statement wip (in case it could be read and commented)
Ruins had always been portrayed as wild nature overgrowing on declining architecture. Its ambiguous state showing that it is no longer a work of art (since the original intension of the architect is lost); nor is it a outgrown nature (since the man-made still remains as the basis of the composition).
With ruins being a hybrid of organic and man-made, my project questions the role and position of nature and architecture in this hybrid.
*In Gandy’s Bird’s Eye View of the Bank of England, Soane’s master piece in ruin was encircled 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 Ivy brought the corpse of architecture across the fine line from the grotesque into the subject of the picturesque.
These picturesque ruins are best viewed in isolation, removed from their original context. The frame of foliage that isolates the Bank of England in Gandy’s painting is replaced by *the boundary of the Theme Park in my Re-con. Within this Theme Park, the architectural ruins of various styles and periods are collapsed and arranged to satisfy the ruin lust of its visitors.
The isolated Theme Park is sub-divided into types of nature and landscape, composing picturesque views of the ruins. Each view is particular and contrived.
*In the region of the Ancient Ruins, the innate beauty of architecture is extracted and framed through decay;
*In the regions of Human and Natural Disaster, the remnant of destruction and tragedy is transformed to frame emotional responses;
*In the region of Follies, garden ruins are created for aimless pleasure that are detached from any other emotion.
The isolated Theme Park is detached first by its own barrier to the outside world, and the isolation is continuously formed by the landscape, separating ruins into regions; lastly, each figure of architectural ruin is isolated by the trees from the rest, forming its own separated world within a separated world of ruins.
*The series of views are connected in a loop; a self-repeating scripted route leading visitors around a world overflowing with ruins. Like the follies, this route is aimless, the fixation on ruin formed a barrier restricting the viewers from reaching the architecture. The viewers are being attracted as well as pushed away by the subject of obsession, trapped in orbit 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 nature-tamed sepulchral architecture.
Through the contrived frame of nature, the various visions of the architects is reflected onto the architectural ruins.
*Standing amongst the follies, with the ancient ruins of the Acropolis and Roman Forum on it background, Soane’s Bank of England is framed as one of the antiquities.
*As we walk past and look back, the Bank of England is depicted as Gandy’s personal vision, not the built urban reality, where he used the fragility of architecture to construct a romantic view, evoking emotion and leading us into the architects’ imagination.
Responding to Soane’s search for immortal architecture, *Gandy exhibited Architecture, its Natural Model in 1838, suggested Soane to blur the boundary between nature and architecture. By reducing the impact that architecture acts on nature, Gandy essentially built a siege with landscape, sieging architecture with nature. As the siege closes in, architecture would lose its ground and swallowed by the landscape, Soane’s immortal architecture is nowhere to be seen.
Although the enveloping nature always manages to overwhelm architecture as it turns to ruin, our obsession of manipulating nature never fades. This constant battle for power forms an unsettling relationship between nature and architecture. Perpetuating the balance of power that is ongoing between the two.
*we should treat the ruins as architecture is sieging rather than sieged by nature.
*Inverting the position of architecture and nature, the project now sets site in a ruin landscape – the Red Forest of Chernobyl, sieged by a botanic laboratory.
The name of this forest came from the ginger-brown colour of the deformed pine trees following their absorption of high levels of radiation. It is a forest that human is afraid to set foot in.
In this ruin landscape, the ruin is not a form of decline but a temporary form of slow recovery. *The siege is acting as a suppressant rather than preservation mechanism. The purpose of the siege is to prevent the slow recovery of the landscape. It constantly defies nature through its sterile and clinical architecture.
Ruins are the markers of human history, they satisfy man-kinds’ need of leaving a trace of self. A ruin landscape is a far more significant marker compare to an architectural ruin, since it records the impact of human on the mighty nature rather than our own creation.
(Architectural ruins are the markers of human history, where the overgrown nature acts as a time reference starting from the birth of the ruin. An architectural ruin without the overgrown nature is like a fresh, still bleeding wound, which is too gory for the viewers to enjoy. The healing landscape signal the passing of time, easing the impact of destruction.
In the ruin landscape of the Red forest, nature was victim of circumstance …)
To suppress nature in maintaining its ruin state, the laboratory experiments on capturing the ruin forest in different scales.
*Inside the laboratory, pockets of the forest is captured within various green houses. Feeding radiation to the plants, the laboratory tests for ways to capture the ruin, mutated state of nature, expressing the power of human over nature.
The method of captivation is also applied to a much bigger scale, *pipes running along the forest, sending out radiation to provide an environment that capture a new form of folly: the mutated trees.
The picturesque landscape is captured as a grotesque view, reminding us the event of disaster as well as nature’s insignificance and fragility over the sterility of architecture.
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