Groundless Sites

Thursday, July 28, 2005


If you can find the may Architecture magazine (p. 20) notice Tschumi's lattice
approach is in a sense a project that might be viewed as adding an "habitable roof" to an existing substructure.
Its spider-like form allows light to reach the enclave of shops below.
Proposal to save a mixed-use enclave of artist's studio , lofts, and gallerie at ground level proposes a horizontal city 80 feet above ground in Beijing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

rooftop envy

In today's New York Times, an article about how the competition to build the tallest building continues today:

Friday, July 22, 2005


High Altitude City Kulture
what type of culture are you defining at the top...a stratified sytem or a reflected city plan?

just wondering how many people have access to their roof top or actually can stand on top of their roof or any other roof in the city?
Documentary= the roof top chronicles: what goes on beyond the sight of vision?

what about a roof top as a flock of heliocopters one giant landing pad...horizontal wind machines, that would be a lot of thrust the roof tops could be mobile and interchange with other roof sytems.

good luck with your presentation
keep up the good work


Thursday, July 14, 2005

I 280

back in the usa
to paraphrase audioslave
i like the rooftop because doesn't remind me of anything

an under used terrain
a linkless landscape
a disconnected plane
a deconstructed state

wasted talent
under utilized potential
flowerless garden
semiotics of the non referential

back in the americas
north south migrations
i like the rooftops
defined by square foot per capita


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


In considering topography of rooftops, we are interested in the history of visual dichotomies, how people develop such systems of representation and how we learn to read them. (Pre-existing systems worth studying might include what we traditionally think of as maps, as well as the periodic table of elements and the base ten number system.)

In our discussion of what mapping rooftops might mean, we found ourselves using metaphors that dealt with various geological/natural sciences phenomena. This inclination to view the constructed city as natural landform suggests that our attempt to map the uncharted topography of rootops should incorporate a range of tools, theories and methods grounded in the earth sciences.

We also found ourselves using mathematical jargon and visual representations to explain the relationships between rooftop heights, current land elevations, and pre-urban land elevations. We hope to expand on this observation as well.

- Emily and Marcela

Monday, July 11, 2005

invitations posted

This evening I posted blog invitations to the academic friends of the McCall Design Group Summer Studio, including representatives from UT, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, and the ACSA. Keep an eye open for their input!

I'm looking forward to quarantined chatrooms tomorrow!

What is the language of the rooftop?

If language is a system of thoughts, signifiers and linguistic signs involving two or more people which transmits conceptual material from the mind of the speaker to the mind of the listener, I believe that you are defining, perhaps creating, the semiotics of the rooftop. I believe that you are establishing new ways to talk about the rooftop just as much as you are establishing new ways to utilize the rooftop.


subversion cont'd

Breaking up advertisements on multiple buildings so that they come together from certain ground level viewpoints but appear fragmented (and therefore ineffective) to rooftop viewers:

-- Emily

anti-advertising: sanctuary through subversion

Last week, I looked at rooftops as a site where urban dwellers can find sanctuary from all of the commercial images and messages that bombard us at street level. I first explored directly changing the rooftops to make them feel more like sacred, "apart" spaces. I ultimately decided, however, that such approaches, which included using vegetation and sculptural elements to edit views, did not do enough to address advertisement specifically.

I decided to focus instead on ways to change urban advertisements so that rooftop observers could not see them straight-on, in their entirety, or at all. Such fragmentation and distortion would render their rhetoric ineffective, and rooftops would become a safe space where city dwellers could take control.

I explored two different ways of creating this sense of rooftop sanctuary. The first involves limiting the heights at which any advertisements, corporate logos, signage, etc. can appear so that no such images or messages could appear in rooftop occupants natural fields of vision. Examining advertisements would require standing at the edge of a rooftop and looking down, and even then the distant advertisements would appear at sharp, distorted angles. The result would be an urban "treeline" similar to the mountaintop zones where forests abruptly cease above certain altitudes.

I then experimented with breaking up vertical advertisements so that different sections appeared on different buildings but appeared connected into a single, unified advertisement when viewed from specific point(s) at ground level. From rooftops, however, these images would appear fragmented once more.

(Images of the second approach to follow.)

-- Emily

Bastille Day

I'm not sure my other message went through. I look forward to meeting with you on Thursday (14 July).

