Next Project
Medal Winner 1998

Movement-Navigation : SummerCamp

Part 1 Project 1998
Romed Perfler
London Metropolitan University London UK
Movement-Navigation: SummerCamp


The year's thesis is structured into 3 parts where the viewpoint is transitory, the 'space' is mobile. To give place to a location in passinsis is structured into 3 parts where the viewpoint is transitory, the 'space' is mobile. To give place to a location in passing / to recognise circumstance within a journey / to position a displaced moment. This is a 'diary' of time, perception, scale and movement; building -up an understanding of spatial transitions through the figurative, abstract, tangible and intangible. The building programme and its sitting is then informed by the explorations manifested through the early investigations.


Part 1: Painting / Photography: Investigations - My observations started as a monotonous journey down Portobello Road marketplace on a rainy Saturday. A stallholder suddenly emptied the water that had collected on his canopy. The unexpected splash suprised the shoppers who were looking for shelter from the weather. This 'disturbance' became my main spatial investigation.
Additional to sketches and photographs recorded at the marketplace, investigations of motion were taken using long-exposure photography. An abstract painting and photographic overlay records the monotonous journey together with the instance of that disturbance.


Part 2: Device - The sense of this exercise was to develop a spatial idea by means of a non orthodox architectural method which required material studies and technical understanding to make a working device.
The long journey is represented by a randomised rhythm of sound and light. The rhythm is produced by mechanised spheres which travel across a plate connecting electrical contacts randomly , to 'flash' light onto the ground. The electrical contacts also activate a mechanism on the remote arms which fires beads in a rapid motion through the space. This scattering of beads ( in this case 'smarties' ) represents a disturbance of the process, simultaneously the sound describes an ephemeral spatial territory.
Part 3: Building - Choosing a site to develop a building programme in relation to the spatial issues from Part 1+ 2


The site is the long spit of a harbour concrete wall on the coastline of Barcelona. Analogous to the monotonous journey on Portobello Road, the building at the end of the spit represents the disturbance while the series of repeated warehouses in the harbour leading to the final length of the spit echoes the spacial pattern of the market stalls.


The building is a summer-camp / sportscentre: city of childhood. From the extension of the pathway, a staccato of spatial happenings allows the users to interact with the responsive character of the building.
The building becomes a device to demonstrates the qualities of the surroundings:

The existing wall, a manmade concrete structure, is the border between the different conditions of the water. Most of the building is situated on the calmer side of the wall, the city side. Other parts of the building complex eg communal showers/toilets are 'squeezed' through this thick spinal wall grabbing momentarily glimpses of the sea. The different depth of the water creates a patchwork of different colour: a landscape of endless spacial possibilities for the kids.


The interaction between the users and the surroundings animates the building:

- Differential in water conditions/textures produces an orchestra of sounds. From the thundering repetitive blows of the sea waves to the angelic splashes caused by kids jumping/swimming in the various pools, the different sounds create a variety of ephemeral spaces beyond that of the physical building.

- The responsive pool is the interface between the sea and the city side of the complex. The force of the waves is vertically transferred via a mechanism within the structures that suspends the pool. It simultaneously pushes rhythmically at different points of contact, the membrane of the pool which is flexible and transparent. Through this action, the water from this 'jelly'-like piece of structure is encouraged to spill and run-down the outer sides of the membrane, hence cooling the temperature of the water by evaporation. This makes reference to the early investigations of the stallholder disposing water from his canopy. This modulation is further enhanced by interaction of users jumping into the pool. The spaces below this inhabitable covering allows an ever-changing spacial quality within.

- The trampoline-roof is translucent. Jumping kids stretch the skin and create a randomised pattern of bright spots similar to the on/off lights in the device.

-The 18 boathouses marches along the spinal wall, contributing to the fabric of the complex. This facade is kinetic allowing adjustments ( by the kids) performing as 2 dimensional layers of climbing walls in the daytime. In the evening, this series of panels will expand when individually required; providing space and allowing the individual boats to be hoist in. The actual boat becomes the bed. The construction of these spaces eg the panels encourages natural ventilation in this rather humid summer weather.
The sails provides an array of mobile 3-dimensional translucent/opaque layers which sometimes conceals or frames the building.


Slide 1:

Description: The painting describes my observations as a monotonous journey down Portobello Road marketplace on a rainy Saturday. A stallholder suddenly emptied the water that had collected on his canopy. The unexpected splash surprised the shoppers who were looking for shelter from the weather. This disturbance became my main spatial investigation.
Top: This time-movement painting shows the walk through the marketplace with the other shoppers around me, represented through a series of x-sections of my surroundings. Shifts / traces(dashed white lines) show the movement, while the light-blue strip defines the present position and direction of the pedestrian. The vertical strips represents the timescale of my monotonous journey and at the position of the splash / disturbance, the time-scale strips are distorted. At this point of disturbance, our perception of space alters in time and imagery.
Bottom: The numbers on the painting relate to the photographic overlay. These photographs are images relating to "special spatial experiences"(numbered in painting) that describes a spatial/human distractions along my journey.


