On June 16, the LA Forum and Santa Monica Cultural Affairs presents Sailing Architecture as part of the Beach=Culture series at the Annenberg Beach House. The event is a pop-up exhibition of student work and a panel discussion. We asked architect and LA Forum board member Geoffrey von Oeyen to tell us more about the relationship between architecture and sailboats.
Sailing and architecture don’t seem to be a readymade pair, where do they meet?
Sailboats directly, responsively, and in real-time mediate between the natural world and people. Not only are sailing and architecture deeply connected through centuries of shared representational and construction innovations, but also their objectives converge.
Sailboats embody many of our current aspirations for buildings: to convert natural conditions into energy, to reduce material consumption, transport, and construction costs through stronger, lighter materials, and to create spaces that respond technically and aesthetically to dynamic environmental and programmatic needs.
What was the starting point for the work in the exhibition?
In Vers un architecture, Le Corbusier includes three essays under the topic of “Eyes Which Do Not See.” He proposes that ocean liners, airplanes, and automobiles embody ideas and techniques emblematic of the modern zeitgeist and are paradigms of what would become modern architecture.
In the course of the studio, which lead to the work in the exhibition, we investigated how contemporary boat hulls, sails, and rigging are designed and constructed, and most importantly, how each part of a boat solves a multiplicity of design problems formally and spatially.
Can you tell us a little bit about the panel?
L.A. is a catalytic place for architecture and design, including coastal design. With this event the LA Forum asks Angelenos to consider new ways of living in relationship to the environment: we have a drought, rising ocean levels, erosion, excessive energy consumption. We also have some of the world’s best architects and urban designers, so we have the opportunity to lead and envision solutions to these problems.