argument (I don’t know how to end it yet…)
My project questions the fascination on ruins.
In Gandy’s Bird’s Eye View of the Bank of England, the ruin of the Bank of England was framed as a (magical land) by the wild-grown nature. As Brenda Colvin described:
“with a little imagination one might visualise a London left to nature’s healing hand … a lost and broken city hidden under a great forest of sycamore.”
Nature and architectural ruins often comes hand in hand, the dramatic effect of the Ivory brought the corps of architecture across the fine line from the grotesque into the subject of the picturesque.
Ruins are best viewed in isolation. The frame of foliage in the Bird’s Eye View of the Bank of England is replaced by the boundary of the Theme Park in my Re-con, which sieged the architectural ruins within. This siege, taken form in trees and landscape, acts as a formal division, brings us to a protracted and static stage, intensifies the emotional tension between the two sides of the siege.
Within this siege, ruins of various styles and periods are collapsed and arranged to satisfy the ruin lust of its visitors. The isolated Theme park is further separated by its nature and landscape around, composing picturesque views.
Each view is particular and contrived, capturing the innate beauty of architecture that is shown through decay (ancient ruins); transforming architectural ruins that signify destruction and tragedy to frame emotional impact (human and natural disaster); creating garden ruins that are detached from any emotion apart from the pleasure in incomplete (follies).
The Theme park is run by a self repeating scripted route, leading visitors around a world overflowing with ruins. This fixation on the ruin never allow visitors to reach the ruins. We are being attracted as well as pushed away by the subject of obsession, trapping us to orbit around the subject in the never-resting Theme Park, unable and unwilling to stop.
As Soane is trapped in orbit around antiquities, Gandy was trapped in a parallel orbit around fantastical visions of the natured tamed sepulchral architecture.
Standing amongst the follies, we see Soane’s view of the Bank of England in Ruin, with the ancient ruins of Acropolis and Roman Forum on it background, Soane’s Bank of England become one of the antiquities.
As we walk past and look back, we see Gandy’s Bank of England in Ruin, where he used the fragility of architecture to construct a romantic view, evoking emotion and leading us into the architects’ imagination.
Gandy exhibited Architecture, its Natural Model in 1838, suggesting nature as the solution for Soane’s search of immortal architecture, sieging architecture with nature. However, with the ruin captured, we are still outside the siege, unable to enter. What Gandy did, was to build a tension between architecture and the untamable nature.
The enveloping nature always manage to surround architecture as it turns to ruin, yet our obsession of manipulating nature never fade, forming an unsettling relationship between nature and architecture.
This unsettling relationship, sets the background of my project, which questions the fascination on the morbid ruins that can only materialized as a composite of nature and man-made.
(Sieging) Ruin Landscape
Inverting the position of architecture and nature, the project sets site in a ruin landscape – the Red Forest of Chernobyl. The name of this forest came from the ginger-brown colour of the deformed pine trees after they died following the absorption of high levels of radiation. It is a forest that human is afraid to set foot on.
The Ruin Landscape would not be completed without the other half of the composite. This unkempt poisonous nature is sieged by a laboratory, constantly defying (nature) with its sterility.
As the sterile is restricted from going further into the wild by radiation, the wild is constrained from spreading by the siege. The sterile and the wild is temporarily put in a stagnant situation, waiting for one side to surrender or to give-up.
Maintaining Ruin Landscape
As fascination on the ruin landscape develops, this stagnant stage of the conflict between the wild and the sterile has to remain. The role of the laboratory hence turned from suppressing to maintaining the ruin landscape. The laboratory experiment on how to mutate and deform nature, framing the Ruin Landscape as the grotesque rather than the picturesque.
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