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Peter Cook: Looking through (February 2, 1991)01:24:57

After being introduced by Michael Rotondi, Peter Cook discusses the importance of looking and curiosity. He proposes that the success or failure of architectural elements depends on the degree to which they provide “preventative transparency.” Cook argues that the most successful elements provide a way of looking through the interference.

Cook discusses his concept of ethereal affects through preventative transparency. Cook describes successful conditions of interference and talks about natural elements that allow for an ambiguity. Cook outlines several projects in which light and shadow, material, viewing angle, and vegetation cause these effects without the observer interacting with the building.

Cook describes how meshes and vegetation can create ambiguous relationships between architecture and user. While describing the appeal of certain Japanese gardens, Cook talks about lighting, object placement, mesh elements, and interference as way of pulling the user through the circulation of the site. He mentions his disdain for frontality in positioning architectural elements, preferring instead oblique and tenuous angles.

Cook uses past and current projects to illustrate how he has investigated the concept of looking through. Cook stresses methods of siting, materiality, layering, slippage, and vegetation. Cook shows other works that deal with ambiguity between architectural elements and the resurgence of Archigram-influenced work at schools all over the world.