LEE YANG YANG

lee yang yang

an architect
CASUAL

SEXAGESIMAL HUMAN

anthropometric scale of proportions

presented at EMAGN + SONA 2020 online talk series

A proposed anthropometric scale of proportions in the traditions of Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Modular Man by Le Corbusier and Universal Man by Ernst Neufert. However rather than basing on the goldern ratio, this system utilises the dimensions already standardised in the building industry and its traditions in measurements and theory of numbers. The word sexagesimal, which translates to base 60, or in this regard 600 milimeters or roughly 2 feet forms the basis of this system of proportions. In observation of crafting and building architecture, these dimensions reappear and already in use in the current building industry, except now to formalise the interchangeability between differents trades and craft.

The cabinetmaker’s 900mm high benchtops and 600mm wide cabinets, the tiler’s 300mm x 600mm standard tiles, the carpenter’s 450mm and 600mm timber stud spacings, the bricklayers 120mm x 240mm brick formats, the panel suppliers of 1200mm x 2400mm plywood, plasterboard and facade panels. This goes also to 900mm x 2100mm standard door opening, 2100mm minimum non-habitable ceiling height, 2400mm minimum habitable ceiling height to parking bay of 2700mm x 5400mm. 

The history of these dimensions whilst now universalised by metrification, can be traced to the standardisation of the American Portland plywood in the early 1900s of 4 feet x 12 feet or roughly 1200mm x 2400mm and prior to that the carpentry dimensions in imperial measurements of feet and inches. And to go further back in time, these imperial units followed from American to British imperial units particularly 1 foot to 12 inches (roughly 300mm), to Roman foot (pes) and Greek foot (pous) imperial units, and then finally Mesopotamian and Egyptian origins of the royal cubit (roughly 450mm) measured as length of elbow.

And the numerical system of base 60 in itself can be traced back to Egyptian, Babylonian history (whilst also reappears in Chinese history), simply because of it is ease of division and in its use of time measurements in relation to astronomy; 360 degree as full circle, 360 days in a year, 12 months to moon cycles, 12 hours for both day time and night time, and into Babylonian 60 minutes and 60 seconds.

And the word human in Sexagesimal Human intends to transcend the word man used in both Vitruvian Man and Modulor Man. Whilst the Modulor Man is based on the six-foot man at 1828mm and its division to golden ratios, which arguably made its metric measurements difficult to work with, Sexagesimal Human approximates the imperial to metric measurements for its ease of division followed from tradition of base 60, approximating the human height at 1800mm, with 150, 300, 600 increments and divisions. And whilst this system of proportions facilitates interchangeability and ease of use, it should be noted that it should not be followed as a strict system, as with any standards of dimensions do not always account for the individual ergonomics and contextual situations. Nevertheless, the Sexagesimal Human scale of proportions whilst itself grows from experiences of practicality and formalises its use, attempts to reaffirm its tradition to histories of industrialisation, metrification, imperial units, and theory of numbers.

WHEN ARE YOU

ephemeral mixed-media installation 

in association with Joy Artists Collective
2019, PAPER MOUNTAIN GALLERY

also presented at PECHA KUCHA PERTH VOL 24

The installation, a fusion of the concrete and the ephemeral, particularly tries to question the metaphysical idea of the present and being. Are our thoughts and actions conscious of themselves or our consciousness a by process of our unconscious actions. The installation consists of two elements; the first;  spatial objects as the journey and the second,; a wall projection as the piece de resistance. The journey is orchestrated to orientate the observers, an exposition to build up towards the final act.

Spatial elements consisting of opaque and mirrored panels suspended in serial progression. This arrangement affords fleeting glimpses of the destination, drawing the participant through the work.  As the final destination is approached it becomes clear that the flat image glimpsed at the outset is actually a parallax-distorted digital mirror. Projected on two angled screens, the image becomes warped and stretched as the viewer advances. Constantly dislocating from the regular passage of time, this fluctuating mirror asks the participant to reflect on their experience as the distorted reflection stares back at them.

A break from the routine, When Are You? is a liminal space, an experience bracketed by time. Generating a reflective state, the work encourages viewers to interrogate the mechanisms that propel us, both figuratively and literally, on our routine passage through the built environment.  Every day is a chain of decisions and actions, these unexamined decisions and pathfinding habits we follow are directed by our environment.

As we navigate our path, the spaces we design influence us in return. As much as humans affect their habitat,  When Are You? seeks to instill the  awareness that our habitat also builds us.

just past

immediate past

recent past

Time dilation, surveillance and spatial orchestration are amongst the tools we use to transform the banal into the unknown and unexpected. It explores the concept of time;  the just past, the immediate past, the recent past, – and questions where is the present. When Are You?

POLES IN THE LANDSCAPE

POLES IN THE LANDSCAPE

scale model 1 : 200

2014, SUBMISSION FOR SCALE EXHIBITION,
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ARCHITECTURE CONFERENCE

Vertical elements of our landscape, as ordinary as utility poles, tree trunks or crop plants are abstracted as black pins. Looking from above it looks like a galaxy of stars in the night sky. And like the countless tree trunks in the forest, the space is dotted by clusters of hundreds of black pins. The placement of the vertical elements defines the space between. Here, depending on the distance of the poles; they evoke denseness or sparseness when read against each other. The absence in the center, the void, a carved out space – like a crop-circle becomes a charged and emergent centric space. This space is ironically a positive aesthetic condition – seemingly pulling the poles together like invisible forces of gravity. From afar, a path leading to the center emerges, a linear spatial condition formed not by literal lines on the landscape, but by imaginary lines joined by the connecting dots in the landscape.