Knowlton School Hosts Wiscombe/Eskenazi Workshop: Involuted Figures and Black Holes

Baumer Lecture Series speaker Tom Wiscombe and 2014-15 LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow David Eskenazi were co-instructors of the workshop “Involuted Figures and Black Holes” hosted at the Knowlton School, February 4-7. The workshop focussed on the problem of near-figuration, which is a form of resolution of the polarizing discourse of form versus shape of the last ten years. Near figuration is defined as the appearance of distinct, legible objects from illegible or fluid conditions, resulting in a sense of mystery in relation to the extents, interiority, and origin of the thing.

In particular, the workshop explored involuted figures, which can simultaneously create exterior depth effects but also interior spatial figuration. One of the fundamental things architecture does is characterize the threshold between exterior and interior. In this, it must take an ontological position with regards to the state of existence of “outside” and “inside”, and the degree to which they might be illusions. LaTour captures that indeterminacy so well when he says “there is no outside…the outside is just another inside.” The workshop defined this threshold as elastic but not blurred, assuming boundaries and limits to understanding rather than the illusion of a world of chatter and flows.

Tom Wiscombe, AIA, has twenty years’ experience in the field, with projects ranging from museums, to multiplex cinemas, to brand centers, to sports arenas, in a broad spectrum of countries including Germany, France, China and the U.S. He has led many projects from competition to completion, overseeing large teams of architects, engineers, and consultants. Wiscombe is founder and principal of Tom Wiscombe Architecture, an internationally recognized design practice. His work stands out in terms of its arresting formal and graphic qualities, its mysterious near-figural features, and its high degree of architectural resolution. Wiscombe is a senior faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.  ICON Magazine, in its May 2009 issue, named Wiscombe one of the “top 20 architects in the world who are making the future and transforming the way we work.” Wiscombe lectured at the Knowlton School on February 3 as part of the school’s Baumer Lecture Series .

David Eskenazi is the 2014-15 LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at the Knowlton School. His fellowship centers on questions of difference, scale and representation in architecture. Eskenazi holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Architecture with Distinction from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, where he was the recipient of the Henry Adams Certificate. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles and he has forthcoming publications in Project, Aggregate and will be presenting at the ACSA annual conference. Most recently, he worked in the Los Angeles based First Office while teaching visiting faculty studios at SCI-Arc.