Lecture Recap :: Brendan MacFarlane


Our blog writers Curtis Robinson and Angeline Focht with Brendan MacFarlane.
By: Curtis Robinson, BArch Candidate 

The evening of Thursday, March 29, marked a few momentous occasions at the BAC.  It marked the beginning of the Spring 2012 Lecture Series, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Cascieri Lecture. Brendan MacFarlane, founding principal of Jacob + Macfarlane, gave a very insightful lecture on the process of the firms creations.

MacFarlane spoke about design in a way that I never thought about, yes design is a process, but it is a story.  All pieces of design are the end result of a long story.  Something that MacFarlane and his co-workers do very well is the ability to carry their initial concept all the way through to completion.  If you were to take a look at their beginning sketches of ideas, the end result is almost a direct translation.  

Docks en Siene, Paris. Designed by Jakob+MacFarlane. Photo by Nicolas Borel.

All of the work showcased in the lecture had a similar ideology in their design which is that there was a  volumetric addition or subtraction in the story.  In the docks en seine project, there is an existing building that is important to the history of Paris and so instead of destroying the building MacFarlane added mass to the exterior of the building, on the sides and top.  MacFarlane did the opposite in the design, le cube orange, where the design was a cube with a very large subtraction to allow light into hard to reach places.

Orange Cube, Lyon. Designed by Jakob+MacFarlane. Photo by Roland Halbe.

Karen Nelson, the Head of the School of Architecture, brought up an interesting connection between MacFarlane's work and the work of Arcangelo Cascieri, which the lecture is named after - both designers work has to do with playing with volumes.  

MacFarlane's work is inspirational in both design as well as how the information is displayed. All diagrams, images, and renderings were bold, but balanced. The amount of information was just right, easy to read and understand.  A question was raised about the amount of computer work versus the amount of hand work that is generated and his response was simply, it depends on the project.  Some projects have more more trace and models while others are mostly computer based.  MacFarlane says that the project dictates what type of work is produced and how the project will flow. 

For more information on Jacob + Macfarlane, click here.

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