by avoiding the usual cinema architectural type by bringing the event of viewing out into the street and public scrutiny.
Instead of an enclosed and private space, the architects proposed its opposite: a glass video gallery as an inclined, transparent glass structure.
The gallery contains a series of interlocking spaces defined by only by horizontal and vertical glass fins, and by the points of metal clip connections. Located within are six banks of monitors used for screening videos.
The dimensions of the gallery are 3.6 x 2.6 x 21.6 metres.
Situated in the centre of a busy roundabout, the gallery merges with and extends the street condition, except that within the "main drag" of the building borders become indiscernible: monitors provide unstable facades, glass reflections create mirages and unlimited space is suggested.
In mimicry of the street, the gallery contains both video objects on display and objects for displaying. The objects encompass monitor walls viewed through television dealership windows on the street while exhibiting events like those seen in the sex-video galleries of urban red light districts.
In this new video plaza, one watches and is watched simultaneously.
Unlike many "glass houses", the removal of the glass from the
Glass Video Gallery will result in the total failure of the building - as
horizontal beams, vertical supports, the top and the sides are all made
of identical structural glass.
The sloping floor also challenges our perceptions of spatial stability. At night, the endless reflections of the video screens off the parallel glass surfaces reverse all expectations of what is architecture and what is event, of what is wall and what is electronic image, of what defines and of what activates.