dECOi (Mark Goulthorpe)

Glass Vessel, 1991-1996

Avec Zainie Zainul et Yee Pin Tan

The “Glass Vessel” won first prize in the competition for ideas to design a new glass house, launched by the Japanese magazine Shinkenchiku. It is the materialization of Mark Goulthorpe’s research on digital technology and its implications for designing architecture. Focused more on the potentiality of forms rather than on a pre-decided form, this project, through its use of 250 glass sheets forming a hollow space with different cavities, integrates a process by which the form appears over the course of the project’s development. Here, dECOi takes aim at one of the icons of glass architecture, Philip Johnson’s Glass House (1949), by attempting to deconstruct it and invert its underlying principles, contravening the qualities of transparence and clarity attributed to glass. The way the sheets of glass are arranged into sections hinders one’s view and understanding of the internal volumes, which become sorts of caverns of light. Here, counter to the idea of solidity, the glass seems to fragment and disintegrate. These vertical strata resemble a succession of still frames, like so many steps in a movement.

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