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IKEA Dumplington

Part 2 Project 1998
Penelope Ruttiman
Manchester School of Architecture, UK
Documenta Archive, Kassel, Germany

Kassel has a banal post WW2 centre surrounded by spectacular Baroque and Pictureseque Gardens. Every 5 years it hosts the Documenta International Art Fair.

Sited in a disused quarry, the scheme functions as an archive to store and categorise dislocated installation works from the Documenta whilst creating a Gesamkunstwerk Park. Some different readings of this park are characterised by the Functional Plan (engineers drawing), the Baroque Perspective and The Picturesque View which reveals the underlying elements of the scheme. The scheme explores the viewers relationship to the true qualities of the place and the objects contained within it whilst increasing the spectacularity of the periphery.

IKEA Garden Centre / Furniture Store, Dumplington, Manchester

The privatisation of our lives and social activities directs contemporary home-building and land use patterns. The gated spec-housing estate is perhaps the most blatent expression of fragmented, privatised space. The expanded private domain, whether in a car, at home, or in a shopping mall, has resulted in ‘forming spatially segregated polynuclear fields’.(A.Pope, Ladders 1996)

The scheme sets out to integrate these segregated autonomous spaces into a continuous framework. These a-spatial collective transit spaces are defined by signs and icons, and orientate themselves around the representation of things. Authenticity is put into question. The scheme sets out to explore consumption as a conscious part of the environment.

The site lies between the giant Trafford Shopping Centre, the Manchester Ship Canal and the M60 on the edge of a river flood plane. The scheme consists of a number of major elements which are consumed and affected by this consumption.

1) Car park parterre with view onto ‘housing estate’ and gardens. Yellow and blue planting beds act as IKEA signage.

2) A new artificial ground (the store roof) which incorporates display gardens, show houses and a nursery. Seen as continuous from the car park, it is approached by a ha-ha which divorces the spectator form this ground, allowing access to the labyrinth of the store below.

3) A banal non differentiated grid acting as a rational catagorising layer for the merchandise, overlaid with style bands which sit across functional types e.g. kitchen, bathrooms etc.

4) Show houses and gardens which allow escape from the store labyrinth, showing idealised lifestyles. These allow escape from the Cartesian spatial system of the store to purely visual illusory space. Functional rooms such as kitchen and bathroom become entrance and exit points between the two spatial systems.

5) Nursery on the old flood plane which empties over the year; consumption forms collective space.

Penelope Ruttiman

The Landscape Channel

Unit statement :

‘We are concerned with form and process; process brings about environmental change; form emerges from an interaction between processes and programmatic requirements.

The unit explores the boundary where function obliterates the inevitability of process. The unit operates across the urban periphery where apparent coherence is destroyed by overlaid disconnected structures and systems. Engaging intuitive and analytical responses to context, the unit explores issues of time, scale, materiality, and the relation ship between intent and form. Architects and Landscape Architects work together on projects structured to develop heightened creative potential through cross disciplinary understanding.’

Penny Ruttiman’s work demonstrated a highly original and complex understanding of the issues that contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism face. Her schemes grapple with the problem that imploded post-modern space presents to the traditional urban model. Through a sophisticated use of precedent and an understanding of physical and cultural process she generated new architectural responses that involve the occupant in a dialectical relationship with their surroundings. This was coupled with extremely high intellectual resolution adopting and transforming a wide range of graphic approaches to represent the architecture. The scheme are polemical, thorough, and excellently represented and show a deep and original understanding of unit’s theme.

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