Euclid’s Windmill




Michael Ferguson


‘Canary’ed, Yellow’

STUDIO

Perry Kulper

ADVISOR

Euclid’s Windmill is a meditation on architectural representation through the lenses of fiction and art history. The experiments in linear perspective carried out by Brunelleschi and formalized by Alberti present a particular mode of architectural vision, one which carried enormous weight in architectural discourse for 500 years. But this is far from the only technique available to architects for envisioning possible futures.

Euclid’s Windmill lays the groundwork for a text on alternate histories and possibilities of architectural vision. The work draws in equal parts from the Italian-led canon of Alberti and his followers; from the Northern Renaissance imagery of Bosch, Bruegel, and van Eyck; from the pictorial lineages of China, Korea, and Japan; and from experimental and syncretic representational techniques of the twentieth century. Above all these hangs a spirit of invention, inspired by the pseudo-historical fictions of Jorge Luis Borges and Ursula K. LeGuin.

The figure of the windmill occupies a central role in the work for both its formal and symbolic resonances. As a mechanism which captures the flowing air across a wide plain and focuses its energies down to a single point, the windmill echoes the vocabulary and organization of linear perspective constructions. And as a social instrument which brings disparate farmers to a central location elevated above the landscape to mill their grain, the windmill suggests a common, social typology of architecture far removed from the history of royal palaces and private residences.

In sum, the research performed and visual inventions deployed seek to suggest ways that architecture might see otherwise and therefore envision alternate political landscapes: the political imagination is often architectural, and the architectural imagination is always political.