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Geological Research Center

Part 1 Project 2002
Saleem Al-Mennan
Annalisa Spencer
University of Lincoln Lincoln UK
‘What would you see if your vision could encompass an expanse of one billion light years? Or if you could peer inside the microscopic realm of the atom?’

‘The powers of Ten’- (Charles and Ray Eames) became the catalyst for the project. The project begun by exploring the non-tangible and the ephemeral qualities of Ulswater, Lake District. The research method inspired by the power of ten, looked at the site in its wider context, it looked at the site at different scale of magnification zooming to the human scale, each time revealing qualities not visible to the human scale. From this stage samples of elements were taken from the site. These elements were studied and recorded under microscope at different scale and condition. The information was translated both metaphorically and literally into mesh and wire models, these models became subject of further exploration, recorded via photograms with different contextual constraints and site conditions. My architectural proposition of a ‘geological research center’ morphed out of the exploration of selected photograms. The exploration used varied mediums ranging from computer to 3D models to generate an architectonic form and spatial poetics, influenced by the research and program.

The building is a juxtaposition of layers of information collected from the domain of Geography, Biology and Chemistry . It is where the human scale meets the microscopic scale, informed by the research and the study of ‘Powers of Ten’ where it illustrated events of different scale, which existed in one moment of time. Here I have taken this idea where by the main research/visitor center was generated by the study of the microscopic elements from the site this was juxtaposed with units of accommodation and landscaping, informed by events and structure traceable at the human scale. The dotted lines on the plan are taken from trajectories of points of interest (the mountains around Ullswater). This is an event of the human scale which informed the formation of the landscape that connects the accommodation units, (main elements of which has been informed by the scenic views, topography and local materials) with the main research/visitor center.

Saleem Al-Mennan
Annalisa Spencer

Saleem's project, a geological research centre, demonstrates an intrepid journey in search for the possibilities that may reside within an architectural language. Initially inspired by the Eames film, Power of 10, he passed seamlessly onto growing bacterial fungi in petri dishes and examining these under the light microscope,eventually developing his landscape and building proposals folowing a process of translation from 2-D TO 3-D models using photograms and computers. Throughout, his energetic and copious work he has been guided by meticulous methodology, exquisite execution and never-ending commitment.

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