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Volcanic

Part 1 Project 2001
Maggie Carroll
Melanie Tonkin
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
record theory>to follow a breaking away from the volcanic into architecture, the mode of breaking away is in the abstraction and codification of the volcanic into a seismograph. to discover an architectural transformation between the volcanic and it's record, a discussion of the interplay of tension and distancing forces. the record preserves the past and cannot exist autonomously yet has the potential to catalyse progress beyond the action.

site>emerges after the existence of the project is realised, located between an action and the record of that action. the site is a volume of layers of previous records, storing past, collecting present and predicting future. constucted 'site' c is atmospherically influenced by the project, structurally definitive.
structure>evolved from lock and key system to connect and simultaneously disconnect an action and its record. spatial details inverted to create volumetric network. structural system and skin refer to solid definitive structure of 'site' c model.

function>laboratory, a sampling of volatile substances, containment of unpredictable volcanic atmospheres. need for isolation. building exists as a layering of records but has points that are oriented to progressive future by seemingly breaking beyond boundaries. the potential of the 'record' [ref. theory] is manifested in the data processing sections. circulation>follows a cyclic progression through [preparatory, general, specialised] laboratories [action] to data collation and processing units [record] and archival, library sectors. vertical circulation by elevators in shaft separating administration and laboratories and main [laboratory and processing] section. from action to record [ie. laboratory to processing/research, ref. theory] by stair or ramp.

atmosphere>a cyclic, repetitive condition where boundaries bleed into one another at some points and are distinct at others. attempts to control hazardous environment but acknowledges strength of uncontainable. exists as a function of materiality and space and thereby reducing the separating definition between.

Maggie Carroll
Melanie Tonkin


This project deals with issues of correspondence and isolation, with the immunological structures of architecture under pressure from the seismic and the volcanic.

From Whakaari/White Island, (a small, active, volcanic island off the east coast of New Zealand), across the breadth of the North Island, runs a line of seismic and volcanic activity. A seismic line which is mythically full of fire and which is represented in the oscillations of seismic graphs.

Working with the amplitudes and frequencies of the graphed seismic patterns this project, sited on the line of fire, programmed as a scientific testing centre, formally samples space in relationship to the instability of volcanic matter. From a block of material, articulated in its density and sensuous properties, core samples are taken and rooms are made. A spatial tunnelling investigates the possibilities of an architecture in which materiality in its volatile state is a primary formal determinant.

The holey block of matter is encased in space and in an outer skin permeable to light. Architecture posited as a sample in atmospherically controlled space wrapped by the architectural immunological devices that Wigley identified: the technical and the geometric. Caught in a geometric net, the project is isolated from external conditions in an attempt to separate architecture from volcanic air which might be corrosive to interiority and distressing of surface.

But the volcanic, with its tendency to explosively expel and complicate matter, also surfaces in the endless interiority of this design. Despite the rational separations, the divisions and orders (its partitioning by programme), the design with its swollen walls and thickened floors suggests that matter might be the site of architectural contaminants against which the immunological strategies of architecture guard.

In the matter of the project, the early liquid gold castings, the compacted laminated timber, and in its own repressed ornamental and sensuous tendencies, the architecture indicates the weak defences of current immune systems of architecture. Surface became everything, waving between exteriority and interiority; plates slide and rifts open. Oscillations of linearity turn liquid in a glow of golden matter.

Diabolical white steam, that was White Island, that wreaths the representational frames of the volcanic, leaks into the centre of a scientific establishment. As a precursor to the design, White Island/Whakaari was an intimation of an opening to architectural conditions that are habitually inaccessible or censored. The disruptive substance of White Island effects an internal complication of form, a displacement of matter from its oppositional stance over and against form. Materially sensitive the architecture of this project works with a switching between and an interlocking condition of matter and volcanic space.

2001
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