Friday, 11 December 2009

The Market Estate Project (I)

No very long ago I read somewhere in internet about The Market Estate project which will be taken action in February 2010. Fist time I visited North Road was in 2006 when I commenced to work on The Hut. The client's offices ( Islington Council ) were based in an adjacent building to the Estate.

Next to this 60's public housing development is Caledonian Park Clock Tower. Set back from the main road, the white clock tower seems to control the time and lives of everyone who surround it. It is a slim, large and elegant type of construction designed by J.B Banning in 1855. It was opened by Prince Albert with the intention of trading over 15.000 animals a day. It is also known as Metropolitan Cattle Market Tower and is all that is left of one of London's largest livestock markets which operated until it was flattered by aerial bombing in 1940 during World War 2.

Our studio, in collaboration with Richard Claridge, current historic buildings consultant and also a fellow RCA alumni have submitted an inspiring proposal with the intention of getting involve with such of fascinating project.

Loosely inspired by Plato’s Allegory of Cavern where references of people is played out in a transient narrative of shadow, our proposal aims to investigate the architectural patterns between existing and proposed Market Estate in the form of artificial or natural day light and shadow. We enjoy the way that fixtures and fittings, products and personal items are left abandoned in corridors and staircases – places which
are transient by nature and therefore reflect the space between private and public, destination and arrival - as ghostly memories of former inhabitants: a slow erosion whereby the place takes on a new life and offers visitors a new and poetic inside to and otherwise forlorn space.

In our work we want to imagine a group of individuals who have lived their lives in happy and sad; positive and sometimes reflective or negative states of mind, perhaps lonely at times with the comfort that they can afford: comfort in the form of their possessions which over the course of the departure
from the building have been discarded through neglect or want, all that is left is the rhythms of the past and the ephemeral decay that is its future. However the beauty of the work and the free spirited form of the discarded object is achieved with shadow as its next life, similar to how in Plato the observer is released of their chains through the metaphor of darkness over light.

We propose a series of installations fixed to the ceiling, wall or floor in corridors, landings, staircases and stairwells. The work will take the form of existing architectural fixtures and fittings, or installed pieces that refer to where original fixtures and fittings were once housed but have been removed (eg: light bulbs and electric fittings, fire prevention equipment including hose, bell and extinguisher, balustrades, occupant doors & windows and related furniture including door numbers. These and other fixtures and fittings will be presented with the aid of both electric and natural daylight, the effect will be shadows and play of light on adjacent surfaces

The work will be presented in such a way to encouraged audience participation, not necessarily to encourage tactile investigations but exhibition of objects seen at different positions, angles, heights and light qualities. Although we envisage each installation to be presented unframed as scale 1:1 pieces in addition we imagine a series of secondary works that illustrate in architectural scale diagrammatic explanations that for instance take the form or aesthetic of an electric diagram.

The objectives of our installations are for former residents and strangers alike to look at every day objects in a different light - literally and metaphorically – to react and examine otherwise discarded remnants of the Market Estate.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Michael Chadwick, one of my former tutors during my post graduated studies at RCA has recently contacted me offering the opportunity of teaching at the School of Architecture in the University of Brighton.

The course will be called 'Mediateque'. It will take the form of a workshop in which a series of different materials will be used with the intention of studying some of aspects of the early Russian Constructivist Theories. The course will be mainly focus to a group of architectural students from 1st and 2nd year degree. The starting date is January 2010.

At this stage, I have been asked to supply an image which might represent the contents of the course as well as a brief description of the objectives and aims. Because I had to do this with a very short notice I opted for selecting one of the many photographs I took during my birthday's visit last month to the old Kent & East Sussex Railway, defined as 'the country's finest example of a rural light railway.' The line gently wends its way from Tenterden -"The Jewel of The Weald" for ten and a half miles, though the unspoilt countryside of the Rother Valley, to terminate in the shadow of the magnificent National Trust castle at Bodiam.

The image illustrates a closed ticket counter from Tertenden's train station. Even I found the capture being quite vague (without any apparent indication of the course aims) in the other hand, I also think that - for many reasons, graphically it makes a clear reference to the starting point of a journey. Firstly, because that is the place where the traveler obtain a fare, but also it is the relevant door that allows you to apply for new experiences. The fact this service is unattended refers to an element of surprise. A capture with a considerable grade of poetry but also, - I have to admit, with certain levels of frustration.

My main intention for the course is to present a workshop which would explore the following 6 materials in their own isolation.

Stage 1: Paper and Cardboard
Stage 2: Wood and Balsa
Stage 3: Wire and Perspex

Once the 3 initial sketch prototypes have been completed, then students will be asked to create a higher level of complexity model during the last 2 stages. The final requirement is to design a Hybrid.

Stage 4 & 5: To create a Hybrid with the above 6 materials; an additional item such as Resin or Latex will need to be included

The purpose of the Hybrid is to explore the tangibility of the chosen materials (identifying the properties in relation of how they work with each other) e.g. Students will be asked to study a series of architectural qualities such as:

Cohesion, Transparency, Elasticity, Separation, Volume, Light, Mass, Shadows
and many more