Structure / Site

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A simple structural system with an 8 x 8 m ideal module is proposed. The 8 x 8 module accommodates a range of programmatic needs and responds to existing site conditions, both natural and artificial (trees, infrastructural elements, level changes…)

The structural system is imposed over the 1km length of the island. By juxtaposition, the structure and the site define the parameters of intervention. The framework provides the skeleton upon which the programme is inserted. Whilst the structure is defined and permanent, the programme should be flexible and adaptable in order to respond to changing needs.

As a result of the combined site and structure, the relationship in between artificial and natural elements is defined. A closer look at the site should allow the definition of an ‘optimal’ configuration within the limits of this intervention.

System Structures

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Having identified a number of possible interventions, or ‘solutions’, both advantageous and disadvantageous, to be critically selected and introduced to the site, a structural system is introduced. This system should be capable of accommodating every number of ‘solutions’ put forward in the previous exercise, and therefore bring into combination both the new and the old, or the artificial and the natural.

The relationship in between these 2 elements (the artificial and the natural) is studied with the addition of a structural framework. A series of ‘system structures’ is revealed. These ‘system structures’ are proposed as a means of accommodating ‘solutions’ and integrating architectural conditions in one same logic of construction.

 

Potteries Thinkbelt

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“When architectural form is reduced to its essential nature, what it stages and makes visible is not itself but the life that unfolds within its limits” (Studio Dogma)

Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt project from the mid 1960s converts a rusting railway network into a learning apparatus that is flexible and mobile, with the capacity to continually adapt to technological advances. His proposal questions the strict separation of disciplines by calling for the development of interchangeable units that would allow the learning process to be constantly reshaped in response to changing demands.

With this, Price proposes a system that can integrate knowledge, flexibility and territory whilst liberating the architectural condition from functionalist and programmatic duty. As such, the architecture serves production only by virtue of being there as framework, as place. The project is the embodiment of its condition, and at the same time the frame holding it.

An Exercise in Iterative Massing

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The ‘accidental landscapes’ form the basis for architectural interventions on the island. In the last exercise, 18 ‘realities’ of the site were revealed, corresponding to the number of times the dominoes were played and the site reconfigured.

With a critical viewpoint, a number of ‘accidental landscapes’ are selected for architectural interpretation. An exercise in iterative massing is proposed 9 times as a means of reconnecting the ‘accidental landscapes’ to reality (or, to the site). It is hoped that the visualisation of a variety of advantageous and disadvantageous options will provide the project with an informed starting point. It should be noted that the resulting volumes will be judged on the number of solutions and atmospheres created rather than on any formal aspect.

 

Accidental Landscapes

In order to formulate ‘accidental landscapes’, the model pieces are placed atop, alongside or across each other based on the domino hands. For each configuration, one or more model pieces are proposed as starting points. The pieces follow a specific sequence. The number of finishing points should be equal to or higher than the number of starting points. The number of elements in between a starting point and its finishing point(s) is indeterminate.

The exercise is repeated 18 times in model form in order to translate each domino hand into a ‘reality’.  Each ‘accidental landscape’ is critically observed. The new relationships in between ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’ pieces form the basis for architectural interventions.

System (n.)

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System (n.) – a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network; a set of parts which can be reconfigured as a part of a complex whole.  

A set of models is proposed as a part of an interconnected network (or system) from which architectural intervention may occur on the Île de Cygnes, Paris.

The site is divided into 9 ‘territories’, following the same logic of investigation as in the dominoes. As such, for every 100 metres, one model reveals a specific fragment of the site. The set of models is built at 1/400.

The system consists of extracting ‘real’ information from the site and revealing new ‘realities’ with every separate combination of model pieces. We are operating in the realm of ‘invention’ whereby the site is continuously dismantled and reconfigured to reveal planned and unexpected ‘realities’ in a series of ‘accidental landscapes’.