The basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida wrote: from space, with its brother time under the persistent pull of gravity, feeling matter as a slower space, I ask myself, with wonder, what I do not know.

Chillida, in one sentence, joins together what I believe are also the fundamentals of architecture: space, time, and matter, all under the persistent pull of gravity. In this semester we will focus on the fundamental of the fundamentals, that binds building and ground: gravitation.

Chillida continues: ... but what I really dream about is gravity. I am becoming more and more conditioned by gravity, by gravitation, – by this ideal line that runs from top to bottom, and naturally, from bottom to top. It was my preoccupation with gravity that led me to worry about matter. It’s not that I worry about matter, because I like iron, concrete, or stone, no. It’s that all works must be embodied in something: if not, then they are nothing, which presupposes a greater or lesser condition by that force, by gravity.

All matter from the earth to the atoms are under the influence of gravity. To human perception, the transmissions of the forces and motions caused by gravity, seem to come from contact. The way a building transfers its loads through slabs and columns is eventually brought to its foundations, which in turn rest on the ground. At an atomic level, though, it is known that bodies in apparent contact, in fact, do not touch each other. There is always an empty space between them. Chillida adds to this, as he sees matter and space as inseparable, due to the fact that either space is very fast matter or matter is very slow space. And from this, he questions the boundary limit, not only between densities but also between speeds.

I am interested in the processes all things undergo, the transitions from one state to another. How molten glass can set and solidify. Or how in Michael Heizer’s Vertical Displacement works, he proposed, for example, Appenzell, to frost crack a gigantic solid piece of rock and let it slide down the slope, leaving all its marks by its enormous mass. Transitions and processes that always include the presence of gravity.

In this semester we will with gravity influence space with matter and influence matter with space.

Anne Holtrop