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Drying Lines: Aerating Regulation

Part 1 Project 2008
Daniel Goodacre
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
Scottish Building Regulation 3.11.6 specifies for every dwelling to provide space for a minimum of 1.7 metres of clothes-line per apartment, both indoors and outdoors, for the drying of washing. The regulation is enforced to encourage sustainable drying practices, making aeration an important material issue in the design of residential accommodation.

An initial study observed and enjoyed this rule by dropping 1.7m lengths of line from a window above the site in one of Edinburgh’s remarkable Old Town closes. The changing deformations in the falling line were recorded, and became tools throughout the project for applying a notion of aeration to the design of a series of dwellings.

As a starting point for inhabiting a small site in Advocates Close, minimum spatial standards are appropriated and then aerated. This process is then applied at a number of scales throughout the building to create an aerated construction. Plans, sections and elevations reveal a pleasure in the fluctuations and differences that result.

‘Drying lines’ suggest line not of demarcation or boundary, but rather inhabitation and thickness. In the intense fabric of Edinburgh’s Old Town the building adds to the density and enjoys the thickness. The closeness is increased, creating a dense mix of activity reminiscent of the Close’s history.

The project thus subverts the conformity of building regulation by generating creativity from within its very forms.

Daniel Goodacre


The requirement in Scotland that all domestic buildings provide their inhabitants with room for 1.7 metres of drying line, both inside and out, has an absurd poetry. Why 1.7? A full suit of clothes, a double bed spread? Who will provide the string? Where are my strings!

But we’re supposed to be tired of nanny’s red tape.

It follows then to throw this rule out of the window, literally. It is beautiful to watch the precision and clarity of this rule catch the breeze, beautiful to see this 1.7 metre length landing differently 84 times.

Daniel’s project is concerned with the regulation of building. Using 84 instances of fluttering string as a guide, it subjects the regular in building to an encounter with the chanciness of wind; it aerates regulation.

His proposed apartment building features several regular construction lines inventively set a-flutter; space standards, corridor routes, load paths, structural lines, panel centres, stair goings, roof pitches, drying lines. It enjoys the flimsy means - standards, codes, language – by which we grapple with the phenomenon.

Tutor(s)
Mr Liam Ross
Ms Rachael Hallett
2008
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