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Between Thinking and Making 2

Year 3 Group work: Tactility of Space

A one week project in teams of three to investigate the architectural relationship between a room and the raw ingredients that make up the space; natural daylight, materials, structure, through a 9 metre cubed model at 1:20 scale. This project was set after interim reviews for the Community centre as an enjoyable experiment with the opportunity to relate it to each person's main project. We each wrote down one main theme relevant to our own projects- Materiality, Tectonic Structure, and Perspective (my own), and worked around incorporating these into the design. We also recognised similarities between our projects with repetition, route and options, stereotomic mass, connections and angular geometry featuring in two or more designs. 

The "Tectonic Structure" was incorporated in the form of the copper grid acting as the lightweight skin and load bearing element of the cube.

"Materiality" was explored through the combination of copper, concrete, plastic (acting as frosted glass) and light. Light coming through the frosted glass gives the interior an ethereal glow, and when it spills into the interior of the "crucible", it glows as if it held molten copper.


"Perspective" was shown by the unconventional decision to suspend a heavy concrete object almost invisibly inside the tectonic structure, challenging the norm. It was further shown in a 

more conceptual manner by having viewports through a PVC screen which gave the viewer a glimpse inside the cube.

On one side, one can see a person cowering underneath the apparently hovering concrete slab, in fear that it may fall on him at any time, too preoccupied with this oppressive object to notice that he may easily just leave the space if he wished to.

A higher viewport on the opposing side shows a person inside the concrete object looking out. Although arguably in a better position than their counterpart, with the lustrous copper floor and walls and plenty of space above them, this person feels socially isolated and disconnected from the Earth. 

Neither person is aware of the other, and it is only when the viewer moves to the back of the cube and the whole picture of both circumstances is formed do we understand how important perspective is.

The piece is open to interpretation, and during the exhibition, we invited people to write what they thought the cube was about, or a short narrative about the two people inside. Each response was completely different. One of our tutors commented that he imagined that the people inside had smelted the copper in the hovering crucible and built the cage from the inside out, and now they cannot escape.

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