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Excess: A Material Practice

Part 2 Project 2012
Amy Linford
Newcastle University, UK
The project began by asking 'to what extent has the architect become a curator of material products, as oppose to a craftsman of materiality and space?' As a profession architecture is founded on its departure from the construction site; the architectural drawing assumed to be the tool of communication between designer and builder. The dominance of the drawing emphasises the priority of the spatial product, leaving tectonic processes out of the equation, without reference to the material with which they are made. This is further exacerbated by the use of computer modelling, which serves to seduce the designer into a false material reality.

The project focuses on fabric casting concrete, a technique where the formwork acts sympathetically to the liquid material, allowing the material to express its own order. Whilst the process and formwork are precisely designed the product outcome is unpredictable, leaving traces of the fabricators decision making behind.

The theoretical and practical implications of this method were tested in the scenario of a birthing centre, situated at the edge of Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, challenging the institutionalisation of healthcare, the medicalisation of the female body, and subsequent treatment of materiality.

Arising from this material attitude is an alternative pedagogy, differentiated by its departure from a culture of presumed hierarchies, founded instead upon a collaborative practice.

Amy Linford


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