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LandScript: Revealing the Story of the Ruin/Remnant

Part 2 Project 2010
Chris Beale
Newcastle University, UK
The ruin/remnant provides meaning and implies place, in effect almost all sites are a palimpsest, a layering of past memories. This layering never ceases and is constantly changing ‘places’, we are adding new memories and new meanings to places just by being in their presence. Similarly through this process we are leaving ruins and remnants that provide the basis on which to build new meanings. It is through the leaving of these signs that we understand the past, and from which we define our social and cultural position.

The way in which I have responded to the ruins of Housesteads Roman Fort involves the revealing and concealing of layers of memory; through a careful interaction with the ground plane or horizon, which is in effect the repository of memory on my site, the history of my site is revealed. The past becomes a part of the present interpretation of my site, and the present will leave a ruin/remnant that will in turn imbue the landscape with meaning in the future.
The articulation of this interaction is of specific concern.

The place of artefacts i.e. physical matter becomes integrated with a modern layer added to the site. The level of intrusion is of particular concern and although it may be desirable to leave a modern ‘memory’ behind this needs to be balanced with the effect that this will have on the existing condition; a modern layer must preserve the ruin/remnant as it exists, and a degree of separation may be needed between the old and the new. This modern layer is associative and evocative of the past(s), but noticeably different/modern.

Resonance is created at this point of interaction, a wavering that brings both the past and the present into focus, and provides the visitor with a sense of the place as it may have been as well as creating a modern ‘place'.

Chris Beale

The historical and archaeological elements have been extensively and fully explored in Chris’s project. During his research on the history of Romans and Hadrians wall, Chris was particularly interested in how our built forms have a strong relationship to the natural environment.

I was very impressed with how he became aware of the passage of time and the incessant effort to create site-specific architecture with the feeling of reaching beyond.

The thesis project returned to the very origin of architecture. Rather than considering the ground plane as a neutral field on which to locate objects, the aim was to explore the expressive truth of the ground itself and the blurring of the object/field in a dichotomy and fusion of building and landscape. Chris’s project showed great originality and maturity, without losing architectural richness and sensitivity towards the site.

- Chi Park

Mr Tim Bailey

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