N. John Habraken (john@habraken.org)

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Exercises in Thematic design Two: section transformations, shows how the section of an entire building can progressively be transformed from a simple beginning to a much more elaborate one. This is done in different ways. First, in the 'basilica' exercise, we work towards an already known result to see how this can be arrived at in a step by step fashion in the manner of a dialogue with the form; accepting the form's inherent thematic qualities, but steering towards a known result.

Secondly, in the 'Moon House' exercise, we do section transformations without knowing where we will end up, each time making decisions as to what is the best way to proceed towards a larger and richer whole. The rule here is that we will not retrace our steps: a decision taken is to be accepted even if we regret it later.

Finally, in the 'long house' exercise ( see ill. below) we let the series of transformations add up to an entire building containing them all.

These exercises allow us to understand rules of transformation and rules op placement of elements as well as their organization along pre-established zones that control the movement of form. 


one of about 140 sequential images illustrating the transformation exercises of part TWO

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