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Mother's House

Part 1 Project 1999
Jonna Käppi
University of Greenwich | UK
During my third year I designed a small scale house for an old lady and a 24 hour shopping experience which took the shape of of a "conspiracy" street market, a warehouse and a landscape. Both of my designs were based on a work process which included studying architects and their drawings, analysing houses and a shopping field trip to New York (fun!)

The Mother's House started by analysing keynote drawings by Bernard Tschumi, Quinlan Terry and Nigel Coates. Then analysing Richard Branson's house in Notting Hill as conspiracy theory. I mixed these all together first as experimental drawing, then as a series of Ikea roomset models, and finally used them to design the house.

The house was situated between the A2 and a forest in Dartford. It was narrow and long, having a glass wall facing the motorway, acting partly as show house. Keeping the privacy was done using things like a bedroom lift which moved into the basement, movable fake hedges and seasonal planting. And easy access withoit stairs etc. was provided by an electric moving chair.

The shopping experience project started in New York, with a measured drawing of section and elevation of the Gianni Versace store, looking at how architecture can be used in pricing exercise. It continued back in London, studying layout and pricing in Aldi store, studing different kinds of shopping - and shoppers. Ideas, models hand drawings, computer drawings - and looking at different sorts of shopping ideal, site massing and character, stage set and marketing ideas - you name it.

All of these took me to my final proposal: a mix of urban and rural, in and out-of-town, including vernacular architecture, conspiracy room-sets shopping, big shed, roadside billboards and coffee petrol pumps, a landscape garden roof - all programmed for 24 hour all year round, fully programmed brilliant day-out shopping experience!

Jonna Käppi

An extraordinarily inventive and ambitious student. Jonna has developed a powerful and original working process which carries clear through into the astonishingly detailed final design. Her theoretical fearlessness and ambitious experimentalism is coupled with a pragmatic and determined attitude to problem solving at all levels. This allows projects which might otherwise be intriuging speculation to appear as solidly credible proposals. These characteristics would be remarkable at any level, for a degree student they are astonishing.

Her output is prodigious - both of the two projects completed this year are excellent degree standard in their own right. Her portfolio is a highly finished, thoroughly annotated, entriely coherent sequence of more than fifty A1 or A0 drawings, photos, models, computer images etc - of which the 20 slides are only a sample (A3 reduction of the portfolio enclosed).

In her first project, she combined sharp and playful analysis of architectural drawings by Tschumi, Quinlan Terry and Nigel Coates with a study of Richard Branson's house - re-read as elaborate conspiracy theory. These speculative drawings were used to develop a Mother's House project (old lady living in architectural experiment). Working with models of ambiguous Ikea roomsets which she photgraphed and re-drew, she organised all her components and ideas within a thin, Mieisian box set between Dartford Heath and the A2 -a rural cottage cum roadside Ikea showhouse. The project is ambitious and beautifully presented throughout, and the final design is highly resolved and drawn - from the road markings on the A2 to the structure, 2d and 3d elements down to the furniture and furnishings including the design of the duvet cover.

Her final project was a shopping centre combining village street, designer store, car boot sale, and theme park. Starting with detailed analytical drawings (use of architecture in flagship designer store; chaotic programme in cheap supermarket), she went on to set up four customer scenarios: old couple, commuter, family shopping trip, twentysomething coming back from a night out. Exploring site conditions and massing, she combined these elements to provide a fully programmed, highly inclusive mixed destination shopping centre. This included landscaped garden, billboards, a mini high street of stage-set rural components which housed themed conspiracy showrooms, a stockroom shed which could be lit as warehouse, designer store or barn. Other features include topiary petrol pumps which dispense coffee, Elvis' pink cadillac and water lilies from Hiroshima. The design was developed in extraordinary detail: from the structural and servicing implications to the display and pricing of specially themed items and the uniforms of the staff - and a 24hour, all year programme of events.

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