All characters and events depicted in this film are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Exploring the politics behind architectural heritage and conservation and the notion that the state acts as the custodian of culture, ‘The Tower of a Forgotten India’ is a living museum protecting the nation’s threatened heritage assets. With heritage in the Indian context the threat comes from every direction, religious fundamentalism, thoughtless modernization, the culture of collectability and political corruption. The project aims to preserve and house the nations forgotten architecture. In rapidly developing and ever-changing nation, heritage is however seen as a living part of the city, rather than a site for the musealisation of structures and fragments. The tower breathes life and function back into the forgotten buildings and fragments, reintegrating them into the city’s urban fabric.
Currently architecture from the Mughal, Colonial and Modern eras are under threat. Mughal structures have seen a social backlash owing to the politicisation of the ideological clash between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Colonial architecture has fallen victim to economics, as buildings sit on prime real estate. Structures from the Modernist era are indicative of Prime Minister Nehru and the nation’s secular past and through the demolition of these buildings the nation witnesses an erasure of a legacy.
The project proposes three towers, each housing buildings and fragments from the different eras, around a central mechanised atrium. Atop of the atrium sits a workshop and crane system that maintains and reconstructs fragments, allowing for the expansion of the building. Over time, as heritage continues to be threatened, the tower grows vertically. Wrapping around the structures is a sandstone and fabric skin that has the ability to hide or reveal the interiors of the building.
Exploring the impact of shifting political ideologies and rampant and unplanned urbanism on architecture, as buildings are repurposed to meet the ever-changing needs of the nation, the film fires us into the heart of the sprawling chaos of Delhi. ‘The Tower of a Forgotten India’ is a modern parable spanning decades, that suggests the control of a city’s past is – in the end - a fool’s paradise.
4th Year work here.
House of Commons
Maria Konstantopoulou - 4th Year
In response to the UK’s ongoing housing crisis, The House of Commons is a proposal for a part self-build co-operative microhousing scheme and ‘Commons council’; that re-distributes land (and power) back to the commoner. The project proposes a new administrative system capable of improving the existing planning/commons rules whilst giving the public the opportunity to take part in the design process.
Located on Middle Hill Common - a thin strip of land within the Avon Green Belt - The House of Commons camouflages the housing community within an artificial “Hill” constructed from reconstituted stone panels, through which replanted trees and vegetation from the common emerge.
The community controls the underlying rules for the architecture that is to be built on the Common, drawing upon the existing common laws and regulations, finding loopholes and ways of ‘improving’ in order to allow for the building to evolve.
Próxima Estación : Vía (De)colonial
Lee Chew Kelemen - 5th Year
Over the last four decades the Argentinean railway network has slowly fallen into ruin, leaving many rural communities disconnected and struggling for survival.
The crumbling town of Mechita - once home to the largest railway workshop in South America - finds itself hollowed out; its citizens having long since migrated away towards the urban areas have left behind the carcasses of thousands of disused trains.
Yet there is a still hope. A new ‘De-Colonial Line’ emerges from these ashes; a line that will awaken the spirit of the trains once more. Wearing ‘architectural masks’ given to them by the remaining community, the train carriages house new mutating programmes such as micro-banks, Pulperia, football pitches, protest walls and carnival floats.
The trains act nomadically - not knowing when they will leave or return, bringing with them a dynamic exchange of civil disobedience as well as cultural, economic, social events according to the needs of rural population. New lifeblood.
HMP Shepton Mallet | Augmented Rehabilitation
James White - 4th Year
For many years now, central government has openly conceded to the catastrophic failures of Britain's penal system; our prisons are over-capacity, underfunded and accelerate re-offending. Since 2011, three ‘super prisons’ have been completed, in an attempt to combat these issues.
‘Augmented Rehabilitation’ looks to reinterpret the prison typology; rejecting these retributive large-scale models in favour of technological-driven systems that prepare offenders to re-enter society.
