Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Unit Programme 07/08

Ghost in the Machine

How can the latent qualities of building fabric affect our inhabitation, behaviour or perception of space? How can we expect the unexpected, pre-empt spatial effects or phenomena that are otherwise hidden, fleeting?

We will examine the tectonic potential of materials through experimentation, construction and invention. We will also study the inherent characteristics of spaces and their surface, topological and organisational properties. The unit will focus on measures to comprehend, re-describe and propagate these qualities on their own terms, to develop a self-regulating process where an architectural language takes on a life of its own.

Ghost patterns

We will investigate the tailoring of spaces through their effects upon movement, light, hierarchy and comfort via processes of folding, cutting, wrapping, variegation, lamination etc. Emphasis will be given to the deformation and mutation of spatial models and the iterative development of patterns and taxonomies. Specialist workshops will focus upon the exploration of building fabric, adapting to changes in condition, scale and task.

Tokyo Ukiyo-e: Learning from the floating world

Ukiyo-e, fictional representations made famous by Hokusai and Hiroshige each captured selective, fleeting parameters from the real world. The images depicted extreme social and economic transformations through cultural happenings and changing habitats. Using this analogy the unit will travel to Tokyo, Japan where we will explore the extremities of the city and draw out their narratives, at the intersection of the real and fictional. We will examine the intensive, interwoven topological and programmatic conditions of Shibuya alongside the expanding territory of boutique architecture in Omotesando and Ginza. Analysis will extend to the dispersed organisational field of Harajuku, the large-scale infrastructure of Shinjuku and the vertical complexity of Akihabara.

Exquisite Corpse: Unnatural composite

Propositions will be formulated for the re-evaluation of a mixture of uses within a complex armature between road and rail infrastructure in London. Working both at a strategic level and the scale of inhabitation the unit will operate both individually and as a collective. Using exquisite corpse methodology, contributions will manifest themselves into a series of strategic potentialities from which individual propositions will evolve.

Ghost writing

Ghosts cannot be captured on film. A specific instrumentation will be developed in order to reveal latent site qualities. The unit will develop mapping techniques, plotting double signals and tracing site conditions to create alternate readings. ‘Ghost writers’ will be invented, who will guide our hands and initiate architectural responses that will redefine the process of construction. Through consideration of material properties and spatial criteria we will crystallise critical realisations with hidden characteristics that emerge at an unexpected moment.

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