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Under A Wave Of Light. Canvey Island, Essex

Part 2 Project 2001
Michael Paris
University of Westminster London UK
The design is formed from a metaphor of ‘sinking boats in a wave of light’.

My proposal aims to link the foundation of Canvey Island’s past prosperity to the present. The past, shaped by a dependence on the ship and water; the present influenced by the computer and satellites.

Canvey’s past is expressed in the curved form of laminated wood construction inspired by the ribs of boat hulls; the technology of the present is seen in a constellation of LED lights which respond to the microwaves emitted from mobile phone handsets. The two elements combine to form a plane at the height of the sea wall, the point at which Canvey would become flooded.

My final proposal is an attempt to link the themes of light, technology and those more specifically related to Canvey Island in a simple unified whole:
sinking boats in a wave of light.

Michael Paris


Flexible, shock-absorbing, heat-insulating acoustically absorbent, friendly, selectively reflective to light, curved, pliable, continuous, breathing, adaptable surfaces.. the responsive architecture where fur would be the delineating material.. these words used by Reyner Banham to decribe the soft-tech architecture of Barbarella..(Triumph of Software) might also apply to this students project in Canvey Island but only if you add, micro-wave sensitive, light constellation, LED, network, woven composite.

On this fragile island landscape he explores through a large range of technique and media the limits of architecture in the age when when all the significant technological developments have taken place outside the visible spectrum, light becomes a material and the mobile fone the catalyst for a another kind of not-urban ricocheting off the sea wall and the amusement arcades, mingling its reflections with the oil refinery ,and evaporating onto the dawn mist over the marsh recollecting the ships and the flood of the past and an early warning of the deluge to come.

We are used to the texture and machinery of Blade Runner, there is none of that here, maybe it's a collage of Barbabarella and the Matrix, the student would disagree I know probably concentrating on the project's capacity to submerge the island in a wave of light, (if enough mobile activity is present that is).

2001
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