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Medal Winner 2001
SOM Winner
Serjeant Award

The Kinematic Garden, Silvertown Dock, London

Part 2 Project 2001
Alexis Kyriakides
University of Westminster London UK
The Kinematic Garden, Silvertown Dock, London.

Comment on the project

If we are to push the idealised goal of creating intelligent buildings that behave as complex systems rather than fixed, deadweight buildings, then we must be sure that as architects we more fully understand the principles of Complexity, emergence, and non-linear systems, that events in space and time have, within the seeming chaos, an elegant, hidden order that possesses it own beauty, but also a level of efficiency that dwarfs the simple attempts of man to control his environment with such linear thinking. “Charles Darwin, please, come forward and do for our Architectural world what you have done for the Natural one”.


Project

The Kinematic Garden is a spatial experience that introduces concepts of the continually evolving system as architecture, and relates ideas of process, temporality, cause and effect, and self-propagation states and events. Through interaction, the future course of the system is modified. Time becomes an elastic concept – the event destabilised. Evolutionary structures become revealed through time and form. The Kinematic Garden is not a fixed design, moreover, it is a language of parts that may be prescribed to any site, to invogorate it and to reveal the vibrancy of its urban fabric, as a series of events and experiences.

Through a series of vastly interconnected “dumb” devices – dumb in that there is no programming, no digital system, just a simple analogue stimulus response to immediate surrounds, a manmade synapse - emergent structures of event and experiences develop and cascade around the very fabric of the site as light, vibration, and sound. It is this very notion that dictates one of the fundamental premises of the kinematic garden, that emergent properties exist within the framework of simple interactions. The site is alive - in the system is trapped the very life of the city and its users as a perpetual feedback loop of cause and effect. The site has “miked up” the city. There is no time for digital here – just the raw, warm resonance of analogue feedback loop, as in nature, as in our very genetic makeup.

The site is alive with an ambient resonance of events within the urban fabric, feeding off the events that surround it. Incoming planes landing can be felt through the kinematic grass, the operation of the thames barrier reverberates through the site. A person waving their hand may set off as a wavefront that would allow someone to feel it some distance away. The site is alive, a non-linear system that is real nature,

The scheme continually feeds-back on itself, responding to changes in light, sound, and media patterns. Its liquid form pulses and evolves in response to its environment and its users, whose presence and movement forms an integral part of the kinematic experience. Users may learn to drive the machine, to seek brief periods of control within its constant state of non-linear, emergent flux - an electro-analogue prosthesis.

The scheme continually feeds-back on itself, responding to changes in light, sound, and media patterns. Its liquid form pulses and evolves in response to its environment and its users, whose presence and movement forms an integral part of the kinematic experience.

Goals:

· To inform users in principles of non-linear systems, and to allow them to understand complex systems in a visual sense. Visual representations of the mechanics of informational systems – graphic representation of information.

· To serve as a metaphor for the continually shifting and ephemeral trends in modern culture; specifically, to criticise and critique the meaning of our visual world and the cycles of media trend, branding and visual information.

· Digital soapbox - User manipulation of digital surface as a collection surface for image, sound, video. A repository for visual and aural information that allows users to criticise/express/perform/publish agenda – surface becomes a collage of differing content and agenda.

· Interactive education/learning to understand concepts of visual communication and concepts of information flows/mechanics and visual grammar.

Alexis Kyriakides


"What we live are rhythms - rhythms experienced subjectively. Which means that, here at least, 'lived' and 'conceived' are close: the laws of nature and the laws governing our bodies tend to overlap with each other - as perhaps too with the laws of so called social reality."
Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space

Grown out of the performative spaces of video feedback, this is architecture as a membrane: a kinaesthetic interface to the global city. Dancing with the machines, between the rhythms of the body and the rhythms of the airport, this kinematic garden is a landscape that you can learn to drive.

2001
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