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Bi-Stable Collections

Emma Price

Exploring both the graphic and experiential qualities of the column, this project uses historical case study and expanded means to testfigure/ground relationships produced by column arrays. An assumption necessary for the work of this project is the correspondence ofthe drawing, specifically the plan, to the spatial experience of the project in three dimensions. This assumption is not a new one, and is atmoments taken for granted and at others tested and explored. The figuration of ground, or the production of a bi-stable image that allowsfor a visual flipping between positive and negative, Rubin’s vase being a well-known example, is of particular interest here.

Case studies chosen from our genealogy provide examples of how this may be achieved, and because these are all built projects, allowfor the comparison of drawing to spatial experience. The oldest cases, hypostyle halls of Egypt, also model a simple method of achievingbi-stability - an equal ratio of figure and ground. Baroque examples achieve a similarly shaped space as a result of the figure of column, butrather than pure mass employ the use of column profile and subtraction. In both cases, figuration of ground occurs visibly in plan, but is feltpalpably in spatial experience as well.





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