SiegeObsedere was first used in warfare to describe the siege of a city, where the city is surrounded but the citadel is not taken. In another word, the subject of obsession is fixed and framed but still unreachable. The formation of a siege as a formal division brings us to a protracted and static stage, intensifies the emotional tension between the two sides of the siege. In Gandy’s Bird’s Eye View of the Bank of England, the siege of obsession has taken the form of nature, surrounding the subject of desire: The Ruin of the Bank of England. “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.” Brenda Colvin described the undeniable relationship between architecture and the enveloping nature as if nature is acting as a shield for the architecture, rather than taking over architecture; watching, but not touching the ruins.
OrbitThis frustration of never reaching the goal of obsession is expressed in the Ruin Theme Park in my Re-con. The self repeating scripted route lead the visitors around a world overflowing with ruins. Re-con this theme park collapsed ruins of various styles and periods, arranged to satisfy the ruin lust of its visitors. These ruins are framed by its nature and landscape around, constructing a picturesque view. The landscape is used as a frame to construct a contrived, picturesque view of the ruins, turning the ruins to part of our scenery. The last two views are on the Bank of England. 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 imagination of the viewers. Like the follies, Gandy’s painting is used as one of the landscaping tools, leading us into the architects’ imagination. After a loop in the theme park, we realised that the fixation on the ruin never allow the 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 to stop.
CaptureAs Soane is trapped in the orbit around antiquities, Gandy exhibited Architecture, its Natural Model in 18__, 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. In the picturesque, the landscape is always used as a backdrop of the architectural ruins, the enveloping and unkempt nature always manage to surround architecture as it turns to ruin, claiming the ruin into the scenery. 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 put the relationship of nature and architecture (in reverse?)
The Ruin LandscapeInstead of using landscape to frame ruins, the project looks at how architecture can frame a ruin landscape, in order to claim it. The ruin landscape is the Red Forest of Chernobyl. The name of this forest came from the ginger-brown colour of the pine trees after they died following the absorption of high levels of radiation. It is a forest the human is afraid to set foot on. When the landscape turns into ruin, it become inhabitable to human. So unlike how Brenda Colvin describe landscape, that it shields architecture, the ruin landscape is no longer a backdrop. It is now architecture that is enveloping the ruin landscape, shielding, framing and defending against at the same time.
The Sterile LaboratoryScience has always been a useful tool through which human can understand, and control nature. Hence in the project, the architecture for the science – a laboratory – is used to siege the ruin forest. To siege the ruin forest is to understand it, to establish a relationship between the ruin landscape and architecture, with the hope that one day we can step into the ruin landscape and to control it, making it habitable for human.