Sunday, 17 July 2011

Concrete casting images
















Final Work

Just a brief addition of my work which was added for my final project. with all the work I had on I was unable to continue with my writing on this blog. As such this final installment of the blog will generally be a visual installment. In which visual images describe the changes to my project.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Diary 03/02/11-05/04/11 New Blog-

Have not been keeping up to date with work recently- as such my project has gone through several changes without really getting round to explaining them. The general form and underlying idea of the building has not changed at all. The idea of the circulation with the entrance sequence, with one hall at the front and another towards the rear, connected through a warren- like world of light, waffle slabs, columns and volumes in space. This idiosyncratic world is balanced through the symmetrical form of the grand hall at the front of the building. This Hall has gone through several major changes. Curiously though I have ended up where I started. With a hall that is reminiscent of Auguste Perret’s Notre Dame Du Raincy.

The reason for testing so many different forms for this hall was to try and find a way in which the existing building could meet the new. In opposition to the modernist way of resolving such a situation where you make the joint between the two explicit and highlight their meeting, I have thickened up the point of meeting and created a large concrete “key” which articulates this moment.

The other aspect of the design, which has now started giving me a headache, is the envelope of the building. I have recently looked at two materials that could be used for this external skin- polycarbonate acetate or concrete, both of which are nothing like each other, which simply demonstrates the lack of clarity I have with regards to this aspect of the design at the moment. I have a rough Idea of what I want it to do but I feel the feedback notes from my crit most clearly explains to me what this envelope/skin/curtain of the building should become. The feedback notes are as follows-

Schizophrenic waffle slab
Design in perspective
Confusing presentation
Bold gesture to bring main hall to the front
Image of the building from crossroads is big room
Complex circulation behind – but strong response to site
How interesting is translucent box
Nice way to represent programme to the city
Hall different from other buildings
Wraparound stuff is confusing and brutal
What is wall surface and how to people behave in relation to it?
Man in Hawaiian shirt not appropriate
Very nice ideas but very underdeveloped – needs to be fleshed out
Relationship to urban surroundings under-explored
Entry sequence conventionalised
Model photographs are not a substitute for the idea they represent – lack of clarity in what is being described – baldness in use of photographs – very revealing of lack of detail of building and jarring and disturbing – more selective in choice of photographs
Plan suggests a post – makes a fa├žade pattern – grid
How does grid of ceiling resolve with pattern of wall posts?
The room feels grand – interesting
Revisit Whitechapel to see Bethan Hughes
Curtain wall – what could it be – nonsensical dichotomy between concrete and polycarbonate
Sound of clubbing – sand in polycarbonate
Should it be quiet or a bit noisy?
Main room – not quite in the room

Do more drawings trying to capture what I want each of the areas of the building to feel like. Do some paintings of what I want these areas of the building to feel like perhaps? I think from here I need to make some models of each of the places perhaps at 1-200 to help work out what this skin is and at 1-50 to help work out how people interact with it? Work out this relationship between the skin up close and far away. How does it change upon getting closet to it?

Plan seems to work- also need to work out the acoustics of the underground crypt/rave pit/assembly hall.
Produce a series of 1-20 models of the particular spaces and moments within these spaces to help work out exactly what they should feel like. Perhaps work from perspective- drawing sketches of the places first then going into models, then working in plan and working with precedents.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Concrete casting

For a recent module I was asked to cast a piece of concrete. The aim of the module was to get to grips with the versatility of this ancient building material. It is extraordinary the the extent to which this impressive material permeates not just our built environment, but our everyday lives too. From work surfaces, to the piers of bridges, from park benches to WWII bunkers, concrete can exist in almost every conceivable environment. However for this module I wanted to work with the material and transform it so that we may experience is as something more than itself. In the same way, as with my design thesis, I wanted to represent the material as something other than a construction material. With so many of Zumthors works, he tries to seek out the "essence" of the materials- find their true meaning. With his Brother Claus chapel he burned out 112 felled trees from the interior of a concrete structure. This left the burned sap and charred wooden interior, rich with smells and colours- a hugely intense an evocative experience. In this building we find the concrete as something new- in a light we have never seen it before. Is this its essence? I doubt it, but I found it an interesting and novel, elemental way of treating the material- As such I wanted to to cast a piece of bark from a felled tree on my farm in Wales, and burn it out- leaving the beautiful negative of the bark on the interior.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Concrete Waffle slab

Much of my work at the moment is focused on the embracing the existing site conditions, one such site condition I seem to have held onto is the eccentric waffle slap which permeates the existing car-park space. In the case of the waffle slab in this building one can see how as the slab extends away from fenchurch street deeper into the surrounding urban context, it fragments and breaks/moves according to the urban condition. Where the road bends/adjusts slightly, the order of the slabs waffles breaks down . Such an interesting condition of the built environment probably exists throughout many mid 20th century London blocks. However, many may not be visible, because walls, rooms and other interventions would disallow someone from viewing the entire slab/waffle condition as one. As such, one aspect of this site I have decided to focus on exaggerating, highlighting is the waffle slabs eccentric form.

