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Architecture for Change: The Sieve Machine

Part 1 Project 2009
Ted Schauman
University of Plymouth Plymouth UK
Architecture for a Change - The Sieve Machine
Colin Campbell Court, a socially deprived area of Plymouth city centre, stages the framework of this project. The brief, titled Architecture for a Change, requires an approach that stresses the interplay of elements occurring within the site and its relationship with the rest of the city. The intended outcome of the project was a Community Centre, based on the synergy and tension between different users, uses and functions.
The meaning of the words ‘community’ and ‘community centre’ in their conventional sense is changing. The existing information society has diminished the need for humans to interact physically. Social interaction can be done ‘online’ on the internet on various interfaces. The information age has shattered the mould of the traditional life cycle, which used to be built on social categories – education, going to work, career path and retirement.
Communities are created by individuals who have their own personal identity. This identity is developed through an understanding and a clear picture of the surrounding phenomena. However, with today’s multiplied access to information on interfaces online, this identity has become blurred while socially excluded individuals lose the understanding of reality. Therefore, instead of developing a scheme based on the conventional meaning of a community centre, this project creates a scene where communities in today’s society have a chance to occur and develop. The centre of Colin Campbell Court is occupied by the new heart of the area, the ‘community centre’ which takes form as an interactive library.
In today’s society we perceive reality in two ways, through physical perception and through cyberception. Physical perception is based on the understanding of space and reality through haptic experiences while cyberception is based on the understanding of reality through transpersonal technology, which moves away from surfaces, towards living systems. It is this technology that enables us to transcend the limitations of our bodies. It gives us insight into the interconnectedness of all things and events.
This project explores the possibility of merging these two ways of perceiving reality through individual experiences. CCCIL [Colin Campbell Court Interactive Library] becomes a place which enhances our individual identities through new ways of exploring ourselves.

Ted Schauman

The main challenge of Ted's project is the question: If contemporary local communities are ideologically constructed fakes, and our cities are inhabited by tribes gathering their members based on life-styles rather than on location- then how can local community centres be sustained? What is the need for the ‘local community centre’ real local community does not exist?

Taking into consideration communication shift, which not only changed objective structures of our social realm, but also the way how humans perceive the space, the proposed building combines rigid logic of post-enlightenment thinking with contemporary rejection of post-modern irony and hesitation. Ted's project is looking for new universal values, and for truths: scientific truth combined with truth constructed by the performing human body. The project is a fascinating attempt to propose a new type of community centre for a post-community society.

The designed building is a materialized conundrum, “the sieve machine” forcing people to act in order to be pleased, to become active users (active citizens?) rather than mere consumers.
The project is also a challenge for us- tempted, like our modernist ancestors, by the idea of heroic humans overcoming their weaknesses, of progress in the name of good.
It asks the essential question – could cognitive capitalism be still democratic?

Dr. Krzysztof Nawratek

Dr. Krzysztof Nawratek
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