Chiara Barrett

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The Tenets of Google Picturesque.

The Google Picturesque dealt with the study of Los Angeles remotely through Google Earth and the ruptures that emerge between reality and the new forms of spatiality present within its internalised worlds. The project catalogued and dissected the current anomalies in Google’s patented algorithm The Universal Texture, using these to develop a series of design proposals that formalised the anomalies into the physical world. Through discussing ideas of resolution, distortion, inversion and datum within the structure of Google Earth space, the project proposes fragments of glitch architecture that would play with the constant ‘optimisation’ of the Universal Texture software by becoming physical forms.

This was subsequently applied as a methodology for designing the final building project: DARPA Headquarters Los Angeles. The project explores some of the contradictions implicit in the idea of ‘controlled transparency’. DARPA is the US Department of Defense’ ‘blue sky thinking’ arm investigating innovative technoligies across military and civilian spheres. Public access to the federal building accredits the agency with transparency, yet the public perception of the researchers within is heavily controled through an architecture of fragmentation, slippage and obfuscation. Using the techniques developed in the Tenets of Google Picturesque project, an architectural approach was derived that investigates the public face of an institution as a fragmented collage of other such hulking headquarters in the Downtown surrounds.
The building intends to embody the agency’s primary aim to prevent and create strategic surprise by playing with notions of scale, proximity, resolution and materiality. A ‘slipping strategy’ results in the cross-fertilisation of these ideas and the manifestation of a ‘Glitched’ architecture specific to DARPA.

  • Filed under: Student Work 2012-13