In case any of you would like some light reading, there is a trilogy by William Gibson relating to various expropriations of urban topography (not necessarily rooftopography) in a post-apocalyptic Frisco (I know — don't call it Frisco!). The books are — Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties (after a Velvet Underground song I think).

— Larry Doll


Dear groundless,
Thanks for the images and texts. I am intrigued and pleased. Thanks also for your care and concern. I've concluded that history is advertising.
Nick and I are having a series of great adventures, learning about place and self. London, Cambridge and Belfast bracket the liminal day of tube terror. We continue to explore the groundlessness of travel, "whilst" contemplating a new objectivity. This postmodern relativity grows weary.

Friday, July 08, 2005

highly covert operation

Thank Em, Jamba, and Jerm for helping out with the intervention last night. I took some pics this morning from the top of the Bank of America, and the rooftops look great good work...


on rooftop advertisement

Posting on our blog for the first time.
This is a summary of some of the research and final images of the work i have done on the issue of advertisement dealing or related to rooftops.
As the 4 o'clock dateline for our presentation gets closer, i am intrigued and amazed to see how the methodology and schedule frame that we set up earluer as a parameter for our research has yielded extremelly positive results.
Our 4 mini-interventions are about ideas of possible and plausible action and discourse, which i now think it is more beneficial and open to choices of encounter and multiple interests.

Just wanted to say - excellent job guys!!! Thanks for your great imput


Media as Message:

Advertisement as a medium is unavoidably present in our lives.
This medium carries a message, but it is the way that this message is delivered (the medium) that creates effects on its receiver and produces consequences that absorb, engage or affect our daily routines. The content of the message is secondary to the medium that it is exposed in.

The word “media” was coined and defined by Marshall McLuhan as “any technology that creates extensions of the human body and senses”. This broad definition seems to expand its concept to being an effective mechanism that interacts in several ways with a receiver (a person) to create links in the form of information between him/her and the message at hand. These links are established by means of sensorial effects with specific targets that work simultaneously to absorb the message brought by a given medium.
The direct correlation existing today between medium and message was not always so. McLuhan proposes that the message that a given medium brought in past time was not as effective as it is today since it did not address or manipulated multiple sensorial layers at once. He proposes that the electronic age has restored man’s sensorial balance since it instantaneously collapses all senses into an effective tool of communication, unlike the age of speech or print media which only exercised a particular one.
With the arrival of electronic media as a new medium type that offers a fusion of all senses into a condensed experience, man’s sensorial system is extended to its fullest potential.
McLuhan’s thesis is an emphasis on the medium over the message, on media over its content.
He proposes that historically when people have thought about messages, they have concentrated exclusively on what they were saying (content) and ignored their media. Media or the medium of communication, has played second role to its content, the form of expression has given way to the expression itself.
The delivery system of the message (the media), radically impacts and shapes the content. The content never changes and it is not increased in value or scope by a way of representation. On the other hand the way of representation or delivery of the content, the media, becomes responsible for adapting to the content is an appropriate manner for its proper usage. Some types of media are hostile while others can be beneficial to the same message; therefore it is “how” the message is delivered rather than “what”, what’s important.
In our current society the medium has become the message, the way the content is delivered, portrayed and examined has become our standards to view and evaluate that content.

In regards advertisement, the medium has also become the message. The way and how something is delivered has become the standard to categorize it in our mass-consumed, image driven and global marketed world.
If advertising and the effects it produces have become the message, and its content are secondary to its delivery and implementation system. Then it is helpful to view advertisement as a medium, as a mechanism of delivery and not by the message that it might be attached to. It is essential to view advertisement more specifically and less abstractly, to convey a message that it’s a strategy and approach, instead of a content or concept.
In our sensorial and virtually instantaneous world of results and images of consumption it is more imperative to focus on advertisement as a medium or media of use, and let that notion become its own message.

Advertisement as media is the objective of my research and proposal for intervention. It is extremely interesting to me to explore the idea of advertisement as a medium that takes precedence over message. I plan to explore “how” strictly advertisement could be used to address the rooftop phenomenon and its future potential, letting the exercise create its own environs of speculation and message though abstraction.

test pic

Just trying out the image posting tool - the image is a possible prototype for a rooftop ad-campaign. hope this works