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Pleasure Beach / Beauty in Grotesque

Part 1 Project 2014
Chong Yan Chuah
Newcastle University, UK
Pleasure is an experience described as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It invokes a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, and euphoria. This project centres on the relation of architecture and the pursuit of pleasure. With that, a question was set; what makes architecture pleasurable? Perhaps, it is in the memory and experiences we keep.

Set in the coast of England, Blackpool lies on a gloomy societal condition, with a reductive and socially deprived population. On another end; Blackpool also embodies the colourful exaggeration of a theme park through its Pleasure Beach, and the unreturnable debauchery of the ‘wild night out’. Flip a coin, pick a side; it is beauty and ugliness in one environment.

Exploring the definition of beauty, the project freezes the progressive movement of the foxtrot dance as witnessed in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, by manipulating its elegance to evoke the grotesque. This emotion is a projected memory of Blackpool, which was experimented and developed upon to produce a physical form. The tranquillity and chaos of the forms were bounded by harmony, tested to provoke and shock. Nakedness; a fashion of beauty, was narrated into the design as an extension of pleasure, so that there is little division between the architecture and the experience itself.

The design brings life 6 experiences: The Disclosure, The Vague, The Butcher, The Midst, The Feast, and finally, The Arousal. It is to be known that the form imitates pleasure, as pleasure reflects emotion, and emotion gives experience. The attention of this project is centred on the concept of beauty in the grotesque, where one can neither forgive nor understand the sensation of experiencing both beauty and repulsion all at once.

Chong Yan Chuah


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