UNBUILT is the entrance pavilion for Design Miami, Miami Beach 2015.
K. Michael Hays
An architecture unbuilt makes possible the representation of many buildings—a multiplicity of pink-foam contours, painted, pinned, and pivoted to be seen from below. Unbuilt’s assertion of the centrality of representation is also an insistence on the reality of the architectural appearance itself (and not just some programmatic cause or effect), of the power of the architectural image-ination. There is an epistemological claim made here insofar as the design is three things at once: a means of analysis and exploration, the presentation of an idea, and a necessary prerequisite to experience and understanding.
There is also an ontological claim made by Unbuilt. Architecture exists before and regardless of its actualization. Unbuilt is cataphoric and anaphoric, pointing forward and backward at the same time—to analogous architectural events that have come before it and others to come still. We have something before us, sketchy and provisional, it is true, but that has already passed through past experience; through inscription, presentation, and diagram; something that is no longer just exhibition but rather design, architecture, thought; something that, when we see it again, will allow actual architecture to be recalled.
The seeable and the sayable of Unbuilt constitute the virtual beyond the possible. Here, the event instead takes precedent over essence, and the multiplicity over the final.
FROM THE DESIGNERS
For every building that exists, there is a prospective and invisible city of the unbuilt. In this sense, design is the production of knowledge not only for a singular structure but for an entire field of possibilities. UNBUILT brings this invisible city to light. The pavilion is a canopy of 198 hand-crafted architectural models that showcase a range of experimental and speculative projects by students and faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. While these projects may never be built, they manifest the skills, research, and imagination of their designers. The interior of the pavilion presents an aerial view of a cityscape populated by 198 distinct visions of the future. In other words, the pavilion explores how individual ideas relate to the communal infrastructure of memory, experience, and culture; it is a way to contribute our own stories, as well as those of many others, to the greater narrative of design.