The RIBA President's Medals Student Awards

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‘‘Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge - and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope’’
Philippe Petit


Philippe Petit; an infamous Tightrope walker, performed walks between the Sydney Harbor bridge pylons, the towers of Notre Dame de Paris and the World trade Centre in New York, Re-defining the perception of the 'event' in the public realm of performance art.

The project seeks to explore an architecture that is responsive to the analytical exploration of narratives formulated through extractions of dynamic characteristics in an individual. The tightrope engages with a conventionally hidden or unseen landscape of the City, temporarily removing the user and viewer from spectacles of the 'everyday' and entering them into territories of fragile existence. The scheme exists as an academy for tightrope walkers and aerial artists with the intension to address the notion that architecture should be activated and defined by the events that happen within, around and on it.

The Academy is set against the backdrop of Chelsea, New York, and responds in context to the recently developed HighLine. The public park route is elevated from the street level and frames scenes of theatre within the city.

The responsive structure of the primary street facade exists in states of constant transition and reacts to the events of performance upon the interior Tightropes. The folding facade acts as both a curtain of separation and isolation of the internal space as well as a kinetic echo of the aerial artists active in other domains of the academy. Such instances of aerial activity can be witnessed between three elevated steel platforms and the rooftops of the surrounding dwellings. The balancing act is publicly choreographed and exposed to the metropolis in which the academy resides.

Adam Shapland
Tutor:
Matthew Butcher
Caroline Rabourdin
Mr Rahesh Ram
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