The prototypical building is sited in the town of Shepton Mallet, home to the UK’s oldest prison (until its closure in 2008). The new scheme mimics the ‘community feel’ of the former prison whilst attempting to localise law, minimise displacement and recreate the ideology of the “village prison”
A two-stage process is used at HMP Shepton Mallet to re-skill occupants. Firstly, participation in VR simulations allow inmates to dry-run real-world encounters, such as job interviews. Secondly, occupants are taught construction skills - using their own cells as test-beds - that might ready them for employment into the wider community.
Our relationship with the digital world and the smartphone is also questioned: the mobile phone has created a dispersed panoptic effect, not just for those who are imprisoned but also the public at large. The act of augmentation creates a society of surveillance, where digital privacy is easily compromised, and open to exploitation. At what price freedom?
The Last Forest - Rothiemurchus 2098
Marie Walker-Smith - 5th Year
The year is 2098. The Rothiemurchus Project in the Scottish Cairngorms stands as the ‘Last Forest’, the final remnant of a doomed UN experiment to protect global biodiversity. A central ‘Ark’ building, designed initially to protect plant life in perpetuity, has been left to ruin. Yet against the odds, for better or worse, the intelligent robotic infrastructure, designed to maintain the forest, appears to have adapted and grown. As a mysterious biologist infiltrates the Last Forest, we accompany him to discover how corruption and disorder might be forces for survival. The mysterious world we find there asks us to consider who its architecture is for, how custodianship might shape space and how the idea of ‘nature‘ itself might evolve in time.
4th Year work here.
The Independent State of Melanfolly
Sylwia Poltorak - 5th Year
What is architecture? How long can it last? Can it help us endure time itself? The answer is definitively, yes it can. The Independent State of Mellanfolly is a secretive cultish island state, lying somewhere in the South Pacific. The rebellious insiders, who refer to themselves as ‘Lobsters’ have developed a mysterious bio-scientific system to extend their existence through the cryogenic growth of artificial organs. Trees twitch with gossip, walls flow with mysterious red liquid and all is watched over by the mysterious ‘banner girl’. Give in to this wild noxious moonlit party-architecture; you cannot escape it.
Architecture has long been a common and prevalent means of giving a commemorative presence to memory. Significant changes in the nation’s life, whether social or political, alter the collective minds of its citizens. This is especially so when that nation is Singapore. With an aging population and an ever-changing built environment, exitsing forms of remembrance of the past may be left with just photographs and videos. Therefore my project is a critique on how Singapore is a Dementia Nation and we the citizens are the Dementia patients, both physically and metaphorically.
Singapore’s Golden Mile Complex would be celebrated in many other countries, as an important icon of 1970’s Metabolist urbanism, yet in its home city - it faces imminent demolition. More than eighty similar sites have already been destroyed, as part of a progressive nation building programme. More will follow. Jerome speculates on an alternative vision for this huge residential block, that not only saves the building, but allows it to absorb physical artefacts from Singapores threatened urban infrastructure. A prototype for an alternative pattern for future development, capable of allowing new and existing residents to forge new memories, whilst giving space for the past to breath. The animated film documents the lives of a series of Golden Mile residents, urging us all to resist the power structures that would see our urban memories so readily erased.
4th Year work here.
A SpaceTime Kindergarten
Afrodite Moustroufis - 4th Year
The project is a kindergarten designed with the ambition to enhance children' understanding of space and time.
Built within the ruins of the Farleigh Hungerford castle in North-East Somerset, the building explores the relationship between architecture and its appearance. Points of tension are introduced within the building in the form of viewpoints from key positions (such as the seesaw and the story telling room), where the appearance of architecture is stronger than its physical presence. From these viewpoints, fragments from the history of the castle appear visually within its physical reappropriation as a kindergarten. Can architecture be found in the collision between physical and perceived space?
Movement is introduced in various parts of the building so that the space functions like a clock, with various elements moving in different timescales. This way, in the mind of the children, time acquires a physical dimension by becoming a function of the building's spatial configuration.