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Photographic Studio

Part 1 Project 1998
Medine Altiok
Architectural Association UK
During tutorials Philippe used to say, you should be able to explain your project to me on the back of a metro-ticket. I would avoid his comment. How would you, for example, express a feeling on that small piece of paper. 'I give you a piece of glass the same size as the metro-ticket. Play with it!' Everything I do is to expand the human mind. My project is about the materiality of glass with its variations in transparency and its different sensuous perception. It is a photographic studio in London .....

'Is cloudy that conceals forms' (Wittgenstein).

Visit the site on Euston Road or on Warren Street in London - 30 days on site to become part of the surrounding landscape, to create images to fill imaginary worlds. They exist as surface over surface over human reality; research images are manipulated. Photography was just a nice starter; it taught you to manipulate yourself, and what you see. To select things you want to see ...Filling those imaginary surfaces that exist as resources for spaces of new movements. I am trying to activate those resources to create Architecture as the new reality - site specific to allow interaction with other resources......

Proposal-in between two urban conditions, creating a third condition which works like a physical transformer changing one condition into the other
- the transformation of light, sound, temperature and speed within space is activated so as to capture those parameters
- the development of spaces in between each with a specific character, according to the analysis of the given programme
- the manipulation of view through the superimposition of spaces concept-layers of glass and spaces in between.

My thanks for their criticism to Asa Baeckman, Jay Nicholls and Ulrich Stockhaus.

Medine Altiok

Tutors names: Philippe Barthelemy and Jonathan Woolf

"There is no such thing as freedom, since the only moment we have is to cry when first born."

Author unknown

The framework for Intermediate Unit 5's programme was 'limits'. Against the tide of what is becoming a convention within many schools of architecture at present, we worked with fixed constraints as a way to develop ideas. The given constraints in this case are small site and fixed programme for photographic working and exhibiting studios. Located in London, the site is a narrow plot 9.6 m. wide x 27 m. deep. It faces two streets, Euston Road to the north and Warren Street to the south. The former is a 20th Century major arterial road, and is the main route into the centre. Warren Street is a diverse programme mix of shop, art gallery and office accommodation.


The proposal by Medine Altiok made some significant and original observations to the architectural debate. The approach is in the manner of a scientist, beginning with deep site analysis founded in observing the cultural/environmental contrasts between the sides of the site. For example, her photograph of someone homeless sleeping in the doorway to the site is not to make a social cultural observation (although this is implicit), but also to know that the act of sleeping is possible in such a place and therefore, that the programme could allow exposure to the elements at this point.


As a development of her preoccupations, Medine's main theme is transparency and the nature of glass as a means to order space and atmosphere. The building is plain and orthogonal in its diagrams, plan and section, quite ordinary and pragmatic. It follows the programme requirements seemingly without question. Closer inspection with larger scale models and drawings reveal much more. The lines between spaces represent different types of glass, sometimes transparent, printed, mirrored, reflective, sun absorbing - the glass open-jointed to allow the environment outside to penetrate the floor until it finds the inner envelope deeper into the plan. On the ground floor there is a gallery composed of glass walls, proscribing a route from one side of the site to the other. A large scale (1:20) model explains the way that the eye is continually questioning what is on view. The building is a series of layers formed with glass. It is not a filter but a translator, explaining something to us about the place.

• Page Hits: 3980         • Entry Date: 08 January 1998         • Last Update: 10 May 2001