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The Catastrophe Theory: The Wall

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Trying to work out the white magic carpet side of the manimation, and developing life within the walls. Using the catastrophe theory and Lebbeus Woods (of course) as guides for this.

Edited Project Statement

The continuous surface was the ultimate answer to all the problems in the universe. It was the ‘magic carpet’ that would be able to fold on to itself and generate all the activities necessary for human life to unfold. There would never be a moment where one would experience repetitions. The magic carpet was woven with fluid activities and flexible boundaries all of which were promoting constant states of change.

Being the ‘magic carpet’ of multiple and continuous programmatic and circulatory folds, aerial perspectives and overhead views are the only images that do it justice. Plans and sections of it are pointless and near meaningless due to its field – like quality. The individual building/ program have no value without it. It can only be read within the context of the surface that embraces it.

“A mass is enveloped in its surface, a surface which is divide up according to the directing and generating lines of the mass and this gives the mass its individuality” – Le Corbusier in Vers Une Architecture

When one takes into account that any individual element within the fabric of the continuous surface has a limited value, it becomes clear that the fluid movement and transitions are important. The continuous surface is more concerned with smooth transitions as opposed to the traditional use of a series of framed devices that would allow you to connect between the interior and exterior, the furniture and substructure of the room. One thing is clear though; there is no clear definition of a room with the continuous surface.

The Continuous Problem

The continuous surface needs to exist on the flat plane. In order for it to flourish a tabula rasa must be built upon which a new ground can grow. The continuous surface relishes on being site-less/ context-less and over all just less. It keeps advocating that it is the provocateur of constant change and fluid transitions but the reality of the situation is that the cracks begin to show on its shiny rendered surface the minute scale is assigned to it and this is due to the need to shrink down the urban plan to the scale of the building. It just becomes a sterile condition of nothingness.

Here in lies the problem, what began as a liberating force became a rigid orthodoxy. All revolutionaries often up as tyrants as we are unable to fully liberate ourselves from their utopian theories. What needs to happen with the continuous surface is we need to reassess it by adding in all the qualities that it ignored. We need to link the cultural and scalar stages through the folds to generate the ever changing liberating events. To do this I propose that we re-enter the room to find solace and to take a closer look at the walls that once confined us.

The wall

Thanks to the continuous surface, the desire for sanctuary is with us once more. What used to confine us now generates an armature that not only excludes us from our surrounding context but also creates a sanctuary for us to live in. The space where we are able to find sanctuary and the environment has been modified to cater to our individual desires. The situation is such, we do not just need complete barriers nor do we need undefined boundaries. What we need is an intermediate condition that excludes and includes. A surface, a wall that is in constant conflicting situations: similar to the catastrophe theory. The catastrophe theory shows that the combination of any two or more conflicting forces may result in entirely irregular and discontinuous behaviours if allowed to dynamically interact. The proposal is such to generate a wall that has materials, situations and narratives that are stable and in conflict with one another. To design life within the folds of the walls addressing both the excluded side and the sanctuary.

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