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In Praise of Shadow

Part 2 Project 2012
Natsuka Muto
Mackintosh School of Architecture, UK
Light in darkness
This project is an exploration into the potential for travelling though darkness to light and the resulting experiential qualities and phenomena. The proposal, that of a puppet theatre located in the core of a dense urban block in Dublin reconsiders the balance between darkness and light and the potential for architectural form to mediate between the two.

In modern society, darkness is often synonymous with crime, fear and danger. While this reading could be made of the context of contemporary Dublin as a modernised capital city of Ireland another reading also exists. James Joyce embraced darkness, redefining it by describing the beauty of life with darkness in Dublin. I consider the darkness mentioned in “Dubliners” as one of the significant characters of Dublin’s culture and used it as a driver to explore spatial relationships associating with various qualities of darkness.

Three dark spots in Dublin
Looking at the satellite photograph of night time Dublin, there are three large dark spots: Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green and Merion Square. Interestingly, the lightest Grafton Street connects Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green. The site is located among these dark spots just off Grafton Street, bringing existing darkness into the site to contrast against Grafton Street.

In praise of shadow
In 2009, “in praise of shadow” exhibition was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Focusing on shadows, shadow theatre and silhouettes based on old and contemporary folk tales and simple narratives, it explored the traditional art of shadow plays and their influence on the world of contemporary art in recent years. As the opening exhibition of this project, I have re-curated this exhibition in the proposal building to introduce the journey of darkness. The programme consists of shadow puppet theatre, silhouette animation theatre, silhouette performing theatre, shadow gallery and camera obscura.

Creating tiny lights in darkness
Brick was chosen as a main material of the building from the impression of “Dubliners” and the context of Dublin. By controlling the bond pattern and the thickness of the mortar, brick can create various quality of darkness.
The 1:20 physical model shows

Natsuka Muto


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