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Sedimentary Survival

Part 2 Project 2002
Lisa Silver
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London UK
In the heart of Mississippi County on a meander cut off near the small town of Greenville, three characters are confined to three rooms within a house. The project narrates a psychological response to imprisonment within a single room, whereby in order to survive, the characters utilise mundane objects to create a more stimulating living space. A transfiguring environment is established that begins as the bathroom, the garage and the study room of a traditional farmhouse and over time sheds its enclosure and takes its form from recomposed and subverted objects.

The house therefore transforms from the inside out and colonises the site in the form of an enclave that combines living with object based enterprises. The Garage, where Billy-Bob's impaired vision encouraged an enjoyment of texture, smell and sound through 3D art, becomes a combined car mechanics workshop, dismantling platform and 3D artist's studio. The Study, containing an endless array of written and graphical information on the Mississippi River, provides Jimmy-Ray with an obsession for studying, archiving and arranging. This room expands into a storage and distribution site for abandoned house objects as well as an academic and design centre for the scheme. The Bathroom, where Mary-Lou became claustrophobic and fascinated with river wildlife, transforms into a multifunctional tower containing a voyeur point disguised as a nature hide, as well as toilets and a cafe for the public aspects of the scheme. The continual movement of objects and people from one space to the next makes the zones wholly interdependent and brings rhythms of balance and equilibrium to the site.

Therefore over time, the site builds up from a primitive scattering of objects to a complex weaving of meticulously composed forms and systems. Alien objects fuse and juxtapose to form a unified whole while their original meanings are still expressed and recognised. The enclave physically illustrates the idiosyncrasies and practices of the individuals that constructed it, by the honest and inventive composition of their personal and found objects.

Lisa Silver


Lisa's project is the result of a rigorous investigation into the possibilities of an architecture built of objects.

It arose from experiments with placing objects in unfamiliar surroundings, which were followed by her astute observation of the houses of Herbert Greene and Bruce Goff. In these houses she came to believe that the experience of architecture is often more determined by the presence of inhabitants' possessions than by the "architectural design" alone.
She then created a wonderfully drawn narrative by poetically distorting spaces developed from the meticulous rearrangement of objects normally alien to architectural construction.

The resulting architectural imagery is beautiful and amazingly inventive and, beside breathtaking in its spatial complexity, it is precisely structured.
Lisa confronts the normal hierarchy of components which constitute our surroundings, and challenges us to reconsider the manner in which we utilise them. We are drawn into a provocative and fascinating new realm, where this 'architecture of objects' even transcends function and becomes ornament.

2002
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