Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic_City // Neil Denari // NMDA

Banvard Gallery / Knowlton Hall
August 30, 2017 - 5:30pm to October 6, 2017 - 5:00pm

The Banvard Gallery will host the exhibition Displaced Buildings in Aperiodic_City by Neil Denari // NMDA from August 30 through October 6, 2017. The exhibit will open at at 5:30 p.m. on 8/30 with a reception following the Ian Bogost lecture.

The originator of this exhibition is ‘T’ Space, a project of the Steven Myron Holl Foundation.



Like a sine curve that oscillates with aperiodic frequency, ideas persistently move up and down, often erratically, depending on the conditions and criteria under which they are be deemed to be useful or irrelevant. Not to be confused with something like nature or its temporal equivalent, fashion, those systems that operate seasonally or cyclically with near perfect timing, architectural ideas are vague in that they do not adhere to conventional timeframes. Often, they work in advance of culture’s demand for them and can just as easily linger long after the depletion of their apparent use value. In the first instance, the architect offers a solution to a problem that culture didn’t know it had and the latter can be interpreted as culture’s continuing absorption of a proposition that the field has placed on the nadir of the idea-curve. While all cultures like to think about the life and death of ideas, of paradigms that permanently replace all previous regimes, concepts are really a form of persistence, even if they follow an aperiodic frequency. Whether formed as an intellectual or scientific model or as the outcome of pure labor and obsession, ideas once given life, have a kind of eternal status regardless of the state of their use value. This should also not be confused as a definition for the project of the timeless, which states that an idea has always the same (high) value. Here, ideas are lines of inquiry, wavelike, that change shape but never seem to completely dissipate. They are recursive, yet never as a copy of their previous iteration. Like snowflakes, they fall into a field of self-similar ideas, making incremental, even microscopic and unnoticed changes, while sometimes, more visibly measurable forms of difference appear. This moment, no doubt, occurs on the apex of the aperiodic curve, when value is high and when the project of architecture succeeds on its own terms.

A Context for Ideas and Buildings

Aperiodic City is an urban accumulation organized around selfsimilar proto-blocks. It is at once like all cities in that it is made up of building forms that vary only slightly across an expansive field. But like no other city, it is also based on a system rather than a meta-plan. It is an idea that is neither emergent nor parametric but simply vaguely repetitious, incredibly persistent, and appearing in more than one form (proto-block). It is an idea city and a city of ideas.

A number of buildings designed over the last seven years have been displaced from their original context as a life-enhancing act, given that their material lives never began. Designed for specific contexts in various cities, they now occupy peculiar voids in Aperiodic City. In this new context, these buildings take on new meanings, yet they retain all the attributes of their original locations. But the location is not strictly limited to place, it also includes time, and in this, they are all imbued with ideas that are located on an endless curve that strangely oscillates through architecture and urban culture.

Neil Denari
Los Angeles, 2017

about the team

Sandhya Kochar
Curator, Banvard Gallery

Nadia Voynova
Graduate Assistant, Banvard Gallery

With help from:
Samuel Tibbs
Zachary Stewart
Alexandra Oetzel
Bethany Roman
Ashley Austin
Christopher Block
Ali Sandhu
Jared Younger
Simon Beskitt
James Swider
Rachel Wallace
Tameka Sims, Landscape Architecture Associated Faculty
Jonathan Rieke, Architecture Associated Faculty
Emily Mohr, Architecture Associated Faculty
Kamel Nikazm, Consultant
Phil Arnold, Knowlton Staff