Further to this idea of looking at the waffle slab, I like the idea of taking a building material and pushing it to its practical limits so we may view it as more than just a building material. Taking it out of its usual context as a waffle I thought perhaps the waffle shape could be adjusted/ stretched so that it may become a vault in a crypt. One of my rooms is going to house a crypt underneath the main assembly hall. In such a place I would like to see the vaults become something more than just a room. I want to express the concrete as something more than itself, or perhaps find the "essence" of the material. As Martin Steinmann tells us, there is a trend in contemporary Swiss architecture wherein banal materials are being pushed to places wherein we see them as something more than the building material we are used to seeing them as. In such an instance, I could Imagine the vaults of the underground crypts becoming waffle- shaped vaults, so you experience the waffle as something completely different!!! how mad is that!!

Moving up a scale

After spending the last fortnight jumping between 1-500, 1-200 and 1-100 I have now start working at 1-50. Since a lot of my work concerns a phenomenal experience of interiors, the views out of those interiors and those views relationships to the city and the existing structure my photomontages are concerned with photos from inside the building. As such I have had to move up a scale.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Where to go from here & thesis plan

Currently looking at how the experience of a journey through and to a building can involve someone in the architecture of the city and how heighten ones sense of self and involvement and participation within that city. Through materiality and a journey through a building, revealing and concealing particular moments through this space is the way I am going to acheive this architecturally. I will reveal old/new, City/building/self, structure/volume/space. The way these are revealed will capture the specific relationships between them along the journey. The final view, will reveal some of these moments along the journey, with another view of the city so one can understand the relationship between them.

The main assembly rooms of the building will do something different and offer a reversal of place. Whilst along the journey one has been the observer, looking out, seeing themselves as part of the journey to where they are now, the assembly rooms and perhaps the meeting spaces will offer a reversal of perspective wherein the subject becomes the observed. I enjoy how the potential of an assembly space doing this opens up a conversation of what an assembly room or building can be. 

With all this in mind I cannot forget that at the end of the day this building is there to help facilitate public gathering in the city. So whilst I can have fun, playing games with space, journeys, and place within the city, I mustn't forget that this place has to eventually work for public gathering events.

Precedent Study

Looking at Kolumba museum, Koln, by Peter Zumthor to help with an analysis of space. The Kolumba museum by Zumthor is a journey through a series of spaces varying in size and shape. The spaces are open volumes intersected with rendered volumes which contain the space. At particular moments along a journey a view is framed through a window. The spaces and journey are highly structured, despite the openness of the architecture. The volumes of the rooms in the building seem to float in space, and the movement through the space is articulated through the movement of these volumes around you. This sense of movement, materiality, mass as one moves through the museum is a feeling I wish to apply to my building underneath the car park. At the moment to help what these places could feel like I am producing a series of photomontages as well as models of the interior spaces to help we with decisions.

The journey constructed by Zumthor in the Kolumba museum is one example of how a journey through a building can involve someone in the architecture of a place. However I feel the space of the car park can offer much more, in terms of the relationships between a person, a building, a place and a city. The framed views, the old and new, the structure, the volumes can all be used and the relationships between them and a person can be articulated through a journey.

One place I have visited wherein the relationships between a place and its environment and the journey through the two articulate them is St Davids Cathedral in South Wales. As a brief study I looked at how the relationships between a place, its spaces and its history is articulated through the journey you take to get there. In St Davids for example the old entrance to the site is the same as the one taken by pilgrims hundreds of years ago. How does one make an entrance to a building so special and important that it will remain the same for hundreds of years to come, even if the use or architecture of the building changes? On the journey to St Davids too, at a particular moment traveling through the city, one catches a glimpse of the cathedral tower, juxtaposed against the roofline of the new houses of the city. In this moment one understands the spatial and temporal relationship between the city and its cathedral. I did initially look at how the landscape of the surrounding areas of the cathedral could literally be translated into a program for the assembly hall. After a discussion with my tutor I came to the conclusion that literally translating the relationships between a place and its landscape into a building program strategy was very difficult.

I want to transpose these moments into a building so that perhaps, one catches a glimpse of the old structure and roof, contrasted against a new wall and the view of the city outside. A final view could be, the old, the new, the city and the journey. Maybe a view of the entrance to the building somehow.

Finally back to doing my Blog

After the introduction of the final project, I had been set the task of coming up with a spatial concept or strategy for the project. My site is the old aldgate tube station, where the temporary daytime clubbing event was proposed. For that event I proposed using existing conditions of the site and levering them to perhaps unexpected places. The use of temporary and permanent architectural interventions such as a staircase, hoarding, lighting and sound system allowed me to engage with the site temporally as well as spatially.

