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Part 1 Project 1998
Tamar Jacobs
Architectural Association, UK
Vertical journey of body and eyes along horizons in the city, horizons of territory in the urban topography - spatial territories, social territories.
Identifying boundaries and creating an Instrument of Navigation for breaking boundaries. The Instrument is held in front of the face and limits vision and movement relative to the horizon line. It generates a set of fragments of scenery along the horizon line and a relationship of body and eyes to site.

As a result of the investigation with the Instrument of Navigation, a stack of punctured detail paper is produced (LogBook). Each sheet of paper is punctured with 3 holes along a line (to reveal the scenery), and recorded individually with rubbings and collected objects from stopping points in different heights along the journey.
Each sheet lives on its own, and the links between the sheets, possible 'breaking of boundaries', are different experiences recorded with holes, transparencies of the paper, topographic changes, shifting objects from one place to another (objects from site to Log Book), interaction with local people, and a very strong interaction with children and childhood; the Instrument is an innocent desire to hide, peep, invade, to touch and tear, to ask the wrong questions, to place things in the 'wrong' place.

The instrument of navigation helped me to create a language in which it becomes possible to read the urban topography as a 'stacked' mass and to demonstrate possible responses and interventions along and within the mass of existing territories.

Experiences and memories from the journey fold onto a site in the form of 'stoppage' spaces drawn from the broken boundaries discovered with the Instrument and the LogBook. The 'stoppage' spaces suggest an alternative motion along the urban topography and an alternative relation to the vertical layout of the city. The spaces interact with the site, the inhabitants and the surrounding horizons of the cityscape.

Tamar Jacobs

Tamar's project has been produced as part of the 1997/98 year programme of Intermediate Unit 11.

The project is structured in two stages: first a concept is worked out and tested on a London site, after which its methodology is developed at a more practical level in Rome. The work in both stages explores journeying as a dynamic form, translated, by personal perception and experience of a particular urban situation, into programme and architectural space.

In the context of urban London, emphasis is on movement, particularly on how journeys are made through and between horizontal layers of the city located above and below street level. Exploration begins with the spatial conditions of arriving at the Bank tube station by underground, and then ascending through a labyrinthine system of pathways onto the street surface, where the enclosed spaces of the underground merge with the open spaces of the city. Above ground exploration continues with the liminal act of reorientation by means of scanning visual fields and setting points of reference and orientation. St. Paul's Cathedral, a major point of orientation in the city, is a prime generator of visual corridors that carve into the surrounding architecture and become an integral part of the city and her readings.
Tamar explores light spaces, accessible and non-accessible, visual cones of different scales and depth, points in space as well as horizontal layers of the urban fabric. These discoveries are then documented in a systematic notation of picture frame-like drawings and models, and in the fabrication of an instrument of navigation.

The accumulated experiences and analytic studies materialise in the proposal for a 'space to stoppage'; that is, arrested movement in time. A hollow pin-like column at city scale is sited on a traffic island over the Bank Tube Station. A fictive body of frozen visual references has been set up, recalling the visible and invisible network of experienced spaces that defined the interweaving experience of subject and place.

The second part of the project is sited in Rome. The readjusted instrument of navigation defined the journeys and the form of spatial notation across the beautiful hill site and vistas across Rome. Reduced to elementary ingredients of spatial experiences, the reading defined minimal programme components: spaces to sleep/air cabins, earth space, bridge-like suspended gardens, open cinema etc. A carefully documented set of models and drawings document the search for the assimilation of programme and the form of fabrication.

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