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Archive of Archives

Part 1 Project 2007
Giovanni Petrolito
London Metropolitan University, UK
The project proposes a new building to re-house the RIBA Drawing Collection within the V&A Museum. Investigations revealing ‘lost’ information, facts linking previously disconnected artefacts within the collection, informed the proposition for the Archive. These led to the development of design tools, exploring ideas around materiality and time. Artefacts produced to represent the building both reflect those within the collection and become a tangible expression of an action. They describe the material qualities and gestures that generate the spaces of the Archive: a subterranean world carved into the ground and the fine filigree surfaces of a new tower and forecourt for the V&A.
Giovanni Petrolito

This investigation emerges from consideration of the nature and status of artefacts, exhibited by and held within the archives of the two institutions. The project develops from original research into the origins of specific pieces, focussing upon the relationship between the material nature of a representation and that which it represents. The poetic potential of the actions of making and their manifestation within resultant forms and spaces becomes enscribed in acts of representation. Two principal techniques were developed: lino cuts describe spaces which are excavated to allow a new forecourt to the Museum, whilst etchings elaborate on the decorative surface qualities of the façade of the archive tower; the counterpointed forms articulate their representations and vice versa. Additionally various techniques of physical modeling are used to test and inform internal, volumetric spaces.

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