Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Design Thesis Blog

From this post onward this blog is becoming a tool for recording and exploring the thought and design process for my design thesis.  

Finding an appropriate theme is a journey and can lead from one point to another whilst taking quite a diversions in between. The start of this design thesis was quite technical with rammed earth which was abandoned quite early on. I felt this incredibly important project required something which complements my technical ability but does not centrally focus the theme around it. The desired output I seek from this project is to explore established and innovative architectural theory whilst considering strong economic trends through space. To reach this destination I gathered a reading list to try and ignite some inspiration. This list includes:
Harries, K., The Ethical Function of Architecture Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT 1997

Vesely, D., Architecture in the age of Divided Representation Cambridge, Mass. ; London : MIT 2006

Ann Ray, M, Pamphlet Architecture No 20, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1997

Architectural Design Magizene

The Economist

Upon reading the titles above reoccurring references to J.M. Gandy (1771-1843) started to influence the theme development. Gandy was an architectural theorist and close working partner to John Soane. The most famous of his works was notably “The Ruins of the Bank of England” and the concept behind this fictional depiction can be applied in a 2013 context. Gandy portrayed the building in ruins as monument to the state of capitalism and a place of retribution and cleansing for those involved in the system. 

Recent news of high profile tax avoidance in the United Kingdom made me think of the possibility of applying Gandy’s concept to the largest employer in Nottingham. Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) head quarters were built just outside the city centre and provides much of the cities cash flow. As one approaches the series of office buildings designed by Hopkins you feel almost like a trespasser on alien ground. The outdoor space that the architect intended to become public recreation space has a ghostly feel as a result of employees seeking escapism during their breaks.

The very much public activities of the HMRC have become insular and private though the scale and layout of the forms. This complex layout is directly comparable to a difficult tax return form or an unexplained variation in a payslip modified by the HMRC. When this theory was presented to my design thesis tutor he could relate to a similar feeling when visiting the buildings. He explained how each entrance contained facilities for headache medication which is self explanatory in communicating the type of environment the employees endure.

I briefly left this theory involving tax and started to revisit my passion for coastal areas and my time living in Hastings. Fishing industries have always been both creating and recovering plastic drift materials and disposing of it. The video below is completely separate from the tax topic but may provide an answer to some of the questions posed above.


Only time and further exploration will tell  

Friday, 8 February 2013

Vertical Studio Final Review

The post below includes a brief description of the final narrative created for Vertical Studio which was a 20 credit ponit module for the M.Arch at NTU.