Project 3. The Image
“With its images, design aimed to apprehend set pieces of an everyday perception of the city, to then work on them as material in a project… The allusive pictures that have been opened attempted to make a project comprehensible in that the architecture allowed the “background radiation” of a crumbling, difficult to comprehend, everyday experience to gleam through. Architecture should be a local, representational manifestation of something more general”.
Before 1987 – Marcel Meili, Markus Peter
As part of your design process you have been sampling from a range of appropriate sources and synthesizing the forms to develop a building. Since much of the synthesis occurs through a variety of abstracted representations – technical drawings, concept models – it is useful to constantly test the resultant forms on an experiential level. This is particularly important when considering its relationship with context. Subsequently we propose focusing on ‘The Image’ to develop your final proposal, specifically it’s Silhouette, Approach and Encounter.
THE SILHOUETTE – the formal contribution to the context
In a post-suburban city like Swindon the silhouette of a building, its profile from afar, must work hard to both contribute to the context and reveal itself, to the pedestrian, cyclist and driver. Distinct but part of the low-density landscape. Use your site model to explore the development of the silhouette, photographing the evolving models from a range of angles and distances. Maximise the opportunities for material richness and controlled lighting until you have a single image that captures its essence, printed full colour, medium format (say 12”x16”).
THE APPROACH – external experience and access
Balancing precise constructional knowledge with rich associations the image should contain just enough surrounding context to establish how the building relates yet be close enough to feel the material consequences of your design decisions. It may include the entrance, describing your attitude towards access. We have encouraged you to explore the communicative potential and material experience of the building and this view provides the appropriate format to explore both concurrently.
Construct one or more large format (say 24”x36”), full colour, ‘painterly’ image, that captures the specific qualities of your proposal in the Swindon post-suburban landscape. The North European landscape paintings of John Constable, Jacob van Ruisdael or Caspar Friedrich will provide a useful starting point. Start by constructing a ‘painting’ of the existing site in the manner of an appropriate landscape artist. Focus on how made and grown materials (e.g. road and lawn, lamp post, and tree) are represented and meet. Depict a sky of an appropriate character against which to read your proposal. This requires you to engage with fundamental notions of character and flavour, as you prepare your final ‘serving suggestion’.
Once the existing context is established explore your own proposal in this single view. It is important to balance the character of the context with the need for constructional precision.
THE ENCOUNTER – visitor encounter with stored artefact
If your 1:12 section provides a precise, dimensionally correct abstraction of the artefact/visitor/space relationship this view allows you to explore its light, weightiness and character. The image should include your approach to the viewing and storing of the collection. It may have a wider scope than your 1:12, incorporating a particularly significant spatial experience in your proposal.
Construct one or more large format (say 24”x36”), full colour, ‘painterly’ image, that captures the specific qualities of your key internal space, where your attitude towards viewing and storing is articulated. The Dutch interiors of Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch will provide a useful starting point. Consider how lighting contrasts with material weightiness and how the depiction of architecture contrasts with artefacts.