Slide 2:

Description: The performance of the entire device is set-up in a darken room. The observer walks into the darken void, unaware of the device. Only clues are sound/light: rumbling sound from (1) the self-rolling mechanised spheres in the box which triggers momentary/random flashes of light onto the floor; and from (2) the perspex cam on the remote arms(refer to slide 3) which produces monotonous rotation/grinding sounds.
References to Portobello Road: "BOX" (linear journey); " electrical contacts on base of box" and "flashing lights" ( special spatial experiences); "self-rolling mechanised spheres" (shoppers in random motion)
Slide 3:
Description: The 3 remote arms, each connecting to an electrical contact in the "box". This is wired to the perspex mechanism which winds-up the "spring arm" which delicately balances the transparent container , filled with beads.


Slide 4:

Description: Multiple-exposure photograph.
The "mechanised spheres" in the "box" randomly rolls across electrical contacts, flashing light onto the ground and simultaneously activating the mechanism on the remote arms. This rotates the perspex cam a small fraction and in-turn winds-up the "spring arm". This is repeated over time, tightening the "spring arm", to arrive at the final position of distortion of the cam. At this point, the jolted "spring arm" is triggered, firing beads in a rapid motion through the space. This scattering of beads ( in this case "smarties" ) represents a disturbance of the process, simultaneously the sound describes an ephemeral spatial territory.
Each "remote arm" located in different positions within the room, is activated at different time scale. The amount of scattering beads and its sound is also unpredictable. This refers to the unexpected "splash" in the marketplace.


Slide 5:

Description: The box with the mechanised spheres represents the rhythm of walking: clustering, dissolving, ...expected experiences are as the switch is triggered analogous to the images of the photographic overlay of the painting. The box generates the monotony and is connected with remote mechanism which creates the interruption/trigger.


Slide 6:

Description: The perspex cam rotates in small fractions, tightening the "spring arm". At the distortion point of the cam, the jolted "spring arm" fires the beads in a rapid motion through the space. This scattering of beads this represents a disturbance of the investigations.


Slide 7:

Description: The long journey with interruption, provides a staccato of spatial happenings, the timescale is changed, territories are redefined. The perception alters and spatial qualities of the surroundings are revealed through the building proposal.


Slide 8:

Description: The trampoline roof (red latex) and the hanging-rail path (top layer) straddles over the existing spinal concrete wall. In this image, the upper part of the wall faces the sea, while the lower part relates to the city of Barcelona. The sun comes from the south ie the top right hand corner of this image.
Analogous to the monotonous journey on Portobello Road, the series of repeated warehouses in the harbour leading to the final length of the 7km spit, echoes the spatial arrangement of the market stalls; while the building represents the "disturbance".
The building complex starts off spatially random (as in the moment of the "splash"), and then rationally "calms-down" in its later organisations: linear and more geometric ( referring to the aftermath of the disturbance in the market: the shoppers reorientating themselves to continue their journey). These issues are reflected not only in the space-making but also in the nature of materials and constructions. "Flexible and precarious" materials(eg. reinforced latex with varying degrees of translucent qualities) animates the spaces in the beginning of the complex, and later turning into more orthodox materials (eg. timber @ boathouses). The smooth concrete finishes together with shiny aluminium claddings of the new spaces sets subtle contrast to the existing rough concrete wall.
The narrative for the spatial organisations/qualities, construction methods and choice of materials gives "tension" to the existing spinal wall.


Slide 9:

Description: Differential in water textures and conditions produces an orchestra of sound from the very strong monotonous and repetitive waves to the splashes caused by the kids jumping into the various pools. The range of the produced sounds defines a variety of ephemeral territories. (referring to the performance of the device)
List of spaces (from left to right of image): entrance, toilets, reception, staff lobby and accommodation, dining areas and kitchen, services, and finally the linear boathouses with communal showers on toilets. All this clings onto the spinal wall, with two "overall" membranes: trampoline and the suspended pool, shrouding the complex. On the lower zone, games pitches and pools.


Slide 10:

Description: Beyond the entrance (left corner, bottom), the user has 3 alternative circulation routes: (1) along the top of the wall (mainly for services and luggage) or (2) the pealed-off path and finally (3)the hanging rail-path that hovers over the entire complex. The user of the rail path hangs off the structure and is mechanical moved along the length until the next nodal platform where the user has the choice of jumping into the water or taking advantage of the presented landscape.
Each route provides a different reading of the site and the spaces.


