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STRATUM: Intermediary Motions of Entanglement

Part 2 Project 2013
Emma Power
University College Cork Cork Ireland
“IN WESTERN THOUGHT, NATURE AS ‘THE OTHER’ IN RELATION TO CULTURE HAS BEEN A STABILISING THEME FOR CENTURIES…” [Nesbitt, 1996]¬

Situated in Rome’s Circo Massimo, 'STRATUM: Intermediary Motions of Entanglement' examines how the field of architecture can operate between the viewing body, patterns of weathering, pollutants and other residual natures in the city. The project questions the apparent disjunction which exists relating to the notion of architecture’s dominance over nature, and provides new registers and mediatory devices that curate and record weather phenomena [including pollution]. Early field recordings mediated the city through forms of mappings and performative practices, and involved research into local atmospheric conditions. The series of ‘collected’ site geometries were formed against studies of collapsed and compacted foldings, and a series of orthographic projections then mapped onto the site of the Circo Massimo. This formed what was understood to be a series of new compactions which were then scrutinised against existing site and ground conditions – a new 'thickened surface', which like the figure-figure composition of Piranesi’s Campo Marzio – constitutes it’s own porosity, interstitial bodies, intervals of time and delay, and altered material densities. Like the Campo Marzio, which has been described as “dreamlike, inventive and improvisational”, the inhabited site becomes a “multiple palimpsest, a series of overlays that mix fact and fiction”, engaging fleeting natures within the city.

The architectural registration of these comes through with the subtle placing of constellations of building fragments on the site, and how historical information is recovered from the site itself. Taking note of the six metres of soil build up in the Circus over the racing track, the project also traces historical weather where several soil ‘probes’ and stations are set up on the site. Eventually, these return the soil to the ground after testing, but not before new histories emerge, are recorded and made public through a mediated architectural framework. This challenges the modernist attitudes of closure as expressed by Le Corbusier’s “bâtiments hermetiques” – the closed system and enclosed envelope.

Emma Power

Tutor(s)

2013
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