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VRC e-newsletter March 2016

The Visual Resources Collection's (VRC) e-newsletter highlights donors and their recent image contributions. Images of featured projects can be accessed by UT faculty, students, and staff via the VRC's online image collection
Noah Winkler is pursuing a Master of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. He traveled to Mexico City for two weeks to research food markets designed by major Mexican architects during the middle of the 20th century. During his time there, Noah also photographed major contemporary projects, such as museums and libraries. Noah's documentation was funded in part by UTSOA's Independent Research Travel Scholarship program. His photographs are available to university faculty, students and staff through the UTSOA VRC's online image collection.

Donor Highlight

Noah Winkler

M.ARCH, expected May 2017
What motivates you to document/photograph the architecture/sites you visit?
Photographs are mostly to supplement my memory (I don’t have unlimited cloud storage). So snapping photos as I come across things that are beautiful, interesting, different, strange, SUPER ugly, etc. is a way for me to be constantly journaling. For better or worse, it’s much quicker than sketching and, sometimes, if I really capture a scene, it can be more effective for my learning.
 
Any special interests in photography or equipment? Do you find the buildings/landscapes more exciting or the photography?
I usually have my iPhone in my pocket so most of my photos come out of that machine. Sometimes I’ll buy a couple rolls of film for a special occasion or a trip (usually an architecture field trip). I am definitely more thoughtful with my film camera, and not coincidentally the photos end up meaning more to me (nice how that works out). I also have a bigger digital camera but I am still figuring out when I need that much power.

The buildings are usually more exciting than the photographs. But if I really find a good photograph (find is how I like to think of composing a shot), it can eclipse the building in my mind. This is not often the case and never happens in the presence of great architecture.


How do you use the images you shoot? Do they influence your design thinking? How does photographing architecture inform your thinking?
Photographs are a mental pause. Henri Cartier-Bresson describes them as brief affirmations of the world around you, a quick yes. I agree very much with his perspective. And in the setting of architecture, it can be an acknowledgement of a great moment, a threshold, a dramatic scale shift, a detail, really anything that makes me say yes to myself. In this way, they become how I study a work of architecture while I explore.
 
Where's your next destination? Are you searching out locations with a particular theme, or region?
Right now I’m in Seattle working for Olson Kundig through the summer. The theme of my thoughts is usually similar, so in that way, the photographs I take and the explorations I go on will always deal with how we design and plan better for the people. My research in Mexico City was focused on how we handle our civic duties as architects. In that way, Seattle provides wonderful fodder as a dramatically sited, rapidly growing city. Future travel plans are always up in the air but my girlfriend and I would like to someday head across Russia on the Transsiberian Railroad (Snowball Territory is what the locals call it).
To browse all images donated by Noah, visit the VRC's online image collection. Log in using your EID and select the "Advanced Search" option.  Search for "Noah Winkler" in the Source Name field. 

Research Project Focus

Vasconcelos Library

Photographs by Noah Winkler

What prompted your visit to the Vasconcelos Library? Did you travel there to document this project, or was it an incidental discovery?
The library was far from an incidental discovery but definitely not the subject of my research. I went to Mexico City to look at food markets, many of which were built by major Mexican architects—such as Felix Candela and Pedro Ramirez Vazquez—in the 1940s to 1960s. What I did realize after my visit was that the library—its grandeur, embodied life and spirit—comes from the same cultural values that allow for the food markets to continue to flourish. What literally prompted my visit was a beautiful day and spectacular walk north through the heart of Mexico City.
 
What was your overall impression of the place?
Vasconcelos Library was the result of an architect really having fun and that fun coinciding well with the program of a building. Why should our libraries not look like they come from Harry Potter (or The Papermaster!)? The circulation is logical and evident. The organization of books is clear and efficient. The study space is sufficient and subdued. And there were freakin’ balconies that looked out to downtown Mexico City! It was a little like being in a dream (if my dream was directed by Guillermo del Toro). The experience was a good reminder that sometimes I take myself too seriously when it comes to architecture. The really great works are the result of wonderfully imaginative minds. This was a prime example.

What about this building did you find interesting? Did it exceed your expectations? Fall short?
The empty longitudinal core with grand staircases and a floating whale skeleton flanked by the books, inhabitable space and arterial circulation was interesting from a planning standpoint. It allows the building to be essentially one sectional condition extruded for the full length of the library and connected with several bridges. To do something that clever and have the building work better than most other libraries I’ve experienced in my life… that exceeded all expectations.
To browse all images donated by Noah, visit the VRC's online image collection. Log in using your EID and select the "Advanced Search" option.  Search for "Noah Winkler" in the Source Name field. 
Noah Winkler
Reforma 27
Mexico City, Mexico

Accession # 2015-3559
La Merced Market
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3552
Diego Rivera Mural, National Palace
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3560
David Alfaro Siqueiros Mural, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Rectory Building
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3561
Luis Barragan Home & Studio
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3564
Vasconcelos Library
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3574
Vasconcelos Library
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3577
Vasconcelos Library
Mexico City, Mexico
Accession # 2015-3571
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Copyright © 2016 UTSOA Visual Resources Collection, All rights reserved.
v. 7, no. 3 (March 2016)

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