On Monday 3rd March the observatory competition long list was released and our team consisting of myself, Joe Williams and Casey Williams were delighted to find our hard work and design process had paid off. We emerged through as one of the 20 teams to be long listed for the exhibition at Winchester Guild Hall where the projects were reviewed by a panel of 7. The judges included some high profile names such as Will Alsop and Bill Woodrow as well as five other distinguished professionals. The project was also mentioned on bdonline and the competition website that can be viewed in the links below:
Unfortunately the project was not chosen for the shortlist and the travelling exhibition but as a team our design exploration and research developed considerably over the 8 week period.
The conceptual approach to the studio was introduced in the post titled “Observation Theme Exploration” on the 30th January 2014. This was a diagrammatic image that portrayed our approach to observation and how its power can be enhanced through removing and then framing certain views. The team comprised a paragraph to support our theories and the image:
“The beauty of landscape and topography is somewhat elusive to those whom use it often and in a transient manner. Studio Obscura uses the power of denial to remove and distort views so as to render beautiful scenes that have become ordinary through frequent use”
In reality this is achieved by using vertical posts that stand in isolation and form a plane leading to the building. The posts eventually merge to create the density that is the actual enclosed space. Each post demands space in the landscape encouraging macro observation but the closer they become, the more the visitor views the micro aspects of the site. Once inside the building the visitor experiences a sheltered atmosphere away from the sun, wind and rain and is invited to observe the artist’s products and process.
Inside the intervention a counterpoint to the surrounding landscape is created through removing light from the tower and creating a pinhole camera obscura. This camera obscura projects the light and atmosphere of the artist’s studio above onto a translucent screen below. This is achieved using mirrors and varying ceiling heights to enhance the experience.
The image below is one of the central isometric drawings that show these vertical elements and their relationship with the building. The tower that encourages observation of the landscape from above and observation of the artist from below dominates the image.