Slide 11:

Description: This image is read from top to bottom, expressing the hierarchy of spatial complexity. The building complex starts off spatially random (as in the moment of the "splash"), and then rationally "calms-down" in its later organisations: linear and more geometric ( referring to the aftermath of the disturbance in the market: the shoppers reorientating themselves to continue their journey). These issues are reflected not only in the space-making but also in the nature of materials and constructions.
The narrative for the spatial organisations/qualities, construction methods and choice of materials gives "tension" to the existing spinal wall.
The sections also show the variety in the depth of water with different shades of blue. The water on the left hand of the wall is the open ocean, the water on the right is the water of the harbour.


Slide 12:

Description: Top, Section 1: Light and shadow in the entrance and reception areas is constantly modulated because of the interaction of the kids jumping up/down on the trampoline. This refers to the randomly flashing lights in the device. The collection of structural columns emerge from the sea-bed, carrying the hanging-rail path and parts of the building.
Bottom, Section 2: Beyond the reception the user has 3 alternative circulation routes. The skaters route circumnavigates between the existing wall, presenting a speedier, more precarious alternative and a constant interface of sea and city. The staff accommodation manifests itself as part of the undercroft of this route.


Slide 13:

Description: The building has 2 swimming areas; a swimming pool with artificial ground with shallow water level for padding and a natural swimming area which is much deeper. The surface of the water becomes a reflection of the building. Relaxing in the waters and presented with a procession of skaters and hanging-rail gliders mapping out the "air" territory.


Slide 14:

Description: This view is from the city towards the sea. Beyond the main part of the complex containing administration, kitchen, dining area: the building proceeds into a series of kinetic panels varying from planar conditions to 3-dimensional configuration (accommodation with the boats within).
This image only provides one aspect of this facade. When the boats are in the sailing areas (in front),the sails provides an array of mobile 3-dimensional translucent/opaque layers which sometimes conceals or frames the building.


Slide 15:

Description: At night when the kids are asleep in the boats behind the climbing walls the building itself becomes almost a mirage of the cityscape. Only the vertical structures are visible from the city, and are left to define the territories of the building. All the ephemeral spatial territories created by sounds, water, people, light and shadow have temporarily disappeared, only to be resurface the next day.


Slide 16:

Description: Top, Section 3: lobby for kids, kitchen, storage, laundry. The open space is shaded by the trampoline.
Bottom, Section 4: The responsive pool is the interface between the sea and the city side of the complex. The force of the waves is vertically transferred via a mechanism within the structures that suspends the pool. It simultaneously pushes rhythmically at different points of contact, the membrane of the pool which is flexible and transparent. Through this action, the water from this "jelly"-like piece of structure is encouraged to spill and run-down the outer sides of the membrane, hence cooling the temperature of the water by evaporation. This makes reference to the early investigations of the stallholder disposing water from his canopy. This modulation is further enhanced by interaction of users jumping into the pool. The spaces below this inhabitable covering allows an ever-changing spatial quality within. The pool also cools this space.
On both sections, the games pitches are on the right. Constructed out of timber, they are floating on pontoons. The concrete structure emerges out of the sea-bed containing the changing facilities and equipment storage areas.


Slide 17:

Description: Responsive pool and trampoline hovers over the existing wall and the rest of the spaces. Communal toilets/showers "squeezing" through the wall. The structural mechanics of the responsive pool and the supports of the trampoline emerge from the sea-bed. These parts of the building become the backdrop to the aggressive sea-waves.
The existing wall protects the complex from aggressive winds, waves and access sunlight. The heat absorbed by this wall from the sun, is then released in the night, providing an ephemeral membrane around the building.


Slide 18:

Description: The trampoline roof covers the administration areas etc. and cast shades over larger areas in the waters. This provides a series of modulating cooler territory depending on the time of the day/angle of the sun. It also changes the colour of the waters.
Romed Perfler


The portfolio successfully documents the architectural inventiveness and clear-thinking methodologies of Romed Perfler. The final architectural propositions fulfils the promise of the early investigations. Elegant and very large drawings show off theeee lyrical qualities of ideas, while the models clearly demonstrates the development and execution of the project.


The investigative work covers a wide range of explorations eg. from kinetic and ephemeral spatial possibilities, through to social behaviours and the environmental.


These observations translated into a series of graphic spatial readings (drawings and paintings), and into an unorthodox architectonic installation. This installation draws an acute analysis of the early observations. It initiated the architectural programme for the building and also the tectonic language.


The building programme choreographs beautifully the site and its cultural context. The building is spatially very elegant, with touches of architectural irony and wit. It also brings a sense of surrealism to the otherwise monotonous manmade landscape. Technologically , the project is very inventive. The choice and understanding of materials and construction methods clearly supports his inventive architectural ambition.

1998
• Page Hits: 6100         • Entry Date: 08 January 1998         • Last Update: 10 May 2001