The Uncertainty of Doing - Eric Moss

Eric Owen Moss Architect

ERIC OWEN MOSS ARCHITECT

If you’re studying architecture or teaching architecture and you don’t know about architect Eric Owen Moss or his amazing contemporary buildings and projects, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Let’s get acquainted with him –

Known for his amazing architectural style, Eric Owen Moss was born in 1943 and attended the college of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with honors in 1968. He then attended the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, receiving his M.Arch in 1972. He became a professor of design and a member of the board of directors at SCI-ARC in 1974, a post he has held to the present day.

In 1976 Eric Owen Moss opened his own practice. Among the many awards he has received are two for the Petal House, and AIA award for the Central Housing project, 1989.

The Uncertainty of Doing - Eric Moss

One may be initially attracted or repulsed by the spread-eagled legs or lurching roofs of an Eric Owen Moss building, but eventually one becomes intrigued —even unnerved—by such paradoxes as a space that, while consciously made to express containment, is left with only part of a roof.

In Eric Owen Moss ‘s award winning works an ordered sequence of events, which implies a continuous logic, will suddenly be violated, not simply by a politely contrasting series but by something blatantly subversive.

Architect Eric Owen Moss is creative and skilled in achieving the exact degree of imagery he wants. In one of his works—a series of increasingly discursive buildings that use context as a component—his pen-chant for defining and shocking has become less important than previously. In part, this is by necessity, since they are elaborate remodelling jobs, but they go so much further than other such work; they question the very morality and logic of the building with which they start.

The Petal House building by Eric, for example, is a progression of audacities in which a small house was extended lengthwise, then stretched upward, then straddled. Its pitched roof, which might otherwise be seen as a consummate symbol, is then exploded to the winds—hence the term ‘petal.’

Working with some of the languishing hulks of the Culver City project, Eric Owen Moss has infiltrated the old movie town in a quizzically heroic manner. The old Paramount Laundry retains much of its composure at first sight, but if is in fact restructured to carry a virtual mega structure within itself.

A long pavilion sits alongside the new structure, flanked by “trays,” and it can be read from the outside—but only sometimes. Naturally, Moss introduces some icons of his own, such as leaning clay pipes filled with concrete, and cut-out elements, but it is the nonchalance of the thing that counts.

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Watch his Interview here to know more about the amazing designer and his philosophy

At 8522 National Boulevard, Eric Owen Moss has effected a more theatrical or sequential infiltration of five contiguous ware-houses. Sequences, breaks, joints, and truly Gothic atmospherics are achieved by a skilled stripping away of skins and surfaces to reveal the skeleton. Within this shell appear some elliptical spaces of a more contemplative quality.

By contrast, the Central Housing Office Building at the University of California’s Irvine campus posits a dual objective within a separate and new building. The five constituent elements are externalized as individual outcroppings from an otherwise unified form of roof and base. But, of course, things are not as simple as that, for the substance of the building erodes and the surfaces twist and drop.

There is an overall ambiguity of image: the building is a composite of domestic elements on the one hand and disintegrated institutional forms on the other. In many ways, it presents Eric Owen Moss as the manipulator of our referential antennae on a scale that is new for his work—that of the single, heroic object.

So, let’s end with the conclusion that Eric Owen Moss, undoubtedly is one of the best contemporary architects.

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