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PANOPTICON – OXFORD STREET

Part 2 Project 2004
Saleem Al-Mennan
University of Lincoln Lincoln UK
“...our society is not one of spectacle, but one of surveillance we are neither in the ampi – theater, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine’- Michel Foucault

The project explores the subject of surveillance,as a means to generate architectural proposition, and to raise question on the broader issue of surveillance. Inspired by Eame’s ‘power of ten’ the project became an adventure exploring London from satellite imaging, CCTV surveillance on the street and shop floor to generating DNA profiling via forensic analysis. Through the use of different media, initially surveillance imaging and video, to forensic analysis. To gain an in depth knowledge and feel for the subject and then exploring the outcome by means of model making and exploratory photography, with the intention of generating ‘questioning’ narrative, spatial and structural dynamics.

The site –Marble Arch Island. Historically a place for execution and part of Hyde Park, it is currently on the agenda for redevelopment – one of the propositions being is to turn it in to a farmers market. The scheme – aims to regenerate the island and to create a link (between the three different urban conditions Oxford Street – Marble Arch island – Hyde Park), which is not only physical but also draw on the issues of surveillance and the market place (oxford street).

Market – inspired by the movie ‘Blade runner’ a hybrid 24 hour market – providing from instant noodles to DNA testing, creating a quirky, surreal experience in the heart of London. bringing together fragments from a culturally divers context. An exhibition of surveillance – trade and voyeurism.

The program and narrative of the bridge adopts the idea of Jeremy Benthams Panopticon – reconstructed to adopt the 21st century surveillance, market place and entertainment (voyeurism)
As Oxford Street is one of the most intensely watched place – one is not able to be on the street without being watched by CCTV. The bridge becomes an extension of

Saleem Al-Mennan


The Panoptican project engages with the very modern phenomenon of detached observation. Remote surveillance has become an integral part of our cultural experience both as entertainment, and perhaps more significantly, as an overt expression of voyeurism. The scheme draws it’s strength from the rigorous application of a studio process. This process is primarily concerned with the generation of form and the development of architectural language from the acute observation of the ephemeral and the transitory.
The scheme succeeds on many levels; the thoroughness of the investigations, the rigorous exploration of program and language, and above all, the beauty of the architecture. The resultant built form embodies the essence of a place transformed. It possesses cultural and emotional syntax.

2004
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