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THE ENCASED COPY

Part 2 Project 2011
Kim Bjarke
Architectural Association London UK
This project is investigating the relationship between the original architectural object and its copies. Contrary to general opinion in today’s society the project is based on the argument that the copy is not something bad, devalued or impure, it is instead something to cherish.

This argument is explored in relationship to the architecture of Mies van der Rohe.
Considered as the father of modern building Mies’s architecture is a good example of the polemical relationship between original and copy, between copy and style.

The background of the project is derived from a fictional expansion of The Illinois Institute of Technol¬ogy in Chicago. The expansion of the campus is made through the reproduction of the original Miesian buildings on the site.

As the copied buildings are proliferated over a vast area their unique sensibility and details disappear in a generic blanket of sameness. The transformation of the buildings through the process of copying is engaging with a larger context that stretches beyond the physical boundaries of the campus site. It also includes the often bad offsprings from the larger body of Miesian architecture.

But the intention with the project is not to degrade the copy but instead to elevate it.
To resurrect the reproduced campus buildings they are encased in an inhabitable shell.
The encasement is a thick solid resin structure. With the encasement the copies are protected from their surrounding environment and transformed into precious originals.

By illustrating the cyclical relationship between the original and copy the project is challenging the romantic idea of Self-Origin, a literal beginning, a ground zero from which the original architectural object is derived.

The encased Miesian copies are not detached from the continuum of architectural development. They engage with larger issues related to the original architectural object and its copies, which is what defines the real context of the project, concluding ultimately with the deflation of the very idea of original.

Considering these premises the argument put forward is that today there is no such thing as the truly original, one can even say that there never was.

Kim Bjarke

Tutor(s)
Ms Natasha Sandmeier
2011
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