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Facilities Manager

The Whole in Each Part

 

“A Quality without a Name”

The Chinese have a saying, you read book, you didn’t understand the book.

In my role as Director of Facilities and Maintenance at Mission College in Santa Clara over the last ten years, I’ve had to look at buildings and grounds in a manner I really did not understand as an architect in the field. I had to expand my vision and work with helpful enemies as the last site pages of this section documented. I had to grow beyond buildings to a campus and how the various remodels, additions and new structures could be situated creating an integrated whole. Pattern Language has been very help in keeping me on track, searching for that quality without a name.

 

Travel also widened my vision; recently it was a trip to Greece where I discovered sculptural design elements I appreciate and love – Contrapposto and S-Curve. Strange thing is, discovering them brought to mind a building I’ve always had great affection for - Ronchomp, but I didn’t know why. Now, however, my discoveries in Greece provides answers.  

Once brought to light and understood, Contrapposto is evident in Ronchamp. The asymmetrical arrangement between roof and building mimic human form where the upper body, arms and shoulders, contrast with and balance the lower, hips and legs.

It’s as if the building slouches to one side, which is extenuated by the seeming tilt of the opposing wall.  The same is true in elevation. The weight of the roof appears to flow back and down from its pinnacle to be captured in silo. 

Further, this play with weight creates a tension that gives the impression of motion, as if the form is ready to move, or should I say being drawn in the direction of its sweeping roof. Ahead of its time, the building expresses a physics of attraction where it appears to be pulled up into the higher regions of the Spirit.

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