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Reprise & Fall: Tall Tales in the Thames Gateway

Part 2 Project 2011
Jake Humphrey
Leo Robert
University of Greenwich, UK
This project explores the ever present junction between fiction and reality within the Thames Gateway, placing within it ancient myths, equating the unknown country of the past with an unknowable future.
Taking the myth of Daedalus and Icarus as its genesis, the project positions the architect in conflict with memory and loss, pragmatism and dreams. Beginning with the labyrinth emerging from the mud of the river bank, this project begins to explore the identity of the architect and the inhabitant as constructed, overlapping entities.
Adopting the proto-architect Daedalus as our unseen hero, the fall of Icarus is tracked in a series of essential moments, where the line between accident and murder is blurred. The distillation of the myth to moments reflects a desire, a compulsion, to capture the point at which architect, inhabitant and act collide. To record Icarus’s fall, clues are preserved within the fabric of the building; with death accomplished, the tower functions as both mausoleum and funeral pyre until it is destroyed by invaders, or the hand of a wrathful god.

In its second act, the project moves from the death of Icarus, to the construction of Daedalus’s new towers. Now, far from obsession with instants in the past, the project considers the long term.
In attempting to preserve Icarus, or perhaps to investigate the circumstances of his death, Daedalus must hoard and archive the myth, protecting it against the march of time and rise of the sea. To survive, Daedalus’s towers harness the power of currents to produce fresh water, power communications aerials and transport preserving salt through his archive. Topped by a titanium cube, impervious to the elements, a new edifice emerges from the ruins of the mausoleum, dedicated to the preservation of a past far into the future.
This project considers how what we choose to remember creates a fiction of both past and present and, welcomes a re-mythologisation in a near future where extreme acts and events are all too probable. To embrace Daedalus, our architect, is to recognise the importance and futility, the necessary yet foolish beauty of architecture that tries, yet cannot last forever.

Jake Humphrey
Leo Robert

Ed Frith
Mr Patrick Lewis
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