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Revising Histories (Building Truth)

Part 2 Project 2012
James Martin
Aarhus School of Architecture | Denmark
This project has been a search for truth and a discovery of multiple. Sited in South Armagh in Northern Ireland it addresses the complex and layered history of a thirty-year-long civil conflict referred to today as ‘The Troubles’. The project explores the typology of the British Army Watchtowers built on the hilltops and in the villages of this boarder region during the conflict and removed in 2007.

Through investigating the idea of gradients of truth this project proposes to rebuild these structures. A sequence of five is established as an iterative exploration of the nature of the original watchtower and its role in and over the landscape of South Armagh. The first of the sequence reconstructs the original from the extent of data available to the public today. Then, in the towers that follow, the architecture is stripped of its symbolically loaded detailing in a pursuit towards formal purity. As a group, the towers become manifestations of the different sources of truth, reflecting the differences in collective memory. As opposed to one authoritative architectural statement, five different stances are presented, each with an expression of its own.

By taking this multi-perspectival approach, the project encourages the public to acknowledge the multiple sides of this recent history. In doing so it offers a reading of how architecture’s role within this landscape of conflicts might be turned to act as a reconciler of the differences in collective memory, rather than a provoker of those differences.

In the making of this project I have adopted this multi-perspectival approach. The succeeding presentation is account of the process narrated through the five voices of: #01. The Nationalist, #02. The Detective, #03. The Observer, #04 The Architect, and #05. The Polemicist.

James Martin

Ben Clement
Sebastian La Cour
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