Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Research Cluster 8 (2012.9-2013.8)/Research Cluster 6 (2013.9-)
tutor: Daniel WIDRIG.
critics: Alisa ANDRASEK, Ross LOVEGROVE, Jose SANCHEZ, & Frédéric MIGAYROU.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
bchiq (Bernardo DIAS, Chiaki YATSUI, & Qiuying ZHONG): A series of autonomous sculptures and structures stand along the river bank in Coimbra, Portugal.
The sculptures try to connect the urban fabric and the local National Park, which has been forgotten by the local authority and planners. The project explores the picturesque and the potential of decay in a setting intentionally immersed in nature. Architecture must embrace its own decay and forget about perfection because the only truly finished building is a heap of rubble.
The specific site conditions; the sharp/edgy urban fabric and the morphogenesis of nature helped to define a boundary to develop digital craft able to interface the transitory momentum created by the inbetween location. The virtual side explores the geometry of a brick able to interlock, be structural and clad. Thus, the pieces generated in 3d were casted using local materials like earth, cork as well as sand and cement which mixed in different ratios can be decomposed by high pressure water jetting. By doing so the transition between sharp and morph condition/shape is deliberated depending on the material of the parts/brick. This means that some parts are concrete based and structural while other parts are more fragile, porous, textured because of the amount of cork used in the mix.
By considering the ability to control material energies, the project is interested in the debris resulting from the relationship between handmade, digital exploration and sculpture. We want to provoke a particular architecture that is transformed by its own debris and decay, an architecture of accumulation of varying material energies, some spent and others vital. It will have structures that initiate the form, but over time concede their role to other structural components. As one material energy saps away and others take over, the architecture may begin to rake and twist, whatever shape it takes, to reveal its origins in the landscape. In this way, the space may eventually be sacrificed to the wider landscape. This is an architecture of informal spaces, intriguing and uncertain. It is not known when one structure will collapse or be taken by other natural structures.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
bchiq: Caspar David Friedrich, Nobuhiko Utsumi, Imre Makovecz, Max Lamb, Alex Alvarez, and Gerard Caris.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
bchiq: Reading: Junkspace by Rem Koolhas; Architecture Without Architects by Bernard Rudofsky; “The Proliferation of Rapid Prototyping” by Mark Bailey; Manufacturing the Bespoke: Making and Prototyping Architecture by Bob Sheil; Intuition and Process by Peter Salter; Conversation Theory: Applications in Education and Epistemology by Gordon Pask; and Performance-based Design by Rivka Oxman. Listening to:
Arvo Part, Shostakovich.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
bchiq: Isaie Bloch, Bart Hess, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Daniel Widrig, Conrad Shawcross (artist), and Henrique Oliveira (artist).
Additional credits and links:
Thanks to Portuguese Cork Company [AmorimCork] for all the support.
To all the support and advice given by Daniel Widrig.