For my spatial strategy for the new project in which I have to design an assembly building for meetings I want to take my approach to the clubbing event and apply it to the rest of the site. So as with the daytime clubbing event I proposed leaving a lot of the existing spatial conditions, so I will work with the new site in such a manner.

Initially I looked at potentially placing a new building on the existing site however, once I started visiting the site a lot more, I realised there were many moments and conditions within the site, moving around the site, that were in fact surprisingly beautiful. I then began to think how these moments within the site could be highlighted through ones experience of the space.

What I most enjoyed about the site was the car park area, wherein the extremely deep ground floor space set up a condition which was very rare. The depth of the volume allowed the facilitation of curious and unexpected moments under the car-park wherein the highstreet was framed by the waffle slab ceiling and the dirty car park floor. The depth of the car park volume intersected with structural columns was similar to the spatial and structural conditions set up in an underground space. After visiting St Martin in the Fields church as a precedent for the assembly hall I noticed how the vaults of the church presented me with a space which was reminiscent of the space under the car park. From here I began looking into how the spaces of the church could be transposed into the car park. I also began looking into how vaults could be used on the site in a new assembly hall.

As well as the structural elements of the car park working for the spatial experience of the space, volumes created by the brick walls intersecting into the space of the car park created a playful sense of movement throughout the space. As one moves around the car park, the brick volumes juxtaposed against the structural elements moved around you, and the framed view of the high street moved around that. As such ones sense of being in the city and being in the building was heightened. And at particular moments this relationship between self, architecture and city was realised in a particular framed view of the city. As an Idea and feeling of space, this is what I wanted to lever into presence through a piece of architecture.

To exaggerate this feeling of being in the city and framing particular views the use of new materials throughout the entire floor would help acheive this. Juxtaposing, new/old, building/city, exterior/interior along a journey will accentuate ones sense of self and being within the piece of architecture. However once one begins to set up a journey within the city, the question of destination arises. What is the purpose of the destination? What will the destination do? How will it make the subject feel? I intend to place the subject alongside the city, so that the person can see them self as part of the city and its architecture. This feeling should be revealed through the journey- implicitly- then revealed explicitly at the end in the final destination. Perhaps a view, a moment, a material expression, a detail? Maybe a view of the journey they have taken? A view of where they have come from, and the city? Yes!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Quick Sketch






Keeping the Site

After a quick discussion with a friend and tutor it seems the best option/route to take with the site, is setting up the pit for a daytime clubbing event in such a way that I have to change the site in as little way as possible.


This photo is take from one of the very first secretsundaze events and captures the atmosphere I want to create perfectly. As it happens the dimensions of the dance-floor of this space are almost exactly the same as the "pit" on the site.


A more enclosed atmosphere, but the intensity and intimacy of the experience is still captured.



An initial idea (above) involved a little bit of landscaping to clean up the obscenely dirty site. However on reflection it seems more appropriate to leave it as found (below). As you can see the main addition to this site is the hoarding around the edge. The secrecy, and illusiveness of these sorts of gatherings is part of their attraction. Walking down a road, hearing the bass, hearing people, but almost completely unawares of where it is coming from. To add, even if you do know where it is coming from, trying to find the entrance adds to the anticipation.



Transposing the Atmosphere

The site/ hole in which I wanted to transpose the clubbing atmosphere into is the site of a derelict building, as yet I do not know what it used to be but will find out. However I do know the hole/pit in the ground has appeared due to an archaeological dig on the site. the following photos hopefully capture the atmosphere and nature of the site.





Initially I looked at making the atmosphere very chilled out, clean and clinical. This resulted in me completely transforming the site into something very different. A place which detracted from its original state and really didnt work. The drawing below shows a series of steps leading to the ground level of the pit, I decided to go against this idea because as you can see in the drawings, the sharp edges and clinical lines of the steps completely destroys the derelict, uniqueness of the topography- all characteristics which attracted me to the site in the first place.


The above proposal completely changes the atmosphere of the site into one which feels more like an amphitheater. Could work for a beach party- but fundamentally wrong for what I am looking for.


This proposal is still keeping the structure of the pit, but again, I feel I have changed the site too much.

Daytime Clubbing & New Site

Time is of the essence. Have to find a new site and event to work in it. An idea I had previously though of as potentially working in one of the sites was daytime clubbing. A relatively new phenomenon which mainly occurs during the summer months in London, daytime clubbing has appeared all over the capitol with events such as secretsundaze taking place during the daytime for party goers and people who just like listening to good music on a sunday afternoon, in the sun. Originating in friends basements and equally dingy places, the intimate, chilled atmospheres of these events could be transposed into one of the more derelict of the sites.



With a wave of clubbers and socialites looking for new, interesting music events to experience in the capitol, the hole in site 4 would be the perfect venue to acheive such an atmosphere. Below are some drawings done by two of my colleagues Chris Taylor and Claire Dale- Lace which show the current situation of the site.