Breadcrumb | Ryan Tyler

Recently Edward Snowden was in the news for leaking classified documents from the NSA, documents that disclosed the collection of private information of people, organizations and governments around the world. This project asks a question: “what are the subjectivities that are in the world that architecture hasn’t already found a place for?” Possibly the answer to that question is personal data of individuals.


“Breadcrumb — Complexity and Curation, Intricacy and the individual” by Ryan Tyler

The title of the thesis is Breadcrumb; Complexity and Curation, Intricacy and the individual. I want architecture to assert its authorship’s process formally. I was dealing with personal statistics of the architect, myself, to try and represent contingency in architecture. I was using an application by the information graphic artist Nicholas Felton called Daytum to record every subjectivity that came into contact with the thesis over a three-month period. I recorded things like what I ate, who I talked to, where I went, what books I was reading, what websites I was visiting, the conversations I was having with Eric Owen Moss. I’m arguing that these somewhat superfluous activities have a large effect on the final outcome of a finished project. Simultaneously, I’m taking that information and trying to use it as some type of architectural device or trying to solve it as some type of architectural problem.

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The thesis goes from a series of precedent study drawings to the design of a curated house in Antwerp, Belgium. The site of the house is the home of Peter Paul Rubens. I picked the site for two reasons. First, we all know Rubens as a Northern Baroque painter, but a lot of us don’t know Rubens as an architect.

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When Rubens was a student in Italy, he worked on about 120 architectural drawings, he studied Michelangelo, he studied the body. And when he was done, he went back to Belgium and he built a house called the Rubenshuis.


I used the site of the Rubenshuis because it had no positive or pejorative connotations within the discipline of architecture. Second, I was interested in reenacting the design of a house from an architect who was at the peak of his academic career and the beginning of his professional endeavours.

In conclusion, the thesis recorded over 1,500 personal statistics that simultaneously represented the process of every part of the thesis and were used as an agent for design within the parts that generated the thesis. My conversations with Eric Owen Moss were recorded and transcribed into a book.

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The drawings are at 1:1 scale of the physical model which is the standard size of a movie poster and printed on 4’x8′ sheets of construction material.  All this information was an attempt to understand and follow the bread crumbs throughout my summer.

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Breadcrumb — Complexity and Curation, Intricacy and the individual by Ryan Tyler Martinez

Southern California Institute of Architecture, Sci-Arc, Los Angeles, California

SCI-Arc Thesis 2013 // Thesis Advisor: Eric Owen Moss


Ryan Tyler Martinez is a North Carolina-born, Los Angeles-based designer, filmmaker, artist, and curator. He is a designer at Gehry Partners, LLP and the Co-founder of A One-Night Stand for Art & Architecture. Ryan received a Master of Architecture with distinction from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a BA in Art Studio and Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His work has been displayed  in Paris, Los Angeles and North Carolina. He has shot, directed, and produced a number of architectural films for Universities including the Harvard GSD, Georgia Tech University and SCI-Arc among others. He has been appointed teaching positions at UC Berkeley and SCI-Arc.


Source/Credits: Ryan Tyler Martinez |