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Gardner Street, a canvas

Part 1 Project 2004
Michael Aling
University of Brighton UK
Paper aeroplane (2003) /
Gardner street, a canvas (2004)

I’d place my design somewhere between identity and invention. I try to make my architecture communicate, and, if truth be told, entertain.

Paper aero plane was a spontaneous week long project investigating the properties of space with the limited palette of an A4 piece of paper. Light studies used to accentuate ideas of journey and compressive space resulted in multiple exposed film making that spurred a year-long interest in ‘responsive space’, space that shifts direction under use, directly responding to the movement of the user.

Gardner street, a canvas was a brief given to us by local Brighton developer Josh Arghiros in the hope to put one of the student designs through planning for build in the coming year. After input from planners, architects and structural engineers, I decided to take the secluded 80 x 4.5m site in Brighton’s North Laines, known to us as Orange Row, and insert a programme that suspends postgraduate architecture student housing above an exhibition space for the Kent architecture institute, all supported above a massive working studio below ground in the footprint of the building. Using Paper aeroplane as a catalyst in ideas, the wooden framed exhibition space is seemingly compressed into fracture by it’s oversized I-beam outer-structure, with allows the skin of the space to crack and project light out onto the wall of the opposing façade, the back of Gardner street, a busy shopping area. The interior space of the exhibition directly responds to its use, as projection lamps carry movement and shadow from within the space through the short section of the building. In doing this, Orange Row projects its activity and identity onto an already well-recognised street, reclaiming the site from being forgotten, providing an alternative method of street lighting to a generally dark passage and allowing an insight into a new exhibition space from passing by.

Michael Aling


Mike's architecture is complimented by his active interest in film, book making and music. A hidden site, 4.5m wide by 80m long, in Brighton provides a framework within which Mike could experiment, mixing media and modelling techniques while developing his proposal. The scheme plays with ideas about interiority and exteriority, the hidden and revealed, within a carefully considered and viable brief for a post-graduate design research centre. Focussing on occupation, layering, light, and geometry, the building subtly uses projection to animate itself and its environment. The ephemeral and material are uniquely combined.

2004
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