Urban Peripheries Summer Project Lorens Holm 28 May 2008
Find a leftover space: Unknown Unwanted Unnamed Unclaimed Unvisible.
Know it, Want it, Name it, Claim it, Visualise it.
How do you do that, with a space? Please come up with a strategy for doing these things, which you can demonstrate through writings about and drawings of that space, when we meet in the new term (September).
The purpose of this little project is to allow you to evolve your own personal methods of exploration of a space of your choosing. To learn about property and ownership through doing. To operate with uncertainty. To explore techniques of physical engagement with a place. To explore place-making where we would not expect to find it. To meditate on the idea of collective space/ public space/ private space/ personal space. This is a very personal project with a very real link to a city-space. I expect drawings (plans, elevations, sections, details), photographs, models, rubbings, found objects, tattoos, walkings, recordings, air capture …
It could be an alley, a railroad siding, the space behind a hoarding, the outside side of a party wall, the space outside two fences, an inter-tidal zone, a tunnel, a sewage system, a non-public right of way, something I haven’t thought of. Think: no man’s land = everyman’s land.1 It will probably be a space that is not easily described by a figure/ground plan (which means we need other ways to represent it).2
Check historic DigimapTM.3 Visit the local planning department and/or local historical collection. Do a title search. Check its planning history. Is it publicly/privately owned or not owned? Claim it. Squat it. At the end of the year, you could be the proud owner of a piece of sub-prime real estate.
Plant a tree, install/remove an object, rearrange the stones, clean up the litter, drink its waters, do a rubbing, leave a footprint, go for a walk4, propose a narrative of use, ownership, occupation. Use drawings and other techniques of representation to explore possibilities of changing its scale, location, orientation. What does it remind you of? What can you imagine happening here?
You must do this project, but please interpret this brief so that it adapts to your own research interests and obsessions.
Project requirements for a full on project review in September (in Week 1) :
Architectural drawings: plan + section + elevation + detail. Plus: build a model + take a photograph + write a short narrative (1-1000words)5 that fictionalises, rationalises the space + write a manifesto.6
Scales as appropriate. Philosophise with a hammer. Put yourself in there too.
Please refer to readings on the course document.
PS: Please also think about what the different forms of collective/public/common space are. In what ways do the following count or not?
- Other diginarcissiforms like You book, Face space, or My tube.
- Agora (w/ or w/o stoa) or Piazza.
- Our unit, Urban Peripheries.
- Dundee School of Architecture.
- Representational Government, local, national.
- The Royal Navy.
- Social facts like: the NHS, the ID card system, the money system.
- Momentary spaces like: the school fête, ceilidhs, or an instantaneous irruption of laughter.
- Infrastructure like: National Rail, the sewage system, cabling, bus routes, the road network.
1 For preliminaries, google/wikipedia: common good (Scotland), common land (England).
2Go read Colin Rowe’s Collage City, it should be clear how bourgeois the idea of figure/ground is. As if every space had to have a precise ownership-style boundary around it, in order to qualify as a space. As if space = owned space. (Ingraham has a good discussion of how tightly linked architecture is to the concept of proprietary space, in Architecture and the Burdens of Linearity.)
3 University Library, for UK sites only. Is there a similar service in whatever other country you are in (Nepal, Portugal)?.
4The walking artists, like Hamish Fulton and Richard Long are models for intense engagement with a place, for which, blog blag bug Ian.
5Based on the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words. If its one word, it better be a bloody good one.
6Write the first draft of a manifesto on architecture, a few crucial bullet points, something that you can revise and add to as the year continues.