The purpose of this blog is to document and follow my educational progression in the field of architecture. It was first set up in 2011 as a tool to share my experience on the MSc Architectural Technology and later on the Master of Architecture at NTU. The content and purpose has constantly evolved over the years and it is now a tool to assist my registration as an architect through the RIBA Studio Certificate.
Paul Colfer, Bsc (Hons), MSc, M.Arch, PGCert
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:
K., The Ethical Function of Architecture Cambridge,
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
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.
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.
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.